“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US patent office – 1899
I write this article in a time of economic recession not to reveal a new technical discovery, but to encourage you that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. I want to encourage you that the drive for innovation and the opportunities that invention creates are bountiful in our region. If Charles H. Duell could only see us now. How many of you enjoy looking through Sky Mall, Sharper Image or Hammacher Schlemmer magazines for the new widgets, gadgets and innovative ideas? What drives innovation? What inspires us to invention or to pursue cheaper, better and faster? Irritation, inconvenience, inflation, war, greed, or unmet needs all inspire innovation. Competition and market incentive drives every industry to look at innovative ways to create new revenue, increase margins, maximize cash flow, and reduce inefficiencies. Competition to improve performance drives our engineers to challenge the status quo, solve difficult problems, find process improvements, and discover new inventions. As a custom manufacturer in Houston, Texas, I see first hand the overflow of new inventions and opportunities in our city. Inventions in medicine, chemistry, material science, information technology and energy are happening every day in our city.
The plastics industry is a magnet for inventions and every week new ideas and innovations for all industries are coming to life in Houston. Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center where more than $2 billion is spent annually in research and development and more discoveries, patents, and innovation are created than can be commercialized. Houston also has the University of Houston, Rice, Houston Baptist University, St. Thomas and several other colleges and research institutions that are conducting research in every scientific discipline. Houston is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, the capital of the U.S. energy industry, and our own massive chemical manufacturing facilities along the Houston Ship Channel.
Without sharing details of customer proprietary secrets, we are seeing innovations in the medical device industry, energy, electronics, and aerospace industry. Plastics are finding applications into many new product innovations. We are participating in new products for electrical connectors, clamps, valves, meters, seals, medical devices, specialty pipe and tubing, and oil field testing and production equipment. We partner with the resin manufacturing and compounding companies to match materials to these specialty products. Some of our recent projects include the application of high molecular weight plastics, barriers for corrosive gasses and acids, water soluble materials, thermoplastic composite materials, materials with Kevlar rope to add tensile strength, and chemical resistant tubing suitable for bonding. Invention and inspiration are alive and well in 2011. It is these innovators that make it fun to come to work every day and this abundance of opportunity that gives us confidence in a strong economic recovery. If only Charles Duell could spend a week in our shop, he would recognize that the opportunity for invention is limitless.
If you are an innovator and would like to pursue your innovation visit us at www.blackwellplastics.com or call (713) 643-6577.