January: An uncertain economy, talk of war with Iraq and trade issues with China weigh down processors' optimism heading into the new year, according to a Plastics News fax poll.
February: Automotive supplier Visteon Corp. of Dearborn, Mich., ignites controversy when it pushes its Tier 2 suppliers to pay upfront to win new contracts.
March: The National Association of Manufacturers forecasts a rebound for U.S. factory spending on new machinery.
March: Pembroke, Bermuda-based Tyco International Ltd. plans to close many of its plastic facilities as part of a larger strategy to shutter 300 plants by 2006.
March: Milacron Inc. of Cincinnati announces it would not take any machines to NPE 2003 in Chicago.
April: The outbreak of the SARS virus in China affects travel and business throughout the industry.
May: Visteon Corp. nixes its “pay-to-play” strategy, which sought upfront fees from suppliers.
June: NPE 2003 kicks off with a lower-than-expected registration, but a steady exhibitor turnout.
July: The American Chemistry Council and the American Plastics Council contemplate the best way to integrate APC's relatively popular plastics image with that of an unpopular chemical industry.
July: Bemis Co. Inc. plans to close two film extrusion plants by mid-September. The closings brings to three the number of recent closings announced by Minneapolis- based Bemis.
August: Longtime Milacron Inc. executives Harold Faig and Jerry Lirette announce their plans to retire.
August: Hundreds of plastics-related companies, from New York to Michigan, were without power for two days following a massive power outage.
September: The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. reports that the U.S. plastics processing industry's trade position has worsened dramatically in the past five years.
November: Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne Corp. announces the closing of elastomers and performance additives plants in DeForest, Wis., and Wynne, Ark., eliminating 230 jobs.
November: Omnexus and its 14 stakeholders — all leading materials and equipment suppliers — announce they will pull the plug on the 3-year-old online marketplace.
December: Newell Rubbermaid Inc. announces it will shut down its Rubbermaid Home Products factory in Wooster, Ohio, causing 850 jobs to be lost and 400 more to be relocated.