Canadian Plastics

Observations from K 2001

Mood: The K Show can be likened to a United Nations-like convening of the plastics industry. With a terrorist-provoked war being waged in the Middle East and the world on the brink of recession, the m...

December 1, 2001   Canadian Plastics



Mood: The K Show can be likened to a United Nations-like convening of the plastics industry. With a terrorist-provoked war being waged in the Middle East and the world on the brink of recession, the mood at the show’s start was low-key and a bit tense. As the show kicked into full gear and the aisles filled with show-goers, everyone seemed to relax and get into the spirit of the event. A spectacle of human energy and invention, the K by its very nature is an engine of positive energy, and a dose of just what the doctor ordered. Attendance was reportedly down by about 12 percent but hardly noticeable. Over ninety percent of exhibitors said they made significant sales leads at the show. Just as important, the sight of people of every ethnic background and nationality mingling, chatting it up and smiling was timely, and uplifting.

And the winner is: Returning from a show like the K, everyone wants to know “what was the coolest thing you saw”, in part, one suspects, to see if the reporter legitimately made it out of the hotel bar. While one can take in only a small portion of a show the size of K, in my view the niftiest new technology I saw was made in Canada: nickel-shell stretch blow molds made by Weber Manufacturing and Ryka Blow Molds (see full story on p. 21). In the process, finished cavity inserts are produced from mandrel masters using a nickel vapor deposition process, reducing mold delivery times by up to 30 percent. This is definitely worth watching and another example of how Canadian companies, given the right resources and support, can compete eye-to-eye with anyone.

Electric vs. Hydraulic:With the launch of so many new all-electric and hybrid machines at this year’s K, the volume on the electric vs. hydraulic debate went up a notch. The Modern Plastics Show Daily featured an in-print “duel” on the issue written by top executives and engineers at machinery OEMs. Perhaps because of language limitations, no Asian companies were included in the debate. What was interesting was that even in praising the strengths of all-electrics, some of the executives seemed to be damning them. Many dwelled on the fact that the cost of an all-electric is 30 percent higher than a comparable hydraulic, noting that only in special molding applications can the return on investment be recovered quickly enough to justify the additional cost. One all-hydraulic manufacturer argued that improvements in controls, sensors and pumps have virtually erased any significant performance differences between hydraulic and electric machines… Still the number of all-electric and hybrid machines sold in North America continues to rise. One Canadian-based machinery supplier I talked with speculated that electric machines have become something of a status symbol molders desire in order to impress customers.

The Great Canadian Pavilion: With the 60-ft. long representation of Canadarm2 towering above it, the Canadian Pavilion was eye-catching and truly impressive. Hats off to the CPIA and Sally Damstra for pulling together an exhibit that called attention to Canadian achievements in such a grand and tasteful way.

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Sausages, beer and German TV: North Americans should take some solace knowing that even in a country that produces the BMW, Dortmnder and the best sausages in the world, television shows are as bad (or worse) than those in Canada and the U.S. For the inevitable bout of late-evening boredom, travelers to K should always bring a good book, or ensure your hotel is close to a reputable pub.

Michael LeGault, editor

e-mail: mlegault@corporate.southam.ca


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