It's been a bit quiet on the blog front over the past few months, though not because we haven't been busy. As anyone in the plastics industry will attest, 2017 was a bumper year due to low feedstock prices, strong global economic performance, and continued growth in consumer demand. In fact, a recent interview with the American Chemistry Council (ACC) suggests that we are on track to see sustained expansion in production capacity for several years. Stretching back to the K 2016 event, we have seen steady increases in orders for all HYTAC materials especially our market-leading B1X product. With all of the major OEMs reporting continued long lead times for machinery and tooling, it seems safe to say that 2018 will pick up where 2017 left off.
CMT rounded off the year with a number of events across the globe, including our first exhibition in Tokyo, Japan and a return trip to Cologne, Germany for the AMI Thin Wall Packaging Conference. In fact, due to a last-minute speaker change, CMT ably stepped up to deliver our most recent paper on plug material influence on plastic material distribution. No Thin Wall Conference would be complete without mention of one our favorite packaging innovations of all time: the K-cup, or the coffee capsule. Growth continues unabated around the world, with marketers developing ever more niche positioning. This little thermoformed treat is both a “value” and “premium” product: newer espresso-based systems offer excellent quality product that is less expensive than a cup of coffee at your local shop, yet it’s more expensive (on a per cup basis) than what you get from traditional drip-based pot systems.
At home in the US market, we were disappointed that the SPE Thermoforming Conference was disrupted by Hurricane Irma, but given the destruction wrought by powerful storms this year, it was the right decision for the organizers to take. The SPE event moves to Ft. Worth, TX next year for the first time, so we are looking forward to seeing industry friends and colleagues at the new venue.
2017 was also the year that we achieved ISO 9001-2015 certification. This is an important milestone for the company, especially as we develop new custom-engineered solutions at our sister company, ESS. ISO standards help to reinforce the discipline needed for complex material manufacturing such as we do with various syntactic formulations. Our custom cast business for heavy-gauge thermoforming continues to grow, with several new case studies about to be released in 2018.
Our resolutions are all about growth for the new year. Our colleagues in Europe and Asia (more on that to come...) continue to develop collaborative trials with academic and industry partners to dive deeper into the science of thermoforming.
What are you working on this year? Let us know how we can help improve your process.