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Penchant for tough, clear gel pen

Eastman Chemical Company : 22 October, 2003  (Application Story)
Penatia has discovered the perfect material for designing a crystal clear gel pen that has lots of kid appeal plus safety and durability.

Gel pens have been the hottest selling writing instruments among kids. Unfortunately, many gel pens don’t survive the daily rigours of most kids’ routines. From being stuffed into burgeoning backpacks, left on hot car seats, crushed on the school bus floor or chewed by the family dog, safety and durability are essential in this tough market. Now, Penatia, a specialty division of AT Cross Company, has discovered the perfect material for designing a crystal clear gel pen that has lots of kid appeal plus safety and durability. The new Penatia Gelicious gel pen comes in a variety of clear and tinted crystal-like barrels with a simple click on/off mechanism. Made of Eastman Chemical Company’s DuraStar polymer, the pen barrels can withstand temperatures up to 145F. Plus the polymer’s clarity and toughness keep the pen looking its best despite the harsh environment of young teens and adolescents. While they’re not completely indestructible, they go a lot further in preventing the cracking and splintering that’s typical of most other clear materials. In fact, the pens are even chemical resistant to most hand creams, soaps and household detergents—should the pen accidentally make the wash cycle. “It’s very difficult to find a material that is transparent and tough, especially for thin-walled applications,” said Vinay Malur, senior plastics engineer of Technology Development Group, AT Cross Company. “DuraStar polymer, among all the grades of Eastman and other materials, had the best toughness and clarity for this application.” It is a water-clear polymer that includes a mould release. The polymer offered a number of productivity advantages too. With a flow rate of 20 grams per 10 minutes, it readily filled the intricate mould. The resulting pen barrels retained their tight tolerances, making assembly trouble-free. And with high-volume, high-yield pen production, DuraStar polymer’s rapid dry time (less than an hour) made for even more efficient production. From caps and closures to pen barrels and click mechanisms, Eastman has been a long-standing provider of quality materials for the writing instrument market. Each application has a unique combination of physical and aesthetic properties along with stringent cost considerations. “We develop products that optimise the cost-performance ratio. In that regard, DuraStar polymer has certainly had a positive impact on Penatia’s new product,” said Lisa Shumate, Eastman business market manager. Gelicious pens are currently available worldwide at a price to suit the most austere childhood allowance.

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