The state that's home to the Tennessee Titans now is home to a Tennessee Tritan.
Tritan is the brand name of a new copolyester resin introduced by Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Co. at K 2007 in Dusseldorf. The material is aimed at a range of uses including housewares, appliances and sheet, officials said at a news conference held Oct. 24.
(The Titans, of course, are an American pro football team that plays its home games in Nashville. Eastman officials said the similarity of the two names is pure coincidence.)
Tritan provides higher heat resistance, increased toughness and easier processing, said executive Vice President Greg Nelson, who leads the polymers group.
Tritan is expected to compete with polycarbonate in a number of uses. Copolyester innovation director Deborah Baum Crain said the material, which is being made in Kingsport, ``will expand the entire category of copolyesters.''
``Traditionally, low heat resistance has limited copolyesters, but Tritan's is higher without sacrificing clarity and toughness,'' Baum Crain said.
Eastman customers using Tritan include:
* CamelBak Products LLC of Petaluma, Calif., for reusable water bottles.
* Vita-Mix Corp. of Olmsted Falls, Ohio, for the containers for its Vita-Mix 5200 household blender. The containers are molded by Laszeray Technology Inc. of North Royalton, Ohio.
* Carlisle Food Service Products of Charlotte, N.C., for commercial soup bowls.
Tritan's performance is closer to PC than previous copolyester resins, Baum Crain added. It also can handle vivid aesthetics and is dishwasher-safe. In testing, products made with Tritan went through hundreds of dishwasher cycles before cracking, officials said.
Products made with Tritan also can be lighter because of its lower density vs. PC and other competing materials.
CamelBak began using Tritan because a customer requested better durability in the dishwater and because of concerns about possible health risks associated with bisphenol-A, a chemical feedstock used in PC, said specialty plastics Vice President and General Manager Dante Rutstrom. Another advantage of the new material, Nelson said, is its ability to be used with no changes in tooling.
The Tritan product launch is in step with Eastman's recent emphasis on higher-value-added products as it sells off commodity PET assets outside North America. The firm's specialty plastics sales were up 8 percent to $644 million in the first nine months of 2007, even as overall sales fell more than 3 percent to $5.5 billion.
Eastman ranks as North America's largest PET maker, and recently announced a 50 percent capacity increase at a 770 million-pound site the firm opened last year in Columbia, S.C.