These news briefs were gathered by PN senior reporter Bill Bregar at the Ohio Polymer Summit, held June 3 in Columbus, Ohio.
Resin prices forcing uncomfortable chats
Many plastics processors need to cull out very-low-margin, or even no-margin, molding jobs - and today's unrelenting resin hikes will force the decision, said analyst Jeff Mengel.
It's not easy to broach the subject with customers, said Mengel, a partner with Plante & Moran PLLC in Southfield, Mich.
``There are going to be a lot of conversations with customers over the next seven months, because you can't support having 7, 8, 10 percent material cost increases and absorb it all yourselves,'' he said June 3 at the Ohio Polymer Summit in Columbus.
``It needs to be passed on.''
A huge amount of automotive molding work is moving around, he noted, as plastics suppliers close plants, restructure or go out of business.
``There's going to be record numbers of transferred tools in the automotive industry in 2008 and 2009. I'm talking 20,000-40,000 tools,'' Mengel said.
Ohio gets NSF funds for `polymer portal'
Industry group PolymerOhio Inc. is teaming up with the Ohio Supercomputer Center to offer state-of-the-art computing portals to the state's plastics industry.
The National Science Foundation awarded a $1 million grant to create a ``polymer portal'' through the center's Blue Collar Computing program. The goal is to help plastics companies increase productivity, speed up product and process development, and solve problems.
The grant went to the Ohio Supercomputer Center in Columbus, and partners Ohio State University, the University of Akron and the Ohio Learning Network. PolymerOhio of Westerville, Ohio, will help introduce the resources to the state's polymer companies.
Ohio leaders also want to start undergraduate programs at colleges and universities that include industry-driven certificate degree programs in computational science.