Collaboration spurs innovation

Ronn Cort

Published: November 30, 2012 6:00 am ET

The thermoplastic manufacturing process has always included aesthetics to some degree. But in the past decade, the worlds of design and plastic manufacturing are intersecting more powerfully than ever before — and with exciting results for industries including aviation and rail interiors, medical parts and retail environments. Designers, technicians and engineers are collaborating earlier, more frequently and more closely to create products that realize designers’ visions while meeting stringent regulatory requirements. That drives more business for industry and provides refined environments for end users.

Historically, color and special effects such as luminosity and texture were used exclusively for high-end applications that merited their hefty price tag. Color choices were even more limited for aviation, where there were few choices that met regulatory requirements. Recent advances in thermoplastic sheet manufacturing have empowered some manufacturers to provide virtually limitless custom color matching for fully compliant materials ideal for highly regulated industries.

Working on color with designers forms close relationships and shortens the color and product creation cycle. Typically, designers have a color or color palette in mind early in a project and strict brand guidelines to follow and complement. The custom color process can begin with something as simple as matching a fabric swatch or as challenging as capturing the feeling of an existing environment. When designers are present at the beginning and witness the color engineering process, they can respond to the colors “in the moment” and through many iterations. This can reduce a weekslong process into one or two days — saving time and money for everyone.

Powerful tool

 Color is emotional and experiential. Both art and science are required to achieve just the right one or combination of many. Subtle differences can alter mood during a long-haul flight or make retail shoppers more comfortable, stay longer and purchase more. Color can soothe a claustrophobic patient in an MRI machine and elevate brand experience and loyalty. It can make the difference between a beautiful environment and a sterile one. The inspiring wealth of choices is ever-expanding and includes trans­­lucents and pearlescents, rich mattes and vibrant undertones.

Revolution in design

 Color is even more powerful when combined with texture and translucency. New technologies have made these possible.

  Pressure forming allows manufacturers to selectively texture surfaces on a single formed part — making it easier to add depth and functionality or to reinforce branding with embedded logos.

As thermoplastic manufacturers, it is our responsibility to continue pushing the boundaries of what we can achieve through collaboration with designers, creating solutions for previously impossible challenges. In working together more closely, we create partnerships that deliver innovative solutions that advance the industries we serve.

 Cort is president of specialty sheet maker Kydex LLC in Bloomsburg, Pa.


Comments

Collaboration spurs innovation

Ronn Cort

Published: November 30, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Market Data Book - Rankings & Lists

A one-stop download of Plastic News' exclusive annual lists and processor rankings containing essential data including sales, employees, end markets, materials and more.
EXCLUSIVE EXCEL FEATURE: full mailing address details for available plant locations.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Mold Making and Tooling Review and Outlook 2014 North America

This report provides in-depth analysis of the mold and toolmaking market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats, the latest developments in production and labor and equipment trends impacting moldmakers.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events