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Week of 2/24 to 2/28: Plastic and iPhone not a match made in heaven and top 10 articles

"When Apple introduced the iPhone 5c, the ad campaign was built around an "unapologetically plastic" theme. Since then, Apple has been apologizing to shareholders for less than stellar sales results. On his Observatory blog, former Apple advertising executive Ken Segall suggests that cheap, plastic, and Apple just may not compute."

Heather Caliendo

February 28, 2014

4 Min Read
Week of 2/24 to 2/28: Plastic and iPhone not a match made in heaven and top 10 articles

Although Senior Editor Norbert Sparrow's article on the iPhone 5c was published on Friday, Feb. 21, with a lead like that - how could I not start off the weekly recap with his story? (In addition, it's also the most read story of the week).

I remember seeing many industry articles applauding Apple's decision to use PC for the iPhone 5c. But as Norbert reported, "By talking up the polycarbonate housing of the iPhone 5c, "there was a strategic plan to head off potential negatives by boldly proclaiming it as a positive," writes Segall. "Unfortunately for Apple, creativity can be a double-edged sword."

I will say people I know who opted not to purchase the iPhone 5c said it wasn't due to the material used, but rather the price point - they preferred to pay the extra money for the 'top of the line' model.

On the positive side for PC, Automotive Editor Stephen Moore reported that Teijin Limited (Tokyo) has revealed that Nissan Motor is using plastic glazing made with its Panlite polycarbonate (PC) resin for the driver-passenger partition in its new NV200 taxicabs based on the NV200 compact cargo vehicle. Nissan has begun marketing the vehicle to taxi operators in New York City.

"The plastic glazing, jointly developed with Nissan Shatai Co. Ltd., a Nissan group company that handles vehicle development, is achieved by molding Panlite PC resin using the world's first three-dimensional thick-wall injection-press technology developed by Teijin. The glazing is then hard-coated with Teijin's three-dimensional double-sided flow-coating technology, also a world's first. The result is a smooth, distortion-free surface, which has not been achievable with conventional thick-wall PC molding," Stephen wrote.

Despite progress in applications, IML is still a niche, is one viewpoint that Senior Editor Clare Goldsberry heard at the annual IMLCON/IMDCON in Phoenix last week.

"IML continues to lag behind these at just 2 percent of the total demand for labels, with other formats representing 5 percent of demand," Clare wrote. "The supply chain for IML remains complex and lengthy. It includes polymers, containers and bottles, film producers, label printers, commercial web coaters, moldmaking, molders (converters), contract fillers, end users/brand owners, retailers and ultimately consumers, all of which have a stake in the success of IML. Because of the number of players and the extensive collaboration that has to take place, the adoption process of IML is much slower."

If you have any doubts about the U.S. shale gas advantage, a new study from industry consultants Applied Market Information Ltd (AMI Consulting) might ease any concerns. Their study claims that it is highly probable that North America will have a polymer cost base on a par with that in the Middle East, leading to PE film exports from North America overtaking those of the Middle East. Looking beyond 2018, this projected cost advantage, when combined with the technological expertise of U.S. polyethylene film producers, will ensure North American PE film producers become truly global players, the report stated. 

European Editor Karen Laird took a closer look at NPSP and Poly Products joining forces to create and deploy joint technology solutions in the field of biobased composites. The partnership between the companies will result in the formation of one of the largest composites players in the Netherlands and the leading player on the biocomposites market in Europe.

"The two companies will utilize complementary strengths to develop, produce and sell customized biobased composite products, with NPSP focusing mainly on development and sales, and Poly Products on production," Karen wrote.

Also, did you catch our resin pricing report from The Plastics Exchange? Be sure to keep an eye out for that every week.

Top 10 most-clicked PlasticsToday articles 02/24-02/28

1.     Is plastic to blame for lackluster iPhone 5c sales?

2.     New interlocking PVC floor covering launched in the U.S.

3.     Universities establish bioplastics research center

4.     Mexico will move to No. 2 vehicle exporter to U.S., pushing Japan to No. 3 by 2015

5.     Lego investigates shift to bioplastics

6.     Device tax could cost 165,000 jobs, according to medtech survey

7.     Dart is on a mission to educate about foam packaging recovery

8.     Auto glazing: New York taxis employ polycarbonate partition glazing

9.     Is reshoring a long-term change or a short-term shift?

10. Mammoth 3D printer could machine plastic parts measuring one cubic meter

— Heather Caliendo

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