AKRON, OHIO (Aug. 15, 11:45 a.m. ET) — Network Polymers Inc. has expanded its presence in materials based on acrylic-styrene-acrilonitrile (ASA) by commercializing two grades with improved gloss and image distinctness.
Akron-based Network has added the new grades to its Centrex-brand ASA line. Network has licensed Centrex from Ineos Group since 2009. The new grades are aimed at applications in the pool and spa, recreational vehicles, recreational watercraft and agricultural markets, as well as in other outdoor applications, senior account manager Jeff Stachler said.
“A lot of our customers turn to the Centrex family when they're specifying material for large parts requiring superior weatherability and a high-gloss finish that resists color fading, cracking and yellowing,” he added.
The new grades can be used as capstock materials for smooth extruded sheet and thermoformed parts, technical director Steve Blazey explained. They also can be co-extruded over high-performance materials such as polycarbonate/ABS, high-heat ABS and other compatible substrates for applications that need outdoor UV protection. Joint development programs with Network's suppliers took place over a three-year period, he added.
One of the grades is an ASA compound, while the other is an alloy of ASA with acrylic-ethylene-styrene (AES). The ASA/AES alloy has higher impact strength than the ASA compound, Stachler said. Network began making the new grades in early August at its 72,000 square foot plant in Akron.
Network had first made high-gloss Centrex materials in 2009, but didn't get the desired results in gloss and smoothness. Stachler said the firm was determined to win back customers, resulting in the effort that led to the new grades.
He added that the pool and spa and recreational vehicle markets – industries that were battered by the recession – are coming back.
“I visited some RV suppliers recently and their sales were going through the roof,” he said.
In addition to ASA, Network's product mix includes materials based on PC, ABS and other specialty resins. In 2011, the firm added a new twin-screw extrusion line to make glass-filled compounds. Network posted sales of about $75 million last year. Through July, sales in 2012 were up 10 percent vs. the year-ago period.