Canadian Plastics

PAUSING TO REFLECT AT 65

This is, in some ways, a bittersweet issue of Canadian Plastics.

July 1, 2008   By Mark Stephen, Managing Editor



This is, in some ways, a bittersweet issue of Canadian Plastics.

First and foremost — and on the plus side — this is our 65th anniversary issue. The first issue of the magazine was published in August 1943, at the height of World War II. (It remained the only issue for quite some time, by the way; the second issue did not appear for another 16 months, due to war-related paper shortages.)

It was a substantial production, even by inaugural-issue standards: almost 150 pages, including a seven-page directory.

In retrospect, it was altogether fitting that the magazine be launched during the war years, since the impetus for the application of plastics came about largely through material shortages created by the conflict. As well, a great many of the applications brought to market in that period were directed to the war effort.

To commemorate this anniversary, we put together a panel — composed of Canadian plastics industry professionals, selected to represent a broad spectrum of processes and regions — to debate some questions relating to the present and future of our industry. The intention was to touch on issues relating to each panel member’s specific segment, as well as overarching problems that affect — and may continue to affect — all of us. You’ll find our presentation of the panel discussion beginning on page 10. On behalf of the magazine, I’d like to thank each of the participants for giving over valuable chunks of their time to the project, and to remind them once again that it’s greatly appreciated.

Perhaps you may also have noticed that, graphically speaking, the magazine has undergone a slight redesign — not quite a 65th birthday facelift, but close. The intent was to create a product with a more modern, unified look, without loss of readability, and we hope we’ve succeeded. (For the web-surfers among our readers, we’re also improving the layout of the online edition of Canadian Plastics, presenting each issue in the sequential, page-by-page format of the print version.)

That’s the good news.

On a different note, we were saddened this spring to learn of the passing of Art Painter, our magazine’s longtime publisher, at the age of 83. Judith Nancekivell, Art’s successor to the position, pays tribute to him on page six.

Along with everyone else in the industry, we’re also troubled by the succession of Southern Ontario-based auto parts suppliers forced to declare bankruptcy over the course of the summer. Tri-Star Plastics, Polywheels Manufacturing, and Progressive Moulded Products have all gone under within the span of a few weeks, a domino effect that’s shaken some people’s confidence in this segment of our industry. There are no quick fixes for what ails auto part suppliers, of course, but in future issues we hope to highlight possible longer term solutions, such as ways in which processors can either run leaner parts manufacturing processes, or transition to other types of non-automotive molding, or both.

Looking back over the course of 65 years, our industry has obviously changed a great deal, as has virtually every other aspect of Canadian life. In some ways, though, a 1943- era processor — if he or she could be transported to the present for a few days — might find much that is recognizable, as well. The military battle, waged against various foreign nations, has been replaced by a less obvious economic conflict — but it’s still a conflict, involving some of the same foreign adversaries, namely parts of Asia and of Europe. And plastics are still being called upon to provide innovative alternatives to metal and other materials…and are still delivering.

I think our predecessor from 1943 would be both amazed and proud.


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