Plastic is a huge industry comprising of several players. Here, we’ll have a look at who they’re and what services or products they provide.
When asked to describe the plastic industry, a lot of people tend to concentrate first on the “plastics product manufacturers “.Let’s start with these manufacturers and we’ll radiate out to see who else assist these manufacturers before an item is finally produced and delivered to the consumers.
You can find 2 ways to describe what a producer does – either by process (the plastics making methods they use), or by the industry they are serving (packaging, automotive, etc.). The final product to be manufactured determines the type of processes to be used. It’s not necessary that a manufacturer be equipped with all known processes. Most manufacturers are specialized in mere a couple of methods. Bigger plants might have 3 or 4 but it’s rarely possible to have every process under one roof since the choice of process is determined by the last product and industry that a manufacturer is supplying to. Eg, a business that supplies to the electronic industry might have injection molding process to create TV casing and other components. Blow molding processes that are used to make bottles are of little use to them.
Plastics are employed extensively by different industries. These industries includes: medical and pharmaceutical; packaging; electronic and electrical; automotive; toys; building and construction; home products; agriculture; and many more corrugated plastic manufacturers. While most manufacturers sell their plastic parts and products to others industries, some trade among themselves. Eg. Plastic bags manufacturers who specialize on producing bags will sell them to other plastics manufacturers for packaging purposes.
You can find many types of plastics materials. Within each form of plastic materials, will vary grades – suited for different products and for several types of processes. Eg. PP (polypropylene) is a common material and has many applications. However, PP materials which can be used for making plastic bags will vary from those who are used to make car bumpers – although they might originate from the same material suppliers that are also known as Resin Producers.
Resin Producers are petrol-chemical plants that produce plastic resins – the raw material in making plastics. Here, they convert by-products from crude oil refineries to create plastic materials. Different resin producers specialize in several types of materials. They supply large quantities to manufacturers (those who consume a hundred or so tons of the same material monthly) and to Resin Traders.
Resin Traders choose the raw material from resin producers and sell to manufacturers in smaller quantities. A trader will often represent several resin producers thus providing manufacturers with a large collection of different materials.
Colorants and Additives Suppliers – While most materials are transparent or translucent in its natural state, colorants are added to provide it different shades of colors. Additives are chemical agents added to change certain characteristics of a material. Eg. UV stabilizer is a common additive that’s put into plastic materials to stop discoloration of the merchandise from long experience of sunlight.
Compounders are firms that specializes in “mixing” materials, additives and colorants in large quantities. They operate large scale mixing machines that can handle mixing several tons of materials at a time. Compounded materials are far more consistent than those mixed by manufacturers in smaller quantities using small mixers.
Machine Suppliers provide manufacturers with machines which makes the product. Gone are the occasions where plastic goods are shaped manually by hand. These machines form the rear bone of each and every manufacturing plant and the machine makers are categorized on the basis of the process they’re specialize in. Such processes include Injection Molding, Blow Molding, Stretch Blow Molding, Blow Film, Profile Extrusion, Sheet Extrusion, Rotation Molding, Compression Molding, etc.
Auxiliary Equipments Suppliers supplies various supporting machines and equipments to help a place run efficiently. Samples of such machines are Hopper Dryers for drying materials, Mixers for mixing material, Robotics for extracting products from the machine, material handling system, conveyor systems, etc.
Mold Fabricators – Molds are mounted onto the processing machines which plastics part takes its form or shape. Depending on the process, some molds can be quite complicated. Mold makers specialize in precision tools to cut blocks of steel into the specified shapes. With the help of advance CAD/CAM softwares (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Machining), they supply the blueprint for the last product.
Technical and Engineering Services – Depending on the industry that producer is supplying to, some products require various standards adherence certification before their goods are sold. Eg, car bumpers are put through certain automotive standards to make sure that the part is strong enough to withstand collision impact and these companies provide such tests.
Secondary Processes is a very broad term. It generally describe the excess work that need to be done after the parts are produced. This include printing, painting, polishing, trimming, etc. Although most manufacturers are equipped with some type of common secondary processes, some specialized process like chrome plating tend to be carried out by the specialists.