"Today, everyone has to do more with less," he explained. "Less time to spend in the lab, shorter lead times and less money. At the same time, products are becoming more complex, the competition has increased and we are also seeing that as the older generation retires, they take their knowledge of materials with them. Young people come in, who try to re-invent the wheel. There is an enormous need of 'technical mentors' with expertise in this area and we are trying to fill the gap."
To better meet these specific needs, the SpecialChem websites have been completely revamped, and today present a clearer and more coherently organized approach to what has ultimately become the core of the site: materials selection.
"It is essential that our users - compounders, engineers, designers, Tier One and Tier Two companies; in short, everyone involved in the plastics value chain -remain up-to-date on the revolutionary developments in technology, as well as in legislation that are taking place at an increasingly faster pace in the world," Cabarry declared. "We have developed a materials section tool called Universal Selector to help them make fast yet solid decisions, with less trial and error, which we have enriched with expert content."
The Universal Selectors cover the domains historically served by SpecialChem: Polymer Additives; Ingredients for Paint, Coatings & Inks; Ingredients for Adhesives & Sealants; and Ingredients for Cosmetics & Personal Care. One new Selector dedicated to Plastics and Elastomers has been added, resulting from the strategic alliance between SpecialChem and Matweb announced in October 2013. At launch, SpecialChem's new Universal Selectors already offered technical data on over 160,000 products. Through its model of collaborative data gathering, this number is due to grow rapidly in the near future. The SpecialChem community of members - the largest in the world when it comes to chemicals and materials with 500k+ professionals - participates actively in reporting products or suppliers missing from the Universal Selectors.
"The difference between our Universal Selectors and the buying guides that are on-line is that we are free. Suppliers don't pay to feature their products in the Universal Selectors. What we want is to be the most complete, the most comprehensive materials selection resource in the world, containing technical data on all commercially available chemicals and materials from all suppliers everywhere," Cabarry said. "We also provide technical 'tips and tricks,' as it were, in the forms of expert content called Product Selection Guides, where experts share applied knowledge on materials selection. The options can be very wide, and in our experience, people also are in need of applied information next to product information alone."
SpecialChem works with a network of more than 200 experts from around the globe, who also propose Online Courses or Starting Point Formulations.