The Plastics Hall of Fame class of 2006 has an internationally known CEO, the founders of three major plastics companies, and enough intellectual firepower to create a superstar polymer research university.
The Plastics Hall of Fame will induct eight new members June 19 at a banquet and ceremony in Chicago the first night of NPE 2006. They are Peter Bemis, Pak-Wing ``Steve'' Chum, Dieter Freitag, Jack L. Koenig, Gottfried Mehnert, Georg Menges, Robert Schad and Jack Welch.
The class has a decidedly international flavor: Before the class of 2005, hall of fame members had to be U.S. citizens, but that is no longer the case.
The Plastics Hall of Fame was established in 1972 to honor significant contributors to the plastics industry. The hall is administered by the Plastics Academy, and members are commemorated in an exhibit at the National Plastics Center in Leominster.
New living inductees are elected every three years by a majority vote of the living members, with a provision for posthumous induction in between NPEs.
The 2006 inductees are:
Peter F. Bemis, executive vice president and co-owner of Bemis Manufacturing Co. in Sheboygan Falls, Wis., and president of its Contract Group. The 2,200-employee company is known for its innovative processing techniques and its expertise in coinjection, multishot and other advanced molding processes.
Bemis Manufacturing frequently takes a leading role in industry efforts, including sponsoring the activities of the National Plastics Center's PlastiVan educational program. He also has been a leader of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Midwest Section. He holds 13 patents.
Pak-Wing ``Steve'' Chum, who has been with Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical Co. for 26 years, most recently as chief scientist of Dow Performance Plastics & Chemicals. Chum is considered a world-recognized expert in the material science of semicrystalline polymers.
Chum may be best known for his work as a key inventor of Insite metallocene-based polyolefin technology. Insite received the 2002 U.S. National Technology Medal. Recently, he helped lead another new-product development and launch of Dow's new polypropylene-based product, Versify plastomers and elastomers.
Chum is the co-inventor of 50 U.S. patents. He has published 70 research papers in peer-reviewed journals.
Chum, who grew up in Macau, works at Dow's complex in Freeport, Texas. He resides in Lake Jackson, Texas.
Dieter Freitag, whose research and development efforts in polycarbonate materials resulted in more than 430 patents. In 33 years at Bayer AG of Leverkusen, Germany, he became head of materials research, director of the plastics business R&D group and chair of the firm's Materials Research Committee. He invented a technology for a modified PC that became the basis for the CD industry.
After he retired from Bayer in 2000, Freitag joined Triton Systems Inc. of Chelmsford, Mass., to work in the field of flame-retardant polymers. Freitag has created more than 75 scientific articles and presentations.
Jack L. Koenig, who has been a pioneer in spectroscopic methods of polymer characterization. His work played a significant role in developing characterization methods to provide fundamental structure-property relationships for polymers used in thermoplastic and thermoset systems. He was one of the first to interface a computer with a spectrometer.
Koenig founded the Division of Materials Research at the National Science Foundation. He is a professor emeritus at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering.
Gottfried Mehnert, who co-founded blow molding machinery maker Bekum Maschinenfabriken GmbH in 1958 in Berlin, Germany.
A few years earlier, he designed his first blow molding machine at the age of 20 - for his father's plastics processor, Meno GmbH.
Mehnert has been responsible for a number of technological developments that have resulted in more than 40 patents worldwide.
Perhaps his biggest innovations were top-calibration of bottlenecks and inside-neck dimensioning.
When Bekum was born, it was common to blow the bottle from the bottom of the extruded parison, but that caused problems because the parison stretched out, causing thinning in the bottle. Mehnert developed a way to blow the bottle from the top, which today is the industry standard.
Inside-neck dimensioning is a key to getting a tight fit for the bottle cap.
Other innovations include PVC blow molding for containers to hold edible oils, high-output twin-station blow molding, coextrusion blow molding for six layers and a tie-barless mold closing system.
Mehnert also developed the first continuous coextrusion head for making automotive fuel tanks.
Georg Menges, who retired in 1989 after serving 23 years as managing director of the world-famous IKV (Institut fur Kunststoffverarbeitung, or Institute for Plastics Processing) at the University of Aachen in Germany.
He grew the small technical training operation to a powerhouse of plastics processing education and research that has influenced leaders in German and international plastics companies.
Robert Schad, who founded Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. in 1953 in a Toronto garage and built it into one of the world's largest suppliers of injection molding machines, robots and hot-runner systems.
As president and chief executive officer of the Bolton, Ontario-based Husky, Schad fostered a corporate culture that promoted environmental responsibility.
Schad created the Schad Foundation and promotes a program called Earth Rangers, which teaches schoolchildren about wildlife and environmental responsibility. Schad retired from Husky in 2005.
John F. Welch Jr. is his name, but the world's business community knows him as Jack, a chemical engineer for GE Plastics in Pittsfield, Mass., who rose to prominence as CEO of GE. Welch joined GE's Plastics Division in 1960, and ran the division and the development of Noryl. He was elected GE's youngest vice president in 1972 and named chairman and CEO in 1981.
He retired in 2001 after growing the company's market value from $13 billion to $400 billion. During his GE career, Welch was supportive of plastics industry initiatives, including the National Plastics Center, SPI and the NPE shows.
Sponsor tables of 10 to the Plastics Hall of Fame celebration cost $5,000; single tickets are $300. For more information, contact Kathryn Maguire at the Plastics Academy, tel. (978) 537-9529, e-mail [email protected]plastics.com.