PITTSFIELD, MASS. (May 12, 10:30 a.m. EDT) — GE Plastics Structured Products (Booths S2015, S2215) makes a habit of trumpeting the clarity and strength of sheet made from its Lexan-brand polycarbonate. Heck, the next thing you know, it's going to claim that Lexan sheet even cleans itself.
Well, it looks like the next thing has arrived in the form of Lexan Thermoclear-brand Easy Clean sheet.
The technology used to make Thermoclear changes the surface tension of the sheet and allows water droplets to be formed, taking away dirt that settled on the sheet. This process makes the sheet “virtually self-cleaning,” according to John Madej, the Tokyo-based chief of the Structured Products unit.
Thermoclear Easy Clean sheet currently is produced at GE Plastics facilities in Austria and Italy. Production at plants in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region will begin in the next 12 months.
At NPE, GEP Structured Products is highlighting seven other new products, including:
* Lexan SLX film, used as an in-mold paint replacement in external auto parts. SLX film offers higher gloss than paint as well as improved chemical and scratch resistance and long-term weather resistance, Madej said.
* Lexan ThermoRoof sheet, a tailor-made, fully corrugated insulated roof light that fits into other roofing products.
Lexan ZigZag panel sheet, an innovative shape that offers light transmission comparable to glass for agricultural and horticultural uses such as greenhouses.
* Lexan Thermoclear hammered glass sheet, with a new, frosted look.
* Lexan Margard MR15 sheet, a grade with higher impact and abrasion resistance for schools and other institutions that are moving away from glass windows. The material is covered by a 15-year warranty.
* Lexan SG410 sheet, an improved grade that the company claims has excellent color stability and weather resistance for outdoor signage. The material is covered by a 10-year warranty.
* Ultem 1000/5000 film, a film based on GE's Ultem-brand polyetherimide resin that can function under continuous operating temperatures of 356° F. The product also offers good chemical resistance, thermal conductivity and dielectric strength, the firm said.
The Structured Products unit operates a major production site in Mount Vernon, Ind. Since mid-2000, the unit has acquired PC sheet businesses in Malaysia and Ontario and a PC sheet and film business in Illinois. A $1 million expansion of the Malaysian facility is under way.
GEP Structured Products was 23rd in Plastics News' 2002 ranking of North American film and sheet makers, with relevant sales estimated at $261 million.