Night Riders

Skateboarders Given Stylish Ride By Glow-in-the-Dark Compound

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Bell Innovative Products of Sylmar, CA would like to shed some light on the world of extreme sports, or at least some extreme light on the sport of skateboarding. Bell’s new line of FU Boards uses RTP Company’s glow-in-the-dark (GITD) technology to create an extreme look never seen before on this style of transportation device.

Picture a skateboard equipped with a built-in ground effects lighting kit! The light in this case is courtesy of GITD material ingeniously used on the underside of the board.

This effect is accomplished by insert molding an extruded sheet of RTP Company GITD material to the bottom of the polypropylene board. At night, the street lights up as the rider cruises above the eerie glow. Flips and stunts alternate the glowing and dark sides, creating a strobe light effect. In a sport where "stylin’" is everything, the new boards definitely stand out.

High performance boards are often manufactured from seven-layer maple laminate. For brute strength and durability, maple is an outstanding choice of materials. While plastic boards exist, they typically lack necessary strength and rigidity, limiting them to the market’s lower end. In an effort to change this mindset Bell Innovative began using an RTP 100 Series glass-filled polypropylene compound for its skateboards.

The material exhibits a tensile strength of 11,000 psi (76 MPa) and a flexural modulus of 0.65 psi x 106 (4479 MPa), yielding desirable structural properties for a skateboard. "Performance and strength," says Mark Bell, President of Bell Innovative, "are our overriding concerns and this material is the strongest we’ve seen. Previous trials with other resins and different glass and mineral combinations just proved inadequate for skateboards."

Bell Innovative did not develop plastic boards just to prove a concept. With tool design and manufacturing, injection molding, graphic arts and printing capabilities, they envisioned a completely integrated manufacturing process. "Our integration is essential to a successful product. Our graphics, enhanced by the GITD technology from RTP Company, really set us apart from other boardmakers," says Bell.

RTP Company incorporates high intensity, long-glow duration pigments into its Type 1 line of GITD compounds. The materials take an initial charge quickly and average both 10 times the brightness and 10 times the glow duration of typical GITD materials. Pigments used are non-toxic and non-migratory, making them safe for ordinary landfill disposal. In contrast with older technology, the pigments are light stable, meaning their glow properties will not fade over time.

RTP Company sets a good example for Bell’s own company, as a supplier that is able to offer many services to its customers. "RTP Company worked out our structural requirements, then helped us to explore the GITD materials that help make us unique," Bell said. "Knowledge, materials, and assistance. Like us, they provide the whole package at once."

Bell Innovative Products is located in Sylmar, CA and manufactures sporting goods and health-minded bath fixtures. For more information visit their website at www.bellinnovative.com.

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