The Ten Biggest Plastics Stories in 2014

  1. The resurgence of plastics processing in the United States, as witnessed by strong growth in equipment sales relative to the rest of the world. U.S. molders are investing in high-performance and repeatability.
  2. The collapse in oil prices and the rise of shale oil change the underlying economic fundamentals of the American plastics business. U.S. processors will develop a strong cost advantage for polyolefins. Lower oil prices put more money in consumers’ pockets.
  3. Proposed plastics divestitures at Bayer and Evonik.
  4. Focus on marine plastics waste. Launch of the World Plastics Council.
  5. The rapid growth of carbon composites in molding applications, coupled with BMW’s construction of the world’s largest  carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, Washington. KraussMaffei develops new molding technology for BMW’s i3. Engel is also developing high pressure resin transfer molding for automotive carbon composites.
  6. The development of advanced plastics for 3-D printing.
  7. Construction of Athena Automation’s systems plant and sale of its first technical molding machine.
  8. Twelve OEMs now offer MuCell-ready molding machines.
  9. Shift of bioplastics to added value, high-end applications and the corresponding crash of no value-added bioplastics (e.g. Cereplast).
  10. Impressive new technical designs such as Ford Active Glove Box, in which three plastic materials are used in an injection-molded plastic bladder sandwiched between the inner and outer glove box door panels.
  11. The crash of conductive plastics: Plextronics joins Konarka in bankruptcy.


About Doug Smock

Former Chief Editor at Plastics World and Senior Technical Editor Design News
Injection Molding , ,

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