Charles A. Breskin
Long-time contributor to the interchange of innovative technology. Publisher of the first plastics magazine in the U.S. Charter member of SPI and SPE. Presently active ambassador between the plastics industries of the U.S. and Europe. Established Chair in Organic Chemistry at Brandeis University, and the School of Plastics at Boys Town, Jerusalem.
Charles on his Induction:
In a career in plastics covering over 40 years, I have been predicting year after year that we would be entering the "plastics age," and I truly believe that the time has now come. Our growth will continue to be phenomenal. Plastics as a material of design now plays a dominant role in every industry, worldwide, as important as steel, rubber, copper, wood, etc. -- all the so-called traditional materials. Thus, plastics have become important in our total environment.
Plastics pioneers have often been accused of promoting "blue sky" or even indulging in constant dreaming. Well, ofttimes dreams are the yeast of accomplishments. In the case of the plastics industry, the past is but the prologue to the future.
I remember attacks on the plastics industry by the well-established older industries. Remember when the china industry carried on a long and extensive campaign against melamine dinnerware? Melamine was pictured as a carrier of germs with dire results to the public health. But we have now overcome all this vilification. As a matter of fact, most of the plastics antagonists have jumped on the bandwagon and are now in the plastics business.
Right now we can look forward to tremendous growth in structural foam products, and gigantic machines loom on the horizon capable of 400-lb. moldings (or am I being conservative?). We have already achieved high-volume production of plastic bottles. But several years hence, as we enter the carbonated beverage field with high nitrile barrier resins, we will require at least 5 billion lb. of resins. And what about machinery to produce plastic bottles, at a rate as fast or faster than glass? That's here already, and we have in production use automated equipment producing 1 1/2-liter plastic bottles at 8000/hr. Just around the corner are machines to produce traditional 12- and 16_oz. plastic bottles at the extraordinary rate of 15,000/hr. So what's happening? Most glass bottle manufacturers are in plastics, and the few who are not are scrambling to get aboard. The latest study by SPE and the Stanford Research Institute is most revealing. Let's look at a few statistics:
- Resin production: 1971 -- 20.67 billion lb.; 1980 -- 227 billion lb. Growth rate over a 30-year span -- 8.6%.
- 2) Capital investment needed to meet predicted demand between 1973 and the year 2000 -- $115 billion, broken down as follows:
- Plants for raw materials -- $18 billion.
- Plants for plastic production -- $32 billion.
- Plastic fabrication facilities -- $65 billion.
- Value of products in current dollars:
- Resin production: 1971 -- $4472 million; 2000 -- $125,000 million.
- Plastic fabrication: 1971 -- $18,300 million; 2000 -- $506,000 million.
- Plastics processing machinery: 1971 -- $353 million; 2000 -- $3300 million.
Some scoff at these statistics, and have been doing so for a long, long time; however, the dreams of today are the realities of tomorrow. We in plastics have met these challenges before. I have great confidence in this still young and dynamic industry and the great men in the industry who I am confident will provide outstanding leadership.