Chicago — Tritan copolyester is finding new applications in the blender market, lending its sound-damping properties to blender bodies in a market where a transparent form of the material is already a common choice for blender jars.
Vita-Mix Corp. was one of the first to switch its blender housing to an opaque, colored form of Tritan, for its Vitamix Ascent series of blenders, said Marty Boykin, director of consumer durables and the Tritan platform at Eastman Chemical Co. Other products using the material are slated to be introduced this year.
"What we're now seeing is a trend towards quieter small appliances," he said at the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago. "Large appliances have been sold on quiet for a long time — your dishwasher, washing machine — they get sold on decibel level. And now small appliance companies are noticing how loud the blenders are."
Tritan is a bit softer than the ABS, polycarbonate or PC/ABS blends often chosen for the housings of small appliances, and that softness is what gives the material its sound-dampening qualities, Boykin said. The material also enables a high-gloss finish that is appealing to designers.
The small-appliance market has been a significant growth area for Eastman, and in particular the company has seen growth in brewing appliances, where Tritan is used for durable milk frothers, coffee bean grinders and water carafes.
Tritan's toughness and glass-like appearance continues to drive business as consumers increasingly seek out high-speed, versatile appliances.
"I think between the multifunctional appliances, also the speed and ease of use, you can see a lot of companies here are really designing about speed, ergonomics and efficiency, and that seems to play in our favor as well because the products tend to be a little higher-end and more durable," Boykin said.