The Plastics Hall of Fame, which has been homeless since the National Plastics Center moved from Leominster, Mass., to Syracuse University in 2008, will move at least in part to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
UMass Lowell and Syracuse University also signed a letter of cooperation so Syracuse can loan historical artifacts to the well-known plastics program in Lowell, Mass.
Robert Malloy, chairman of UMass Lowell's Plastics Engineering Department, announced the news at the school's plastics alumni dinner May 3. The event was held during the Society of Plastics Engineers' Antec conference in Boston.
Malloy said part of the Plastics Hall of Fame will be housed in the new Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, scheduled to open in the fall of 2012. According to Malloy, the plan is to have physical displays of the most recent class of living and posthumous inductees.
We plan to build a Plastics History Center in the lobby of the building, and we're pleased to announce that the Plastics Hall of Fame will be located there, Malloy said.
Suzanne Thorin, dean of libraries at Syracuse University, confirmed the agreement to loan artifacts. She said leaders from both universities will help each other build up their historical collections. Syracuse recently launched a new website that documents its extensive collection, which moved there from Leominster in 2008.
Malloy, a plastics history buff, said the planned UMass Lowell history exhibit area will get lots of visitors. The $70 million Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center will house areas for research in plastics engineering, nanotechnology, biomedicine and electro-optics.
UMass Lowell's Plastics Engineering Department already has some of its own artifacts, including an early set of celluloid billiard balls.
Meanwhile, industry leaders want to digitize information on all Plastics Hall of Fame members. Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., said SPI will have a plasma screen display that depicts all Plastics Hall of Fame members, at SPI headquarters in Washington.
SPI also will display a virtual Plastics Hall of Fame exhibit at NPE 2012 in Orlando, Fla.
The Plastics Hall of Fame inducted five new posthumous members May 1, the first day of the conference. Relatives and business associates shared memories about the inductees:
Katashi Aoki founded Japanese injection press maker Nissei Plastic Industrial Co. Ltd. in 1947. Aoki, who died in 1988, received more than 900 patents and is credited as a leading innovator and pioneer of Japan's plastics industry.
His grandson, Hozumi Yoda, is the president of Nissei today. I'm very happy to attend this honorable ceremony, Yoda said. He also thanked people from the U.S. for helping Japan recover from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated parts of the country March 11.
Ting Tsung Chao, known as T.T. Chao, was a pioneer in petrochemicals in Taiwan and Southeast Asia who built Taiwan's first PVC plant and founded China General Plastics Group. He started Westlake Chemical Corp. in 1986. Chao died in 2008.
His sons James and Albert Chao, and daughter Dorothy Chao Jenkins, accepted the hall of fame honor.
Thomas Long, a pioneer in rotational molding and thermoforming, founded Formed Plastics Inc. Long, who died in 2004, was one of the founders of the Association of Rotational Molders.
Until he died, I worked for him for 34 years, said his son, Patrick Long, who is president of Formed Plastics. I know that the award would have meant a lot to him.
Long said 2011 marks the company's 65th year in business and 50th year in rotomolding. We're the longest continuously operating rotational molder in the world, he said.
James Lindsay White, who died in 2009, was a polymer engineering professor at the University of Akron and a frequent Antec attendee. He started UA's Department of Polymer Engineering, which later became the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Education.
His colleague and fellow polymer professor, Avraam Isayev, said he worked with White for 26 years at the University of Akron. White had wide-ranging interests in geography, physics, the history of Japan and Russia and, of course polymer science.
You could go to him and ask any question. He had memory chips in his head. Today we have Google. But we had Jim White, Isayev said, drawing laughter from the audience.
Karl Ziegler, a German chemist, developed early catalysts to make polyolefins, including the famous Ziegler-Natta catalysts that are still widely used. He died in 1973.
SPI's Carteaux said Ziegler's daughter could not attend the ceremony because of illness.
Without Ziegler's contributions, many, many of the polyolefins that we have today would not be with us, Carteaux said.