Rexair Inc. (Cadillac, Michigan) has converted a critical part on its
Rainbow E-Series vacuum cleaner to DuraStar™ polymer, a new resin developed by Eastman Chemical Company for use in demanding clear applications. Rexair will use the new polymer for the vacuum's detachable heavy-duty water basin.
"DuraStar™ polymer offered us a total package-clarity, impact resistance and enhanced chemical resistance-that met exacting standards for quality and performance. Other clear materials we tested didn't provide all three of these characteristics," said Thomas Jessup, senior plastics manufacturing engineer for Rexair.
The water basin is an integral component of the Rainbow's unique hydrodynamic cleaning system, which is designed to prevent the escape of airborne dust and other particulates during vacuuming. The detachable basin collects the dust and dirt typically deposited in a bag or canister. But unlike more conventional vacuums, the Rainbow's clear collection basin is partially filled with water. During cleaning household dirt is whisked into the basin and is trapped within the swirling water bath. The wet filtering system is efficient enough to trap particles an infinitesimal 1/300th of a diameter of a human hair.
Rexair injection molds the clear basin in two parts that are spin-welded together. "Our customers have the option of adding fragrances or air fresheners to the water in the basin to scent or deodorize the room while vacuuming. The oils and other ingredients in fragrances can cause catastrophic failure, including separation, to molded and welded plastic parts," explained Jessup. And, because the Rainbow can be used to clean carpeting, tile and linoleum the water basin must also stand up to the corrosive elements in household floor cleaners. "It is extremely difficult to find a clear, impact resistant resin with the degree of chemical resistance we required. DuraStar™ polymer met that need," said Jessup.
Before converting to the new Eastman™ polymer, Rexair conducted extensive performance tests to determine the material's impact and chemical resistance. "Our collection basin is partially filled with water. That places greater stress on the plastic and requires a material with exceptional strength and resilience," said Jessup.
Rainbow E-Series canister vacuum comes equipped with a certified HEPA filter that traps even nonwetable microscopic particles and damaging household allergens. Standard equipment includes a power nozzle, upholstery tool, dusting brush, floor and wall brush, crevice tool, attachment caddy and inflator/coil cleaner tool. The AquaMate tool converts the vacuum to a carpet cleaner, a floor squeegee permits cleaning of tile and linoleum and a sprayer assembly can be used for misting houseplants. While a 2½-quart water basin is standard, buyers may choose the optional 4-quart basin.
DuraStar™ polymer is a new Eastman™ product that was designed for use in a wide range of demanding clear applications including appliances, displays, toys, sporting goods and other consumer products.
"It is a very versatile material that is much easier to process than alternative clear resins. Enhanced impact resistance and chemical resistance are clear benefits," said Doris Hobbs, Eastman business market manager. "Molders are discovering that DuraStar™ polymer is a very forgiving material to work with. It offers the advantages of faster cycle times, minimal drying and little, if any, need for retooling."