Polymers are big business in Ohio. According to Wayne Earley, CEO of
, “Ohio is definitely a leader in the production and use of polymers.” According to its website, PolymerOhio is an Ohio Edison Technology Center focused on “enhancing the Ohio polymer industry company's global competitiveness and growth.”
Earley’s comments came on the eve of the two-day Ohio Polymer Summit, which was held June 6-7 in Columbus and attended by more than 150 people from throughout Ohio. This was the Ninth Annual Biennial Ohio Polymer Summit.
A presentation on innovation engineering leadership was one of the summit highlights, according to Earley. There was also a segment on shale gas and its impact on Ohio’s polymer industry. “Shale gas is very significant to our industry here in Ohio by lowering energy costs and also lowering the cost of basic polymer materials,” he explains.
Another important session was the introduction of the new computational methods program. “Small- and medium-size companies can’t afford to acquire the software needed for such things as mold design and extruder simulation,” Earley says. “With the assistance of a federal grant, Polymer Ohio is now making these tools available to smaller companies.”
The polymer industry is Ohio’s largest manufacturing industry, he states. “More than 130,000 people are employed in Ohio’s polymer industry. It’s a growing industry here.
There’s high growth in several specific segments, including conductive and electronic polymer materials, polymer nanocomposites, biomaterials and feed stocks and recyclable polymers.”
Earley points out that polymers aren’t just plastic. “They’re also in adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and composites of other materials.”
He says that Ohio is the world leader in compounding of polymers – combining different materials to achieve a set of specifications. PolyOne in Avon Lake is the state’s largest compounder, according to Earley. “They’re successful because they have the technology and the capabilities to develop materials and compounds that are specific to certain important applications. They’re also very innovative,” he adds.
Source: Wayne Earley, PolymerOhio, Inc.
Writer: Lynne Meyer