Thursday, April 30, 2015

Americhem and Junior Achievement

Americhem’s partnership with Junior Achievement started with retiree Rick Mathew, who served as our COO in the early 2000s. As a long-term member of Junior Achievement, Rick brought the program to Americhem and I took a personal interest.

I believe that giving back to the community is important. A colleague and I chose to work with high school students. This decision was important to us because these students are getting ready to graduate and enter the world as adults, and we thought that they would really benefit from a real-world business education.
Six years ago we held our first session at Stow High School. We joined a teacher who taught an impressive business management course. Every year for seven weeks, my colleague and I teach courses to this business management class. We start with business ethics and move onto entrepreneurship, which is really fun to do with the students.

When teaching entrepreneurship, we ask the student to create a business. During each step of the business development process, we teach business terminology and best practices. The end result is having the students pitch their “businesses” to potential investors. It is amazing to see their creative spirit. The pupils take the program seriously and are quite impressive. I can remember one year a student arrived dressed as a pig to promote his business where every kind of food was wrapped in bacon.

The classes we work with are amazing. We open ourselves up to be their mentors and there are students that have continued to stay connected after graduation. We had one student who came to Americhem after she graduated high school to intern with us for four years while she was attending college.

In 2011, a colleague here at Americhem and I were nominated by our teacher/partner from Stow High School and won the Northeast Ohio Junior Achievement Volunteer of the Year award and we are now part of the Junior Achievement’s Hall of Fame. That was a really great moment because even though we voluntarily worked with these students and observed their progress, the acknowledgement that we were making a difference in their lives was quite an honor.

I look forward to teaching the classes every year and I believe that Americhem and Junior Achievement make great partners to give students the tools to excel as they continue their education and move into the business world.
For more information about Junior Achievement and how you or your business can be part of this great program visit their website.

Christa Batton
Human Resources Manager - North America, Americhem Inc.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

An Insider's Perspective On NPE

Doug Croley, National Account Manager-Packaging, has worked for Americhem for 43 years. During this time, Doug has worked at every single NPE booth that we have ever had. The 2015 show marked Doug’s 10th NPE, giving him a unique perspective on the event itself and Americhem’s participation. We asked Doug to reflect on NPE and his experiences.

Americhem's very first NPE exhibition in 1988, Chicago, IL.
From left to right: Doug Croley, Frank Fire and Bob Platt.
Americhem had its first booth at NPE in 1988. Frank Fire, Americhem’s vice president of sales and marketing, was in charge of the booth, which was small -- maybe 10 ft. by 12 ft. if I remember correctly. Not only was this our first NPE show, this was Americhem’s first time ever exhibiting at a trade show of any kind. As such, we didn’t think about previewing every detail of the booth before it was shipped to Chicago. So when we arrived at the booth the day prior to the show, Frank was mortified to see that the 3D lettering of the word “Americhem” was made entirely of wood. How could a plastics company exhibiting at a plastics show have wooden letters? Frank protested vigorously, but in the end, it was too late to fabricate plastic letters and the show went on. This was a lesson we would never forget.

During our second NPE in 1991, our booth featured a clear plexiglass pyramid with a hair dryer mounted at its base. We displayed our colored masterbatch pellets in the pyramid, and the blow dryer kept them in motion throughout the show, which grabbed a lot of visitors’ attention. But then, as the second day of the show was progressing, the heat from the hair dryer began fusing the pellets together, creating a mess and ruining the desired effect. To solve the issue, we had a new shipment of pellets sent to us from our Cuyahoga Falls plant so we could change out the pellets. This continued every day for the rest of the show and we had learned another valuable lesson.

Back in those days, NPE was dominated by resin suppliers like Dow, DuPont and GE Plastics featuring massive booths with multi-million dollar budgets. As the show progressed and grew, more people started attending and all of the booths started to look much more professional. Those visitors to the shows in the late 80’s and 90’s could really get a workout at Chicago’s McCormick Place. I remember it being said that if you walked every aisle of the show, you would amass 14 miles of walking, and you felt every step!

The biggest booth we ever had was in 2000, when we had a double deck meeting room structure with four conference rooms. This was also our biggest booth in terms of floor space (30 ft. by 90 ft.) I remember we chartered a sightseeing boat on Lake Michigan in the evening during a couple of shows. We entertained customers on board and had a great view of the Chicago skyline at night. One year, there were fireworks along the shore and I remember the captain backing up so we were almost exactly underneath them.

So how has the show changed over the years? Well, there are a lot less mega-booths by resin suppliers. Our sales cycle was much quicker years ago due to easier approval processes and conversion costs. The switch to Orlando as the venue for the show has enabled companies to take a more active part in building and modifying their booths. In Chicago, if we wanted to move a flower pot or straighten a graphic, we had to have one of McCormick Place’s union laborers do it for us.

What has remained consistent is the enthusiasm and hard work of the Americhem booth staff. Everybody puts their game face on when it’s time to work the booth, but it doesn't prevent us from having fun. Some of the best parts of the experience are meeting with customers after the show and getting to know them as people over dinner. NPE has also been a great time for Americhem commercial staff from around the world to meet face-to-face with one another to exchange ideas and promote comradery.

The ten shows I’ve been a part of have been great experiences and very rewarding for Americhem. I’m looking forward to working at least one more NPE, and even though it’s years away, there’s no extravaganza quite like it.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Best Qualities of Composite Decking

Classic wood decking sure looks good, but it comes with a lot of maintenance. That’s why composite decking is a populor option for people looking to stay away from the potential splinters and staining sessions.

Composite decking needs to maintain the look of real wood for a long time, which is why Americhem offers premium color masterbatches that keep the faux option looking excellent for longer.

Maintain composite decking qualities with Americhem custom color masterbatches.Faux Wood That Looks Real

Good composite decking has to pass the eye test. A big part of having a product look like real wood is to effectively mirror woodgrain patterns, which is why Americhem came up with our nGrain® simulated woodgrain technology.

nGrain® is compatible with various resins, giving composite decking the look of natural wood, with realistic streak types and grain patterns built directly into the formulation. 

Weather Resistance

Decking should be built to last. Real wood can worsen with age, with splintering, mold, and fading colors as eventual possibilities. Americhem can help composite decking look good for a long time, as nGrain® is designed with durability in mind.

Still not sure about how your composite decking will hold up to Mother Nature? In order to maintain color retention and functional longevity, we can test your products in our weathering testing facilities, allowing us to determine just how they will react to long-term exposure to UV light, heat, moisture, and humidity.

A Masterbatch Solution

People want to enjoy their deck and not have to constantly maintain it. Composite decking enhanced with Americhem’s custom color masterbatches can look just as good as a wooden deck and maintain its quality for much longer.

Give us a call at 1-800-228-3476 or contact us online to see how Americhem can benefit you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How Americhem Helps Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Since its start in 1970, Earth Day has grown to become the largest civil observance in the world. In honor of the 45th annual Earth Day on April 22, we’re going to examine what Americhem does to make the world a greener place.

Americhem promotes environmental practices through nBalance™ and other services.Environmental Goals

At Americhem, everything starts with the company principles that have guided us for the past 70 years. Part of those principles asks us to act as proactive stewards for the environment while providing value for our customer. We achieve this through:
· Product designs with the lowest environmental impact
· Innovative ways to reduce our use of natural resources
· Manufacturing and distribution methods that minimize energy use
· Partnerships with suppliers who share our dedication to sustainability

Providing nBalance™

One of the ways that we reduce environmental impact is through nBalance™ sustainable solutions, a mix of color and additive masterbatches that are designed to:
· Lower environmental impact
· Reduce consumption of natural resources
· Use minimal energy in manufacturing and distribution

Our color and additives also help create products that contain various recycled materials, giving you consistent results with more environmentally-friendly materials. We also make close to 900 unique products that do not require on-site applied materials, eliminating the need for painting, staining, or other on-site finishing methods.

Go Green with Americhem

With Americhem, you have a partner that not only provides you with top-of-the-line color and additive masterbatches, but also one that can help you limit your impact on the environment. Call us today at 1-800-228-3476 or contact us online to see the Americhem difference for yourself.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Domotex Asia/ China Floor 2015

The 17th edition of Domotex Asia/ China Floor was held March 24-26 at the Shanghai New International Exhibition Center. With more than 1,275 companies in attendance representing all flooring industries from decking to carpets and turf, this is the largest floor materials show in Asia. The Americhem team joined the more than 30,000 visitors from over 100 countries to learn about the newest trends and technological advances of the flooring industry. Our commercial team enjoyed networking and seeing what the big names in flooring had to display.

Belgian carpet company Beaulieu International Group will invest 13.5M dollars on two plants in Weihai City. They have already began the process of moving their equipment from Belgium to these new China plants. This is just one of many examples that show manufacturing being moved here to China where raw materials and many customers are located.
Shanhua Carpet, which is also located in Weihai City introduced their new line of Tylon products which is an innovative biological based fiber for carpets. These products are made of a new generation of their already eco-friendly fiber Sorona, which is a flexible, renewable fiber used in the carpet industry.

Shanhua also introduced its GY1323 series of carpets that are marine themed. These carpets are made with textures of polygonal cells with shimmering sea and oval patterns like shells on the beach. Paired with a pleasant ocean wall decor, it conveys features of environmental protection and comfort. You can see the trends changing in the industry away from the muted stock colors to more vibrant colors and patterns. There is much less beige living room carpet or self-promoting corporate designs.

The hottest products this year had to be the PE Wood Plastic Composite (WPC) co-extruded products. Sentai, Helong and New Techwood are major players in this market and are bringing the innovation to the forefront of industries such as decking. Right now, their business is going out to Europe, USA and Canada.

There was an educational seminar this year about WPC to introduce its innovation and usefulness to the flooring market. We also learned that Trex plans to enter the China market and will soon introduce their own line of PE WPC co-extruded products.

Domotex Asia/China Floor is always a great event and we are grateful that we were able to attend to see not only our customers, but to see how the industry as a whole is growing.

Frank Li, Commercial Manager, Americhem SUZ
Bruce Zhang, Technical Sales Manager, Americhem Suzhou
Rose Tu, Commercial Manager, Americhem SUZ

Monday, April 13, 2015

Optimism Abounds at NPE2015

Americhem's booth saw a steady stream of traffic throughout NPE2015.
NPE2015 is now in the history books and what a show it was! Optimism abounded among the visitors, exhibitors and show owners, the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI). According to Plastics News, 65,810 visitors attended the show, representing almost a 20% increase over the 2012 show in Orlando. That first NPE show in Orlando was considered highly successful, so exceeding the attendance by that kind of  margin is noteworthy.

So what made this NPE so great? Certainly the enthusiasm of the visitors was noticed at the Americhem Group booth. They came from over 23,000 unique buying companies and they came to spend money, as more than a half dozen major machinery manufacturers announced purchases on the show floor. A continuing trend was the global nature of the show, with more than a quarter of the attendance from visitors outside of the U.S. More than 5,000 visitors were from Latin America and our Latin American representatives were the busiest guys in the booth for much of the exhibition.

Our booth featured a full-sized Arctic Cat® ATV featuring
material from Infinity LTL Engineered Compounds.
NPE records were set in the number of exhibitors and amount of booth space sold. For a show that has been in existence for 69 years, these records are especially meaningful. We observed optimistic exhibitors at nearly every turn as our staff walked the show floor. Traffic to the Americhem Group booth was especially heavy Monday through Wednesday and we even had significant conversations with buyers on Friday, the last day of the show, which is typically sparsely attended.

The favorable economy certainly contributed to the upbeat nature of NPE2015. Attendees were especially interested in innovation. “What do you have that’s new?” was the typical question asked by visitors and Americhem Group delivered with new nDuramax™ UV products for films, new Color Rx® medical grade flame retardant compounds and new manufacturing capacity at both Americhem and Infinity LTL plants.

Having Americhem and our new sister company, Infinity LTL Engineered Compounds, exhibit at the same booth was a first. Representing a broader product selection including both color and additive masterbatches and engineered compounds led to some interesting meetings and discussions. Visitors also got to check out an Arctic Cat® ATV featuring color compounds from Infinity LTL, a 3D printer demonstration, and participate in the NPE Color and Plastics Challenge, a contest testing participants’ knowledge of the industry.

So Americhem Group left NPE2015 with a very optimistic view about the industry and our place in it. We’re excited that the 2018 and 2021 shows will stay in Orlando, as this venue has been a successful one for SPI and for our Americhem group. We’re following up on discussions with dozens of companies and we’re excited to try and help their businesses grow, mirroring the optimism of the industry. 

Scott Blanchard
Corporate Marketing & Communications Manager