WEB EXCLUSIVE: When Leatherman Tool Group decided to introduce a new folding knife line with improved features, its customers were very clear about what they wanted.

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: When Leatherman Tool Group decided to introduce a new folding knife line with improved features, its customers were very clear about what they wanted. The knives needed to be lightweight and dent resistant; they had to stand up to an array of chemicals from oils to insect repellent; and they must look sharp as well as be sharp. Metal couldn’t meet those requirements. Carbon fiber composite looked promising but was too expensive. Instead, Leatherman met these requirements with an RTP 200 Series nylon 66 with very long glass fibers. This product from RTP Co., Winona, Minn., cost about one-fourth as much as carbon fiber. One version of the new knives has a metal/plastic hybrid handle. The overmolded nylon reportedly bonded well with the metal after a simple surface pretreatment. According to RTP, a key factor in success with long glass fibers is tooling that designed to align the fibers correctly during molding.