NPE ’12: US plastics group launches bid for major manufacturers

03 April 2012 22:44  [Source: ICIS news]

ORLANDO, Florida (ICIS)--The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) on Tuesday launched a campaign to recruit major downstream resins consumer companies as SPI members in a bid to gain more high-profile influence on Capitol Hill and with the public.

SPI president Bill Carteaux said the plastics trade group would be seeking new members among such large manufacturing sectors as automobile makers, auto parts producers, medical equipment giants and major consumer products companies.

Those downstream industries, known as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), produce a wide range of products sold to consumers or end-user service sectors, products that include significant plastic components or are packaged in plastics.

SPI’s current membership is made up chiefly from three industry sectors: resins producers, manufacturers of plastics processing machines and tools, and companies that purchase the machinery and resins to churn out consumer products or intermediate industrial component parts and supplies.

Adding OEMs to the SPI’s ranks of some 950 member companies, Carteaux said, would help give the plastics industry more development insight and more influence muscle in dealing with major issues such as sustainability, recycling and green manufacturing initiatives.

The OEM member firms also would help advance SPI's work to expand global markets and protect US manufacturing jobs, he said.

He said that SPI hopes the OEM recruitment drive would bring in 50-100 new companies over the next two years. If realised, those additions would boost the society’s membership to more than 1,000 and bring a new revenue stream into the group.

Carteaux said OEM member firms also could add considerable strength to SPI’s ongoing grassroots outreach efforts, such as campaigns to get plastic industry workers to take active roles in contacting their local, state and federal political representatives to advance their industry’s interests.

The US plastics industry has about 900,000 workers, he said, “and adding major OEM companies could double or even triple our grassroots strength”.

Among downstream OEM producers that SPI might seek to recruit, he said, would be such firms as Kraft Foods, Nestle and cosmetics manufacturers along with automakers and medical equipment and supplies producers.

SPI already has a handful of OEMs among its members, he noted, including 3M, Coca Cola, SC Johnson and Dart.

Carteaux also said the networking that would come with OEMs among SPI’s current members could advance product development, giving resins and plastics producers, machine makers and applications companies better insight into their downstream customers’ needs and objectives.

Carteaux spoke with reporters during the 27th triennial National Plastics Exhibition (NPE), for which SPI is the sponsor.

This year’s NPE marks the 66th year of the show’s operation, and 2012 also is SPI’s 75th anniversary.

The conference runs through Thursday.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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