A jump in ridership due to the recent hike in gasoline prices has challenged public transportation agencies to accommodate more passengers while maintaining safety and performance. In booth #3353 at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) 2008 Expo, SABIC Innovative Plastics is showcasing how it is leading the transportation industry with new technologies and full-service solutions for bus and rail applications.
The company’s broad product portfolio of high-performance materials is enabling public transit authorities to find new answers to the challenges of increased ridership, safety and security, sustainability and cost reduction.
“The migration from driving personal cars to riding the bus or train is great news for the environment, but a challenge to public transportation agencies,” said Steve Wyatt, global market director for Transportation, SABIC Innovative Plastics. “Increasing utilization rates on public transport – often without higher budgets to support these – means there is more need than ever for solutions that reduce the cost of ownership and fuel economy without compromising safety for those on the inside and outside of the vehicle. SABIC Innovative Plastics offers a broad portfolio of materials and technologies geared toward addressing these issues. Our ongoing investment in new product development enables us to continue to provide the public transportation industry sector with innovative solutions.”
New Resin and Film & Sheet Solutions for Safety and Compliance
At the SABIC Innovative Plastics booth, the company is displaying a window panel, made with Lexan* XHR6000 (extremely low heat release) sheet, which is designed to comply with U.S. rail standards for flame, smoke and toxicity for opaque materials. Lexan XHR6000 sheet provides better weight-out for fuel economy than traditional polyvinyl chloride (PVC)/acrylic sheet products. The opaque material provides excellent colorability, and can be formed into deep draws, crisp angles, and thin walls. Also on display is a Lexan Thermoclear* sheet panel featuring Genesis Coating Resource Inc.’s multi-color coating, a durable, fast-drying, waterborne, decorative spray paint for interior applications available in an array of colors.
The company’s diverse Ultem* product family – including Ultem foam, Ultem resin, and Ultem fiber – is featured here in a variety of parts and applications. Ultem R16SG29 sheet is currently used in Houston METRO’s light rail car interiors, offering light weight and graffiti resistance. This sheet product helped Houston METRO keep the weight of rail cars below 100,000 pounds to allow for a greater number of passengers. Ultem materials offer light weight, inherent flame retardance with low smoke emission meeting applicable rail standards, and excellent chemical resistance.
SABIC Innovative Plastics offers several other materials that are enabling transit authorities to solve specific challenges. For example, German seating manufacturer Franz Kiel GmbH & Company chose LNP* X Gen* Starflam* PF1004 Z270 resin to mold bus and tram seating. This grade of Starflam resin is the first eco flame-retardant polyamide 6 (PA 6) material that passes the DIN5510 test while maintaining excellent aesthetics.
Another product solution is Alextra™ sheet from Allen Extruders, which combines SABIC Innovative Plastics’ Lexan SLX resin with several other Lexan-based resins to create differentiated products. Alextra sheet products offer high stiffness and heat resistance, superior dimensional stability, and cold temperature performance that are unmatched by traditional thermoformable materials. Other key properties include weatherability performance for color, gloss and property retention. This material is an excellent candidate for a variety of bus applications including exterior rocker panels.
Exatec Coating Technology Enables Use of Plastic for Transit Glazing
Another highlight of the SABIC Innovative Plastics booth is a breakthrough polycarbonate glazing system from Exatec, LLC, the automotive glazing arm of the company. This new glazing system features a plasma coating that is designed to meet ANSI Z26.1 AS-2 requirements. By combining the clarity and impact strength of Lexan resin with this unique coating technology, transit agencies can replace heavy, breakable glass with lightweight plastic glazing in applications such as the bus driver protection enclosure on display at the booth.
Exatec’s new PC glazing solution can help municipalities that are converting to more efficient powertrain technologies by cutting the weight of each transit bus by up to 400 pounds when used in all appropriate exterior glazing and driver protection panels. The high-end material offers weight reductions of as much as 50 percent vs. glass and superior abrasion and durability vs. acrylic-based panels.
Polymershapes Spotlights Pepcore™ and Margard* Solutions
Polymershapes, another SABIC Innovative Plastics business, offers finished products for transit applications that leverage the company’s sheet materials. Polymershapes is exhibiting Margard* window systems at the booth, which provide light weight, durability, abrasion resistance and weatherability for buses and rail cars. The Margard system is designed to meet all Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirements and can be designed and built to meet specific customer requirements.
Polymershapes is also featuring Pepcore™, a unique, closed-cell, structural core material consisting of high-quality Lexan PC resin. The honeycomb core can be faced with many materials including plywood, medium-density fiberboard (MDF), aluminum, steel, acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) resin, high-impact polystyrene (HIPS), PVC and fiberglass-reinforced panels. Pepcore has been used successfully in numerous transportation applications.
In addition, Polymershapes is exhibiting a four-layer tear-off system to help protect windows from graffiti, scratches and flying debris. As the passenger view becomes degraded, obtaining a fresh, clear system is possible by peeling off the old surface, and exposing a new one.