The 1,250 landfills in the United States are projected to reach maximum capacity within the next few decades. Pair that with the fact that, globally, 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled, and the devastation of the eco-crisis becomes shockingly real.
Protecting the planet is everyone’s responsibility, including — and perhaps especially — corporations routinely using eco-sensitive materials. As a custom injection molder, Kaysun handles thousands of tons of plastics annually which are processed into injection-molded parts.
Mention “high-temperature thermoplastic” and chances are that polyether ether ketone (PEEK) comes to mind. Its high heat tolerance, mechanical strength, and chemical resistance make PEEK resin ideal for many demanding applications including those in the automotive, electronics, aerospace, medical, and other markets. But is it the only choice?
With steady, predictable 3.9% growth projected for the next decade, there is some talk that the global plastics market is stabilizing after a long period of turbulence.1 The conclusion is logical, based on the numbers — but is it really signaling positive change for those relying on plastics?
The impact of several ongoing plastics industry trends may influence the current and/or future status of the market. As we reach the mid-point of 2022, it’s prudent to perform a reality check for manufacturers and suppliers.
In February, 2021, the plastics industry was devastated by a freak winter storm that laid waste to Texas power grids and 80% of U.S. resin production.1 As though the widespread after effects of the natural disaster weren’t enough for the plastics industry to handle, substantial polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) price hikes and a 30% diminishment of production capacity added to the burden.1
In the year since, prices remained volatile and sluggish supply chain logistics kept materials from timely distribution; yet, there seemed to be an undercurrent of optimism in the industry. PP and PE production capacity was on the upswing despite shipping woes. Resin prices were leveling off, if not slightly receding.2 The global resin shortage was presumably reaching a tipping point.
Unfortunately, the optimism was short-lived. Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Its impact waylaid the market’s potential recovery and further complicated ongoing industry challenges.
Viewing 2021 through the lens of the resin shortage, the year went out much like it came in.
Q4 found commodity resins polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) available in greater quantities at lower prices.1 However, for many manufacturers, custom injection molding partners, and other supply chain vendors, the late-year good news was overshadowed by resin shortage challenges that will likely continue to pervade the plastics industry in 2022.
Precision automotive plastic components aren’t limited to sleek dashboards, seats, floor mats, and other components that attract buyers. These features may provide a degree of protection, but a vehicle’s overall safety and performance are largely dictated by often unseen under-the-hood plastic car parts.
As Hurricane Ida unleashed its Category 4 fury on the state of Louisiana, plastics industry professionals kept a wary eye on the storm’s path. The repercussions of Hurricane Laura and Winter Storm Uri upended the resins market, which is still struggling. As the fifth strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the continental United States1, Ida could have easily wiped out any progress made toward market restoration.
But, for the most part, Ida spared the plastics industry from further devastation. The hurricane veered away from the hub of resin production facilities in western Louisiana and eastern Texas, some of which were just coming back online.
Consumer applications are diverse. Simply having products on the market isn't enough to build a customer base or keep pace with the competition.
Understanding the latest plastic injection molding industry trends — and partnering with a custom injection molder to apply them in creating highly differentiated products — translates to sustained success. It also gives you greater control over quality, cost, and time to market.
Injection molding industry trends suggest that a number of factors influence applications within the consumer market, such as:
From excessive energy consumption and scrap to general resin use, the injection molding process has historically raised some ecological concerns. The alarm is neither surprising nor unique to injection molders or the industries they serve.
However, as some experts project that the earth may be mere decades away from environmental collapse1, there are important choices to be made.