The following items were written by Plastics News reporter Bill Bregar from ANTEC '95, the Society of Plastics Engineers' Annual Technical Conference, held May 8-11 in Boston.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. will invest more than $70 million this year, about 14 percent of sales, to continue modernizing and building local technical centers, President Robert Schad told an ANTEC '95 audience.
Schad, in a May 9 plenary speech, said that level of investment is necessary to keep the 42-year-old injection press builder a strong global player in injection molding machines and tooling.
``We are not taking any money out. Everything is going back in to build a stronger company, a stronger base,'' he said.
Husky expects 1995 sales of about $550 million, according to Schad.
The company is expanding its local technical centers in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Luxembourg and Germany.
Schad founded the Bolton, Ontario, company in 1953. Husky introduced its first injection molding press in the early 1960s. Husky now employs 1,545 people at five manufacturing locations.
Polymer blend use continues to climb
Polymer blends continue to grow much faster than the overall plastics industry, said Christopher Macosko, a professor of chemical engineering who was the May 8 plenary speaker.
``Polymer blends are now about 30 percent of all plastics. Their growth is now about three times that of the current growth rate of polymers,'' said Macosko, of the University of Minnesota's Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science.
With a few notable exceptions, most polymer pairs are immiscible, Macosko said. Blending them to develop specific properties is a major challenge. The most common form of blending is melt blending, he said. Dry blending is more difficult.
Macosko said most blending research and development work today focuses on several areas, including surface modification, liquid crystal polymers as a way to control thermal expansion or get higher heat-distortion temperatures, and adding a gas barrier.
SPE completes '94 with a cash surplus
The Society of Plastics Engineers finished 1994 with a surplus of $144,462 - much higher than expected, said Michael Cappelletti, SPE's interim executive director.
Total unrestricted revenues increased 9 percent, to $6.4 million in 1994. Cappelletti attributed the increase to higher revenues from publications and seminars.
He also praised the group's Leadership 2000 program for giving SPE a much-needed, long-range vision.
``We're looking at driving the society with strategy and not by budget,'' Cappelletti said.
``We've missed too many good programs through the years because we drove it by budget.''
Cappelletti made his comments during the SPE business lunch May 8.
New director expected by September
The Society of Plastics Engineers is moving slowly but surely in its selection of a new executive director.
The post has been vacant since July 20, when Eugene De Michele resigned as executive director. He held the job for 17 months. Michael Cappelletti, SPE's director of finance and administration, has served as interim executive director since then.
Bonnie Bachman, SPE president for 1994-1995, said a new executive director should be in place by September.
A seven-member search committee, headed by Guy Martin-elli, placed advertisements in trade magazines in November and December.
The ads drew about 90 applicants, Martinelli said. The committee narrowed the list to 16 in February, then to nine, all of which were interviewed in person in late April.
Shortly before ANTEC '95, the committee forwarded the names of four finalists to the SPE executives committee. Members of both committees were scheduled to meet last week during ANTEC '95 to discuss the remaining candidates, but no final selection was expected.
Martinelli said the executive committee probably will want to interview the candidates in person.
Briefly . . .
Pretty soon you'll need a wheelbarrow to carry around the bound volumes of papers presented at ANTEC. Fast stats: three bound volumes; more than 800 papers; 4,400 pages; and 13 pounds' worth of technical papers!