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issue: November 2004 APPLIANCE European Edition

Plastics and Plastic Parts
Metallic Look Enhances Refrigerator Design


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by David Simpson, Contributing Editor

Modern appliance producers increasingly find themselves navigating between appealing designs that will attract customers and low production costs that will maximize profit margins. Appliance producer Fagor Electrodomésticos (Mondragon, Spain) faced this situation with its Innova Luxury refrigerator line. The line, which features a unique metallic look, became available in the second quarter of 2004.

In order to present a consistent, striking look through a new refrigerator line, Spanish producer Fagor used a combination of ABS and Visualfx resins from GE Advanced Materials. The materials provided the desired metallic look while keeping down internal costs.

During the development process, Fagor quickly identified a key element to the success of the line. All parts, from the internal and external displays to door trimmings, ventilation grills, and roofs, had to appeal to customers in look and feel, while maintaining a consistent color. Color match was vitally important, as the many parts had to match not just within each refrigerator unit, but across the complete line as well.

“GE Advanced Materials had the quality materials we were looking for,” says Losu Zabala, managing director of Fagor’s Refrigerators Business. “Their materials allowed us to achieve the metallic look we desired, while keeping our own internal costs down. They also offered superior technical service compared to their competitors, saving us time and energy during the development process.”

After working with GE’s technical support resources in the development phase, Fagor chose CYCOLAC FXS610SK resin for the refrigerator parts. CYCOLAC is an acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) thermoplastic resin said to offer outstanding flow, toughness, and dimensional stability even at elevated temperatures. Used in combination with Visualfx resins, Fagor was able to create a metallic look with a reflective sheen. The Visualfx resins are designed to provide a palette of finer texturing, shades, and special effects.

The Visualfx resins also gave Fagor the ability to maintain a consistent and high-quality color across each piece of the line. As an added benefit, the use of the resins allowed a cost-out opportunity by eliminating the need for an additional paint application. Fagor used a mold-in color option to achieve a flow-line free appearance.

“Our technical, product management, and marketing resources were used by Fagor during its concept and design phase, which helped enable the company to create its innovative refrigerator,” says Paola Babka, global marketing director, Consumer Markets, GE Advanced Materials (Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands).

“This is crucial to help maximize the end result and achieve the always-present cost-out goal. Our globally available products and services helped deliver a materials solution for the company and allowed us to play a key role in contributing to the innovative nature of their unique and expanding product line.”

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
GE Plastics
 

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