Collaboration can be an effective tool for plastics companies that want to tackle the medical-device market. Jeff Applegate, president of Blackwell Plastics Inc. since 2003, knows that firsthand. He founded Gulf Coast Medical Device Manufacturers, a Houston-area group formed to help local companies work together. At the recent Plastics in Medical Devices 2012 conference in Westlake, Applegate talked about the partnership, its record and other companies’ experiences in collaboration. He and Blackwell a Houston-based injection molder and extruder of engineered thermoplastics had collaborated with customers, suppliers and competitors in conventional ways such as outsourcing agreements, social media or being active in trade groups like the Society of Plastics Engineers and Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors.