Eastman Chemical Co. is committed to finding sustainable business opportunities within the diverse markets it serves. So it was a natural fit for the Kingsport, Tenn.-based company to supply the materials for an innovative design for a fast-to-deploy, effective emergency flood wall. Inventor Geocell Systems Inc., San Francisco, used Eastman materials to create the potentially lifesaving device, which received a Gold International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) from the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).
The Rapid Deployment Flood Wall (RDFW) is an expandable, stackable, modular wall made of tough, lightweight, environmentally responsible Eastman Spectar copolyester plastic pellets that are extruded into sheet by Spartech Plastics. Geocell die cuts and assembles the components.
"The simple application of combining a good idea with the appropriate material often results in innovation," says John Caruso, associate professor of industrial design, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and the IDSA member who suggested the RDFW be entered into the IDEA competition. "The smart design of the RDFW maximizes human efficiency for emergency flood control. This product is a great asset to every municipality in the United States that is subject to flooding."
The lightweight Spectar material allows as few as two people to construct a flood wall. Compared with a sandbag wall, it can be completed in a fraction of the time, using only one-fifth the labor, says Geocell.
"Early on, Eastman recognized the potential of the RDFW and embraced the opportunity to assist Geocell in achieving its goal by providing a high-quality material for the wall panels," says Gaylon White, director, Design Industry Programs, Eastman. "Eastman continues to support this design through material advances that provide the technology with greater toughness and flexibility, as well as increased ease of assembly."
To further prove its worth in diverse markets, Eastman Chemical and DD Studio, Carlsbad, Calif., recently introduced a mobile, wireless, continuous vital-signs-monitoring system called ViSi Mobile, which is marketed by Sotera Wireless Inc. The system leverages the design flexibility, chemical resistance and durability of Eastman Tritan copolyester.
The device's lens, housing, printed circuit board assembly and connectors are made with Tritan copolyester MX711. The cold-swaging ability of Tritan allows for fit-and-press assembly, which offers a tight, smooth, continuous fit between parts; and allows for joining parts without the use of chemicals, adhesives or mechanical fasteners. By utilizing Tritan, the device resists chemicals used in disinfectants and cleansers — without cracking or crazing.
"Contemporary plastic materials, such as Eastman Tritan copolyester, are well-positioned to respond to the trend in the healthcare industry toward durable, reliable wireless devices that enhance patient safety and comfort," says Scott Hanson, global industry leader, medical market segment, Specialty Plastics Business, Eastman. "Development of the Sotera Wireless device is an example of how early and ongoing interaction between material suppliers and designers is truly effective to bring next-generation devices to the marketplace."