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Bayer Plastics Provides Design Freedom in Hard Hat Decorating

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 10 January, 2002  (Company News)
'Proud to be an American.' That's the message that Crescent Safety Technologies, Inc. (CST) of Tampa, Florida wants to convey with its red, white, and blue safety helmet design.
The American flag artwork is part of the company's wide range of custom-designed ANSI-certified helmets, which are made for on-the-job or entertainment purposes.

CST's safety helmets are made of Bayer Plastics' Makroblend« polycarbonate/polyester blend, which combines the physical properties of polycarbonate with the chemical resistance of polyester. This creates ultra-tough resins that meet the demanding physical, chemical and environmental requirements of this application. The formed Makroblend PC/PET helmets are decorated using Bayer's film-insert molded Makrofol« polycarbonate film, which helps ensure that the graphics will be protected throughout the life of the helmet.

'Stickers or other decorations on a helmet can get dirty, fade, or scratch and peel off,' said Lynda A. Crescentini, president and owner of CST. Studies have shown that some adhesives can also break down the integrity of the helmet, which may impact its ability to meet ANSI's small object impact test requirements.

'Our new patent-protected design technology eliminates these issues. By integrating the polycarbonate film with the graphics in the injection molding process, the integrity of the helmet is not compromised and the artwork will never wear off. The final result is a highly durable helmet made of one integral piece,' added Crescentini.

CST also wanted to be the first hard hat company to offer graphics on the entire helmet. 'In the past, you could only design graphics for the front, back and sides of a helmet. That means only about 3 1/2 x 2 inches of each helmet area can be covered with a design,' said Crescentini. 'Our customers said that this was not good enough. From company to sports to university logos, our helmet designs have no limits and can cover the entire helmet.'

Conventional hard hats have been made of a high-density polyethylene. 'We wanted to make our helmets with a higher quality, more durable material. That's why we chose the polycarbonate blend,' said Crescentini.

After extensive patent, marketing and preliminary samples, CST approached Bayer for their technical expertise with film-insert molding. Bayer helped CST produce working prototypes, which were tested in accordance with the ANSI z89.1 1997 standard.

CST's helmets will be commercially available in January 2002 and will be manufactured by injection molder ORC Plastics of Siler City, North Carolina. They will be marketed and distributed by CST in conjunction with Matrix Solutions of Atlanta, Ga.
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