A pair of recent acquisitions has opened up the world of injection molding for the Estane Engineering Polymers business of Lubrizol Corp.
In the second half of 2008, Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol bought thermoplastic polyurethane businesses from Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co. and SK Chemicals of Seoul, South Korea.
The acquisitions provided Estane with immediate diversification, said Dale Willis, Americas region business director for Estane.
Historically, we had been strong in extruded film and sheet, but we were lacking in injection molding, Willis said in an interview at NPE2009, held June 22-26 in Chicago.
Now, when customers look at our portfolio, we have broad specifications and a lot of things we can do.
Dow's Pellethane and Isoplast materials give Lubrizol access to injection molded medical devices, while the SK products offer high clarity and faster cycle times in industrial applications.
Lubrizol makes Estane at sites in Avon Lake, Ohio, and Wilmington, Mass., and at overseas facilities in China, Belgium and Malaysia.
Since mid-2008, Lubrizol has commercialized new grades of Estane TPU that offer increased chemical resistance when exposed to ethanol or mineral spirits, and additional breathable grades for use in jacket linings and other film applications. Non-halogenated grades of Estane also are available now.
The struggling 2009 economy has created chances for Estane to enter new markets, according to Willis.
The message we're sending is that this is a good opportunity, he said.
Last year, we couldn't get [new products] in because the market was so strong. But now, we're encouraging our customers to spend some time to do development so that they're ready when things improve.
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