GE Plastics marked the 50th anniversary of its Lexan-brand polycarbonate with a celebration attended by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin and 500 New York City school children.
The event - held Jan. 29 at Grand Central Terminal - honored 50 years of Lexan use in products ranging from cars to cell phones to compact discs. GE has produced about 21 billion pounds of Lexan since the material was discovered by GE lab chemist Daniel Fox in 1953.
The material was used in helmets worn by Aldrin and other astronauts on their 1969 moon mission and still is used in NASA helmets today.
Former pro football players Ottis Anderson, Carl Banks, Marty Lyons and Wesley Walker also attended the event.
Lexan has been used in helmets worn by NFL players for many years.
Meantime, GE Plastics is preparing to close its Lexgard unit in Pittsfield, Mass., which will result in the loss of 11 jobs by March.
The unit manufactures bulletproof Lexan sheets and is being folded into another facility in Nazareth, Pa., the home of GE Plastics' Insulgard unit. The Nazareth plant, which was acquired a year ago, also makes bulletproof sheet, said spokesman Bob Hess.
``It just made sense for us to combine this,'' he said.
Workers at Pittsfield, which still will employ about 500, were told of the job cuts in July. That city remains GE Plastics' global headquarters, as well as the headquarters for its Lexan polycarbonate business.
In other GE Plastics news, its Malaysia division is investing 3.8 million Malaysian ringgits (US$1 million) to upgrade its operations in Jalan Haji Sarat. The upgrades will include staff training, according to a news release.
The 70,000-square-foot facility produces multiwall PC sheet. The 30-employee plant will not add workers, said Cecilia Siu, communications director for the Pacific region.
GE's Malaysia operation has grown to 1,200 employees since it entered the region during the 1970s.