Processing liquid silicone rubber is an attractive niche to companies from the plastics and rubber sectors. They're drawn by strong growth opportunities. Many have excelled, even through the Great Recession, by helping customers replace conventional plastics, elastomers and other materials with better performing LSR.
But processing LSR is challenging. And there hasn't been a lot of publicly available information about how to do it. On top of that, designers and OEMs don't always understand how and when they should use LSR. Processors don't have data about what their costs and profit margins should be. Training is tough to come by. Processors can't hire entry-level technicians and engineers who know anything about LSR molding.
Everyone's been learning from their own mistakes.
For years, I've been hearing from LSR molders in the plastics industry that they need access to more information. We've kicked around ideas for how we can help.
That brings us to LSR World.
This is the first issue of a quarterly magazine written and produced primarily by the editorial staffs of Rubber & Plastics News and Plastics News. It's also being delivered to select readers of those newspapers — and available on a subscription basis online via as a digital edition.
As members of the Crain Global Polymer Group, we are uniquely positioned to give readers who are involved with LSR — and those who want to know more about it — accurate market information and competitive intelligence that will help them do their jobs more effectively.
As we started planning this first issue, we leaned on suggestions from a board of advisers drawn from LSR sector authorities — processors, suppliers and consultants. I appreciate their help, and I owe a special thanks to Bruce Meyer, editor of Rubber & Plastics News, for his expertise.
I'm very proud of this first issue, and I'm excited about what we have planned moving forward. And that's where you, the reader, can help.
Many LSR World readers are familiar with Plante & Moran's North American Plastics Industry Survey (NAPIS), which examines the best practices of North American plastics processors. There's no charge to participate, and processors get an individually tailored report filled with financial and competitive benchmarking data.
P&M is preparing a special survey that will be sent to companies that fill out the NAPIS that process LSR. Individual company results are absolutely confidential, but P&M will share exclusive data about the overall sector with LSR World.
To be included, just fill out the survey at plastics.plantemoran.com.
Also, watch our website, www.lsr-world.com, for a survey that we'll use for a listing of LSR processors. If your company uses LSR, you'll also want to be included on that list.
Don Loepp is editor of Plastics News and is leading editorial efforts for LSR World. Follow him on Twitter @donloepp.