Bemis Manufacturing Co. added a polypropylene toilet seat with built-in support arms called Assist to its line of premium Independence-brand products for aging-in-place customers.
Founded in 1901, the Sheboygan Falls, Wis.-based company also is launching products that have more recycled material, take less time to install and are expected to improve dignity and satisfaction at assisted-living facilities.
With estimated injection molding sales of $280 million, Bemis ranks 36th among North American injection molders, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.
The new products were unveiled at the International Builders' Show, held Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Las Vegas.
The standard-height Assist seat fits both round and elongated toilet bowls and doesn't need any wall-mounted brackets, which eliminates installation problems and can improve stability.
Bemis research shows many people grab towel bars or use toilet safety rails that can't support their weight, according to TJ Stiefvater, vice president of marketing for Bemis.
Assist has a weight limit of 500 pounds and features Bemis' patented hinges, which allow the seat to be removed for thorough cleaning.
"This line offers solutions to our growing market of aging-in-place customers, those with special needs and anyone needing security in the bathroom," Stiefvater said in a news release.
Another new product, Greenleaf, is a 100 percent recycled PP seat set to launch this spring. The elongated seat and cover are made from post-industrial recycled plastic and designed with modern lines for a streamlined feel.
"Our goal is to manufacture products in a responsible way that preserves our environment," Lisa Burns, market and product development manager for Bemis, said of the waste reclamation program.
Bemis also has a new Stay-Tite brand seat fastening system called Next Generation that it says reduces installation time and effort.
The system uses a glass-filled nylon nut assembly that pushes up and threads in half the time of a standard bolt because individual nuts, rings and washers aren't needed.
A finned bushing eliminates the gap in the mounting hole, prevents hinge movement and maintains proper seat tightness.
This summer, Bemis will go to market with a new PP cleansing toilet seat for independent living, assisted-living and memory-care facilities.
Called Empower Clean Care, the automated cleansing seat was designed for professional caregivers who spend a lot of time and effort assisting residents with toileting.
Bemis officials say about 50 percent of the residents in extended care facilities suffer from incontinence, which can lead to urinary tract infections and other issues that require hospitalization.
"Empower automates the process of effective perineal hygiene, increasing residents' dignity and caregiver satisfaction …" Stiefvater said.
The toilet seat comes with a remote control that has large colored buttons for users and caregivers to select standard bidet functions. The process dries the user at the end of the cycle.