CHICAGO (July 28, 5:45 p.m. EDT) — Ferro Corp. is installing a new extrusion line in Evansville, Ind., to increase capacity for its Gapex-brand glass-reinforced and mineral/fiber glass-reinforced PP compounds.
The $5 million expansion will help the Cleveland-based firm handle growth in the automotive and appliance markets. Ferro earlier had announced it was increasing capacity by 30 percent later this year by debottlenecking its existing lines in Evansville.
Ferro´s NPE 2000 efforts also included several new products, including a soft-touch PP-based compound, a metallic masterbatch that reduces knit lines and a high-temperature PP/nylon alloy.
The Gapex ST-brand soft-touch materials are being targeted as a substitute for thermoplastic elastomers that can´t bond to polypropylene in such applications as overmolded handles on small appliances, lawn-care products and other items.
Ferro has been able to soften the PP-based product through a proprietary additive mix. It already has been sampled in an iron handle by Hamilton Beach/Proctor Silex.
The Nimex-brand masterbatch was launched in December and already is being used in an office chair produced by Steelcase. Ferro has nearly eliminated knit lines common in metallic products by altering the particle size of the metallic flake used and by adjusting the way in which the resin is dispersed.
The new PP/nylon alloy is being introduced under the Gapex HT brand name and is designed to be more effective in high-temperature applications such as outdoor power tools.