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Bayer Plastics' Makrofol

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 07 August, 2002  (Company News)
Nationwide, municipalities are working to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act's storm-water mandate. Many cities' compliance programs feature cautionary curb markers, which are usually spray-painted, stenciled warnings, such as 'Don't Dump,' near sewer grates.
After a harsh winter, the words often become illegible, requiring cities to allocate valuable resources to repainting the curbs.

The Planning Department and the Department of Public Works in Springfield, Mass., has decided to approach compliance from a different angle. Instead of stenciled signs, the city is using Whitco Sign & Manufacturing Corporation's Whitty1 'Intelligent' Curb Markers, made from Bayer Plastics' MakrofolŇ∆ EPC VT/M polycarbonate film.

'We selected Makrofol polycarbonate film for its UV protection, fade resistance, weatherability and resistance to acids and other corrosives,' said Peter Goldsmith, director of marketing, outside special projects. 'We have a proven track record with Bayer Plastics and use the company's materials for all sign projects that incorporate plastics into the design.'

Makrofol EPC is an enhanced performance composite film with a velvet first surface and matte second surface. Due to the velvet first surface's excellent durability and abrasion resistance, no masking (application of a protective coating) is required.

Whitco takes the film and screens the curb marker graphic onto the matte second surface (which faces inward against the concrete) and cuts it to size. The velvet first surface faces outward, protecting the marker graphics from weather and wear. An adhesive is used to apply the marker to the curb.

The project began as a competitive bid. At the time, there was only one U.S. company manufacturing curb markers - using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Whitco saw an opportunity, and decided to submit a proposal using polycarbonate film.

'Ultimately, the Springfield Planning Department decided to do business with Whitco because the company's bid offered a superior product at a lower per unit price,' said Katie Galluzzo, Springfield Planning Department senior environmental planner. 'Plus, Whitco is a local company, so we don't incur shipping costs. Also, we realize further savings because instead of repainting the markers every year, we only have to send road crews out once to apply the curb markers made from Bayer's polycarbonate film.'

According to Goldsmith, the Whitty Curb Markers, which are marketed under the line 'Signs for Intelligent Life,' are designed not only to prevent a specific action, but to illustrate the consequences of the action.

'We are telling people not to dump, but we are also telling them why they shouldn't: Because contaminants flow to a specific water source,' said Goldsmith. 'It's a smart approach, which means every step in the project should be smart, including choosing the right material - in this case Bayer's Makrofol polycarbonate film.'
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