PT Blog

That final skill can be the most difficult to master, owing to time constraints of tracking sectors outside your own and the challenge of perceiving how the advances, even in a lab setting, of other industries might come home to roost in your market.   

At Plastics Technology—with our magazine, website, newsletters, webinars and conferences—we aim to be your eyes and ears on that final horizon, sharing voices from places that might reside outside the normal areas you track for business answers.

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Considering the various factors that contribute to upward pricing of each resin, it is highly unusual to see all commodity resin prices move up at the same time, and in relatively hefty proportions.

But just as prices have risen for commodity materials like PE, PP, PS, PVC and PET, prices of engineering resins like ABS, PC, and nylon (6 and 66), have been following suit. Some suppliers are aiming for second quarter increases, though full implementation may not pan out if the drivers behind the increases reverse their trajectory.

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Private businesses are hearing constant discussion about the impact of the new political environment on business, with some trepidation about industry’s immediate future, including impact on M&A.

To get a feel for what’s really happening for today’s plastics companies, we wanted to turn to someone who routinely buys and sells plastics companies. We contacted Deborah Douglas, the managing principal of Douglas Group, St. Louis, one of the longstanding M&A advisors in the plastics arena, to ask questions about market conditions for 2017. (We also spoke with Ms. Douglas about plastics M&A in 2015, including being a better acquirer).

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Within the last few years, as additive manufacturing has burgeoned with new and optimized 3D printing equipment, materials development has been surging along as well.

In fact, experts in the technology have long professed that in many respects materials hold the key to the advancement of additive manufacturing—particularly as the trend toward short-run manufacturing grows. Two companies have recently introduced new materials.

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Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products (Quadrant EPP), Reading, Penn., is developing an entire new family of Stable Machining Grade (SMG) materials that will improve the performance and productivity of parts made from polyolefin base materials.

The company has utilized its R&D capabilities to create the new materials—which will be launched over a two year period, starting this month (see below). Each will hit the market with inventory already-in-place, along with a suite of collateral and training materials. According to product marketing manager Doug Mahler, each of these materials reportedly stretches the boundaries that may have existed for machinable shapes manufactured from PP and PE.

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