PT Blog

From the NPE2018 show floor, Plastics Technology’s Lilli Manolis Sherman breaks down what material and additive suppliers brought to Orlando. Resin manufacturers and distributors came to NPE2018 in numbers not seen in some time, and they didn’t arrive empty handed.  

In the video, Lilli discusses how advanced polypropylenes are increasingly targeting engineering materials, including nylon, while that material continues to evolve to serve new markets, including autonomous driving and miniaturized electronics. Bioplastic mainstay PLA is looking to shift from disposable to durable applications, while plastics bulwark, polyethylene, showed it still has a few tricks up its sleeve, utilizing metallocene technology and allowing for recycling friendly all-polyethylene packages.

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A while back I wrote about a new app designed to help injection molders set up their processing parameters. Now, the app is available to download for free on Apple and Android devices.

Mobile Specs was launched in June 2017 by Mike Kmetz. Mike was the president and founder of IDES and developed an online, searchable database, called the Prospector, that contains property information on tens of thousands of materials from suppliers all over the world, which he sold to Underwriters Laboratories in 2012. While at IDES, Mike also developed a book-length printed “pocket guide” to processing injection molding resins.

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This week kicked off with plastic straws news: coffee giant Starbucks will eliminate single-use plastic straws from its more than 28,000 company-operated and licensed stores. The company anticipates this will eliminate more than one billion plastic straws per year from Starbucks stores.

Starbucks has designed, developed and manufactured a strawless lid, which will become the standard for all iced coffee, tea and espresso beverages. The lid is currently available in more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada for select beverages. The lid is also being piloted for beverages in additional markets including China, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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The pricing trajectory of the five, key, volume thermoplastics through the month of June and the 4th of July festivities had some extra fireworks. In the case of PE, PS, and PVC, we saw lower feedstock prices and generally more balanced supply and demand keep prices flat. Contrasting that was upward pressure from feedstock costs and stronger domestic and global demand, which pushed PP and PET prices higher. And, looming over all of this, was the “trade war” issue. This according to purchasing consultants Resin Technology Inc. (RTi), PetroChemWire (PCW), and Michael Greenberg, CEO of The Plastics Exchange. Here’s a glimpse for each.

PE: Prices remained flat, though it was widely expected that suppliers would push through a 3¢/lb price hike, initiated by ExxonMobil Chemical, which led the move. That supplier announced an additional 5¢/lb for July 1, on certain ethylene-octene and EVA copolymers, as first reported by PCW. But, by July 1, Nova Chemical, CP Chem and Formosa had pulled back, according to Mike Burns, RTi’s v.p. of PE markets. PCW and The Plastics Exchange’s Greenberg reported the same and noted that flat contract prices were in line with spot-market prices.

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Injection molding, blow molding, extrusion, recycling equipment, 3D printing, tooling, auxiliary equipment and more are discussed in the video featuring PT editors: Jim Callari, Matt Naitove, Tony Deligio and Heather Caliendo.

PT’s editors share the overarching trends present in their respective beats, and what those trends mean for various sectors of the plastics industry. Check out this video, and more from the Plastics Technology team, at PT’s YouTube Channel. Up next, Editorial Director Jim Callari chats with Senior Editor Lilli Manolis Sherman about the big themes amongst the materials and additive exhibitors at NPE2018.

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