Only a handful of acrylic production sites across the world utilize a MCC-developed continuous cast process, a highly specialized and sensitive method for making acrylic sheet. Yet, for over 40 years, Lucite International Inc’s (LI) Fite Road plant has excelled by utilizing this very process. Here, Cast Sheet Plant Leader, Steve Jones, takes us through a brief overview of Fite Road’s operation.

A superior acrylic sheet product

Cast sheet is a higher quality product compared to typical extruded acrylic sheet. The molecular weight of poly methyl methacrylate is much higher, which results in a more chemical-resistant sheet less likely to crack due to solvent attack. Its other notable benefits include: excellent flatness, uniform thickness, exceptionally smooth and defect-free surface finish, easy processability, uniform directional expansion and contraction and better clarity and transparency than glass – a combination demonstrably superior to extruded sheet. The Fite Road plant makes both LuciteLux® cast acrylic linear sheet and Lucite®Spa and Lucite®Bath cross-linked sheet.

Fite Road employees stand in front of a recently manufactured roll of Tuscan Sun Lucite® SPA cast acrylic for onward shipment to a customer.

LuciteLux® acrylic – a star performer

Branded LuciteLux® acrylic sheet is made in 0.060-0.354” thicknesses, with plans to add a 0.472” sheet in mid-2017. Steve explained: “The 0.060” thickness is a recent addition due to a partnership we’ve formed with a leading printing company, which sees the product as an ideal substrate onto which it can print imagery. We’ve also found new business working with framing companies using this product. In addition, the 0.354” offer was added to our range in the last few years, and has succeeded despite manufacturing challenges that meant it had not been produced in over 20 years.” For those who do not already know, LuciteLux® acrylic sheet is loved by the architecture and design community who specify it into both interior and exterior schemes; it’s also used to create individual products of all kinds. It comes in a whole range of standard and special colors and effects that can be engineered to match almost any aesthetic or performance specification and works especially well with light to create some wonderfully effective installations, from decorative interior lighting to functional, way-finding signage and more in between.

Lucite®Spa and Lucite®Bath for bathing spaces

Steve continued: “Our Lucite®-branded product is a cross linked, polymerized sheet with higher strength and excellent thermoformability, which offers optimum design flexibility for the bath, spa and swim spa industries. It is made in 0.080”-0.187” thicknesses in widths up to 108.25”. Standard flat lengths are up to 240”, and in reel lengths to 1,000’. Lucite®Spa and Lucite®Bath are produced in a variety of plain colors and special effects, such as gemstone, granite and marble. The specialist manufacturing capabilities at Fite Road ensure a unique depth and textured appearance when the sheet is thermoformed into a bath or spa product.

Lucite® SPA acrylic sheet in Tuscan Sun is one of the most popular colors manufactured at Fite Road.

Delivering our promises to serve customers

The Fite Road-based sheet team has worked tirelessly over the past several years to improve and sustain the manufacture of ‘defect-free’ products, which contributes to LI being our customers’ supplier of choice for cast sheet.

Steve concluded: “The entire manufacturing team has responded with a truly unified effort to improve their ownership for maintaining the highest safety standards. They have also clearly accepted accountability for manufacturing performance, which includes providing quality products that satisfy the needs and expectations of our customers every day.”