Kickstart: A ripple effect for injection molders

Most years when Plastics News assembles its list of top injection molders in North America, the top 10 are fairly easy to predict: auto suppliers and a packaging company or two.But the challenges of 2020 are continuing to disrupt what we thought we knew about the industry.As Hollee Keller notes in her blog about this year’s top molders, auto production halts from COVID-19 and a microchip shortage are causing a ripple effect for suppliers.”You may be thinking … automotive is just one end market, and many others actually saw growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. But many of the largest companies in our ranking are focused almost 100 percent on automotive customers, and those companies took a hit when assembly plants shut down starting in March 2020,” Hollee writes.IAC, coming in at No. 3 for 2020, saw sales drop an estimated 18.4 percent. Plastic Omnium Auto Exteriors LLC in Troy, Mich., was down an estimated 20 percent, based on parent Cie. Plastic Omnium SA’s annual report.On the flip side, medical and packaging companies saw a boost in 2020. , and stay tuned for next week’s print issue when we list the companies beyond the top 100. People working in the old-school, mainstream auto industry have often mocked the electric car company Tesla for its status as a darling on Wall Street that, as far as they’re concerned, overpromises and underdelivers.But the headlines on EV startup Lordstown Motors Corp. are head-scratching in many other ways, which only adds to the negative opinion some people have about EVs in general.The publicly traded company first made a splash when it purchased the former General Motors Co. assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, with plans to build an electric vehicle there. But earlier this month, the company warned in a regulatory filing that it was low on cash and there were concerns about its long-term financial health.That was followed by news on June 14 that the had both resigned, and share prices dropped. The prices recovered, however, following a media event June 15 in which President Rich Schmidt said the company had “firm and binding orders” for the first two years of production of its electric pickup truck. Then on June 17, the company said, essentially, “Whoops. Those orders aren’t actually binding. .” (I’m paraphrasing here.)Share price has dropped from about $15.50 on June 8 to a little more than $10 now. Can Lordstown Motors survive? I’m not about to buy stock in it, no matter how low prices go. Eastman Chemical Co.’s Tritan copolyester has been a standout in consumer products and is one of the few material names recognized by the general public.Now the company is gaining new shelf space for bottles made using its Tritan Renew, made with 50 percent recycled content using Eastman’s Advanced Circular Recycling technology.The new , now on sale at Target stores, marks a shift not just for recycled Tritan, but also for brand owner Ello Products. While Ello has had some Tritan bottles in the past, its most popular products use stainless steel or glass.”Tritan Renew is the first recycled plastic material that stands up to the quality demands of our products and process, so we jumped at the chance to design a bottle that matches the sustainable qualities of the material itself,” Glen Gilmore, Ello’s director of design, said in a news release.”We incorporated the top-performing design details from our bestselling products to make this bottle as versatile and reliable as possible,” he said. Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you’d like to share with our readers? Plastics News would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor at Staying current is easy with Plastics News delivered straight to your inbox, free of charge. Subscribe to Plastics News Plastics News covers the business of the global plastics industry. We report news, gather data and deliver timely information that provides our readers with a competitive advantage.Customer Service:

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