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GE Plastics offers broad range of thermoformable products

GE Advanced Materials : 04 November, 2003  (New Product)
GE Plastics has extended its line of thermoformable resins, sheet products.
GE Plastics has extended its line of thermoformable resins, sheet products, with an impressive array of new thermformable materials including:
• Noryl PPXresin – A new alloy of polypropylene and modified-polyphenylene ether that bridges the gap between commodity and
engineering products and provides excellent dimensional stability and improved surface finish for a wide range of thermoforming applications;
• Geloy XTW resin – A new, higher weatherability ASA product offering 3-5 times greater colour and gloss retention versus most of the traditional ASAs after prolonged exposure to UV light, according to tests done by GE Plastics;
• Ultem PEI resins – Inherently flame retardant thermoformable materials with low smoke emission and high-temperature resistance that can be used in TCO 99 and Blue Angel–compliant applications, and meet the fire-safety criteria of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Inc.;
• Xylex resins – Alloys of amorphous PBT and PC that offer easier thermoforming with reduced stretch and residual stress than the most conventional PC materials, excellent compatibility with many paints and inks, strong chemical resistance and,
• Azdel Superlite composite resins– A new glass-mat thermoplastic (GMT) composite provided in tough but lightweight sheets that can be laminated with fabric, carpeting, and other in-mould decorating techniques.

In addition, GE Plastics is working on a number of future-generation products, many of which are already in development. These materials include:

• High-gloss Lexan SLX resin for thermoforming, which is being positioned for use in a broad range of applications where good weatherability is key;
• New, advanced, highly weatherable grades of Azdel Superlite glass-mat thermoplastic composite; and,
• New higher performance grades of Ultem Superlite resin.

Several high-profile applications that are representing the latest in advanced thermoforming application development, include:
• The Four Winns pleasure boat by Genmar Holdings whose hull features a tri-layer weatherable sheet, comprised of acrylic, Geloy ASA and Cycolac ABS resins from GE Plastics. Called the VEC Shield, this new application serves as a skin replacement for gel-coat and provides a non-brittle, non-wavy, and fade-resistant finish. Boats manufactured using this finish can be made in a wide array of colours and are scratch, stain, and UV resistant.
• Body panels on the new 9000 Series John Deere tractor, which are formed from Geloy ASA resin. This extremely weather-resistant GE product provides an outstanding, high-gloss surfaces appearance – with excellent colour retention – to the tractor panels and requires no painting.
• The Big Country camouflage utility car, featuring body panels made from Geloy resin that provides excellent weatherability in combination with a unique visual effect for the outdoor enthusiast.

“GE Plastics is very excited about the opportunities in large parts provided through the thermoforming process,” said Craig Williams, GE Plastics industry manager, Transportation, Outdoor Vehicles and Devices. “We have worked very hard to develop what we believe is the broadest range of engineered thermoplastics, services, and technical tools in the world to support the extrusion and thermoforming industry. As we continue to service our customers’ needs in this way, we welcome the opportunity to tackle the challenges that large parts present and, in the process, help to drive even better thermoforming technologies for the future,” Williams concluded.

Technical support is provided to our customers via GE Plastics’ Polymer Processing Development Centers (PPDC).According to Les Goff, GE Plastics manager of Global Application Technology, “Application Technology’s mission is to help our customers drive productivity by optimising ways to process our materials. Over the last 15 years, we have continuously invested in the thermoforming technologies needed to make this mission a reality and deliver on what we set out to achieve,” he said. “Our message is that when our customers succeed, we succeed, which, in the end, means that we are helping to manufacture a significantly better product.”

GE Plastics opened the PPDC in 1988 as part of an initiative to research and improve upon the processability of its growing portfolio of engineering thermoplastic materials. Since then, the company has invested nearly $75 million in application technology, and the PPDC receives between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors per year. Today, there are satellite centres in Southfield, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands; Moka, Japan; Shanghai, China; and Bangalore, India.
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