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News

Tough, clear, and faster cycle times . . .that

Eastman Chemical Company : 19 June, 2002  (Application Story)
Parts moulded with Eastman Chemical Company
U-Line Corporation designed their latest Echelon series using DuraStar polymer for several key parts because of its sparkling clarity and durability. At up to 25 pounds of ice per day, U-Line depended on Eastman copolyesters for strong, crystal clear ice buckets in previous models. DuraStar polymer’s flexibility lets them take their imaginations a step further by using it on even more sophisticated part designs.

“Echelon is a highly styled design in which we’ve expanded our use of the polymer,” said William Reed, U-Line vice president of operations. He noted that in addition to ice buckets, it is used on Echelon’s interior icemaker door, and crisper drawer. Given its exceptional clarity and brilliant gloss, Reed said DuraStar polymer is “the right material for Echelon’s high-end styling.”

He explained that it’s the right material not only for aesthetic properties but also for its processability. Often, parts with clean, contoured lines involve more intricate moulds. Therein lies a key advantage of DuraStar polymer: it flows well into the most intricate mould cavities.

U-Line moulder Production Plastics (Saukville, Wisconsin), noted improvements in processing time compared to other resins. DuraStar polymer processed at a cooler temperature and dried quickly - up to 60 % faster than comparable resins. The result was a truly water-clear part that was free from edge or bluish casts.

According to Eastman business market manager, Courtland Jenkins, “The polymer also tends to be less sensitive to moisture, making it more forgiving to process variations.”

Eastman developed DuraStar polymer three years ago for injection moulding applications requiring resilient, clear, chemical-resistant parts that could be easily processed. The favourable balance of performance, price and processing properties has contributed to the polymer’s popularity so much so that Eastman increased capacity by 10% in September 2001.

“Customers are looking for more than materials. They’re looking for solutions that meet the design and processing challenges required to stay competitive. We help them by offering high-performance materials in addition to our technical expertise,” said Jenkins.

“Eastman has been excellent to work with from a technical support standpoint,” said Reed. He added that Eastman conducted a flow analysis and provided guidance on mould design. From a business perspective, Reed said that DuraStar polymer suits their needs better because it is a cost-effective material that can represent significant savings when processing tens of thousands of parts.

As the appliance industry continues its trend towards appealing contours and European styling, innovative performance polymers like DuraStar will play a key role in moulding cool new parts.

U-Line Corporation is a family-owned and operated manufacturer of built-in, under-the-counter icemakers, Combo icemaker/refrigerators, Wine Captain wine storage units, refrigerators and refrigerator/freezers.
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