Xylex, a line of polycarbonate/polyester alloys that were commercialized last month, provides the combination of looks and performance that processors are looking for, GE Plastics officials said.
``Xylex can offer some design freedom that designers didn't have in the past,'' crystalline product manager Dan Oberle said in a June 28 phone interview.
Oberle added that Xylex resins are expected to find a home in telecommunications, consumer electronics, eyewear and consumer housewares. Their first major application is in riding glasses produced by Dragon Optical of Carlsbad, Calif. The glasses are designed for skateboarding, biking, snowboarding and other action sports.
Other potential Xylex applications include mobile phone covers, computer monitors, ski bindings and face shields.
>From an aesthetics standpoint, Xylex will let designers ``get more aggressive with their inks and graphics,'' Oberle said.
GE Plastics is producing Xylex at plants in Mount Vernon, Ind., and Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands. Oberle said the company plans to add Xylex production in Asia but hasn't decided on a location or a timetable for that move.
The first-year market for Xylex is expected to be between 5 million and 10 million pounds. Oberle declined to offer specifics on Xylex pricing but said it would sell for more than $2 per pound.
The ratios of polycarbonate and polyester in Xylex can be altered to meet specific applications. Higher polycarbonate levels will offer better heat resistance, while higher polyester levels would improve chemical resistance and flow, Oberle said.
Oberle said he didn't think that the current slow economic climate would have much of an impact on Xylex's growth.
``Processors are in a cost-conscious mode, but they're also frantically looking for ways to differentiate themselves and sell more products,'' he said.
After going 16 years without announcing a major new product platform, GE Plastics now has introduced two in the past three months. The company unveiled Noryl PPX, a polyphenylene oxide/polypropylene alloy, in March.
GE Plastics, headquartered in Pittsfield, Mass., posted sales of almost $7.8 billion last year. Its first-quarter sales of $1.9 billion were flat from the same period in 2000.