I'm starting to understand how companies that process liquid silicone rubber must feel.
LSR is a pretty fascinating material. It's able to withstand hostile conditions. It's relatively difficult to process. It's a niche that has connections to both the plastics and rubber molding.
The more I learn about LSR processing, and the more LSR molders that I visit, the more impressed I've become. This is a corner of the plastics world where few companies excel. But the ones that do are the cream of the crop.
As proof, consider this: In our very first ranking and listing of LSR processors, on pages 16-18 of this issue, two of the companies are former winners of the Plastics News Processor of the Year award. That includes the reigning champ, Dymotek Corp. of Ellington, Conn.
And don't be surprised if there are some future Processor of the Year winners on the list, too.
After we picked Dymotek, Bruce Meyer, my colleague and editor of Rubber & Plastics News, sent a proposed gag headline for our story: "Plastics News determines that rubber does indeed rule, chooses elastomer firm Dymotek as Processor of the Year."
Sorry, Bruce, we've claimed this one.
So what exactly do I mean when I say I understand how LSR processors feel? I guess the words I'm looking for are "low profile."
As I wrote in my column in the first issue of LSR World, there has never been a lot of publicly available information about this niche. We're working hard to raise the profile of LSR processing. I know from talking to companies in the sector that this is a common problem.
The ranking and listing is an important part of that effort. I appreciate all the companies that filled out our survey, and I think you'll benefit. Now OEMs looking for more information on LSR will have a place to start.
For us, it's just the first step. We'll keep improving the list. If your company was left off, or if you want to share your market intelligence, send the information to Hollee Keller, our editorial research coordinator, at [email protected].
The next step, and it's a big one, is to help us to benchmark the sector. That means going to plastics.plantemoran.com to fill out Plante & Moran's North American Plastics Industry Survey (NAPIS). P&M now has a special survey for companies that process LSR. Fill it out — your answers are confidential — and you will get access to information you need to do your jobs more effectively.
We will share some of the aggregated information in our next issues of LSR World, in August and October.
Don Loepp is editor of Plastics News and is leading editorial efforts for LSR World. Follow him on Twitter @donloepp, and follow the magazine's new Twitter page @lsrworld.