FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Showa Denko America Inc. has relied heavily on its strong technical support team as it has grown over the last few years—with good reason.
Its strong technical operation aids the firm's expanding customer base throughout the Americas and ensures that Showa Denko products do the jobs for which they were intended, according to officials from the company.
But the firm's technical unit serves a dual purpose. The tech crew learns what customers want and need and relays that information back to Showa Denko's U.S. office in New York City.
That allows the company to develop products that match those needs, which has helped the firm expand its product base and its entire operation in the U.S., said Karolina Mera, senior strategy and operations manager for the Americas business,
A subsidiary of Japan-based Showa Denko K.K., the company recently came out with several new specialty grades, according to Bruce Bartlett, key account and marketing manager for the Americas business.
Discussing the new offerings at the International Latex Conference, held Aug. 11-12 in Fairlawn, Mera and Bartlett said the firm's innovations have been well received by customers thus far.
For instance, Bartlett said, Showa Denko has come out with a new chloroprene latex called 753, a specialty grade product developed for accelerator free formulations.
It's mainly used for dipped goods such as surgical gloves and breathing bags, he said.
It was developed because a large portion of the surgical glove market is based on polyisoprene, Bartlett said, “and Showa Denko wants a grade with the same low modulus, the same dexterity and one that is more cost competitive than polyisoprene.”
He said the new offering can reduce the risk of Type I and Type IV allergies.
Type I refers to potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, such as sudden change in blood pressure and respiration and can include generalized hives and swelling of the throat.
Type IV refers to contact dermatitis by various degrees of irritation, such as dry and crusty patches on the skin, that resolve when no longer in contact with latex or a delayed reaction that can occur from six to 48 hours after contact with latex.
A material developed and recently commercialized by the company is SD100, Bartlett said. It's a water-based chloroprene latex designed for adhesives, specifically for foam-to-foam bonding, he said.
Because the product does not require or include any solvents, he said, it complies with VOC and HAP regulations. Bartlett added that the goal was to make a chloroprene latex, which offers quick tack, repositionability, a strong bond and good storage stability in abrasive compounds.
A material Showa Denko developed and is now being offered in the U.S. market is called CPE, or chlorinated polyethylene.
It's used in the wire and cable market as an impact modifier for PVC, Mera said.
“It's a new material that will be cost effective,” she said. “We're marketing it, but we're also developing more competitive grades.”
Mera also said Showa Denko has come out with a chloroprene latex designed for asphalt emulsions called AE101. The grade offers good colloidal stability at low pH, high solids content and a medium rate of crystallinity, she said. Due to its non-ionic nature, she noted, AE101 is easy to work with for polymer-modified asphalt emulsion manufacturers.
It is used in many road repair and preservation applications, such as tack/bond coating, micro-surfacing, slurry seals and a number of others, according to Mera.