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Components of DuPont Zytel ST801 provide stability for Snowbike

Du Pont Engineering Polymers : 06 September, 2006  (Company News)
Components used to secure and steer the newest models of the Snowbike
The popular form of winter-sports equipment can be hired from 120 Snowbike¹ Rent&Learn centres in Japan, USA, Canada, Argentina and Europe to be put through its paces. Commenting on the tough conditions it endures, Bernd-Eric Brenter says: “The demands put on the materials are extreme: sub-zero temperatures, UV exposure at 3,000 metres, temperature variations from +20 ° C in the hire-shops to –40 °C on the slopes, wind and weather exposure.” Zytel ST801 is an unreinforced, high impact-resistant polyamide that retains its mechanical properties even at sub-zero temperatures. It is thus an established material for winter-sports and other sports equipment where resistance to blow and impacts is a priority. Furthermore, the material is weatherproof, scratch resistance and provides an attractive surface-finish.

The excellent processability of Zytel ST801 was a further decisive factor in Brenter’s material selection. It is highly-suited for use in thick-walled, injection-moulded parts such as those for the Snowbike¹. There is negligible warpage during cooling, whilst the risk of material deficiencies caused by voids and sink marks is minimised. Original plans foresaw only the hinge being made of the polyamide. Following the company’s positive experience with the material in terms of its properties and processing performance, it extended its application to the two securing brackets.

Brenter was supported in its material selection by Biesterfeld Interowa, the distributor of DuPont engineering polymers in Austria, and the Austrian plastics moulder Seletec Plastic Products GmbH & Co. KG. Peter Kulischek of Biesterfeld Interowa describes the material selection process as follows: “Zytel polyamide was the first-choice material from the start. The only question was whether a reinforced or unreinforced grade would need to be used to provide the components with the necessary strength and stability. Tests showed that the unreinforced grade Zytel ST801 fully met our requirements.”

A Snowbike¹ is equipped with handlebars and a saddle, much like a bicycle. Instead of wheels its uses two runners. The snowbiker has two short skis on his feet for increased stability when taking steep curves. Company founder Engelbert Brenter invented the “sitting ski” in 1949, which became known as the highly popular “ski-bob” during the sixties and early-seventies. During the mid-nineties the sport experienced a renaissance as the grandson of the company founder, Bernd-Eric Brenter, revamped and modernised the old design and marketed it in America under the name of “Snowbike”. In recent years the Snowbike¹ has been gaining more and more fans in Europe.

The DuPont Engineering Polymers business manufactures and sells Crastin PBT and Rynite PET thermoplastic polyester resins, Delrin acetal resins, Hytrel thermoplastic polyester elastomers, DuPont ETPV engineering thermoplastic vulcanizates, Minlon mineral-reinforced nylon resins, Thermx PCT polycyclohexylene dimethylterephthalates, Tynex nylon filaments, Vespel parts and shapes, Zenite liquid crystal polymers and Zytel nylon resins and Zytel HTN high-performance polyamides. These products serve global markets in the aerospace, appliance, automotive, consumer, electrical, electronic, healthcare, industrial, sporting goods and many other diversified industries.
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