PolyOne Corp. and DuPont Dow Elastomers have struck a deal that will allow the firms to develop new thermoplastic elastomer compounds based on DuPont Dow's Engage-brand polyolefin elastomers.
Cleveland-based PolyOne - North America's largest compounder - will produce and market the new soft TPE compounds under the Elastamax brand name. The new products will be produced at PolyOne's Dyersburg, Tenn., site and are expected to compete with flexible PVC, ethylene propylene diene monomer thermoplastic vulcanizates and similar materials.
New formulations and compounds of metallocene-catalyzed Engage will be targeted at a variety of markets, including thin-wall injection molding, sheet and profile extrusion and blow molding. Potential applications include automotive armrests, bumpers, instrument panel skins, as well as a number of personal-care and sporting-goods items.
Through the deal, PolyOne will be able to broaden its TPE portfolio via DuPont Dow's technology, while DuPont Dow will benefit by accessing PolyOne's global marketing reach, officials said.
The arrangement calls for DuPont Dow to transfer compound formulations and processing knowledge to PolyOne, which will develop, compound and market the materials. Elastamax was fully commercialized in late August after several months of testing with pilot customers. The material is being used both as a neat resin and in blends with other materials.
PolyOne TPE General Manager Chris Landis said processors could benefit from the improved low-shear melt strength of the new materials. He added that PolyOne expects ``a variety of new products and technologies'' to result from the partnership.
DuPont Dow produces Engage in Freeport, Texas. Production is set to start at a second plant in Plaquemine, La., early next year.
DuPont Dow is a 50-50 joint venture between DuPont of Wilmington, Del., and Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich. The unit, also based in Wilmington, formed in 1996 and posted sales of more than $1 billion last year.
PolyOne, also one of North America's largest resin distributors, posted sales of about $2.7 billion in 2001. PolyOne's distribution unit has handled DuPont Dow's Engage product line for several years.