Save The Music
OtterBoxes for iPod Mini and Shuffle
Clever use of overmolded elastomers helps these new cases keep iPod digital music players dry and safe from jolts. To create a watertight seal that's good down to three feet or so, this case design uses the overmolded elastomer to form a gasket that not only seals around the perimeter of the case opening but also encapsulates the wires that lead to a sealed headphone connector. This arrangement isolates the headphone port, which can safely get wet, from the interior of the case. Other designs have handled the headphone problem with a more complicated secondary seal, sometimes like a rubber sleeve that fits over the headphone wires and headphone port. OtterBox also employs the same elastomer overmolding to cushion the iPod when it's inside the case. Both cases also incorporate flexible membranes—clear for the Mini and opaque rubber for the Shuffle—to allow access to the iPod controls through the otherwise solid polycarbonate shells.
See more on the OtterBoxes for iPod Mini and Shuffle.
OPEL 2005 Zafira Compact VanLess paint. Less weight. The new 2005 Zafira achieves both long-standing automotive design goals with the help of a plastic modular roof system. The Zafira roof module, which is developed and manufactured by Webasto AG, is back-molded from long-fiber-reinforced polyurethane with a pre-formed plastic film for the roof's high-gloss cosmetic surfaces. For the film, the roof's engineers chose GE Advanced Materials' Lexan SLX, which offers a gloss rating of 110. Webasto infuses this new multi-layer roof structure with pigment, avoiding the need to prime or paint. And no paint means a reduction in VOC emissions. It also means a reduction in weight by as much as 40 percent compared to traditional metal systems. See more on the OPEL 2005 Zafira Compact Van.
Colorful Eye Protection
Bacou-Dalloz Fit Logic and Pivot Saftey Glasses
Developing colors for plastics often eats up weeks of product development time as designers and engineers evaluate all the aesthetic, molding, and performance implications of multiple color candidates. For two new lines of safety glasses that combine colorful, elastomeric frame elements with rigid protective lenses, Bacou-Dalloz's development team found a faster way to pick the right colors: They visited Clariant ColorWorks Design & Technology Center. The center's computer simulation tools, in-house processing equipment, and color experts let the team quickly evaluate how various color candidates would affect not only the look of the product but also the molding process. At the end of one day, the team left with most of the color decisions made.
Go here for more on Bacou-Dalloz.
Visit ColorWorks for more information.
Knoll Chadwick Office ChairWith its active suspension and easy-to-reach adjustment mechanisms, Knoll's latest office chair makes it easy to get comfortable. This chair design also pulls off a balancing act that many users won't even notice: Its frame, arms, and base are made from plastics that balance the need for high strength, good aesthetics, and a minimal environmental impact. The arms represent a case in point. They're gas-assist molded from an Ultramid SEG8, a new BASF nylon that offers a resin-rich surface even at high glass loadings. For the sake of strength, the grade used for the arms has a glass loading of 40 percent. Yet the part surface nonetheless manages to meet Knoll's stringent cosmetic requirements—and does so with environmentally-friendly molded-in color rather than paint. One key to the material's enhanced surface is a flow that's about 80 percent higher than traditional nylons.
Visit Knoll Chadwick for more information on the chair.
Visit the Plastics Portal for more information on the material.
Avery Dennison Highway Markers
The reflective plastic markers embedded in highways take a beating as motorists and snow plows drive over them. And while these molded parts can take the abuse, their protective clear coats do wear, reducing the markers' reflectivity. On its most recent markers, Avery Dennison has been using a durable new coating made by Henkel Corp. Called Loctite 193064, this new 100-percent-solid, sprayable clear coat replaces a solvent-based coating. In Avery Dennison's tests, the new coating achieved a 25 percent improvement in abrasion resistance compared to earlier coatings. What's more, it lost less than five percent of its reflectivity during one test that called for 100 passes of steel wool under 50 lbs of force. The new Loctite product works on a variety of plastics substrates and targets scratch- and abrasion-prone parts on products such as mobile electronics, plastic windshields, and watches.
See more on Avery Dennison raised reflective markers.See more on Henkel Corp.