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August 2006


Plastic replaces sheet steel in certain applications

Sheet steel, a basic component in many construction projects is becoming less popular, due to improvements in the durability of new types of plastic.

Luran S, manufactured by BASF Chemical Company, is an acrylonitrile-styrene-acrylate copolymer that resists weathering, aging and discoloration when exposed to extreme conditions. Because of these characteristics, Luran S is replacing sheet steel in construction projects.

When used in construction, small distributor boxes are particularly susceptible to scratches and dents on the housing. But it is precisely in the construction sector that such damage cannot be avoided and it is quite noticeable on the sheet steel structures that have been used up until now.

One company making the switch is F-tronic, which manufactures electric installation equipment. It is now using Luran S in its distributor boxes.

"We need an impact-resistant and UV-stable material. With Luran S, we can now market doors and frames for these distributor boxes in a version that is vandalism-proof," explains Winfried Fohs, managing director at F-tronic, "So far, a lot is still made of sheet steel but even more will be made of plastic in the future."

Test series with other impact resistant plastics have demonstrated that BASF's ASA is a superior material, especially in terms of its chemical resistance. Moreover, this material fulfilled all of the requirements in terms of dimensional stability, surface quality and stress cracking resistance.

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