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 TROY, Mich., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Rockwell International Corporation's (NYSE: ROK) automotive business and Lenox Resources Limited of Port Huron, Mich., have signed a joint development agreement for the sharing of technology and development of plastic components for the automotive market
 Under this agreement, Lenox initially will sell materials to Rockwell that will be used to develop new plastic materials. The primary product Rockwell will purchase is lignin, a natural product derived from wood which provides enhanced end-product properties when combined with other plastic materials.
 "This agreement with Lenox provides Rockwell a new source of raw material technology which looks very promising and helps us control our product costs," said Robert A. Calder, executive vice president, Rockwell Body & Chassis Systems, and acting general manager of Plastic Products, the Rockwell unit that will benefit most from this agreement.
 Lignin is a non-toxic, natural glue material that is produced from wood. The Lenox technology converts lignin into a very high quality resin that is proving to have broad application in the manufacture of automotive components, as well as a wide range of applications using urethanes, epoxies, and phenolics.
 Some of the main benefits of lignin for the automotive and other industries include:
 -- cost advantages as compared with the current chemical materials;
 -- continued utilization of current production equipment;
 -- helps meet OSHA and EPA environmental requirements and, therefore, requires no additional cost for removal of formaldehyde;
 -- a safer environment because it does not emit free formaldehyde;
 -- a safer environment because there are no free phenols, allowing for its acceptance at landfills and providing overall easier disposal.
 Lenox also has a major advantage over other suppliers of lignin because of its patented process for producing high quality lignin from the waste black liquor that is a by-product of the paper production process. This technology provides a higher quality of lignin which is critical to its use in the automotive plastics industry.
 According to Lenox President Kenneth Kurple, the ability to produce high quality lignin at an economical price provides the possibility that this material could replace more expensive resins that use petrochemicals, such as epoxy, phenolic and urethane resins. Lenox is currently producing lignin-based foundry resins to replace the phenolic binding resin for foundry sand cores and sand molds.
 "Products based on Lenox technology are designed to help meet strict new national and international environmental regulations," Kurple emphasized. "These products represent a new generation of natural, environmental-friendly polymers that can be used to directly replace petroleum-based products."
 Under the terms of the agreement, Lenox will provide chemical expertise and other non-lignin resins to Rockwell for the creation of new materials for use in Rockwell products for plastic parts.
 Lenox Resources Limited, Port Huron, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lenox Polmers, Limited, a Canadian public company (LENP).
 Rockwell's automotive business is a leading global supplier of components and systems for passenger cars, light trucks, medium-and- heavy-duty trucks, and off-highway equipment.
 Rockwell International Corporation, headquartered in Seal Beach, Calif., is a multi-industry company, applying advanced technology to a wide range of products in its aerospace, electronics, automotive, and graphics business.
 Wood is comprised of three major materials; lignin, cellulose and hemi-cellulose. Of these three, only cellulose is currently used to any great degree in the manufacturing of products, while lignin and hemi- cellulose are burned off for heat value.
 An estimated 16 million tons of lignin are burned annually in the United States because existing technology cannot economically produce lignin to the high level of quality required for environmentally friendly commercial use in automotive polymer systems and other industrial marketplaces.
 Lenox Resources Limited has a patented technology that makes an epoxy resin from lignin through the selective addition of epoxide groups to the lignin molecule without the use of epichlorohydrin. The resulting material is extremely reactive to a wide variety of chemicals.
 Lignin, a natural material, has a major advantage being that it is relatively non-toxic. Since Lenox patented technology uses no epichlorohydrin to produce epoxy resins, these lignin-based epoxy resins contain no residual epichlorohydrin. This provides for a safer environment.
 Because lignin is produced from a by-product of the pulp and paper industry, the source for the material is essentially renewed annually via the reforestation policies of the major paper companies.
 The Lenox high quality form of lignin can easily be substituted as part of a company's resin formula, thus minimizing the amount of time required for development and testing of the product. For example, the lignin molecule is very similar to a phenolic resin making substitution easy in these resin markets. Additionally, the cost of phenol has fluctuated dramatically in recent years leading to greater incentives for usage of lignin by producers of phenolic resins.
 -0- 11/8/93
 /CONTACT: Richard H. Pacini of Rockwell,313-435-1752, or Kenneth R. Kurple of Lenox Resouces Limited, 313-985-6464/

CO: Rockwell International Corporation; Lenox Resouces Limited ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

KE-TO -- DE005 -- 1662 11/08/93 10:09 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 8, 1993

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