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New birdbath designed to maintain a temperature above freezing to allow

Advanced Polymer Alloys Llc : 22 February, 2007  (New Product)
The NuWarmth KozyBird
The NuWarmth KozyBird™ Oasis deicer, an accessory to the KozyBird line of birdbaths from Watlow Polymer Technologies, is designed to maintain a temperature above freezing to allow birds access to free standing water during the winter months. Bathing is an essential element of survival for the bird’s who use the water, and sometimes dust, to rid their plumage of unwanted organisms and other materials in order to safely hunt for food and to avoid predators.

The KozyBird Oasis deicer uses a Canadian Standard Association-certified heating element embedded in a mold of Alcryn® Melt-Processible Rubber™ from Advanced Polymer Alloys (Wilmington, Del.). Alcryn MPR is a true rubber based on a partially crosslinked, chlorinated olefin interpolymer alloy. It can be efficiently processed on plastics equipment; it molds in short cycles; it produces recyclable scrap, and does not require pre-drying or vulcanization.

“The charter of our business is to commercialize the heated plastics industry,” said Ted Von Arx, product development manager for NuWarmth. “We manufacture a heating element system that is adaptable to several different molding processes, laminating, compression molding, and injection molding. We capture the element assembly within the wall structure of the polymer material.”

NuWarmth needed a durable polymer material that possessed excellent weatherability characteristics. The 4070BKFR formulation performs very well in impact, resistance-to-cutting, abrasion, and flex tests. “In an environment where the ability to withstand the winter temperatures, hold up to the sun’s damaging rays, and maintain its size and shape through months of submersion in water is paramount, Alcryn was our best choice,” Von Arx said.

That environment, Von Arx added, also includes the approximate 100- to 120-degree temperature that Alcryn MPR is exposed to through contact with the embedded heating element.

Falling temperatures activate the thermostatically controlled heating element, so it heats only when needed. The heater and thermostat are sealed in the single-piece Alcryn MPR, eliminating risk of liquid penetration. There are no exposed electrical elements, so birds can walk on the deicer in complete safety. A network of heating wires permeates the entire surface of the product, assuring ice-free water down to sub-zero-temperatures.

NuWarmth, a division of Watlow Polymer Technologies, is using about one pound of Alcryn MPR 4070 black in the production of each KozyBird Oasis deicer, utilizing the material’s excellent weather resistant properties. Alcryn MPR (4070 black) has been tested to withstand temperatures as low as -80 degrees Fahrenheit and passes the 4000-hour south Florida sunlight test.

“Our research showed that Alcryn MPR would perform well in environments where the KozyBird Oasis would likely be used, including those with freezing temperatures and constant exposure to sunlight,” said Von Arx. “The main purpose of Alcryn in this application is to provide the electrical insulation between the heat source and the bird bath water being heated. In essence, we’re creating a molded finished product with internal heat capabilities.”

Alcryn MPR’s performance characteristics allow the KozyBird Oasis to maintain a birdbath water temperature between 35 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, providing the birds with a safe haven to groom in all year long.

According to Ben Sadowski, manager of sales and marketing for NuWarmth, Alcryn MPR’s processing capabilities proved a bonus in the application, the first commercial use of the polymer by NuWarmth or Watlow Polymer Technologies. “This is a very friendly material,” he said. “Once you get Alcryn MPR to the right temperature and apply shear, it really likes to flow. That makes the entire production process easier to manage and more efficient.”

The KozyBird Oasis, available in 11-inch round for flat or small birdbaths and 14-inch crescent shaped for birdbaths with a center island, was introduced to the market in late July as an accessory to the company’s KozyBird Spa birdbath line. NuWarmth hopes to sell between 10,000 to 20,000 units in the first year.

Watlow’s other businesses, Von Arx said, are testing Alcryn MPR for use in other tough environments.
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