A. Schulman expands TPO sheet offering with two new invision products

A. Schulman Invision has expanded its thermoplastic olefin (TPO) sheet business with the introduction of two products from its Invision line to support thermoformed applications.

The new products are a patent pending, modified Polypropylene-capped TPO sheet possessing high durability, and a mono-layered TPO sheet. Both products offer significant customer benefits in thermoforming applications, including: high melt strength allowing for a larger process window, which means added processing flexibility and fewer rejects; and 33% greater stiffness than competitive TPO sheet products, enabling processors to down-gauge, which lowers costs by requiring less material while achieving lighter-weight parts, quicker cycle times and reduced trim scrap.

A. Schulman`s innovative Invision line includes mono- and multi-layered, extruded sheet products that are cost-competitive and simplify the manufacturing process for the Company`s customers. They also provide a higher-performance and a more environmentally friendly alternative to existing plastic sheet and film materials that are pigmented or painted.

- The TPO used in the production of Invision sheet is a proprietary TPO that A. Schulman designed to provide exceptional forming characteristics beyond the typical market offerings - said Dennis Smith, General Manager and Director of Technology. - It possesses the highest stiffness-to-ductility ratio available in a TPO material, which puts its performance on par with higher-cost engineered resins.

As the only TPO sheet provider with dedicated TPO sheet production lines, A. Schulman offers customers the shortest industry lead times. Additionally, its in-house color design team operates around the clock, whereas other sheet providers outsource the color analysis and design capabilities, which adds to cost and product delivery time.

- We are very pleased with the Invision TPO product line - said Jim Stewart, President and owner of Best Formed Plastics in Elkhart, Indiana. - The material quality is consistent and the processability is excellent; our scrap ratio went from between 10 and 12% to virtually zero. Just as importantly, the Invision team is committed to great customer service. They always perform to the highest professional standards - from trial forming with sample material at our facility, to turning around a color match in two days, to delivering our orders with no more than two to three weeks` lead time or less.

In addition to giving customers more product and price options to meet the needs of a broader range of applications, the Invision product line expansion aligns with the strategic initiatives of Joseph M. Gingo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of A. Schulman. As part of a company wide drive to restore its North American operations to profitability, A. Schulman is working to strengthen its new-product pipeline and redirect its market focus toward non-automotive sectors, including agriculture, recreational vehicles, heavy trucks, and aquatic sports and boating.

These markets require variety in performance expectations, allowing for a full range of Invision products to service them with the right product for the right application. Invision`s TPO-based sheet products are targeted to replace painted metal; other thermoplastic sheet materials such as pigmented acrylic cap ABS sheet; laminated paint films; and thermoset materials such as fiberglass, SMC or others. Typical applications are exterior body panels and trim components, fenders, door panels, housings and enclosures within the market segments noted.