Advanced Polymer Alloys' newest product line, Duragrip TPE, is presenting new opportunities including in consumer packaging, despite the fact that the former division of Ferro Corp. has a new owner.
``It's actually business as usual. We've notified all our customers and the letter has been pretty well-received,'' said Dave Santoleri, general manager of APA, based in Wilmington, Del.
APA was notified June 1 by Ferro Corp. that the division it belongs to has been sold to an unidentified buyer. Santoleri said the company has not been officially notified of the new owner, but is hopeful that the transaction will present more resources to expand its latest product line.
Advanced Polymer Alloys has been offering its trademarked Alcryn melt-processable elastomers for more than 20 years and that remains a solid base. However, the introduction of Duragrip TPE opens a wider range of uses, he said.
The newest grades of TPE featuring ultraviolet-light stability were exhibited at the recent NPE 2006 in Chicago in the form of a seat-belt clip that reduces noise; he noted that the product already has passed Toyota and Chrysler specifications for use.
The 6100 series bonds well to engineered thermoplastic materials, including difficult-to-overmold substrates, and won't fade with long-term exposure to sunlight, according to the company.
Santoleri said APA has experienced steady growth in the 5-8 percent range, but its wider product line is opening more opportunities in Europe and Asia.
``We're still heavily automotive, but the good news is that our Asian exposure - Kia, Honda and Toyota - keeps growing,'' he said.
The company is based in Carpentersville, Ill., and has a capacity of about 66 million pounds.
APA has invested in blending equipment to handle the new TPE line, Santoleri said. It has modified a compounding line and added storage space for the material.
He said Duragrip offers new grades for such automotive uses as interior trim and sound-deadening instrument panels. It also is being tried for other noise-reduction possibilities.
Santoleri said the material is finding new nonautomotive uses as well, such as a synthetic wine cork that has been adopted for use in three countries.
``We continue to focus on niches that provide high value. We can redo or eliminate some sort of problem, as we talk to the customer,'' said Santoleri.