Cleveland — For Geon Performance Solutions, finding a different type of corporate philanthropy has allowed the materials firm to help plastics processors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"There's new pressure for corporate leaders to get involved," John Hammer, global marketing director, said Nov. 4 at Compounding World Expo in Cleveland. "Half of the world is on social media, and social activist investors are on the rise."
Starting in April 2020, Westlake, Ohio-based Geon worked with more than 50 companies as part of Project Collaboration, a program that provides some services free of charge to small and midsized companies. Services offered by the program include rapid custom formulations, mold design support for health care and medical devices, accelerated pilot scale compounding and supply chain expertise.
"We offered our expertise at no cost to help bring solutions and products to market," Hammer said.
Geon, a major compounder of PVC and other resins, was able to help with formulations within 48 hours. Mold design support also reduced the number of parts needed in medical devices, allowing those products to be made more quickly.
In one case, Geon made and produced a transparent PVC compound within three weeks for Goex Corp., an extrusion firm in Janesville, Wis., that used the material to make medical face shields. Geon donated 40,000 pounds of the compound to Goex for the project and then donated 60,000 of the shields to hospitals, first responders, schools and businesses in Ohio.
For its efforts on Project Collaboration, Geon in December received a Social Impact Award from the Vinyl Sustainability Council. In a news release, VSC Executive Director Jay Thomas said that "Geon's response to the pandemic spotlights how one company can facilitate a greater impact by the entire vinyl industry."
Geon is owned by investment firm SK Capital Partners. The firm has annual sales of around $800 million and includes one of North America's largest PVC compounding businesses.