Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Action Sports Retailer expo, held Jan. 23-25 in Long Beach, Calif.
EPS surfboard cores help absorb shock
Shuler Systems Inc. of Seaside, Ore., is marketing resilient surfboard cores of extruded polystyrene foam and a related system of anchor-post reinforcements.
The low-density, closed-cell foam absorbs shock and bounces back, said President Lanny Shuler. ``The memory values of the foam are well-matched to that of the epoxy resin shell.''
Shuler invented the reinforcement system.
Epoxy posts penetrate one-fourth of an inch into the core and anchor the laminated fiberglass shell. Also, Shuler applies a proprietary treatment to the foam before coating to avoid delamination.
He began developing his concept in 1998 and has worked with about 20 surfboard manufacturers in California, Oregon and Texas in getting to the current product, which was introduced at ASR.
Owens Corning vacuum extrudes the traditional foam in a Tallmadge, Ohio, plant and recognizes Shuler Systems as OC's exclusive representative for the material in the surfboard industry.
A nearby Tallmadge firm, Trans-Foam Inc., does initial computerized shaping of the blanks, captures the scrap and recycles the material into OC's resin stream. The offline process removes about 30 percent of a board's volume and saves on shipping, said Rich Hooper, a Shuler director and former OC manager.
BD Classic Enterprises Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., compounds a customized, two-component, ultraviolet-light-stable epoxy that matches the structural properties of the foam.
TPU lenticulars aid decorating choices
Sommers Plastic Products Co. Inc. of Clifton, N.J., has introduced an improved way of decorating with three-dimensional-type moving images, thanks to extruded thermoplastic polyurethane lenticulars.
``We are now able to capture 24 frames of animation or video behind the lens,'' said Fred Schecter, vice president and co-owner. The frames are ``interlaced and registered in such a way that you have a little movie card.''
Sommers contracts for production of lenticular inserts on continuous rolls for footwear, apparel and specialty companies and others such as Nascar racing, Walt Disney Co. and the Zoological Society of San Diego. ``The surfboard and skateboard companies love this sort of interactive material [and] the edginess of our products,'' he said.
A silk-screen method handles short runs, and Heidelberg-printed versions deal with long runs. Lenticular inserts are useful in point-of-purchase, hang-tag and business-card applications.
The lenticular technology extends on two-phase eye and mouth wiggles such as those of animal faces on Cracker Jack's vintage-1967 clip-on Winky Badges.
That production occurred on sheets of PVC.
TPU is more expensive, but is more flexible, he said.
In another line, Nike Inc.'s new, $120, Michael Jordan-brand Jumpman shoes feature Sommers Plastic's honeycomb material in clear high-impact-resistant PC, Schecter said.
The molded PC support band reveals the shoe's white upper and holds the laces.
The Schecter family acquired Sommers Plastic Products in 1948 for $1,007.
The privately held business employs 25, has a global network of sales representatives and serves as a ``fashion engineering'' catalyst with lenticulars, holography, light-interference color-shifting pigments and other technologies.
``We are like a chef that buys ingredients and converts them,'' Schecter said.
``We don't own any mills, but we work with the biggest mills in the world.''