WINONA, MINNESOTA, USA - (April 6, 2011) - When Leatherman Tool Group decided to introduce a new folding knife line with improved features, its customers were very clear about what they wanted. The knives needed to be lightweight and dent resistant; have the ability to stand up to an array of chemicals from oils to insect repellent; and look sharp as well as be sharp. By using a long glass fiber composite from custom compounder RTP Company for the handle, Leatherman was able to meet its customer criteria for light weight, ruggedness and strength.
"Handles (or scales) made of metal couldn't meet the varied criteria," explained Michael Duncan, Leatherman's Sourcing Engineer. "We considered using a carbon fiber material, but found that the cost, including the frequent need for machining after molding, would have made the knives too expensive to produce."
Leatherman discussed the challenge with molding partner, KASO Plastics, Inc., who recommended using an RTP 200 Series very long glass fiber reinforced nylon 6/6 composite. "We knew of a couple of materials that had the desired properties, but the RTP Company material leapt right out at us," said Dean Christensen, Vice President of Sales at KASO Plastics. "The price difference was huge; about a quarter of the cost of carbon fiber. The material met all of our criteria," said Duncan. "And, it was instrumental in allowing us to bring two new knife lines, Crater* and Expanse*, successfully to market." The Expanse line features a hybrid metal/plastic handle. "An important aspect of the RTP Company material was that it mechanically bonded well with the metal component in the mold after a simple pre-surfacing treatment," said Duncan.
The RTP 200 Series very long fiber composite was easy to process and worked out well for both knife lines. The key to obtaining the best performance from a very long fiber material is good tooling that is designed and built to align the fibers correctly during processing. "RTP Company delivers a high quality product that is extremely consistent order-to-order," added Christensen.
Having worked with RTP Company in his previous job in the electronics industry, Duncan said he looks forward to working with the company more in the future.
"RTP Company is very knowledgeable about different resin types, and they're more responsive than any other plastics supplier I've dealt with."
For more information on RTP Company long fiber and structural custom thermoplastic compounds, call (800) 433-4787 or (507) 454-6900, or visit their website at www.rtpcompany.com.
About RTP Company
RTP Company, headquartered in Winona, Minn., is a global compounder of custom engineered thermoplastics. The company has eleven manufacturing plants on three continents, plus sales representatives throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. RTP Company's engineers develop customized thermoplastic compounds in over 60 different engineering resin systems for applications requiring color, conductive, elastomeric, flame retardant, high temperature, structural, and wear resistant properties.
About Leatherman Tool Group
Founded in 1983, Portland, Oregon-based Leatherman Tool Group is known for producing the world's most precisely engineered multi-tools, knives, pruners and lights. Leatherman's engineering standards remain unmatched in the industry today. With new products for trades, hunting, outdoor, fishing, gardening and general purpose, the Leatherman tradition of innovation, tight specifications and premium materials continues to endure. For more information, please visit www.leatherman.com.
Contact: Kris Jommersbach
PH: +1 (610) 935-1633