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Showa Denko to focus on specialty grade elastomer

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Photo by RPN photos by Bruce Meyer Hiroki Hayashi (left) and James Smith of Showa Denko America staff the company's booth at the recent Hose Manufacturers Conference. The firm plans to start selling specialty grades of its Elaslen-brand CPE in the U.S.

Japan's Showa Denko K.K. plans to begin selling its Elaslen-brand chlorinated polyethylene elastomer in the U.S. to fill gaps it said were left by other manufacturers of CPE.

The firm will concentrate on selling specialty grades for use in such products as automotive and industrial hoses, wire and cable jackets, seals, gaskets and rubber rolls, according to Hiroki Hayashi, general manager of the company's Showa Denko America Inc. business.

He said the move is similar to when Showa Denko started selling its grades of neoprene in North America after previously focusing on its domestic market in Japan.

The company started making Elaslen in 1963.

"We are at the beginning stage," Hayashi said. "What we are thinking is to promote our specialty grades to hose manufacturers and wire and cable manufacturers."

He spoke about the plan during the Hose Manufacturers Conference, held in late August in Fairlawn, Ohio. It was Showa Denko's first marketing efforts to sell the Elaslen CPE lines in North America.

The firm said the benefits of its CPE elastomer include:

c improved heat resistance and compression set resistance;

c excellent color stability, oil resistance and weatherability;

c manufacturing process that involves no materials that are harmful to the environment;

c can be vulcanized by either peroxides or sulfur vulcanizing systems; and

c can be made with bright color combinations.

Showa Denko is concentrating on specialty grades because suppliers from China and elsewhere offer more competitive pricing on commodity lines, but the Japanese firm can offer value with its high-quality grades, said Karolina Mera, marketing manager for the U.S. unit.

She said two of the Elaslen grades are targeted specifically as replacements for Dow Chemical grades. Elaslen 402B would take the place of Dow's Tyrin 631, while Elaslen 252B would replace Tyrin 674. It also is targeting those who formerly used certain DuPont Hypalon-brand lines.

The Internet has made it easier for potential customers to find replacement materials around the globe, Mera said. "They have the choice to compare and the opportunity to buy this product all over the world," she said. "They can find us or another company."

Hayashi said if sales levels justify it, Showa Denko would start stocking Elaslen CPEs at its warehouse in Cincinnati.