As boating season gets under way, rotational molder Elkhart Plastics Inc. is turning out helms for an undisclosed North American pontoon boat manufacturer. Elkhart is rotomolding one-piece helms for several pontoon boats made by the Midwest manufacturer, a feat that garnered Elkhart the product of the year and conversion award from the Association of Rotational Molders International last year. The helms have found their way into midpriced boats, typically the territory for fiberglass helms. Elkhart's helms, made from linear low density polyethylene, replace fiberglass-reinforced plastic. Elkhart engineering manager Glenn Howard said his firm is molding about 70 of the helms a week. The Middlebury, Ind., firm is running pigmented LLDPE from ICO Polymers in two aluminum molds on a Ferry RS 330 rotomolder. Norstar Aluminum Molds Inc. of Cedarburg, Wis., built the highly polished molds. Howard said the one-piece helms eliminate an extra step needed for fiberglass types, yet they simulate the high gloss of hand-laid-up fiberglass. The technology has attracted the attention of other boat builders and producers of recreational vehicles. Elkhart is exploring its use with other manufacturers.
Elkhart steering technology
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