There are approximately 90,000 different grades of plastic available to plastic manufacturers in the USA. Categories include adhesives, film, rapid prototyping, recycled, thermoplastic and thermoset. This ever-expanding list is due to the fact that plastic is one of the most versatile materials on the planet. Small variations in the content of the material produce different physical properties that lend itself to new applications.
This versatility has aided plastic manufacturers in the USA to grow at a faster rate than manufacturers as a whole. Plastics manufacturing employment grew 0.3 percent per year from 1980 to 2015. This is compared with manufacturing as a whole, which saw employment shrink 1.2 percent per year during those same years. This shows that sadly manufacturing’s share of the U.S. economy is shrinking.
Plastic products (NAICS 3261), which accounted for most of the plastic processing industry, was the eighth largest U.S. manufacturing industry in terms of shipments in 2014. Again, this growth and size can be attributed to the versatility of the material. Here are some examples of recent application converted to plastics:
- Textile and rubber company Joubert Productions, Ambert, is for the first time putting snow chains on the market whose chain links are made entirely from plastic.
- Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials, is taking its EcoPaXX® polyamide material into an important new market – drinking water contact applications. Use of this material offers a high-performance, lead-free option for applications such as faucet mixing valves.
- Today plastic automotive bumpers can easily be painted in the color of the car body. This is done using an electric charge or flame to temporarily change the surface properties of the material.
- Not exactly a direct end use for plastic manufacturers in the USA, but recycled bottles have been used in Mexico to build an entire house!
In conclusion, if you have a current product that you would like to lower costs for, think of plastics as an alternative. There are over 90,000 chances that there is a material right for your application. You just might be surprised how well plastic may work for yours.
About Rex Plastics
US molding company Rex Plastics provides high-quality, low- to mid-volume production, where skilled technicians employ modern equipment and expertise in a wide range of specialty materials. With comprehensive mold building with a lifetime guarantee, production, finishing, assembly and packaging services, Rex Plastics has the capability to deliver a complete finished product to its customers. Expert guidance and personal attention at every step of the process ensure high customer satisfaction. For more information or if you’d like a free quote please contact us at www.rexplastics.com