Limiting plastic products to certain usages is an impossible task, as the industry is a vast and products are innumerable. Many people understand plastic industry with plastic manufacturers, but the real story behind the industry is something more complex.
Plastic manufacturers use plastic manufacturing process in two ways – either by their own indigenous process, or by associate themselves with the industries they serve such as packaging, automotive and so on. More often, manufacturers are not involved in all processes; rather they are specialized in only one or two methods. Sometimes, big companies are involved in 3 or 4 processes but surely, the industry and processes are so vast, it is quite impossible to incorporate everything under a single roof. The final product (s) and the industry to be supplied are the determinant for the selection of process. For example, a company caters to plastic bottle manufacturer will use blow molding process rather than injection molding, which is more relevant for electronic industry.
Plastic products are innumerable in numbers, and plastics are quintessential part of most of the industries. The wide spectrum of industries that use plastic as their major components are medical, packaging, electronic and electrical, automotive, toys, agriculture, home furnishing and many more. Like industries, plastic materials are of different types such as PP (polypropylene) is a common material for plastic bags as well as to make car bumpers. These are come from resin producers, who have petrol chemical plants, manufacturing plastic resins. Here they convert by-products from crude oil refineries to make plastic materials. Resin producers sell products to resin traders who display different resin products to plastic manufacturers.
Colorants and Additives Suppliers – In a raw form, the plastic materials are mostly transparent or translucent, therefore, colorants are added to give it different shades of colors. In the same way, sometimes chemical agents are needed to be given to change certain characteristics of a material. For example to resist discoloration of plastic from long exposure to sunlight, UV stabilizers are added.
There are certain companies specializing in mixing materials, additives and colorants in large quantities. They have robust infrastructure where large scale mixing machines are installed, capable of mixing large volume of materials at a time. This process is more reliable as manufacturers generally use small amount of mixers.
In plastic industry, there is a separate branch that supplies machines to manufacturers. Further, these are specialized machines based on the process manufacturers are specialized in such as injection molding, stretch blow molding, blow film, profile extrusion, sheet extrusion, rotation molding etc.
In the similar way, there are auxiliary equipment suppliers who supply supporting machines to run a plant efficiently. Examples of such machines are hopper dryers, mixers, robotics, conveyor system etc.
Technical and engineering services – Some products are made in accordance to the technical specification of the industry a manufacturer is intended to supply. For example, car bumpers demand certain automotive engineering specifications to withstand collision impact and other technical aspects; therefore, suppliers have to take care of specifications of plastic quality before supply to the manufacturer.