KYDEX® Thermoplastics: Celebrating 30 Years of Collaboration and Innovation

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Today marks the 30th Anniversary of SEKISUI SPI's ownership of KYDEX® Thermoplastics, and we're so thankful to have a business rooted in this amazing innovation. 

"We could not have reached this milestone without our partners," SEKISUI SPI wrote on their website. "You are essential to our success, and we look forward to many more years of collaboration as we continue to push the limits of what’s possible, together."

While products made from KYDEX® Thermoplastics can be found just about everywhere nowadays - from hospital bed bases and medical devices, to store displays and airplane components - we think it's especially amazing to see just how much this remarkable material has impact the firearms industry. It's pushed other materials - such as nylon and leather - out of the way, and proven to provide a safer, more secure method for handgun carry. And we think that's something worth celebrating!

We're proud to provide this durable, thermoformed material as the basis of our business, building handcrafted holsters, magazine carriers and knife sheaths that gun owners across the nation depend on daily. 

Below, you'll find more information about SEKISUI SPI, and their ownership of KYDEX® Thermoplastics (all information below has been provided by the SEKISUI SPI website).

Click here to view an interactive timeline of KYDEX® Thermoplastics throughout the years.

Origins

The KYDEX® Thermoplastics story actually began more than 30 years ago, in 1965, when KYDEX® 100 was invented near Philadelphia at the Rohm & Haas Co. At its outset, this high-impact, fire-rated acrylic-modified PVC thermoplastic sheet was proven ideal for hard-to-form parts for a wide-range of applications including components in aircraft and mass transit interiors. It quickly gained a reputation as an extremely durable, chemical resistant, and fire retardant polymer innovation.

In 1987, the KYDEX® Thermoplastic production assets and the brand name were purchased by a small team of ex-Rohm & Haas employees, who started the Kleerdex Company in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. In 1990, the company was acquired by SEKISUI Chemical.

The team who purchased KYDEX® Thermoplastics recognized the profound potential in the product. Their entrepreneurial spirit and unfailing resolve to expand the product line to deliver more than our customers could imagine drove its early success and continues to influence today’s product lines.

Roots in transportation

After the production assets were installed in Bloomsburg, the team worked diligently to quickly expand the portfolio beyond the workhorse KYDEX®100, which was already widely used by domestic airlines for aviation interior components. In 1990, they invented KYDEX® 6200 for mass transit interior components to meet newly-established low smoke regulations set forth by the Federal Transit Administration.

Soon after, the aviation portfolio grew with KYDEX® 657 and KYDEX® 6565 to meet and exceed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) more stringent regulations for heat release and smoke density.

Innovation through process

Excellence in manufacturing, customer service, and design are just a few foundations that have made KYDEX®Thermoplastics a success. Through its early adoption of Kaizen methodology and continuous improvement, the company has always provided best-in-industry lead times and low minimum order quantities. In 1993, KYDEX, LLC was one of th

e first plastic manufacturers in North America to achieve ISO 9001 certification.

Innovation through design

Since its early days, KYDEX® Thermoplastics were known for having refined, integral color. The original nine-color palette quickly grew to 33 standard colors, and now includes over 4,000 library colors with virtually unlimited color matching capabilities. Over the decades, design capabilities have grown with the addition of decorative lamination and light-reflective pigments. With the recent addition of pattern-in-product with Infused Imaging™, design options are more far-reaching than ever before.

The sky's the limit with collaboration

Collaboration with our partners and inspiration from other industries have engendered development of new technologies, products, and applications. Today, KYDEX®Thermoplastics are virtually everywhere, from the planes in our skies to devices in your doctor’s office.

At the SEKISUI SPI designLab™, customers work with design and R&D teams on color and finish to begin, refine, or extend a design. Making the world safer is the focus in our FSTLab™, where we collaborate with suppliers, engineers, and end users on developing fire-resistant materials.

The first 30 years of KYDEX® Thermoplastics have been an inspiring journey. We’ve been most fortunate in our relationships and resources and are grateful to our customers, employees, and ownership. The future certainly looks bright for building on that legacy together for the decades to come.

Did you know?

Look around! Here are some places you can find KYDEX®Thermoplastics:

  • Theme park flight simulator rides
    • Checkout lanes at Best Buy® and Target®
    • Newborn piglet warming blankets
    • MRI and CT scanners
    • Dental chairs
    • Department store displays
    • Aircraft seatback trays
    • DJ booths
    • Funky light fixtures
    • Bus bumpers
  • How has Kydex® impacted your life? Share your stories with SEKISUI SPI at KYDEX30@sekisui-spi.com.

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