Choosing the Right Resin Supplier

Plastics are everywhere so it is not surprising that the demand for raw plastic resins continues to grow. There are hundreds of suppliers in the United States alone so it is understandable that choosing the right resin supplier may seem like a daunting task! There are many factors to consider when selecting a partner and it is imperative that companies do their research to identify the right one! Price is, of course, a huge consideration, but there are many additional factors that must be considered when selecting a supplier. Below are several tips to guide you through the selection process.

  • Proven experience: manufacturers should do their homework to better understand the background of each partner they are evaluating. For example, how long have they been in business, who were their previous clients, and have they won any awards or been recognized within the industry? You want an established partner with a proven history and repeat customers. Additionally, ensure the supplier has ample experience working with a company your size.
  • Offers What You Need: this is a basic consideration but not all suppliers produce the same resins! You need to be clear on which specific plastic resin is required for your application and if a potential partner offers that material. In addition to the material, you must also determine if the supplier is capable of providing the resin in the desired shape and tolerance as well as address any special considerations such UV light or moisture exposure. For manufacturers that are unclear on their specific resin requirements, it is even more important to select a supplier, like Amcor, that has the expertise and knowledge to guide clients through the process of identifying the right resin for their specific application.
  • Superb Quality: this factor cannot be understated - purchasing quality resins is important! You must select a supplier that produces high-quality resins in order for you to manufacture high-quality plastics! When considering suppliers, it is crucial to clearly understand which quality metrics and standards are being utilized – and you can be certain that not all resin suppliers use the same standards! Also, you need to ensure the supplier uses current manufacturing technologies and is committed to maintaining the latest production equipment.
  • Logistics Options: during your assessment of a potential partner, you must determine if the supplier can provide the necessary volume of resin you need in the timeframe required. Additionally, you need to clearly understand the packaging and transport options. For example, depending on the volume required, the packaging and transport could entail railcars filled with resin or large sacks transported on tractor trailers. You want to avoid a situation where you are short on resin so you should spend time thoroughly discussing the logistics including the safety protocols during transport and the contingency plans in place to deal with manufacturing or logistics disruptions. The location of the resin supplier is also a factor to be considered since transport costs increase as the distance between you and the supplier increases.  
  • Solid Partnership: in the end, you are not simply looking for a supplier, you are looking for a trusted partner that can help your business grow! Be on the lookout for the extra services and customer support that a resin supplier provides. For example, Amcor provides tech support, assistance with customer’s equipment, and process recommendations.

Amcor Resin Solutions

Amcor offers many solutions to your resin needs. Our private label CORLENE™ products are prime resins, while our AMBLEND™ products are industry-proven custom blends designed to meet the specific needs of molders, foamers, extruders, and film manufacturers. Our technical team facilitates the selection of resin to best fit the customer’s unique issues by applying its knowledge of plastic materials and manufacturing processes. Our product lines include the following prime, wide spec, and engineered blends:

  • Polyethylene – LLDPE, LDPE, MDPE, HDPE, EVA, EMA and Metallocene
  • Polypropylene – homopolymer, copolymer, and HMS (high melt strength)
  • Polystyrene – GPPS, HIPS
  • Nylon
  • Thermoplastic Elastomers
  • Others provided upon request

Amcor is a full line distributor of various chemicals, resins, and gases for the plastic industry. With warehousing and distribution facilities across the United States, Mexico, Eastern Europe and China, we service companies of all sizes and locations across multiple industries. Our packing options include railcar, bulk truck, Gaylord boxes, supersacks, and 25 kg bags.

Amcor strives to exceed expectations through outstanding customer service, quality products and an efficient logistics team. We realize that quick turnaround, on time delivery, a quality product, and personal service are what it is all about. Contact us today to learn how we can assist with your next project!


The Future of Polymer Additives

Nearly all plastics are comprised of a base polymer and additives. Additives are chemicals added to the base polymer to modify the properties of the final product such as improving strength or durability, or prolonging the product life span. There are various types of polymer additives available and each provides one or more specific characteristics; examples include plasticizers, stabilizers, processing aids, flame retardants, anti-static, blowing agents, fillers, and others.

As expected, the future of polymer additives is coupled to the demand for plastics. Below are some expected trends for polymer additives.

Continued Growth

The future of polymer additives looks promising as the demand for plastics (and therefore additives) is expected to continue to grow. There are several factors that are driving this growth – one of the biggest factors is the low cost of plastics compared to metal. Plastics have become even more attractive in recent years due to the rising cost of raw materials for some metals, triggering the further use of plastic to replace metal parts or equipment. Additionally, plastics continue to branch out into more diverse markets, and usage continues to expand especially within the packaging, agriculture, and medical industries. Lastly, the demand for additives is also driven by stricter safety standards, resulting in higher demand for plastics with flame retardant and resistant properties. All of these factors drive up consumption of polymer additives in the future.

Industries

While all sectors are expected to experience growth, there will likely be ample opportunities for additive growth within the construction, packaging, consumer goods, and automotive industries. Within the plastic additive market, the construction sector has historically been the largest consumer and this trend is expected to continue due to demand for applications such as pipes, cabling, flooring, etc. In the near-term, the packaging sector is expected to observe the most growth due to increased demand for food and beverage and consumer goods. The automotive industry is also expected to observe growth in additive usage due to plastic’s lighter weight and cost-competitiveness compared to metal alternatives.

Types and Regions

Regarding the types of additives, plasticizers are expected to continue to dominate the additive market and are anticipated to remain the largest additive type due to expected growth for PVC applications. As previously noted, the demand for additives with flame retardant properties are expected to rise due to more stringent safety protocols and standards as well as growth in the electronics and construction sectors.

While all regions are expected to experience growth, the Asia Pacific region will likely continue as the largest market share by volume for additives. This is largely due to the demand for plastics across the automotive and construction sectors in the region, especially China and India.

Safety and Sustainability

Many companies are focusing R&D efforts on new, innovative polymer additives that address some of the challenges of the plastics industry. Safety and sustainability are expected to be big factors in the future of polymer additives and below are a few examples.

  • A relatively new type of additive called “biodegradables” is gaining traction. These are additives that expedite the degradation process by allowing microorganisms to consume portions of the plastic.
  • Toxicity is a concern for some polymer additives. To address this issue, bio-based additives such as plasticizers have been developed that provide manufacturers with less or non-toxic additive options that minimize the impact to the environment.
  • Just like there are smart devices, there are R&D efforts focused on developing smart packaging in order to improve food and beverage safety. Plastic packaging is being developed that will use color changing additives to detect the freshness of a product as well as oxygen scavenging additives to better preserve the product.
  • Lastly, companies, such as Amcor, are creating Sustainability Initiatives. The purpose of these programs is to recognize the importance of natural resources and reduce the ecological footprint on the environment. This can be achieved via several means such as conserving raw materials and helping customers produce reusable products. 

Amcor

Amcor is a manufacturer of polyethylene film and bags, as well as polyolefin compounds, additives, blends, and masterbatches. Amcor has grown from a single product line to hundreds of products and five product divisions. In addition to selling products, we also provide tech support, assistance with your equipment, and process recommendations.

Amcor is also a full line distributor of various chemicals, resins, and gases for the plastic industry. With warehousing and distribution facilities across the United States, Mexico, Eastern Europe and China, we service companies of all sizes and locations across multiple industries.

Amcor realizes that quick turnaround, on time delivery, a quality product, and personal service are what it is all about. Contact us today to learn how we can assist with your next project!


Advantages of Buying Direct from Manufacturer

Historically, manufacturers did not have a financially viable way of getting products to customers so the role of a distributor was necessary. Distributors, or wholesalers, worked as the “middle man” between manufactures and customers - engaging with customers and maintaining inventory locally. With the digitalization of manufacturing and a shift to a more customer-centric business model, the distributor role is often no longer necessary. More and more manufacturers are employing a direct-to-customer model to sell products, which is lowering costs and improving customer and brand loyalty. This shift is opening up new purchasing options for customers and allowing them to reap the benefits of buying direct from manufacturers.

Advantages of Buying Direct

Purchasing raw materials and products directly from manufacturers provides several advantages to customers, several of which are highlighted below. It should be noted that if you are considering buying direct, make sure your manufacturer has experience and the right infrastructure and processes in place to deliver products directly at the necessary quality and within the desired timeframe. In order to reap the direct buying benefits below, you must partner with a manufacturer, like Amcor, that has the experience and expertise for direct purchases.

  • Lower Costs: simply put, costs are inflated when distributors are part of the supply chain. These costs include expenses such as of infrastructure, personnel, transport equipment and storage facilities. Direct buying means the intermediary is not involved, completely eliminating the costs associated with this middle step. These costs savings are then shared between the customer and manufacturer – a win for both parties!
  • Direct Line of Communication: when you buy direct you have a specific point of contact at the manufacturer that is accountable to you and is responsible for giving your account the attention it deserves. This direct line of communication provides many advantages. First, with fewer individuals involved it is safe to say there will be fewer miscommunications and confusion – additionally, there will be no one in the middle to potentially misinterpret the information being relayed between customer and manufacturer. Second, there will be fewer hurdles to receiving the latest information and guidance from the manufacturer. Last, but not least, buying direct allows the manufacturer and customer to build a long-term relationship which is advantageous to both parties. 
  • Improved Customer Service: the manufacturer has expertise in their product so when you buy direct you get to tap into this knowledge pool more easily. Direct access allows you to discuss with the manufacturer any questions you may have as well as more easily obtain recommendations on how to optimize product usage to maximize its benefits. Similarly, if you have concerns with the product or wish to discuss modifications, service matters are more easily addressed when a distributor is not in the middle as the manufacturer has full ownership of any issues. This arrangement also has benefits for the manufacturer as buying direct allows them to highlight their customer service offerings as a means of distinguishing them from the competition.
  • Improved Transport and Quality Management: manufacturers give up some control and oversight of the product when a distributor is involved. The more individuals involved in handling the product, the more potential for quality issues and delays during transport. Lead times are often more reliable when buying direct which means customers receive the right products at the right time and in good condition.
  • Ability to Purchase in Smaller Quantities: Yes, this is possible – smaller quantities are not just available from distributors! Many manufacturers only sell in large batches which does not make buying direct a viable option for some small or medium sized companies. However, not all manufacturers adhere to this model. Amcor, for example, sells in various volumes including small quantities, which makes direct purchasing from Amcor a viable solution for companies of all sizes! 

Amcor: Manufacturer & Distributor

Amcor is a manufacturer of polyethylene film and bags, as well as polyolefin compounds, additives, blends, and masterbatches. Amcor has grown from a single product line to hundreds of products and five product divisions. In addition to selling products, we also provide tech support, assistance with your equipment, and process recommendations.

Amcor is also a full line distributor of various chemicals, resins, and gases for the plastic industry. With warehousing and distribution facilities across the United States, Mexico, Eastern Europe and China, we service companies of all sizes and locations across multiple industries.

Amcor realizes that quick turnaround, on time delivery, a quality product, and personal service are what it is all about. Contact us today to learn how we can assist with your next purchase!


Top 5 Benefits of Polymer Additives

Polymer additives are chemicals added to the base polymer to improve processability, reduce raw material costs, prolong the life span, and/or achieve the desired physical or chemical properties in the final product. There are many additive options available and each one offers a specific improvement to the polymer’s functionality or stability. Below are the top five benefits of polymer additives. In addition to the improvements listed below, polymer additives can also be used to provide the desired color, odor, crystallization rate, density, insulation, anti-static, anti-microbial, and many other properties.

  • Improved Processing: these additives are combined with the polymer to improve the processability and processing characteristics of the material. Internal and external lubricants are very common processing additives that improve processing efficiency. Internal lubricants improve the polymer flow properties and mold filling by reducing friction within the polymer blend itself; examples of internal lubricant additives are fatty esters and waxes. External lubricants migrate to the surface of the polymer to reduce the friction between the plastic and the manufacturing equipment; examples of external lubricants are metallic soaps and fatty acids. Internal and external lubricants can be utilized together to achieve the desired processing characteristics. In addition to lubricants, there are other additives that can optimize processing properties. For example, de-molding agents can be used to facilitate better release from the mold. Examples of de-molding agents include silicone oils and graphite. 
  • Decreased Material Costs: fillers, or extenders as they are often called, are inexpensive additives that add bulk to the polymer and reduce costs by reducing the volume of base polymer consumed. Minerals are often used as fillers and examples include calcium carbonate, silica, glass fibers, and carbon black. Fillers can also impact the properties of the plastic such as enhancing its stability and moldability. 
  • Extended Life Span: nearly every plastic is prone to degradation when exposed to high temperatures, UV light from sunlight, and oxygen including ozone. This degradation can occur during processing or once the product is in service and the symptoms include brittleness, discoloration, and loss of physical properties that reduce the life span of the plastic. Additives, often referred to as anti-oxidants or stabilizers, are added to combat the deterioration of the plastic and to significantly extend the life span of the final product. UV stabilizers absorb UV light, protecting the plastic from its harmful effects. Anti-oxidant additives protect against oxidative degradation by minimizing the opportunity for free radicals to react with oxygen to form unstable molecules. Anti-oxidants, often called free-radical scavengers, react with the undesirable free radicals to prevent the reactions that lead to degradation; additionally, anti-oxidants destroy the locations on the polymer chain that are vulnerable to radical formation. Both forms these anti-oxidants are often used in tandem to achieve the desired stability. Examples of antioxidants include phenols, aryl amines, and phosphates, and examples of UV stabilizers include benzophenones and benzotriazoles.
  • Reduced Flammability: flame retardants are additives that prevent, delay, or slow down combustion. Flame retardants can be organic or inorganic compounds that are either mixed with the base polymer, added during the plastic processing step, or as a surface layer finish on the final product. There are different methods that are used by the additives to reduce flammability such as creating a foam layer for extra insulation, chemical reactions to inhibit combustion, and decomposition reactions that produce water. Sometimes more than one flame retardant is used to improve the level of protection. These additives are common in electrical products to avoid the ignition and burning of plastics. Halogens such as bromines and chlorines as well as phosphorus and nitrogen chemistries are common flame retardants.
  • Improved Flexibility: base polymers are often rigid and do not have the necessary flexibility and rheology, or flow, properties that are needed for plastics processing. Plasticizers are a type of additive added to improve rheology as well as elasticity. Plasticizers are one of the most common polymer additives and an example is phthalate esters used in PVC products. Plasticizers fit in the spaces between polymer molecules reducing intermolecular forces, leaving the polymer less rigid and more easily handled during manufacturing. Depending on the specific plasticizer, these additives can also impact other physical and mechanical properties of the plastic.

Amcor

Amcor is a manufacturer of polyethylene film and bags, as well as polyolefin compounds, additives, blends, and masterbatches.  Amcor has grown from a single product line to hundreds of products and five product divisions. In addition to selling products, we also provide tech support, assistance with your equipment, and process recommendations. Below are some highlights of Amcor’s additive offerings.

·         Flame Retardants ·         Rheology Modifiers – Amblend ·         Antiblock & Fillers – Amblock
·         Antistatic – Amstat ·         Slip – Amease ·         Stabilizers
·         Processing Aids – Ampro ·         Gas Diffusion Agents – Amage ·         TiO2 – Amti
·         Chemical Blowing Agents – Amcell ·         Nucleating Agents – Amron ·         Cross-Linking Agents
·         Masterbatch Colors – Amtone ·         Specialty Chemicals

Amcor is also a full line distributor of various chemicals, resins, and gases for the plastic industry. With warehousing and distribution facilities across the United States, Mexico, Eastern Europe and China, we service companies of all sizes and locations across multiple industries.

Amcor realizes that quick turnaround, on time delivery, a quality product, and personal service are what it is all about. Contact us today to learn how we can assist with your next project!


What Are Polymer Additives?

What Are Polymer Additives?

Plastics manufacturing has evolved significantly over time. Plastics were originally produced using a few natural materials but now there are thousands of plastics formulated from a wide range of natural and synthetic materials. One of the big changes over time in plastic formulations is the use of polymer additives.

Additives are chemicals added to the base polymer to improve processability, prolong the life span, and/or achieve the desired physical or chemical properties in the final product. While the content of additives is typically only a few percent, their impact on polymer performance and stability is significant. Once the additives are added, the polymer blend is referred to as a masterbatch and is processed accordingly.

 

Types of Polymer Additives

There are countless options when it comes to additives and each one offers a specific improvement to the polymer’s functionality or stability. Selecting the right additives for your polymer may seem like a daunting task - this is why it is crucial to choose a partner, like Amcor, that has extensive expertise in various additives and resins as well as experience with state-of-the-art compounding and blending processes. Amcor will guide you through the selection process to ensure the right additives are chosen for your specific application.

Below are common categories of polymer additives. Even within a specific category, such as flame retardants, there are numerous additive options available; the additive that is best for a given plastic depends heavily on the base polymer (to ensure compatibility) and the application of the final product.

--> Plasticizers: base polymers are often rigid and do not have the necessary flexibility and rheology, or flow, properties that are needed for plastics processing. Plasticizers are added to improve rheology as well as elasticity. Plasticizers are one of the most common polymer additives and an example is phthalate esters used in PVC products.

--> Anti-aging stabilizers: nearly every plastic is prone to degradation when exposed to UV light, such as from sunlight, and oxygen including ozone. The degradation causes brittleness, discoloration, and loss of some physical properties. Additives, referred to as anti-oxidants, stabilizers, or anti-ozonants, are added to combat the deterioration of the plastic and to significantly extend the life span of the final product. Examples of antioxidants include phenols, aryl amines, and phosphates, and examples of UV stabilizers include benzophenones and benzotriazoles. Additionally, black is an excellent UV absorber so paints, dyes, or elemental carbon black are often added to protect products against UV light.

--> Blowing agents: these additives are added to the base polymer and when a specific temperature is reached during processing they decompose, releasing gas that forms a cellular structure within the plastic. This structure reduces density and improves insulation properties. There are many different blowing agents available from salts to complex nitrogen-releasing chemicals.

--> Flame retardants: flame retardants prevent, delay, or slow down combustion. These additives are common in electrical products to avoid the ignition and burning of plastics. Flame retardants can be mixed with the base polymer, or added during the plastic processing step, or even as a surface layer finish on the final product. Halogens such as bromines as well as phosphorus and nitrogen chemistries are common flame retardants.

--> Nucleating agents: these additives improve mechanical properties and transparency. They also speed up the plastic crystallization rate, reducing overall cycle time.

--> Processing: these additives are combined with the polymer to improve the processability and processing characteristics of the material. Examples of processing additives include lubricants, and more specifically, fatty acids, hydrocarbon waxes, and some types of polyethylene.

--> Anti-static: these additives are used to minimize the potential for static electricity build up on the surface of the plastic, and in some cases even prevent it entirely. Examples of anti-static additives include amines, ammonium compounds, and polyethylene glycol esters.

--> Colorants: the purpose of these agents is to change the color of the final product. These additives are often pigments or dyes. The specific dye or pigment selected is largely based on which base polymer is being used as the two materials have to be compatible.

--> Odor: there are also additives to modify the odor of the final product. An example of an odor agent is when a chemical is added to paints to produce a more pleasing smell.

--> Anti-microbial: given the increasing trend in implantable medical devices and other technologies, anti-microbial additives are becoming more popular. These agents protect against deterioration of the plastic and reduce the potential for a microbiological attack.

 

Amcor

Amcor is a manufacturer of polyethylene film and bags, as well as polyolefin compounds, additives, blends, and masterbatches.  Amcor has grown from a single product line to hundreds of products and five product divisions.  In addition to selling products, we also provide tech support, assistance with your equipment, and process recommendations.

Amcor is also a full line distributor of various chemicals, resins, and gases for the plastic industry. With warehousing and distribution facilities across the United States, Mexico, Eastern Europe and China, we service companies of all sizes and locations across multiple industries.

Amcor realizes that quick turnaround, on time delivery, a quality product, and personal service are what it is all about. Contact us today to learn how we can assist with your next project!