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New Snoclaws Advanced Traction System Uses Super-Tough BASF Polyurethanes

Easy-to-install alternative to chains and snow tires works in snow, sand and mud

WYANDOTTE, Mich., March 13 -- The good news: Winter is almost over. The bad news: Winter will be back. And if the next one is anything like the last one, with heavy snow in large parts of the U.S. and Canada, many drivers will find themselves wishing -- again -- for something other than chains and snow tires to help them get through.

Thanks to an innovative product called SnoClaws(TM), their wishes can come true. And because SnoClaws also offer superior traction in mud and sand, many drivers won't have to wait for snow to use them.

SnoClaws are a simple, yet surprisingly advanced, solution to the old problem of driving in snow. Made exclusively from BASF high-performance polyurethanes, SnoClaws are described by the manufacturer, Flex-Trax(TM), as an "Advanced Traction System"(TM) that employs a unique, patented design to make driving in snow easier and less stressful. Unlike tire chains, SnoClaws can be installed in minutes on a car's wheels -- even if the vehicle is already stuck -- without the need to move the vehicle or remove the tires.

According to Jim Lausch, Business Director, BASF Thermoplastic Urethanes, SnoClaws represents an entirely new synthesis of inventive engineering and rugged material, which differentiates SnoClaws from conventional solutions such as chains and snow tires.

"This is one of those ingenious designs whose apparent simplicity is actually the result of very extensive development and testing. The material is a crucial element, of course, because the device has to be extremely strong and durable, and BASF urethanes more than meet the challenge," Lausch said.

Lausch explained that among the material characteristics designers were looking for were durability, ease of installation and low weight. Once the specifications for SnoClaws were established, BASF worked closely with Flex-Trax engineers to develop and refine a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) that would satisfy the incredibly high performance requirements for this product.

"Because this was a brand-new concept, and a very demanding one, we wanted to work with a materials supplier that brought the highest levels of expertise and experience to the table," said Tony Bright, inventor and CEO of Flex-Trax. "BASF is the world's number one supplier of TPUs, and their knowledge and resources, not to mention their excellent product, proved invaluable to the project."

SnoClaws are available in sizes to fit vehicles from small passenger cars to large trucks. Distributors will benefit from the fact that, thanks to the product's adjustable design, only three sizes are needed to serve almost the entire retail market, compared to more than 100 sizes and styles of snow chains. SnoClaws are self-cleaning -- which helps to prevent clogging and loss of traction -- and, unlike chains, SnoClaws are road- and vehicle- friendly, so they will not damage roadways or vehicles.

East Coast Plastics, an injection molding company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been selected by Flex-Trax to manufacture the molded parts. Production of SnoClaws began in February, and they are expected to be in retail stores by early April of 2003.

More information about SnoClaws is available on the Flex-Trax website at or by calling Flex-Trax at 886-487-2924.

BASF: Helping Make Products Better(TM)

BASF is the world's leading chemical company, offering its customers a range of high-performance products, including chemicals, plastics, coatings systems, dispersions, agricultural products and fine chemicals as well as crude oil and natural gas. BASF is an industry leader in sustainable development, including environmental protection, safety and health, and social responsibility. BASF had 2001 sales of $29 billion and employs more than 90,000 people worldwide. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in New York (BF), Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA), Paris (BA) and Zurich (BAS). BASF Corporation is the North American affiliate of BASF AG, Ludwigshafen, Germany. In North America, 2001 sales were $6.9 billion and the company employs approximately 14,000 people. For more information or to subscribe to receive news releases by e-mail, visit