At NPE 2006, GLS Corp. gave 13 entries the A-OK for using TPEs.
McHenry, Ill.-based GLS sponsored its first Innovative TPE Product Design & Development Competition. The event drew almost 30 entries, producing four winners plus honorable mentions to nine others. The awards were based on products that showed innovation, creativity and usefulness using thermoplastic elastomers, GLS officials said.
The four contest categories and winning firms were:
Most Innovative Consumer Product: OxiClean-brand detergent Toss-N-Go ball. The product - a new concept in dispensing laundry detergent for more than 25 washing cycles - was designed by Jamar Resource Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, for Orange Glo International of Greenwood Village, Colo.
Honorable mentions in this category went to Too Hot-brand safety spoons (designed and marketed by WCB Products Inc. of Tampa, Fla.); TPE promotional scrapers (molded by Rolco Inc. of Kasota, Minn., and designed by Rolco's ProCo Technologies unit); and to the Corner Smart-brand shelving system (designed and marketed by Shelfworks Technologies Inc. of Englewood, N.J.).
Most Innovative Industrial Product: Phraselator 2 mobile translation device. This soft-touch TPE-encased, hand-held, one-way translation device - used by military, law enforcement and first-aid personnel - was designed by Helix Design Inc. of Manchester, N.H., for Annapolis, Md.-based VoxTec International Inc.
Honorable mentions in this category went to the Heath RMLD-brand remote methane leak detector (designed by Helix for Heath Consultants Inc. of Houston); and to blow molded TPE helmet liners for U.S. Navy pilots (molded by ICM Plastics of Rogers, Minn., and designed and marketed by Skydex Technologies Inc. of Centennial, Colo.).
Most Innovative Medical Product: VibraLung-brand acoustic airway clearance percussor. This medical device - which disseminates sound waves to the lungs via a soft-touch mouthpiece - was molded by Rolco for Vibralung Inc. of Parker, Colo.
Honorable mentions in this category went to the eTrap-brand polyp trap retrieval device (designed and marketed by Endoscopy Inc. of Mentor, Ohio); and to soft-touch handles for orthopedic surgical instruments (molded by Mack Molding Co. of Arlington, Vt., and marketed by Stryker Orthopaedics Corp. of Mahwah, N.J.).
Most Innovative Electrical/Electronic Product: Archer Field personal computer. This PC is a TPE-enhanced hand-held unit for collecting field data under harsh conditions. It's designed and marketed by Juniper Systems Inc. of Logan, Utah.
Honorable mentions in this category went to handheld and benchtop meter housing for a pH meter used in water analysis (molded by Mack and marketed by Thermo Electron of Beverly, Mass.); and to the Pantone Color Cue 2 hand-held portable color scanner (designed by Helix and marketed by Pantone Inc. of Carlstadt, N.J.).
The event was judged by the Plastics Institute of America, the Rubber Manufacturers Association of America and Injection Molding Magazine. Hundreds of NPE attendees also voted during the show at the contest booth. NPE was held June 19-23 in Chicago.
The contest ``reinforces the fact that TPEs have made major contributions across all industries to enhance products of all types,'' according to GLS sales and marketing director Walt Ripple.