DETROIT — GE Plastics has launched Noryl PPX, a polyphenylene oxide/polypropylene alloy that is the company's first new product platform in 16 years.
Noryl PPX is expected to have a sizable impact in the automotive market in parts such as bumper fascias, front-end modules and under-the-hood components, GE Plastics officials said at a March 7 news conference in Detroit.
"We're equally bullish on nonautomotive applications, but we expect automotive to account for a large portion of Noryl PPX applications," Noryl business leader Paul Hirt said.
Pittsfield, Mass.-based GE Plastics began producing Noryl PPX this month at plants in Selkirk, N.Y., and Bergen-op-Zoom, the Netherlands. Both of those locations can supply Asian markets, officials said.
Four grades — two unfilled, one 30 percent glass-filled and one 40 percent glass-filled — currently are being made. GE plans to add at least four more grades in the next year, according to Noryl product manager Keith DuPont.
The new material is expected to sell for $1.20-$1.80 per pound.
GE is working with several Tier 1 suppliers and carmakers to find applications for the material. At least one part could be on a 2002-model vehicle, although officials declined to identify the part and the automaker.
Noryl PPX offers good high-heat performance, impact strength and chemical resistance, officials said.
"With [Noryl PPX], there will be fewer constraints in design," Hirt said. "Molders won't have to sacrifice impact strength for stiffness, or cycle time for chemical resistance."
GE will obtain PP from several suppliers to produce Noryl PPX, officials said. They declined to identify any specific PP makers. The GE Polymerland distribution unit already works with PP makers BP Amoco plc, Equistar Chemicals LP, Formosa Plastics Corp. USA, Huntsman Corp. and Solvay Polymers.
In bumper fascias, Noryl PPX is expected to provide high melt flow for thin-wall injection molding. For front-end modules, the material can offer dimensional stability and chemical resistance, according to the firm.
GE engineers developed proprietary technology to combine PPO and PP particles that previously were thought to be incompatible. Noryl PPX also can be used in regrind with other PP-based products.
Nonautomotive uses for Noryl PPX include power tools, food-service trays and fluid-engineering applications.
GE Plastics' last major material launch was the 1985 unveiling of its Noryl GTX PPO/nylon alloy. GE's standard Noryl product was introduced in 1964.
GE Plastics posted sales of almost $7.8 billion in 2000, a jump of 12 percent over 1999. The unit accounted for about 6 percent of parent General Electric Co.'s 2000 sales total.