An Inside Look: The Process Of Plastic Manufacturers

  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |

Since venturing into the plastic manufacturing field, I have learned such a variety of things about the subject. Upon looking for where to start, I thought it might be most ideal to research the history of the process. Plastic manufacturing continues to grow in new technology, thus producing more products with more efficiency. But, what was this race for improvement like say, 90 years ago? The type of materials that were created then have paved the road for the current state of the industry. Resourceful people and ideas have not relented in providing state of the art supplies for plastic manufacturing companies to work with. First, however, let's discuss the very basics; what is plastic?

To know what plastic is, it's important that you understand what a polymer is, because they are one in the same. Plastic is a polymer, which is a huge molecule composed of repeating structural units. Often times, different compounds are mixed in with plastic in order to reduce costs or to strengthen the plastic. This can be very beneficial to both producer and consumer.

One of the truly great things about plastic, is it's flexibility during the manufacturing process. That's why it's no surprise that the word itself has it's origins in Greek. The word "plastikos" in Greek, literally means "the ability to be shaped or molded." Thanks to this fact, there is an extremely wide array of plastic products that we are able to create and mass produce.

Fortunately, to make things a little easier, there are only two types of plastic. All variations of plastic fall into one of these two categories : thermoplastics and thermosetting polymers. The difference you need to remember with these is that in the case of thermoplastic, there has been a chemical change made, allowing it to be what it is. This is not the case with thermosetting polymers, which makes it unable to be reheated with out exposing it to damage.

Other than these two main types, there are also quite a few other ways to distinguish plastics from one another. Many times, they will be referred to by their physical properties. These can range anywhere from density, durability, and temperature of transition. Knowing all of these things can influence a manufacturer's decision in what material he ultimately buys, depending on the product that they're looking to create.

The number of variations branching off from thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics is truly incredulous. Throughout the time period before, during, and after the second World War, demand for production increased exponentially. This led to experiments in Germany by IG Farben, where he produced two still very widely used plastics. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and polystyrene are essential to piping, windows, storm drains, and so many other things to this day.

But these plastics were still not enough for the growing rate of industrialization. Shortly after their release, a discovery was made that opened up hundreds of doors for manufacturers, polyamide. Polyamide may sound more familiar to you by its other name, nylon. Nylon was able to stretch at a rate that not many had seen, and after the war, production in women's stockings rose to an incredible height!

As if I can't stress enough the number of talented minds working on the creation of all these new materials, the first synthetic rubber was made. Rubber was used often, but during the 1940's (mostly due to the scarcity imposed by WWII), it was too expensive for most manufacturers to get their hands on. When synthetic rubber was created, it allowed for a cheaper and more accessible market!

 

There's no doubt about it, plastic manufacturing is always improving on itself. Innovative people for hundreds of years have been working to make our lives easier, to make something as important as say hurricane shutters. Plastic product manufacturers and customers alike can agree that without plastic, life would be quite different.

Rate this Article:
  • Article Word Count: 589
  • |
  • Total Views: 84
  • |
  • permalink
  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |
>