PolyOne Corporation (NYSE: POL), a premier global provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions, exhibited Geon™ Rigid Vinyl solutions, including a new, unique, UL-certified extrusion grade for electrical applications, at NPE 2012 last week (Booth 39006).
“PolyOne is focused on going the distance for our customers, whether this means formulating a new grade or identifying the most cost-effective solution from our existing portfolios,” said Rob Rosenau, president, PolyOne Performance Products and Solutions. “We have committed the resources and expertise required to identify customer needs, develop solutions, and launch products that will help expand our customers’ business and deliver economic benefit to their bottom line. A number of recent projects with our customers illustrate PolyOne’s commitment to being a collaborative solutions provider.”
UL-Certified Sheet for Electrical Enclosures
PolyOne’s work with Walton Plastics, a custom sheet extruder, and their customer, Midwest Plastic Fabricators, underscores these comments. Midwest was looking for rigid vinyl sheet that was rated UL 746C (f1) and could replace steel in outdoor electrical boxes such as control cabinets, junction boxes, and radio frequency meters. Compared to steel, vinyl offers many advantages including lighter weight, paint-free aesthetics, no corrosion, and radio frequency signal transparency. In addition, vinyl is non-conductive, which in some situations can prevent electrical shock.
Sheet extrusion allows greater design flexibility than injection molding in this application because Midwest can more easily change size or design without the expense of a new mold. Since no appropriate, UL-certified vinyl extrusion grades were available, PolyOne engineers collaborated with Walton Plastics to develop a custom grade that would meet processing and performance requirements, including flame retardancy, weatherability, and water-penetration resistance. The final formulation was then submitted to Underwriters Laboratories, and obtained UL 746C (f1) certification.
According to Tom Moran, President, Midwest Plastic Fabricators, “The launch of this new UL 746C (f1)-certified vinyl sheet from PolyOne and Walton Plastics enables Midwest, for the first time, to make custom-sized NEMA 4X electrical enclosures for outdoor applications from a non-metallic vinyl material that has both f1 outdoor and UL94 V0 flame ratings.”
Replacing Painted ABS in Molded Air Conditioner Panels
In addition to the electrical market, PolyOne offers an extensive line of material solutions that can be used in highly visible consumer appliances, such as housings for air conditioners, blenders, refrigerator ice dispensers, and laundry and dishwasher consoles.
In this market, pre-colored Geon™ Vinyl rigid molding grades have the aesthetics needed to replace painted metal or plastics such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). In addition to standard and custom colors, Geon Vinyl rigid molding materials are available in deep saturated colors, transparent colors, and specialty colors, such as metallics, all of which have the UV resistance needed to keep parts looking new longer than competitive options.
Recently, PolyOne collaborated with Friedrich, a global air conditioner manufacturer who wanted to reduce production costs for injection-molded panels on their Kühl® room air conditioners by switching from painted ABS to a pre-colored polymer.
PolyOne’s technology and sales teams discussed Friedrich’s needs and ran molding trials at PolyOne’s Innovation Center on a Friedrich tool to determine what colors, textures, and gloss could be achieved.
PolyOne’s Color Lab used both existing colors and custom color-matching to provide the seven colors required by the application. PolyOne’s technology team then collaborated with Friedrich by providing part design recommendations, running additional tooling trials at PolyOne’s Innovation Center, and working directly with Friedrich’s manufacturing locations globally.
Making the switch from painted ABS to pre-colored vinyl simplified the supply chain and reduced operational cost while providing a high-quality, aesthetically appealing housing. In addition, Friedrich found that the Kühl® unit runs more quietly because of the improved sound deadening characteristics of vinyl.
“The collaborative partnership between Friedrich and PolyOne throughout the process was key to the success of this conversion,” said T.J. Wheeler, Friedrich Product Manager.
Geon™ Vinyl rigid molding formulations and PolyOne’s industry-leading services are available globally.
PolyOne Corporation, with 2011 revenues of $2.9 billion, is a premier provider of specialized polymer materials, services and solutions. Headquartered outside Cleveland, Ohio USA, PolyOne has operations around the world. Consistent with the company’s strategy of specialty growth and global expansion, in December of 2011 PolyOne acquired ColorMatrix Group, Inc., a highly specialized company with a premier suite of additive technologies and a leading market position in liquid colorants. For additional information on PolyOne, visit our Web site at www.polyone.com.