S&E Specialty Polymers Develops Compound for New Swim Dive Fin for Amputees
August 28, 2015
S&E Specialty Polymers LLC, a producer of specialty plastic compounds, has recently partnered with Amp Fins, LLC of Maine, a company that has developed a new patent-pending swim dive fin designed specifically for amputees called Amp Fin™.
The initial mold concept for a swim dive fin fin would allow an amputee to swim as well or better than someone with their natural limb. The founders of Amp Fins, LLC had 7 years of design changes before they were happy with the performance of their product. Amp Fins, LLC filed for a patent in 2013 and have focused on finding the right molder and compounder for their product ever since. They are now building numerous molds to fit a wide range of users, and commercial launch is planned for Q4 2015.
One of the main challenges with developing the initial Amp Fin™ was the material. It needed to have the proper durometer to be soft enough to prevent chafing but firm enough to both make a strong push in the water and stand on itself without deforming. After selecting and consulting with their molder, it was recommended that Amp Fins LLC approach S&E Specialty Polymers to develop the compound. Lori Lord, President of Amp Fins LLC, visited S&E, took a tour of their facility and came away impressed. S&E not only proved their ability to create the correct compound in terms of color and durometer, they genuinely supported Amp Fins™ as a cause and threw their entire company’s support behind it.
“I really believe that we have assembled the best team possible,” says Lori Lord. “We have a group of companies that are not only at the forefront of their respective industries, but are also deeply committed to this product for conscientious and moral reasons. When a group of highly competent people get together who are committed to a meaningful cause, that’s a real recipe for success.”
“As a company, S&E Specialty Polymers has always prided itself in its commitment to its employees and to their community,” says Duane Shooltz, President of S&E. “However, Amp Fins, LLC is not just a worthy cause to support. We believe it’s also a phenomenal product. When you combine a good cause with a good product, it’s really a win-win for everybody.”
After making a few modifications during the molding trials, S&E developed the perfect compound for Amp Fins, LLC. The TPR/SEBS based material, TufPrene™ 4005C-80A, is just the right durometer, with enough memory and rigidity to keep its shape but enough softness to be comfortable. In addition, the compound is neutrally buoyant, is heat resistant, and is available in numerous colors. The design allows for a 100% power stroke in both directions, which allows the amputee to more efficiently and effectively swim than someone with both limbs intact. With the compound, along with the KEASY Cone and sleeve that fits the Amp Fin™ to the residual limb, the user can forget that the fin is not a part of you.
“The performance is off the charts,” says Lori. “Thanks to both the efficiency of design and the material S&E developed, the fin is actually an improvement on the rocket fins used by the Navy SEALS.”
A Special Connection with Veterans
Each fin is custom designed for each individual. Originally designed for veterans and victims of trauma, it is also just as functional for people with other reasons for their amputation. Amp Fins, LLC is partnered with Warriors in the Workplace and is staffed entirely by veterans. Not only does it allow the individual to use their residual limb as the dominant limb, which was incredibly difficult before, it allows them to rediscover the very basic joy of swimming, a feeling of freedom that is something invaluable to many. Further, while prosthetics can be incredibly expensive, as a product that was developed by and for veterans, Amp Fins, LLC is committed to price control and the widest availability possible. Additional supporters of the project include Maine Veteran Affairs, Warrior Legacy, Veterans Adaptive Sports Training (VAST) and Paul LePage, Governor of Maine.
About Amp Fins, LLC
Amp Fins, LLC is a company formed to solely develop a custom designed swim dive fin for single and double amputees. The founders of Amp Fins, LLC, Randy Lord and his wife Lori, developed the initial design in their own home. Randy had been an amputee for 22 years and truly missed one of his passions, which was swimming at the beach. Inspired and assisted by his wife, he designed the initial mold concept for a swim dive fin that would allow an individual to swim as well or better than someone with their natural limb. After 7 years of trials and designs, in 2013 they filed for a patent and they have taken off from there. For further information please visit www.ampfins.com.
About S&E Specialty Polymers
S&E Specialty Polymers is a premier specialty plastic compounder serving the automotive, wire and cable, battery/stored energy, consumer and footwear markets. The company’s products are also used extensively in general purpose molding and extrusion applications. S&E produces PVC, TPE, TPO & TPR compounds including flame retardant polyolefin, flame retardant/low smoke PVC Plenum and low smoke zero halogen compounds. The company is also a leading producer of flame retardant concentrates and compounds requiring exact color matching.
In addition, S&E enjoys ISO 9001:2008 accreditation. The company has also undergone a nuclear audit for the compounding of wire & cable materials used in the replacement and/or installation of new cable in nuclear facilities. The company has a state-of-the-art laboratory equipped with the best available machinery for providing the most comprehensive testing results to its customers.
For more information please visit our website at http://www.sespoly.com.