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Goodbye steel: plastic coil springs debut

Sogefi Group (Milan, Italy) has launched what it says is the auto industry's first coil springs manufactured using composite material aimed at passenger vehicle and light commercial vehicle suspension applications. The FRP coil springs are based on glass fiber and epoxy resin.

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FRP coil accepted by Audi as ready to rock.
Sogefi notes that with a weight up to 40-70% less than steel coil springs, equivalent to a reduction of 4-6 kg per vehicle, they contribute to a real reduction in fuel consumption. In addition the production of FRP coil springs is up to five times less energy intensive (thermosetting of composite material at around 170°C compared with temperatures of 1,000°C and 450°C used for steel), and ensures a drastic reduction in wastage and use of consumables.

The coil spring industry for mass production applications is currently based on steel. Despite some weight reduction during the last 20 years, this material has reached its physical limits according to Sogefi. Steel's manufacturing process is also labor intensive with high energy consumption for processes such as heat and surface treatment, and shot peening. These factors inspired Sogefi, to invest in the development of a completely new technology to improve the product and its features: the FRP Coil Spring.

Performance and durability are also superior according to Sogefi. Plastic coil springs do not corrode, possess improved comfort, ride and handling characteristics, and deliver better noise reduction on hard surfaces.

Audi is the first OEM to come forward and endorse Sogefi's FRP coil spring design, and it will find use in an upcoming model.-[email protected]

Vehicle lightweighting: Steel takes up the challenge

While engineering plastics and carbon fiber-reinforced composites are viewed as key enablers in vehicle lightweighting, steel is not yet ready to give up the ghost. Case-in-point: Korean steelmaker POSCO (Pohang) has reported the development of "a safer and lighter steel body" specifically for electric vehicles.

POSCO

POSCO CEO Chung Joonyang takes a look at the PBC-EV lightweight steel body at the company's Incheon Songdo Global R&D Center.

Dubbed PBC-EV (POSCO Body Concept-Electric Vehicle), the development enables a 25% weight saving over previous vehicle bodies, while its safety has also reportedly been proven by satisfying all international collision safety regulation standards, which will start to be applied in 2015.

POSCO has applied cutting-edge technologies such as hot press forming, which increases strength, and multi-directional roll forming which allows variations in sectional area, to the steel, which can be processed using existing stamping lines. POSCO is also touting the environmental friendliness of the steel body, which enables a greenhouse gas emission reduction of approximately 50% compared with traditional steel bodies.

According to POSCO, electric vehicles have risen to become the most realistic and environmentally-friendly replacement for gasoline-fueled vehicles, with 1 million vehicles sold worldwide last year. This figure is expected to increase to 6.78 million in 2015, and 10 million in 2020, marking an average annual growth rate of more than 30%.-[email protected]

PP, PE, PVC higher; PS mixed; ABS flat: Polymerupdate Asian resin prices, March 12-16

Polypropylene (PP) prices edged higher last week in Asia, rising as demand sentiments lifted. Gains in crude and naphtha rates coupled with firmer feedstock propylene also supported the rise in spot PP values, according to Polymerupdate. PP injection molding prices were assessed up at $1430/tonne CFR Far East Asia, while CFR South East Asia prices were assessed up at $1450/tonne. Offers from the Middle East to India were last heard at $1470/tonne CIF Nhava Sheva for PP injection and raffia grades while PP film offers were at $1490/tonne CIF. Fresh offers which were expected to be higher were awaited. In the Indian market, local players contacted by Polymerupdate said they were expecting a price hike announcement in PP and PE from Reliance Industries Ltd. In China, Sinopec hiked its prices of PP by Yuan 350/tonne with the buying mood reported to have improved.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) prices marched higher last week. Sellers told Polymerupdate that demand was not robust, but in spite of that, they succeeded in steering their rates higher, supported by tight regional product availability and high upstream product costs. HDPE film prices were assessed up at $1420 to $1430/tonne CFR Far East Asia on Wednesday. CFR South East Asia prices were assessed up at $1430 to $1440/tonne. In India, the last HDPE film offers from SABIC were at $1470/tonne while PTTPM from Thailand offered its material at $1500/tonne CIF Nhava Sheva. HD raffia price offers to India from Thailand were at $1540/tonne CIF Nhava Sheva. On Wednesday, March 14, India's Reliance Industries announced a Rs 2/kg basic hike in its prices of HDPE with effect from March 15th. A trader contacted by Polymerupdate said that with the cracker turnaround season underway in Asia, his company expected avails of both olefins and polyolefins to start tightening. He also noted that from April onward, demand for PE would likely improve, and if energy prices continued strong, he expected to see HDPE prices in Asia climb further.

Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) prices also marched higher in Asia bolstered by reports of tight regional product availability. CFR Far East Asia LDPE prices were assessed up at $1420 to $1430/tonne, while CFR South East Asia prices were assessed up at $1450/tonne CFR. A local source in India reported to Polymerupdate that the last overseas LDPE offers to India from a producer in Thailand were at $1510/tonne CIF Nhava Sheva. India's Reliance Industries hiked its prices of LDPE by Rs 2/kg basic on on Wednesday, March 14, effective March 15.

Linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) prices climbed in Asia last week rising on tight regional product availability, high upstream crude and naphtha costs, robust ethylene prices and squeezed PE maker margins. On Thursday, LLDPE prices were assessed at $1355/tonne CFR Far East Asia, a week-on-week spike of $35/tonne. CFR South East Asia prices were assessed up at $1430/tonne.  An Indian trader told Polymerupdate that his company was  awaiting fresh offers for LLDPE, with the last offers they received from a large Middle East producer coming in at $1500/tonne CIF, noting that these prices are no longer available in the markets.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) prices marched higher in Asia, as sellers cited high upstream costs as a reason for the price increase. CFR China PVC prices were assessed at $1015 to $1020/tonne with offers at $1040/tonne CFR. CFR South East Asia prices were assessed up at $1040/tonne with offers at $1050/tonne and higher. A Taiwanese producer was heard to have sold out allocated quantities to India at $1060/tonne. A South Korean producer's offer to India was at $1090/tonne CIF Nhava Sheva.  In China, local prices of ethylene-based PVC were assessed up at Yuan 7050 to Yuan 7100/tonne levels, a rise of Yuan 200/tonne from last week.

Polystyrene (PS) prices in Asia were mixed, with relatively stable prices of feedstock styrene monomer (SM), keeping sellers from announcing any steep price hikes. General-purpose PS prices on Wednesday were assessed at $1590 to $1600/tonne CFR China with offers to China heard at $1620 to $1630/tonne CFR. CFR South East Asia prices of GPPS were assessed at $1600 to $1610/tonne with offers at $1630/tonne CFR. High-impact PS prices were assessed at $1800/tonne CFR China mark, unchanged from last week. Offers to China were at $1840/tonne CFR and higher, while CFR South East Asia prices of HIPS were assessed at $1810/tonne. Prices of EPS slipped with rates in China falling to $1640/tonne FOB North East Asia.

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) prices quoted steady in Asia last week, with CFR China prices on Wednesday assessed at $2170 to $2180/tonne, unchanged from the week before. Offers were at $2200 to $2280/tonne CFR. CFR South East Asia ABS prices were flat at $2180 to $2190/tonne. An ABS buyer told Polymerupdate that despite firm acrylonitrile (CAN) and SM feedstock prices, his company was not bullish in its outlook for ABS. The prior week's steep $250/tonne drop in feedstock butadiene prices, warranted a price reduction in regional ABS rates, and the fact that the next week's prices were stable points towards a price reduction in ABS in the near future.

Local purchasing winning out over global in automotive supply chain

The March 2012 Original Equipment Suppliers Association’s Suppler Barometer reveals that the outlook remains positive with a Supplier Sentiment Index of 64. However that represents a two-point decrease from the January value, reflecting that while “North American vehicle sales and production schedules are improving, gas prices, the Iran nuclear issues, the European debt concerns and upcoming U.S. presidential election are keeping the sentiment outlook relatively level,” said the report.

Most suppliers remain confident in their internal and sub-tier supply chain strategies and effectiveness to mitigate supply chain shortages in 2012. Complementing these findings, 92% of respondents to the March survey feel confident that their company will be able to meet all customer releases over the next three months.

Some respondent comments included “Schedules are up”; “Volumes have increased”; and “Orders are high but we are cautiously optimistic.” One commented that “OEMs still showing signs of bad behavior relative to capacity.” 

While fewer suppliers (39%) are anticipating increases in production labor premiums and short shipments over the next three months, as happened in 2011, material cost premiums are now the primary concern with 58% of suppliers who do expect increased costs. Supplier risk is falling off the radar and 23% of responding companies indicated they have “no suppliers on their ‘watch list’ from the March 2011 level of 19% of respondents who were watching their suppliers closely. Only 5% of respondent companies had more than 5% of suppliers on the "watch list" in 2012 while in 2011, that watch list level was 42%. 

Suppliers who are on the watch list with the Tier Ones are on that list primarily for quality, though the other factors such as financial metrics, delivery performance, and capacity are all within 12 percentage points. 

When asked about exporting their products by region, it appears to be a mixed bag. Some reported that their exports to Europe were decreasing due to reduced demand, while other respondents will export more to Europe due to increased demand. There were two interesting “general” comments with respect to exports: “Our focus is to produce in the region of demand,” and “We’re evaluating more opportunities to build in North America and export to the ROW (rest of the world).”

When asked to describe their company’s material purchasing direction by region (buying more or buying less) outside of the NAFTA region and what major factors drive that direction, there were dozens of telling answers. Regional responses included “Landed total cost is always the selection criteria. Buys from China are becoming more costly due to their inflation and currency;” and the other side of the coin: “More from China and Asia for cost reductions.” Another respondent said, “Rising costs in China will likely increase purchase from Mexico,” while still another said “Purchasing more outside of NAFTA region overall, although increasing content from Mexico as well. Driving factors are capacity availability and component costs.”

Overall, the answers appeared to lean toward “buying more domestically” and closer to the manufacturing plants to reduce risk and have a more “nimble supply chain.” Purchasing local appeared to win out over global, and apparently the increasing costs and risks of having long-distance suppliers has become a driving factor.

Allround efficiency dominant theme at Arburg’s 2012 Technology Days

As injection molding machine manufacturer Arburg was proud to announce at its annual Technology Days event: Don’t forget—you saw it here first.  

So, what is "it"? Inline printing, which is being hailed as a genuinely new breakthrough in production integration. As the integration of upstream and downstream production processes goes ever further in the ongoing effort to produce parts in a cost-efficient manner, the need for flexible systems and components continues to grow. 

Inline printing is an innovative technology that not only opens up new areas of application, but can also reduce the time-to-market for a product with a new motif from several months to a few hours. What makes this so special is the so-called InkBOT process from FPT Robotik, which combines digital printing and robotics. The inline printing system, which was running during the event, is integrated together with an electric Allrounder 370 E and a six-axis robotic system in a fully-automated production cell. Individually printed, curved name plates were being produced in a cycle time of around 20 seconds, to allow time for drying. Thanks to high-precision robotic system kinematics and improvements in the print heads supplied by the inkjet industry, the inline printing system makes it possible to exploit the benefits of digital printing in high-speed industrial production processes for the first time. 

The main theme pervading every project and every exhibit at this year’s Technology Days, however, was that of production efficiency. Simply put, efficient production means achieving optimum product quality at minimum unit cost. Michael Hehl, managing partner at Arburg, emphasized the importance of a “holistic view of the value-added chain, from product design to mold and peripheral technology, including configuration, through to process integration, process control and production planning” in order to achieve this. 

Putting their money where their mouth is, Arburg is now offering a productivity package for the Allrounder hydraulic Golden Edition machine series, which the company introduced at this week’s open house event. The package comprises the Arburg energy-saving system (AES) with variable speed pump drive and a water-cooled drive motor. The water-cooled drive motor minimizes noise, heat and dust emissions, while the dissipated heat can be utilized for the purpose of energy recovery. A frequency converter continuously adjusts the speed of the electric motor to the actual power requirements, allowing the energy requirement of the Allrounder Golden Edition to be reduced by up to 20%. Thanks to the variable-speed pump drive, the machines can also run at higher speeds as required, leading to a higher machine pump output and reducing the machine’s dry run time by around 5%. The cycle times can also be cut accordingly. 

After all, as Herbert Kraibühler, managing director for technology at Arburg pointed out: “At the end of the day, what counts are shorter cycles, which lead to higher output, and to a higher efficiency of the system.”

Velocity Equipment buys Molinaro Tool and Die

Velocity Equipment Solutions LLC announced the acquisition of Molinaro Tool and Die Inc. (MTD), a manufacturer of blow-mold tooling and injection molds and parts. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

The MTD business will be absorbed into Velocity Blow Mold Solutions. All of MTD’s employees have been offered positions with Velocity. The combined business will operate out of Velocity’s headquarters in New Castle, PA. 

The acquisition will provide MTD’s clients with a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility with extensive capabilities as well as access to a full range of blow-mold products outside of MTD’s current offering.

Velocity’s President, Tom Blaszkow, told PlasticsToday that by purchasing MTD, “Velocity is able to offer to MTD’s former clients a much broader range of solutions to improve their blow-mold operations. The acquisition also provides state-of-the-art manufacturing capability for MTD’s products. And finally, it provides additional engineering resources that will allow Velocity to bring new technologies to clients at an accelerated pace.”

Velocity has always had moldmaking capability. “While this transaction extends that capability, is was not a major factor in the decision,” said Blaszkow. “It does offer the ability for Velocity to manufacture injection molds.”

In addition, MTD will benefit from Velocity’s manufacturing and quality systems. Both companies seek to foster a culture of excellence in client service which is expected to aid a smooth transition for customers. The acquisition provides some extension of Velocity’s product line as well as access to new customers. 

Velocity Blow Mold Solutions is a packaging machinery company which provides machinery and services into the capping, blow molding, and bulk water industries. Its products include the design and manufacture of new reciprocating blow-mold machines, rebuilding services, molds, tooling, and parts and service for the HDPE blow-molding industry. With more than 30 years of experience in the production and design of blow-mold machines, the company also offers spare-parts inventory management for Uniloy, Liberty, Recip 2000, or Portola Blow Mold machines. 

“The company employs approximately 45 full-time employees, making it one of the largest and most capable service providers in the industry,” stated Glaszkow. “Velocity has grown at a rapid pace and the acquisition was an expeditious way to add technical depth to Velocity’s organization and accelerate the release of technologies currently in the development pipeline.

The company also just announced that it opened a new hub facility in Santa Fe Springs, CA (southern California) to meet West Coast customer requirements for spare parts and service. Miquel Garcia has joined Velocity as the Western Region sales rep. Velocity also has a sales and distribution facility in Woodford Halse, Northamptonshire, England.

Eco-friendly packaging plays a role in shopping decisions, study says

Another St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, but green is still heavy on the mind when it comes to consumer decision-making.

A recent study stated shoppers are interested in choosing eco-friendly packaging, according to Perception Research Services. Significantly more shoppers state they like to choose eco-friendly packaging compared to 2010 (36% vs 28%). Half of the shoppers polled said they would be willing to pay more for this type of packaging, which was especially true of shoppers under the age of 40.  

More than half (59%) of the study stated that seeing environmental claims on packaging encourages the consumers to buy more of that brand.

Eco-friendly packaging is something consumers are demanding, and the industry is trying to answer the requests.

But as I pointed out in my article about green plastic packaging, it's not easy being green. Between a lack of education to misleading claims, simply putting a green label on packaging may not be enough.

Consider these stats. While shoppers continue to notice environmental claims at a high level, they are increasingly frustrated by the information provided, according to Perception Research Services. Significantly more report there isn't enough environmental information, or that they are confused by all the different environmental claims, and they don't know which packages are best for the environment.

Shoppers are becoming more skeptical of behaviors and motives of manufacturers in this area, as more state that companies are increasingly self-serving (enhance reputation; realize profit gains) and show less concern for the environment.

The study also pointed out that consumers notice recycling claims more than being aware of products that are produced with less material.

When I talked with Dennis Salazar, president and co-founder of Salazar Packaging Inc. about green marketing, he touched on some of those issues.

"Unlike some who always question motive, I don't worry if a company's eco-effort is driven by environmental consciousness or by bottom line financial objectives, and I will never criticize any company for saving money as they do the "right thing" for the environment," he said. "I do see a growing interest in using less packaging - period. Consumers like it, manufacturers like it, and we all win."

Perception Research Services noticed a significant increase in shoppers checking to see if a package can be recycled prior to buying it. Since seeing environmental claims positively impacts purchase behavior, it is incumbent upon manufactures to clearly convey this feature, the company stated.

"There is a great opportunity for manufacturers to provide truly value-added packaging to their target shoppers by making it more environmentally friendly - primarily in the form of recyclability and recycled content - and clearly communicating these aspects," stated Jonathan Asher, executive vp at Perception Research Services, in the news release. "We have seen that it is vital to get both the message right as well as the delivery - because one without the other will create a missed opportunity."

Perception Research Services, whose clients include consumer products manufacturers such as Hewlett Packard and Johnson & Johnson, has been conducting studies on consumer attitudes about packaging and the environment since 2007. One thousand consumers from across the country were surveyed for the 2011 study on packaging and the environment.

So, it appears that consumers want eco-friendly packaging options, but they get confused by the various claims. What are your thoughts about this study?

Catheter cap tackles hospital-acquired infections

The battle to reduce hospital infection rates continues with the effort now including newly designed medical devices as well as stronger and more widely used antimicrobial agents.

One interesting example is a method of disinfecting IV tubing end connectors that was granted a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Notice of Allowance for a patent application earlier this month.

Catheter Connections (Salt Lake City, UT) is now selling a product called DualCap that is based on that invention. It's described as the only FDA-cleared device for disinfection and protection of both the IV catheter

needleless luer access valve and the IV tubing end connector.

According to the patent application, the sealing member can be formed from silicone, polypropylene, polycarbonate, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or rigid or semi-rigid thermoset plastic. The company declined to identify the specific material it is using in the DualCap.

According to Catheter Connections, more than 500,000 American hospitals are affected every year by IV catheter-related blood stream infections and up to one in four patients die as a result. The cost has risen as high as $11 billion annually since Medicare decided more than two years ago to stop reimbursements for treatment of hospital-acquired infections. Hospitals are said to lose an average of $47,000 per infection.

Nurses are required to swab the ends of open IV lines with isopropyl alcohol. However, they often don't, according to Catheter Connections.

The company's single-use device contains two disinfecting caps-one for the needleless injection site (NIS) and one for the end of the IV tubing (male luer).

"This patent issuance is particularly valuable because it confirms that we were the first to innovate a medical device solution unlike any other. It further protects the platform technology underlying the company's DualCap System and is an indicator of the dominant position we expect to achieve worldwide," said Vicki Farrar, CEO of Catheter Connections.

The company declined to identify its molding partners.

UPDATED: Out-of-autoclave prepregs find use in Airbus key component

Advanced Composites Group (Warwickshire, UK) has scored commercial success with its MTM44-1 Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) epoxy resin-based prepregs being adopted by GE Aviation to manufacture the outer and mid-section fixed trailing edge panels for the Airbus A350 XWB wing. Advanced Composites will be rebranded as Umeco effective April 2 this year. The new brand will be officially launched at JEC Europe 2012 in Paris, to be held 27 to 29 March, 2012.

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Airbus 350 wings incorporate new epoxy system formed with low-pressure vacuum-bag processing
Following close collaboration over an 18-month process development phase to ensure a smooth introduction of this novel technology, GE Aviation placed an order for the production of the first 18 shipsets which will be used to manufacture honeycomb sandwich structures using OoA processing.

The first milestone for MTM 44-1, Umeco's toughened, structural, OoA prepreg epoxy resin system was in 2008 when the first sub-scale wing box demonstrator was produced for the collaborative research programme ALCAS (Advanced Low Cost Aircraft Structures). The successful use of MTM 44-1 on the wing box demonstrator further validated the capability of this next-generation OoA material. This was achieved as part of an Airbus and Dassault Aviation-led programme aimed at validating the designs and technologies for lower cost aircraft structures.

Airbus and Umeco underpinned the qualification of MTM 44-1 by signing a framework contract which provided commercial and technical stability to Airbus sub-contractors adopting this new technology.

Umeco's MTM 44-1 has been optimised for low-pressure vacuum-bag processing to provide low internal void content (zero to 1%), with the resulting composites performances being comparable to those of standard autoclave cured systems. OoA molding offers benefits such as reduced capital equipment outlay and savings on certain associated processing costs. This technology may also facilitate the manufacture of larger and more integrated structures that would otherwise be excluded by their size and the prohibitive significant investment required for in-autoclave processing.-[email protected]

Processor makes "World’s Greatest" cut

When executive producer Gordon Freeman, of the ION Network’s ‘World’s Greatest’ TV show called Robinson Industries, he was looking for a company to fill their segment on material handling. What they found was one of the oldest thermoforming and structural foam molding companies in Michigan. 

According to Ronda Robinson, marketing manager for the family-owned company, Robinson Industries Inc. was the first to produce plastic pallets. “My grandparents started the company, and today we have the fourth generation working here,” she explained. 

Ronda Robinson’s grandfather, Fred Robinson, was a pioneer in the plastics industry, working for Dow Chemical Co. in the 1940s in the company’s Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam laboratory. He started his own business in the family’s home, packaging the small EPS beads to sell to consumers to sprinkle on their Christmas trees to look like snow. 

In 1947, Fred Robinson founded Robinson Industries Inc. (www.robinsonind.com) to produce pallets, trays and containers. In the 1950s, Robinson Industries began thermoforming returnable, reusable pallets and specialty dunnage for a variety of retailers and manufacturers. 

For many years, the company molded pallets and containers for the automotive industry, but over the past few years the company has expanded its operations to serve the retail, sporting goods, food and beverage, solar, agriculture and office furniture markets. In addition to the pallets, trays and containers, Robinson Industries develops consumer products, using both vacuum forming and structural foam molding.

Today, the company’s business is growing rapidly to meet the demands of retailers and manufacturers for the “green” reusable, returnable pallets, trays and containers. “We see more and more companies trying to reduce their waste and scrap to zero so that nothing goes to the landfill,” said Ronda Robinson. “There’s definitely a big push toward reusable and returnable shipping methods, especially among retailers. One big retailer just bought thousands from us in a sleeve configuration and will display their products in their stores in the container. For retail display, companies can use their colors and they’re much more attractive than cardboard. That’s one area I’m seeing big potential for using plastic pallets.”

Pallet and container manufacturing requires some big presses for its structural foam molding. The company has three presses up to 2500 tons that can mold shots up to 150 lb of material, and with platen sizes up to 60” x 152”. Robinson molds primarily HDPE and PP materials for its products, and has about 200 employees. 

On the thermoforming/vacuum molding side, the company has 17 machines and can produce parts as large as 22 feet in length and 10 feet in width. Melissa Jellum is the plant manager of the company’s thermoforming operations. She is a graduate of the Michigan State University’s Packaging Engineering program. 

If it sounds like a lot of women hold management positions at Robinson, they do. In fact, Robinson is a woman-owned enterprise, with Inez Kaleto, daughter of the founder, as CEO and chairman of the board of this family-owned company.

Robinson Industries is also committed to being “green” and is working on its Environmental Certification through ISO. Recently it started a program in partnership with General Motors to take in a by-product of the automotive OEM’s manufacturing process, which it then mixes with the resin Robinson uses to extrude its own sheet material. The company also takes in old pallets and trays, regrinds them and reuses the regrind to make new pallets and trays.

To further improve its environmental efforts, the company began using seat belts to strap pallet loads instead of plastic or metal strapping/banding or shrink wrap. “The seat belts are reusable and the warehouse doesn’t become messy with a lot of banding or shrink wrap laying around waiting to be taken for recycling,” 

On its website, Robinson offers an “EPA Calculator” that can show companies how much money they can save by using the returnable plastic pallets. 

In addition to manufacturing, Robinson Industries designs all its products in house depending on the requirements of the customer, including developing specialty dunnage for customers, and even some consumer products such as ice-fishing sleds for a major sporting goods retailer.

Ronda Robinson explains that plastic pallets and other returnable, reusable dunnage has many advantages, which is creating increased demand. “Plastic pallets and containers are idea for exporting because you don’t have to treat it for pests like you do wooden pallets and containers,” she says. “Plus the plastic pallets and containers are lighter in weight so shipping costs are reduced. We also design our thermoformed containers and trays for stacking and nesting so that more containers can be put into a truck for the return trip.”

The plastic pallets and container also make for better housekeeping in warehouses. And for food and beverage products, they can be sanitized in a “dunnage washer” before reuse. Plastic pallets and containers last a long time as well, and can be reused for years, Robinson points out. “We have one customer, a major household appliance manufacturer, that used our pallets for 17 years, and just reordered some new ones from us,” Robinson notes. 

The "World’s Greatest" TV show featuring Robinson Industries aired at 6:30 am EST on February 6, 11 am EST on February 13, and 7:30 am on February 20. “Robinson Industries is one of those companies that we like to feature on 'World’s Greatest.' They are a fourth-generation, family-owned, women-owned, Michigan company started by the very innovative Fred Robinson, who was a pioneer in the plastics industry,” Freeman commented in a release.

“His early techniques of thermoforming, while made better over time, are still used today, along with the Robinson Industries’ injection molding processes. We think their story will be meaningful to our viewers.”

The four-minute video clip can be seen on Robinson Industries’ website on the home page at www.robinsonind.com.