Polyurethane Protects Arresting Wires and Pilots, Too

The CVN 78 Gerald Ford aircraft carrier is often seen as the most technologically advanced in the U.S. Navy’s fleet. And part of that technology includes new polyurethane-covered plates from Kastalon that help absorb the impact of arresting cables as they are dragged across the deck.

When a fighter jet lands on an aircraft carrier, it’s still traveling at up to 150 miles per hour — with 500 feet or less in which to stop. So, the plane has a special tailhook that grabs one of several arresting wires stretched across the deck in order to transfer the energy and slow the plane to a halt quickly.

The arresting wires take quite a beating as they repeatedly drag across the deck with enough speed to make sparks fly. Enter Kastalon’s polyurethane-covered plates. The plates help to absorb the initial impact as the wire hits to protect it from damage and failure, which in turn helps protect the fighter jet and its pilot.


Originally reported by http://incrediblepolyurethane.com

Hurricane Assistance comes in all shapes and sizes

“Having a knowledgeable sales person that could evaluate the situation and develop a strategic plan to efficiently process the roller allowed Berry to reduce the down time and continue to support their customers.”

Due to Hurricane Harvey’s  damage sustained at the Berry Plastics facility in Victoria, Texas, the Berry Plastics plant in Aurora, Illinois was called on to ramp up their operations to pick up the production lost in Texas. In order to keep running, Tim Neal, the Purchasing Agent at Berry Plastics in Aurora, reached out to Kastalon Inc. for emergency assistance on a roller that had imperfections and that needed regrinding.

Thanks to the technical expertise of the sales engineer at Kastalon, the roller was inspected at the Berry facility and sent to Kastalon for emergency repairs and an expedited return. According to Tim Neal, “Having a knowledgeable sales person that could evaluate the situation and develop a strategic plan to efficiently process the roller allowed Berry to reduce the down time and continue to support their customers.” When faced with critical disasters, it is imperative to have suppliers that not only have the expertise and ability to help, but the compassion to help where they can.

Kastalon offers complete roller services from the simple recovering of used rollers to regrinds, core repair, bearing assembly, balancing, and new core construction. We can work from samples, drawings or provide design and engineering assistance to develop the most effective solution. Learn more about our Roller Covering Solutions today!


Berry Plastics, is a global leader in packaging and protection solutions. They believe we have a responsibility to play a positive role in the communities and environments in which we operate and serve. From the way we operate our facilities, to the industry partnerships we have developed, to our community education programs, Berry is committed to designing our products with the environment in mind.

Hurricane Harvey – August 25-29, 2017

Maximizing Quality and Yield by Al DiZanni

Increasingly, competitive markets are pushing tube makers to reduce costs while improving quality.

The surface and edge condition of incoming coils has a significant impact on processing cost and quality. Scratch-free surfaces are important when processing polished, plated, or painted tube. However, scratches also can lead to weaknesses in the tube wall. This can be important for pressure tubing as well as mechanical tubing. Stresses can concentrate along scratches in mechanical tubing that is bulged or formed. Scratches can also concentrate stress in pressure tubing and create a weakness in the wall. This consideration is more critical for nonferrous materials.

Incoming material with a poor edge condition can lead to increased cost because of additional reprocessing, reduced yield, inspection cost, and the general inconvenience of returning the material and seeking credit for defective material from suppliers.

Producing, rolling, and processing coils influence its surface and edge condition. Surfaces and edges can also be compromised when they are handled during basic processes such as slitting, painting, annealing, and rolling.

Coil handling and protection also influence surface quality. This article examines typical problems in coil handling and how to maintain quality stock on the warehouse and mill floor.

Coil Handling Challenges and Answers
Beginning with the final stage of production, the finished metal surface is vulnerable to damage. Worn bridle, passline, pinch, tension, or other rollers that contact the metal as it is rolled can scratch surfaces. Slippage through or across rollers also contributes to scratching. To prevent slippage, these rollers can be covered with materials that provide traction and are softer than the metal, including rubber, polyurethane, and plastic .

Winding. Another potential source of damage is the expanding mandrel used to hold the coil while it is unwound and rewound during processing. These mandrels open and close when loading and unloading coil. To make this movement possible, the mandrel has segmented leafs that have gaps between them when expanded. The edges of these leafs can mark the inside of the coil.

When the metal is wound, it may bend at the edge to wind in a straight line to the next leaf edge. This is a condition called reel break. These breaks can print through many wraps before they soften enough to stop deforming the metal. In some severe cases, breaks can cause damage extending as much as 1/2 inch into the coil, potentially resulting in the loss of a 1-inch thick portion of metal out of the coil eye.

Excessive mandrel wear causes the leafs to get out of level and exacerbates reel breaks. Rubber or polyurethane sleeved (also call boots) can be used to minimize or eliminate this damage. A mandrel sleeve cushions the edge of the leaf and distributes the bending force over a wider area, helping to eliminate plastic deformation of the metal.

Storage and Transportation
Once the coil is wound, it must be removed from the mandrel, moved to storage, stored, and transported. Large, basic coil producers and processors generally have automated handling systems, coil cars, and conveyors. These units remove the coil from the mandrel and transfer it to a station, where more traditional equipment, such as C-hooks, ram trucks, and coil tongs, are used to move the coil.

Various flat pads or cushions may be attached to the coil contact areas. These are usually made of rubber, polyurethane, plastic, or some other material that is softer than metal.

When the coil is removed from the conveyor, forklift/ram trucks, C-hooks, or tongs are usually used to transport the metal. These devices can damage the coil’s edges. One mishap, such as a bump, can severely damage the entire edge of the coil. The only way to correct this damage is to slit the coil to a narrower width. However, this requires additional processing and wastes material. This waste can be substantial, depending on the amount of trim required to reach the next usable coil width.

The best method of protecting the metal during these operations is to cushion the areas contacting the coil, such as the sides and the back sides of the transport devices.

When coils are stored, stacking is not recommended. However, when space limitations make stacking a must, coils should be stored not more than three high because the weight on the bottom coil can deform it and make it square. This usually renders the deformed coil scrap.
Prepainted, coated, polished, or soft metals may need further protection when stored.
Coils can be stored in pads or racks when floors are wet, dirty, debris-covered, uneven. These devices isolate the coils from the floor and help prevent damage caused by hard set-down or placing coils on debris (which can dent the material).

Cost of Quality
Whenever and wherever coils are handled, damage can occur. Incurring or repairing damage, either at a vendor’s facility or at a tube mill, adds cost and compromises quality.
When reviewing processes or auditing suppliers, tube manufacturers should consider these problems and their simple resolutions. Excess cost anywhere in the supply chain adversely affects everyone’s bottom line.

Al DiZanni is a Field Sales Engineer specializing in steel handling and steel processing from Kastalon, Inc., 4100 W. 124th Place, Alsip, Illinois 60803, phone 708-389-2210, fax 709-389-0432, Website: www.kastalon.com

Kastalon is a manufacturer of polyurethane coil storage, handling, and protection products.
This article originally appeared in an issue of TPJ, a FMA Communications, Inc publication.

Field of Springs

In the same city where Astroturf made its debut, another material technology Wrings Houston a new baseball marvel.

When the Houston Astrodome, baseball’s first indoor stadium, opened in 1965, it had a natural grass field. The grass required a translucent roof, which produced glare and caused fielders to lose track of fly balls. To solve the problem, the stadium’s roof was painted and the grass replaced with the newly invented artificial surface that we now call Astroturf.

No matter what you think about baseball on artificial turf, it is commonly agreed that Houston was at the forefront of baseball stadium innovation in the ’60s. It continues that tradition today. The Astros still play ball under a roof but only when necessary. That’s because the city erected Enron Field, a stadium with a retractable roof that makes natural grass possible. Although Enron Field is not the first stadium with a retractable roof, it does boast a special suspension system that is engineered to open and close the roof without glitches.

Bart Riberich, vice president of engineering at Uni- Systems, the Minneapolis-based firm that designed the roof travel mechanism, says that operating problems occur when the suspension system relies on bogies. They concentrate the load at a single point when the wheels hit a high spot on the rail, thereby thwarting smooth movement. Instead of bogies, Uni-Systems engineers turned to independent suspensions for each of the 142 wheels that carry the three huge roof sections atop Enron Field. To make the independent suspensions work, the engineers needed a suspension spring that would compress when the wheels met a high spot on the rail.

Finding the materials to make the springs was about as easy as hitting a Randy Johnson fastball. Almost from the start, Uni-Systems eliminated conventional metal springs because they couldn’t achieve the targeted 25-year lifespan. The designers turned their attention to elastomers, which are not only highly resilient and durable but also able to handle heavy load capacity.

The Uni-Systems design team, along with engineers at Kastalon Polyurethane Products, Uni-Systems’ partner on the project, selected Adiprene urethane prepolymer from Uniroyal Chemical to make the springs. “The springs had to be compact to make the design work,” says Bruce DeMent, president of Kastalon. “The versatility of Adiprene urethanes allowed us to compound an elastomer that would give us the required performance.”

The patented cylindrical springs installed at Enron Field consist of alternating layers of steel and urethane around a central shaft. Only 8 in. in diameter and 9 in. tall, the assemblies support a normal load of 125,000 lbs and peak loads up to 325,000 lbs. Now, the Astros can play ball come rain or shine.

More information on polyurethanes is available by contacting Kastalon Inc. , 4100 W. 124th Place, Alsip, IL 60803 or calling (708) 389-2210.

Kastalon Lands Assist as Spawning Traffic is Restored

Kastalon products help to restore the natural migration of spawning fish in the majestic rivers of the Cascade Mountains, while maintaining the source of green energy from the dams.

Alsip, IL–Looking down from the Cascade Mountains at the three majestic rivers rambling through the picturesque countryside in central Oregon, no one would ever suspect that the salmon and steelhead were swimming their way up those rivers for the first time since 1968.

Although a series of dams, built in the early 1960’s, created a dynamic resource for hydro-power, the fish passage system built into the design proved unsuccessful for the fish to find their way downstream for migration.

Through a unique partnership, the co-owners of the dams, Portland General Electric (PGE) and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, spent several years developing a plan to improve the habitat for the fish.

The Barnard Construction Company and a team of engineers from CH2M Hill were commissioned by PGE and the tribes to design a system that would allow fish to be redirected for successful spawning migration without disrupting the source of green energy from the dams.

The unique solution involved constructing a 273-foot underwater tower and floating bridge from the floor of Lake Billy Chinook above the Round Butte Dam.

This massive structure’s one-of-a-kind design modified the current and temperature to mimic the natural conditions of the river for successful fish collection while maintaining water flow for power generation.

With the new collection station, the fish are efficiently transported downstream so they can continue on to the Columbia River and out to the ocean.

A key element of this project was determining a design for equalizing/dampening connectors that would join the floating apparatus with the stationary structure. These arrestors had to allow a full range of motion but provide predictable stability that could absorb storm forces and withstand seismic pressure.

After an extensive search, the engineers found Kastalon Polyurethane Product’s long-standing reputation for engineered to fit solutions to be a good choice to partner in the design and development of these unique polyurethane arrestor connectors.

Kastalon, a second generation family-owned business located outside of Chicago, accepted the challenge of providing a unique design and chemistry of polyurethane with the mechanical and physical properties that would give the strength and life expectancy the project required.

Today, after nearly two years of design, testing, and construction, the massive underwater tower and fish collection station rises from the floor of Lake Billy Chinook. For the first time since 1968 the migratory cycle for the fish has been restored without disturbing the hydro-power being provided to the region.

With improved habitat and downstream passage, the juvenile Chinook salmon and steel head can now return to their native spawning grounds and complete their natural cycle.

Helping Gentle Giants

Design engineers rely on specially formulated monolithic urethane to protect manatees from injury and death.

Endangered manatees are getting a helping hand from design technology. Thanks to the efforts of engineers at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and the materials technology at Kastalon Inc. , these gentle creatures have a better chance of staying alive. The Florida manatee is one of the most threatened marine animals in the United States. They are often killed by collisions with boats or from entrapment in man-made structures. In fact, only a few thousand of these friendly “sea cows” can be found in the shallow rivers, bays, canals, and coastal areas of the Florida peninsula.

South Florida Water
Management, which operates a series of remote controlled gates that regulate the water level in its vast system of canals, knew more had to be done to save these sea wonders. The canals, full of warm brackish water, attract numerous manatees. Finding warm water is a matter of survival for them. If manatees remain in the Gulf of Mexico after the water turns cold, they risk catching a fatal respiratory illness. However, the warm waters of the canals can also prove fatal to the slow-moving manatee. The vertical gates that regulate water flow between the canals and ocean are unmanned. Manatees, which measure about 12 feet long and weigh about 1,000 pounds, are often trapped when the 20- to 33-foot-wide gates close. Since no one is around to rescue them, the manatees die. Making matters worse is the turbulent flow of water through the gates, which carries all manner of debris from floating branches to illegally discarded washing machines.

Fortunately, seven sophisticated manatee protection systems are currently in place in the canal system, and an additional 13 have been contracted. These systems are sensitive enough to detect the soft body of a manatee and yet are not prone to false alarms triggered by debris.

The first system was installed on the Miami Canal in 1996. “This site had the worst record of manatee mortality before the system was installed,” recalls Larry Taylor, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution’s EE production manager and the project manager for manatee protection systems. “Since the system has been online, there has not been another injury.”

The engineers at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution invented the manatee protection system after extensive testing of various alarm mechanisms. Called the Manatee Piezo-Electric Detector bumper system, it allows the vertical gates, which move at a fixed speed of 6 inches per minute, to gently contact the manatee, stop, and then reverse without harming the animal. The system’s sensor is sensitive enough to distinguish between a large object being violently pushed into the bumper and a manatee caught in the lowering gates. In addition, the unique shape of the bumper protects the sensor from impact.

“The bumper sensor design provides an extremely sensitive detector for the endangered manatee while including the ruggedness required for the industrial submerged environment,” says Taylor. “Kastalon provided the custom molding capability and the perfect materials for us to meet the required 10-year service life of this system.”

Kastalon, a manufacturer of polyurethane components located outside Chicago, developed the durable material needed for the bumper system. It’s a specially formulated monolithic urethane engineered to withstand years of continuous submersion in brackish water as well as impact from surging water and moving debris. Designed to offer mechanical properties stronger and more durable than rubber, it also resists both UV rays and salt water.

During a demonstration of the manatee protection system, a plump tomato was used to simulate a manatee. When light pressure was applied to the tomato, the system activated without damaging the tomato. More important, the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution has confirmed dozens of cases in which a manatee has been spared from injury or death.
“Although a good design is always rewarding to an engineer, saving an endangered animal really makes this project special,” says Taylor.

More information on polyurethanes and urethanes is available by contacting Kastalon Inc., 4100 W. 124th Place, Alsip, IL 60803 or calling (708) 389-2210. www.kastalon.com

Member Spotlight on Bruce DeMent of Kastalon, Inc.

Chicago Family Business Council: Congratulations on celebrating your company’s 50th anniversary! Can you tell us a little history on Kastalon, Inc.?

Bruce DeMent: Kastalon, Inc. is in the business of designing, engineering and manufacturing polyurethane rubber OE and MRO components for a wide variety of applications and industries. Some of our primary industries are: steel and metals manufacturing, heavy equipment, military, aerospace, materials handling, industrial machinery, food, mining, appliances, building materials and any opportunity requiring high quality polyurethane parts.

The company was founded in 1963 by my father Robert DeMent and 2 of his friends. This was one year after John Glenn orbited the earth and the term “space-age” material was first coined. Like most entrepreneurial starts, my father was a partner in a very small company and was looking for a new opportunity. He “put the word out” that he was looking for something to do and was approached by two friends who were looking for a partner to help them launch a new business. They had heard about a new material called polyurethane that was the next best thing since sliced bread. They were unsure what the material would do, but it was great! Outside of not being able to pronounce the name of the material, and knowing it was “space age material” my dad and his friends began the partnership. My dad would work, they would invest.

During the first year, the business was housed in a space equivalent to a one car garage which was borrowed from one of the partner’s fathers. My dad worked long hours and would bring home parts he made during the day for my brother and I to trim, clean and get ready for shipment in the morning.

After the first year, the business was in the red and the partners had enough. They expected to make at least double their money during this time. My dad knew the company was about to make a profit, but they had enough. In an act of bravado, my dad offered to buy them out for the return they wanted. He thought they would see his confidence and stay in the business. Instead, they accepted his offer, and for the second time in a little over a year my dad had to beg and borrow from the family and anywhere he could to obtain the money. No bank would touch the loan. He was “all in”, on his own and had to vacate the borrowed location. These were very tough times.

Subsequently, we moved, expanded, and moved again to our current 50,000 ft. facility. We grew from a one man shop mixing chemicals in soup and coffee cans that my brother and I collected and washed, to a 75 person state-of-the-art manufacturing facility supplying industries from deep sea to deep space with highly engineered polyurethane elastomeric components.

CFBC: What family members work with you in the business?

BD: At this time we have 4 family members in the business, myself, brother, a cousin and my son Bob who is a member of Aperion forum.

CFBC: How did you hear about the CFBC and what motivated you to join?

BD: I am a charter member of the CFBC. I was contacted in a phone call by Dennis DuBois asking if I would be interested in joining an exclusive organization of family businesses that was being formed and affiliated with UIC. I hesitated and he said there was a kick off dinner at a penthouse atop the 4 Seasons Hotel. He had me then!

The dinner got me started, I heard the spiel about meeting with other family business CEO’s and the very interesting concept of forum. I joined, figuring if this was bogus I would be quickly gone. After the first forum meeting of the Alpha forum I was sold. The people, experiences and opportunity to learn in a way that was not available anywhere else. I have been involved as much as possible ever since.

CFBC: How has the CFBC helped your company succeed?

BD: There isn’t enough room to tell how the CFBC has helped my company succeed! Briefly, the CFBC has provided me with access to resources, both with our strategic partners and membership I would not have otherwise had. The education I have gained from the many excellent speakers, seminars, discussions and interaction with other CEO’s has given me great insight in guiding my company over these many years. This insight has helped me to avoid many pitfalls and appreciate many opportunities that I would have missed without my CFBC experience and support.

CFBC: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your experience with your forum
and the CFBC?

BD: By far the most rewarding experience of the CFBC is the friendship and support of the wonderful like-minded people I have met, many of whom have become close friends. Without the CFBC I would never have been able to meet these people or know them on such a close personal level.

CFBC: Is there one thing you have learned from being a member of CFBC that has impacted your business or your life the most?

BD: There are so many things I have learned that have had great positive impact on me, boiling down the experience to one thing does not do the organization justice. But to answer your question, the one thing that has had the greatest impact is the application of forum protocol and its application of Emotional Intelligence in both my business and personal lives. This has literally been life changing for me. Without the CFBC, I would never have learned of or understood this powerful way of thinking, living.

CFBC: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

BD: One thing I greatly enjoy in my free time is riding one of my motorcycles. I have a 1996 Road King that I just had completely reworked. I love that bike, I am a bit vertically challenged, but now that it has been lowered, it is really sweet. I also have a 2012, Soft Tail Convertible Screaming Eagle. I took that for a break in ride last May to the Smoky Mountains with my forum bother Tony Gfesser. I have made many rides with others from the CFBC and am going to Sturgis this summer.

CFBC: What one book would you recommend to your fellow CFBC members?

BD: I have a whole bibliography of business related books that have greatly benefitted me and my business, but if I had to narrow it down to only one, without a question it would be Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman.

CFBC: What are your plans for the future?

BD: My plans for the future were in a bit of a state of flux. My brother, and equal partner, is retiring late next year. We have been considering our options regarding succession. For a time we were strongly considering selling and retirement. I was ambivalent about retiring and since then we have reached agreement where I will purchase my brother’s interest. I will continue to work at what I love to do for some years to come. (I will hire people for the other parts!)

CFBC: What was your first job?

BD: My first job was at the age of 11, my brother and I cut grass for some neighbors and friends of our family. The most memorable and worst was the lawn of a home with 3 large dogs. Hot August days weren’t pretty! We had these lawns because other kids wouldn’t cut them. The lesson of doing a little more difficult things, and the little greater reward associated with them has carried over into my business life. We still produce many things our competitors cannot or will not manufacture.

CFBC: Can you describe your ideal customer?

BD: Our ideal customer is one who appreciates our customer intimate approach and allows us to use our skill and expertise to solve their problems. We are expert in our field and when we have a customer who allows us to utilize our abilities we can provide our customer with the greatest value. Not only does this provide the greatest benefit to our customer and ourselves, we have more fun!


This entry was posted in Blog, Spotlight and tagged 50th Anniversary, Bruce DeMent, CFBC, Chicago Family Business Council, Entrepreneurs, family business, Kastalon Inc. Posted on February 8th, 2013 by Judy Hogel