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Ross producing 1.3M Rubbermaid nanotech plungers

By - Last modified: June 21, 2012 at 11:55 AM

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It's no secret that successful commercialization of a product can take years, but that process is worth it when a company like Rubbermaid adopts your nanotechnology for its latest plunger.

That's the case with Lancaster County-based Ross Technology Corp.'s first nanotech product, NeverWet. The hydrophopic — or super water repellent — coating that makes liquids and semi-solids bounce and slide off objects is being used for Rubbermaid's latest line of plungers called Clean & Dry.

Atlanta-based Rubbermaid has an agreement with Ross Technology to use the nanotech coating, said Erin Gentry, a Rubbermaid spokeswoman. She did not elaborate on the agreement.

Ross Technology is not only lending NeverWet to Rubbermaid, but it's also producing the plungers at its Upper Leacock Township facility, which will mean more jobs there, said Tess Cunningham, a spokeswoman for Ross Technology.

"(Rubbermaid) were as anxious as we were to create jobs in the U.S.," she said.

By year's end, Rubbermaid is anticipating the sale of 1.3 million plungers with the NeverWet coating, Cunningham said. Ross Technology already has added employees to meet production goals, but Cunningham didn't have specific numbers. The company employed about 140 people full time before the additions.

With Rubbermaid's full line of consumer, medical and commercial products, there are opportunities for it and Ross to work together in the future, but for now the companies have an agreement only on the plunger, Cunningham said.

The plungers are on sale at Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Meijer and Menards stores, according to Rubbermaid's website. Other stores will be added soon, Cunningham said.

Ross Technology started developing NeverWet in 2008 with the intention of using it as a corrosion-prevention coating for steel products, which the company has manufactured for decades.

However, Ross executives said in 2010 they quickly realized NeverWet had a diverse number of applications. The company soon demonstrated the everyday practical uses of NeverWet by applying the coating to a plunger.

Rubbermaid's consumer products division is a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid Inc. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol NWL.

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jimr@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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