VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Technology advances, value-added requirements and original-equipment-manufacturer pricing pressures are impacting the plastics business, reaction injection molding expert Harry George said in an interview during the March 26-28 Structural Plastics 2000 conference in Vancouver. "From my little microcosm, we have never had as many opportunities for new business and programs, but the development cycle has to be shortened on our part," said George, business manager with the Bayer Corp. polyurethane division's RIM engineering polymers specialty group in Pittsburgh.
Customers want new materials faster and cheaper. "A lot of resin companies are in sold-out capacities, [and] OEMs still want to push prices down," he said. "There is not a return for the resin company or toolmaker, and pretty soon you don't have dollars to reinvest."
He posed a conundrum: "How do we streamline our processes and our development times and make it a more profitable business for us and still reduce prices to the OEM?"
George received both the SPI Structural Plastics Division's industry recognition award and past chairman's award at the conference. George has participated actively with the division since 1989 and was the group's 1998-99 chairman.
The booming economy, industry consolidations and business pressures have cut into conference attendance and participation, George said.
"Everything is driven at a faster pace," he said. Processors have less time and budget to travel and have customers with higher expectations on production cycles.