Plastic Ice Skating Rink
ProblemA leading manufacturer of plastic ice skating rinks wanted was being held to ransom by their supplier who would not tell the customer the formulation of their product. This meant the customer was in a weak position with respect to pricing and also could not develop a next-generation product as they had no starting point.
They contacted me and did not want to spend thousands of dollars on analysis so I found out as much and I could about the type of polyethylene used and liaised with contacts in my network to come up with a formulation to use. A key point was that most slip aids soften (plasticize) the polyethylene making the skating rink surface too soft. We found an additive that gave the correct coefficient of friction but that did not plasticize. Pigment was added plus a nucleating agent to increase crystallinity and hardness. We also developed a new spray-on slip agent that outperformed the industry standard products.
We created a new formulation that the customer could own and use. The new product had better skating characteristics and could be produced anywhere giving flexibility on production location and pricing.