Wood-plastic composite used for new spirit level

David Vink, European Plastics News

Germany-based Bayerische Maßindustrie (BMI) is using profiles made by NaturinForm, a wood-plastic composite (WPC) profile producer also based in Germany, for its Polywood spirit level – the first housed in WPC.

BMI said it looked for a material that provide the consistent and smooth surface necessary for the strict measurements for spirit levels – 0.5mm/m for flat positions and 0.75mm/m for rotated positions.

According to NaturinForm design and development manager Bernd Motschenbacher, the company achieved the smooth surface by using a finer wood fibre and a symmetrical profile contour, as well as an enhanced extrusion calibration process. And the cooling of the extruded WPC profile ensures that it does not warp in storage, says Motschenbacher.

The Polywood spirit level is made from an insulating, non-conductive WPC material so can withstand exposure to voltages of up to 1,000 volts. It is suitable for use in Zone 1/21 and Zone 2/22 explosion-protection environments, such as in coal mines.

BMI says its Polywood spirit level is warm to touch and resistant to soiling. The company produces the cutouts for the spirit bubbles and says there is unrestricted visibility of the horizontal spirit bubble, as there is no separate edge around the recess, as there is in conventional spirit levels.

The Polywood spirit levels are available in lengths of 40cm, 60cm and 80cm. They join a range of spirit levels made by BMI that also include models housed in ABS for smaller mini and pocket models and glass fibre reinforced ABS for a torpedo-shaped spirit level, as well as standard aluminium versions up to 100cm.

NaturinForm was founded by its managing partner Horst Walther, who invested €1m in the former Poly-Pro-Tec (PPT) company’s WPC production facilities and product diversification in 2009, bringing PPT out of insolvency.

Aside from spirit levels, BMI products also include ABS, glass fibre reinforced ABS or PA, PVC, metal and wooden extending rulers, as well as retracting tape measures enclosed in ABS and two-component ABS/elastomer soft-touch housings.