PITTSFIELD, MASS. - Jun. 1, 2006 - As any chef will tell you, success in the kitchen depends on choosing the best ingredients. So when U.K. chef Jamie Oliver began work with William Levene Ltd. on the development of a brand new tool for mixing and crushing ingredients, the housewares supplier found the right material - Xylex* resin from GE Plastics. The wildly popular Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker, which allows cooks to quickly crush, mix, and extract flavor from whole spices for rubs and marinades, takes advantage of the GE resin's heat resistance, transparency, durability, resistance to staining, and custom colorability.
Although the Flavour Shaker has won several awards, including Progressive Housewares magazine's Excellence in Housewares Award 2005 for "Top Tool or Gadget," its unique design created specific material challenges. The hard ceramic ball inside the shaker must repeatedly hit the sides to crush the spices, so high performance was a requirement. A clear material would allow cooks to see the blending process. And William Levene wanted a wide array of color choices for different product versions and special promotions. According to Andrew Thornton, head of Design and Product Development at William Levene, "GE's Xylex resin had all the properties we needed to create a product with the quality our customers have come to expect. GE helped us deliver a winning design."
In addition to transparency and high resistance to chemicals, heat, and staining, GE's Xylex resin, a polycarbonate (PC)/polyester alloy, is compliant with U.S. FDA and EUFC regulations for food applications. Its unique properties are provided by the combination of the PC which gives heat and impact resistance, and the alphatic polyester which brings the chemical resistance. The material withstands the heat and chemicals used in dishwashers, and resists breakdown and cracking caused by reactions to common foods such as vinegar.
For William Levene, a critical advantage of Xylex resin is its colorability. Using GE's advanced color-matching services provided by its Customer Innovation Center in Bergen op Zoom, the Netherlands, William Levene was able to quickly manufacture the Flavour Shaker in different colors for future product development. "When they brought in the colors they needed, we matched them on the spot," said Gabrie Hoogland, Xylex global program manager for GE Plastics.
GE provided other value-added services to William Levene, including global application development support and rapid delivery of the resin to speed up commercialization. GE conducted several lab and field tests, including mold-flow analysis and chemical- and dishwasher-resistance testing. In addition, the company helped William Levene commission the tools needed to make the application and identify local molders to accelerate penetration into the European marketplace. Using a local molder eliminated long lead times for shipping and helped bring the Flavour Shaker to market more quickly.
"GE's team worked with us from start to finish; from materials choice, to testing and application design support, they've viewed our success as their own," added Thornton.
For more information on the Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker please visit http://www.flavourshaker.co.uk/buy.
For more information on GE's Xylex resin please follow the Xylex resin hyperlink to GE Plastics' website.
About William Levene
William Levene is now one of the UK's leading housewares companies. It distributes to more than 42 countries worldwide. The company's brands include Cole & Mason, Culinaire, Jamie Oliver Flavour Shaker, Ken Hom woks, Smart Café, Chef'n, and Hangaway.
About GE Plastics
GE Plastics is a global supplier of plastic resins widely used in automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, transportation, performance packaging, building & construction, telecommunications, and optical media applications. The company manufactures and compounds polycarbonate, ABS, SAN, ASA, PPE, PC/ABS, PBT and PEI resins, as well as the LNP* line of high-performance specialty compounds. GE Plastics, Specialty Film & Sheet manufactures high-performance Lexan* sheet and film products used in thousands of demanding applications worldwide. In addition, GE Plastics' dedicated Automotive organization is an experienced, world-wide competitor, offering leading plastics solutions for five key automotive segments: body panels and glazing; under the hood applications; component; structures and interiors; and lighting. As a Worldwide Partner of the Olympic Games, GE is the exclusive provider of a wide range of innovative products and services that are integral to a successful Games.
Xylex, LNP, and Lexan are trademarks of General Electric Company.