Plastics on My Mind

August 29, 2000
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The recent National Plastics Exposition and Facts & Figures of the U.S. Plastics Industry have set me thinking about plastics and how they relate to the adhesives industry.

The recent National Plastics Exposition (NPE 2000) at McCormick Place in Chicago and Facts & Figures of the U.S. Plastics Industry have set me thinking about plastics and how they relate to the adhesives industry.

I’ve been on both sides of NPE now, as an exhibitor and an attendee. Either way, it’s a battleground. Give the exhibitors credit for five full days on the concrete. Oh, those dogs! And the duty isn’t limited to the day-long show hours. It may begin with a press breakfast and end late at night entertaining customers in hospitality suites.

In all truth, it’s easier being an attendee. But you still have to map your route, or you’ll feel as if you’re walking a marathon.

NPE 2000 attracted a record 90,142 participants during its run from June 19 through June 23, according to the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), Washington, sponsor of the triennial plastics event. The exposition was the largest in the 54-year history of NPE and by far the most international.

I was particularly interested in plastic resins used as or formulated into adhesives, and adhesives for plastics-bonding. For example, the Specialty Polymers & Adhesives Division of Ashland Specialty Chemical Co., Dublin, Ohio, displayed a process to produce structural, leakproof, pressure-tight bonds for thermoplastic-part assembly. (See page 48.)

A product line of low-density polyethylene extrusion coating resins at the booth for Dow Plastics, Midland, Mich., provides a broad hot-tack and heat-seal window for consistent end-user performance. Packages can be formed, filled and sealed for maximum integrity with minimum adjustments to the equipment.

Other exhibits of interest applied to adhesives as readily as plastics. They included color-information management systems by GretagMacbeth LLC, New Windsor, N.Y., and Datacolor International, Lawrenceville, N.J. There were also a number of e-marketplace sites represented, including .Commerx, developers of PlasticsNet.Com, Chicago, and (, Cocoa, Fla.

Facts & Figures of the U.S. Plastics Industry, 1999 Edition, is an authoritative and affordable source of market statistics on plastics. Compiled annually from data collected by SPI’s Committee on Resin Statistics and other sources, it features data on resins production, sales and captive uses from 1988 to 1998, and end-use statistics from 1994 to 1998 for the following markets: transportation; packaging; building/construction; electrical/electronic (including appliances); furniture and furnishings; consumer and institutional products; adhesives, inks and coatings; industrial/machinery; and exports. The 123-page study also includes definitions of plastics terminology, resins, additives and processing methods.

Manufacturers and formulators of adhesives and sealants will find Facts & Figures helpful for its listings of eight types of thermoset resins and 11 categories of thermoplastic resins. Typical applications are also given for many of the resins.

Facts & Figures costs $125.00 for SPI members, or $225.00 for non-members, plus postage and handling. For more information, call 800-541-0736, fax 202-296-7359 or visit the Web site

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