Published on : Saturday, September 29, 2018
Rotationally molded polyethylene. Though it may sound daunting, one likely encounters this form of plastic every day. It is used in everything from traffic barriers to shipping palettes. “Rotomolded plastic,” as it is often referred to, has thousands of applications beyond industrial use. It can also be a very efficient material in the production of early childhood furniture.
“Rotational molding produces strong, durable products that have thicker outside corners, thus yielding a much safer product that won’t break,” Norix Product Engineer Brian Moon said. “Sharp edges are not possible like you would see in lightweight injection molded children’s furniture.” Brain added further. Many commonly used items, even those intended for children, carry a certain degree of risk. However, Norix’s rotationally molded early childhood furniture does not. It is non-toxic, durable, non-hazardous and more hygienic than its alternatives.
What is rotational molding?
One must first know what rotationally molded plastic is in order to understand its advantages. Rotational molding is the process of creating one-piece products by using a hollow mold that is filled with powdered plastics, then heated and rotated. Polyethylene is the most popular plastic used, but nylon and polycarbonate are common as well.
Once heated, the plastic material will bond to the inside of the mold. The entire mold is rotated to ensure all surfaces receive a substantial coating. The result is a product that is superior to other plastic processes due to its uniform wall thickness and flexibility in shape. This flexibility makes it possible to incorporate stiffening ribs, molded inserts, or various surface textures into the design, according to the British Plastics Federation.
These surface textures play a valuable role in product sanitation. The one-piece, smooth surface design of Norix’s early childhood furniture is, by nature, bacteria-resistant and easy to clean. There is no need for the anti-microbial surface coatings that can be found on some other intensive use plastics (I.E. baby changing stations). This is a valuable attribute since many healthcare facilities, including all owned by Kaiser Pemanente, have recently chosen to eliminate anti-microbial agents in their facilities.
This comes as a response to the CDC’s statement, “there is no evidence [anti-microbial additives] offer enhanced protection from the spread of bacteria and germs.” At a macroscopic level, smooth surfaces and lack of joining parts also make it far easier to remove any unwanted “artwork” or… biological remnants children leave behind.
Does this label look familiar? Many products intended for children contain this warning to minimize safety risk. But the truth is, even when a child of the appropriate age is supervised during play, the risk of choking is still imminent. The only true way to prevent choking hazards is to eliminate small pieces and anything that can be broken off. Thankfully Norix constant-use children’s furniture comes in one solid, highly durable unit featuring rounded edges and no small components. As an added benefit, Norix early childhood furniture has no protruding flash lines, or seams that have a tendency to cut and
scrape the skin when they are not properly trimmed.
“They just don’t make ‘em like they used to,” The old adage especially applies to children’s products. Undoubtedly, rotomolding is not how they “used to” make anything – it’s better. Norix’s durable kids furniture features a uniform, thick layer of plastic on each surface that is incredibly resistant to sharp objects and blunt force.
Additionally, furniture that is manufactured as one piece is much less likely to break than furniture that is produced using multiple parts connected with mechanical fasteners. After all, what good is a product that needs continuous replacement? Norix Children’s Furniture is designed to be used frequently for a very long time.
Finally, let us discuss toxicity. Not all children’s products are created equal, and some are safer than others. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008 raised quality standards for many consumer goods, namely children’s products. But even those produced after 2008 that are compliant with all federal regulations can present some degree of risk.