With technological advances blurring the line between plastics and rubber, the National Plastics Exposition trade show for the first time will share floor space with rubber manufacturers. Plastics processors and designers now will be able to learn on-site about the developments in elastomers, especially thermoplastics.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association's General Products Group will have a multi-exhibitor pavilion and educational program covering materials and machinery developments spanning the range of elastomeric polymers, including thermoset rubber and thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).

“For designers and processors serving the automotive, appliance, medical device and other industries where elastomers are widely used, the rapid growth of TPEs is doing away with the long-time distinction between plastics and rubber,” says William R. Carteaux, president of the Society of the Plastics Industry. Carteaux says that NPE 2006 now can help plastics industry attendees find elastomeric solutions, regardless of traditional classifications.

Also, the American Chemical Society's Rubber Division will provide sessions on improved methods of rubber mixing and compounding, issues and technologies relating to disposal and reuse of scrap rubber, and potential growth markets for TPEs.

NPE: The Plastics Showcase is scheduled for June 19-23 at McCormick Place in Chicago. For more information, go to www.npe.org.

Honeywell Toasts Lab's 50th Year

For a half century, the Buffalo Research Laboratory of Honeywell Specialty Materials has developed environmentally friendlier molecules and manufacturing processes used in foam insulation, air conditioners, automobiles and sterilant gases.

Nance Dicciani, president and CEO of Honeywell's specialty materials business in Morristown, N.J., and Buffalo Mayor Anthony Masiello joined more than 140 employees, retirees and others at the lab site to celebrate the anniversary.

Groundbreaking research at the 150,000 ft2 facility included non-ozone depleting refrigerants that met the stringent requirements of the Montreal Protocol. Most recently, researchers at the facility developed Enovate 3000 blowing agent, also known as HFC-245fa, which is used in energy-efficient closed-cell foam insulation for homes and refrigerators.

“Our expertise in fluorine chemistry is demonstrated by the innovations developed here during the past 50 years,” said Walter Hribik, site leader for the laboratory.

Since 1990, researchers at the facility have generated 245 patents for new products and manufacturing processes. The Buffalo site today focuses on synthesis (or man-made) chemistry and process development. It is home to more than 40 laboratory areas dedicated to refrigerants, foam-blowing agents, solvents, sterilants, aerosols, industrial fluorines and specialty products. It also provides ongoing manufacturing support and development, including new economical and robust manufacturing capabilities.

The Buffalo lab opened in May 1955 as the National Aniline Research and Engineering building.