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PolyOne Introduces Gravi-Tech™ Polymer-Metal Composites as Lead Alternative

Medical equipment industry application utilizes the high-performance thermoplastic in the manufacture of a radiation-shielded device used in nuclear lung ventilation diagnostics
December 15, 2004
CLEVELAND (December 15, 2004) – PolyOne Corporation (NYSE: POL) today announced the full market introduction of Gravi-Tech™ polymer-metal composites, a high-performance thermoplastic-based alternative to lead and other traditional metals.

Gravi-Tech compounds use a variety of metallic fillers to deliver similar densities to traditional metals, while offering the design flexibility and processing ease of thermoplastics. These materials can be easily used with conventional molding or extruding equipment. Custom formulations of Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites can be developed for a wide range of parameters including:

Density/specific gravity up to 11 gm/cm3
Tensile strength
Impact strength/toughness
Flexural modulus/stiffness
Heat deflection temperature
High flow
In addition, when Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites are substituted for lead in radiation-shielding applications, manufacturers avoid the regulatory, disposal and employee exposure challenges associated with lead. The product line is manufactured in North America but can be purchased from any PolyOne sales office throughout the world.

"PolyOne’s Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites offer a high-performance alternative to traditional metals," said Joseph Chirico, product manager for Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites. "These high-density compounds mimic the look and feel of metal, while providing the design flexibility and processing ease of thermoplastics. Gravi-Tech compounds are ideal for weighting and balancing applications, and can be directly substituted for lead in applications such as ammunition, nuclear medicine transport containers, X-ray tube housings and radiation-shielding material."

Customer success story: Radiation shielding for AMICI, Inc.

PolyOne is already working with several customers to develop applications for Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites. For example, several grades of Gravi-Tech composites can be used for radiation-shielding applications, including providing protection similar to lead-based materials but with 37 percent less weight. Other radiation-shielding grades are available that match the density of lead (11 gm/cm3).

PolyOne is currently working with Spring City, Pennsylvania-based AMICI, Inc., a nuclear medicine-based lung ventilation product manufacturer, on a nuclear medicine lung ventilation diagnostic device called the Swirler® UltraShield®. Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites provided a solution to make a complex, radiation-shielded part using plastic injection molding equipment, when the alternative would have been to cast lead. The material chosen is 37 percent lighter than lead but provides the same shielding against low-level radiation isotopes contained in the units.

AMICI has stringent durability requirements, and its customers need to handle the Swirler without fear of lead exposure. Gravi-Tech was the preferred solution because it not only passed the suitability tests with ease, but also reduced the part weight from 9 pounds to 5 pounds. The Gravi-Tech application enhanced design flexibility because the device could be injection molded into an unusual, unique shape that follows the contours of the product – instead of a larger, more standard size if lead had been used. The Swirler part is painted white, which gives it a cosmetic finish that is preferred by medical professionals and patients.

"Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites were the ideal solution for our radiation-shielding application for several reasons," said Michael Bono, president of AMICI, Inc. "This is a disposable, unusually shaped device where light weight and design flexibility are critical. The injection molding process is also much more efficient than lead-casting for large numbers of parts."

For more information about Gravi-Tech polymer-metal composites, go to www.Gravi-Tech.com, or contact Joseph Chirico at 1-866-POLYONE or email to joseph.chirico@polyone.com. For more information about AMICI’s patented Swirler, go to www.Amici-Inc.com.

About PolyOne

PolyOne Corporation, with 2003 annual revenues of approximately $2 billion, is an international polymer services company with continuing operations in thermoplastic compounds, specialty polymer formulations, color and additive systems, and thermoplastic resin distribution. Headquartered in Avon Lake, Ohio, PolyOne has employees at manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and joint ventures in North America, South America and Asia. Information on the Company's products and services can be found at www.polyone.com.

Editor’s Note: AMICI application photo available upon request.

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