Eastman Chemical Co. and PolyOne Corp. are commercializing a new family of opaque blends based on Tritan-brand copolyester.
The products are blends of Tritan and ABS, and are being marketed as Edgetek XT-brand high-performance blends.
The new materials made at PolyOne's headquarters site in Avon Lake, Ohio have exceptional chemical resistance and hydrolytic stability as well as outstanding toughness, high gloss and ease of processing, according to officials. Edgetek XT is well-suited for hand-held device applications and products that require aesthetically pleasing and durable housings, like hand-held GPS and PDA systems, binoculars, small electronics, battery-powered tools, housewares and sporting goods.
Officials with Eastman and PolyOne added that the new Tritan-based products can replace polycarbonate in injection molding with minimal retooling.
PolyOne has been the exclusive North American compounder of Tritan since 2008. The material first was commercialized in 2007.
Tritan/ABS materials can compete with polycarbonate/ABS blends and can improve opportunities in product design, said Eastman's emerging market manager, Daniel Bolton, in an interview at NPE2009, held June 22-26 in Chicago.
PolyOne's Mike Marasch added that the new materials are resistant to disinfectants commonly used on hand-held medical devices. Marasch serves as marketing and product management director for PolyOne's specialty engineered materials unit.
Growth in the Tritan line is prompting Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman to build a new Tritan plant in Kingsport that is set to open in early 2010, according to Eastman's Tim Dell.
We're now selling millions of pounds [of Tritan], not thousands, said Dell, vice president of innovation and sustainability. We're helping brand owners create their own success stories.
Eastman officials declined to provide production details for the new facility. To date, Tritan has been produced on smaller production lines in Kingsport.
Tritan has enjoyed some success in displacing polycarbonate in a number of applications, due in part to concerns over alleged health risks connected to PC ingredient bisphenol A.
Brand owners and consumers have decided they want a BPA-free alternative, Dell said. We've been able to offer a product with fewer performance trade-offs, and BPA has given us a bit of a tail wind.
Strong end markets for Tritan include housewares and sports bottles. The Kor One water bottle has been an early success story for Eastman.
The hinged, dishwasher-friendly bottle was designed by Kor Ideas Inc. and RKS Design Inc. and is injection molded by Nypro, based in Clinton, Mass. The bottle retails for about $30 and holds around 22 ounces.