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End-Use Case Study

  • Glow-in-the-Dark Masterbatch Helps EMTs Save Lives

Trauma RipperA frustrating problem for field medics in both civilian and military arenas is the frequent need to get through multiple layers of heavy clothing. Directly accessing injuries can take valuable minutes — time that often means the difference between life and death.

Fortunately, an inventor had a great idea: the Rip Shears™ Ripper, which was developed in partnership with ICON Injection Molding. Attaching to a standard trauma shears, it allows medical personnel to slice through clothing and equipment to access wounds, nearly instantly, just snip and “rip.”

Medics, starting with U.S. Navy Seals, were delighted with the Rip Shear’s performance, but its inventor heard some feedback from the field that they were eager to act upon. The life-saving product could be even more effective, some medics said, if it glowed in the dark to allow even faster usage at night or in low light conditions. This sent the inventor back to ICON to discuss the possibilities.

“This was a very specific request; we hadn’t done a glow-in-the-dark (GITD) product before,” explained Steve Kleitsch, ICON’s co-owner. “But, we were aware of RTP Company and their expertise with visual effects, so we brought them in for assistance.”

Initially, the Rip Shears successfully used a RTP 200 Series glass fiber reinforced nylon 6/6 compound. For the reincarnation, RTP Company supplied a phosphorescent glow-in-the-dark color masterbatch that combined with the reinforced nylon compound during molding. Advanced GITD technology imbues the material with an “afterglow” effect that lasts for up to 8 hours, which is about 10 times longer than traditional GITD technologies.

The reinforced nylon compound provided the Rip Shears with the stiffness needed to allow the blade to stay on track and flow through fabric cleanly. If the plastic were to flex, even slightly, bunching of the fabric could slow down the ripping process.

According to Kleitsch, the resulting GITD “Firefly” version of the Rip Shears was an immediate hit with EMTs, just as RTP Company’s performance was a big hit with ICON.

“RTP Company delivers a consistent, high quality product. I like their great access to technical support, and they are very effective at educating us on possibilities and opportunities with plastics,” he said. “Most importantly, RTP Company got the GITD effect and product performance right on the first try, right out of the gate — the inventor loved it and we began production immediately.”

Now that ICON has experience with GITD effects, Kleitsch finds that he is talking it up with potential customers.

“Having this glow-in-the-dark effect at our disposal is a great addition to our overall offering, another capability we like to present when we talk to customers who may not be aware of the possibilities with this technology,” he said.

ICON Injection Molding located in Phoenix, AZ, was founded by three brothers who are dedicated to old-world craftsmanship and achieving world-class success. For more information visit their website at For details on the Rip Shears Ripper go to