Canadian Plastics

Keys to success for molders, according to resin executive

Canadian Plastics   

Canadian Plastics

 “What do successful molders have in common?” Canadian Plastics asked a senior official of a major...

 “What do successful molders have in common?” Canadian Plastics asked a senior official of a major engineering resins supplier in an interview during NPE.

Tim O’Brien sees a lot of molders around the world in his capacity as vice president, Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa for SABIC Innovative Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass.

He noted that molders today are either growing or shrinking; almost none are staying flat.

The ones that are growing are doing one of two things: moving upstream or moving downstream.


Those moving upstream are doing more design work with their OEMs to take out systems costs and to help differentiate their products.  “They quote the OEM on what they asked for, but also show a way that’s better suited to the application,” said O’Brien.

Examples of cost removers he cited are molded-in color to avoid painting; using metal-filled conductive compound to eliminate the need for plating; and using high flow resins to thin out part walls. For product differentiation, he pointed to sustainable materials, improved color or gloss, and visual effects.

Those molders moving downstream are getting into supply chain activities such as assembly, packaging and even direct shipment to their customer’s customer.

As examples of specific growth markets, O’Brien mentioned health care and medical devices – especially those that look good in a bedroom at home as opposed to a hospital – as well as products for green energy such as solar power and photo voltaic cells. However, he pointed out that not every molder can get into these markets, and that having the correct business strategy is the key to success.


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