Many of us throughout our lives have had particular times when we have had a “special guest of honor” join us in our home. These times are usually during the holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. The typical guests of honor list usually includes grandparents, children, or relatives who may be living a long distance from home-base, it could also be spiritual leaders such as your pastor, traveling evangelist, teachers, or the return of a long lost friend.
Whatever the occasion and whoever the quest we always strive to make the experience pleasant, we “bring out our best”. The air temperature must be perfect, the food must be the perfect texture and taste superb, the drink must be extra cold, and the dinner rolls extra fluffy. We also bring out the very best pots and pans for preparation; we get out the best plates, utensils, and our favorite serving dishes.
Have you ever wandered what sort of effort it takes to get just a small fraction of all the items you would need to prepare for such an occasion? Have you ever considered how many engineering hours there are in each and every item you will use in your dinner preparation? How many different materials are all of these various item made from?
There is a tremendous number of different metals, glass, stoneware, and ceramics, not to mention the large numbers of plastics.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of different plastic materials commonly used in the world today. Do you know which material you are using? Do you go out and research what materials are in a particular serving spoon before purchasing it? Do you know the upper temperature limitations before the spoon becomes too soft and weak to serve mashed potatoes for instance? What will happen to your serving spoon if you were to accidentally drop it on the ceramic tile, will it shatter into pieces, or will it just break into two pieces, or will nothing really happen to it?
I am certain that the majority of homemakers and cooks strictly rely on the “plastics professionals” to answer and research all of these questions. Understandably every cook does NOT research every utensil they buy, every pot handle, and every lid for each container of their plastic ware. So, as we celebrate the holidays take a moment to consider all of the plastic materials that you use. Consider the skills, technology, and professional collaboration that have come together over the last hundred years to bring these products to your holiday celebration. The design community uses the term human factors to consider how we humans interact with products. They design for fit, feel, function to improve the performance of these products. Developments in the science of materials expand the pallet for industrial designers to improve products. As plastics professionals we work to engineer the building blocks of the polymers, we compound these polymers into engineered applications and enhance with additives, colors and fillers to continue to extend the pallet for the designers. The tool makers and processors have worked together to complete this progression with the development of ingenious tools, machines and processes to transform these polymers into usable products. Possibly you have been to the plastics exhibit at Disney’s Epcot center where they highlight the use of plastics in the modern kitchen. There are plastic materials in your appliances that cook your meal, plastics in the trays and utensils that you serve your guests, plastics that make the pots and pans easier to clean, plastics in you decorations and even in your napkins and tablecloths. As you enjoy your ham or turkey this holiday season, account for the involvement of plastics in your celebration and consider your friends and colleagues that have worked together to make this possible. Take pride in the work we do to improve the quality of life and be encouraged by the work you do. At Blackwell Plastics we get the privilege to work with incredible customers every day to apply existing and new materials to create new products. It is a big part of what make it fun to come to work every day. If we can help you with your dream or idea to improve the quality of life with plastics you can reach us at www.blackwellplastic.com or 713 643-6577.
Dane Kinchen 11-22-2010
Project Engineer/Sales Engineer
Blackwell Plastics partners with OEM manufacturers and sub-tier suppliers in South Texas including Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi to provide plastic injection molding and plastic extrusion of engineering grade resins that satisfy demanding industrial applications. Blackwell Plastics supports plastic injection molding and plastic extrusion projects from design to fulfillment.