Monthly Archives: June 2012

AIN Plastics Founder Passes Away

Norman Drucker, AIN Plastics Founder

Norman Drucker

Norman Drucker Leaves a Lasting Legacy

In the first few months of AIN Plastics blog posts I’ve gotten things rolling by telling you some things about AIN Plastics, primarily about the products we sell, a new service we offer, our TYGON award, and some industry information. But until now, I haven’t talked much about the people of AIN. With the passing of one of AIN Plastics founders, Norman Drucker, it is time to take a look back and pay tribute and respect to a man who was much loved and respected by those he worked with, by his competitors, and by those who knew him personally.

As the newbie at AIN Plastics I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Drucker, so I called upon two people that did, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time listening and learning about one of the men who began AIN Plastics.

Jerry Lane and John Colleluori are two AIN Plastics employees who worked with Norman Drucker over the years and each one calls him both a friend and a mentor. Jerry Lane recalled that even before he worked for Norman, when he was a competitor to AIN, he would always stop in and see Norman when he was in Mt. Vernon, NY, the home of AIN Plastics at the time. “I was always treated like a kid brother, Norman was a mentor even when I was a competitor and he helped me to get distributor lines I never could gotten otherwise. People trusted him.” Even though AIN was highly successful and was expanding into numerous locations, Jerry said Norman once told him he wouldn’t move into Jerry’s town because he didn’t want to hurt him. Norman understood there was success all around and he didn’t need to take from others to grow his own business. Jerry went on to say that Norman said if he ever wanted to work with him in some way to let him know. That time came in 1985 when Jerry decided to make his own company a part of AIN Plastics. He said in February of 1985 they made a deal and sealed it with a handshake, by April of that year it was official and Jerry Lane went to work for Norman and AIN Plastics.

John and Jerry both noted that Norman had a gift for business. It is said he had a photographic memory and he used it often to make sure business stayed on track. John and Jerry both shared some great stories of Norman’s ability to sift through a stack of papers and at any given time relate inventory, financial status and specifics on any branch, all from what he kept in his head.

You might be thinking Norman Drucker went to a large college and had degrees in business. Rather, he was a true success story, the kind you read about in books or see in movies. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He never went to college but instead went right to work, first as an appliance sales person, and then as a taxi driver. From there

Norman Drucker

Norman Drucker in the Early Days

Norman Drucker went to work at Almac Plastics and that’s when he really found his niche. Norman learned the plastics business and in a few years he and longtime friend Alex Gabay began AIN Plastics. John Colleluori noted AIN’s first sales of phenolic were done from a station wagon, but it wasn’t long before they were able to settle into a building in Mt. Vernon, New York and from there they grew, and grew, and grew!

When I asked Jerry and John what were some of the things that stood out most about Norman the first thing that came to mind was how honest and compassionate he was. Jerry knew Norman to be a person that didn’t hold grudges. Jerry recalled several times that Norman had a disagreement with someone but later helped them out in a major way, such as finding employment. Jerry said, “He was always there for people.”

When I asked what things he had done that made AIN so successful both men took a long breath and said well…. He was it! He was the driving force for a long time.

Norman was an innovator who began with only an inside sales force. That hadn’t been done in the world of plastic sales before. Jerry noted, “If we weren’t taking calls we were making calls!” John said the philosophy was and still is, everybody sells and he chuckled as he recounted stories of Norman sitting in the center of the bullpen working right alongside with everyone else. John said, “Sure, he had a really nice office, but most of the time he didn’t use it. He was right in there with us making it all happen.”

John noted the catalog business AIN Plastics had was another key in their growth. “We were a one stop shop for plastics. We made it easy for people to get everything they needed from one source.” AIN didn’t do just one catalog either. They developed niche market catalogs, like products for schools, so before the days of google, people could easily find the products they needed fast. AIN was also one of the first to take their information online. Norman knew his customers well and always focused on how to best service them. In 1993, AIN Plastics was appointed E.I. DuPont’s first national distributor of Vespel® PolyImide stock and from there AIN Plastics expanded into specialty grades of nylon, Delrin, PTFE, thermoset laminates and more.

After many years of nonstop work, Norman and his partner Alex decided to sell AIN Plastics to Thyssen Inc. NA (now ThyssenKrupp Materials NA). The sale took place in 1996 and Norman stayed in the company for three months before leaving and settling into full retirement.

A few years back Norman Drucker was recognized by the Plastics industry and another longtime AIN Plastics employee, Vincent LaLima who knew him well wrote an eloquent letter about Norman Drucker’s contributions to the plastics industry for the IAPD. Click here to see his letter in full.

Even though he had not been directly involved in the plastics industry for some years, he remained friends with many of those he had worked with. Norman Drucker was 73 when he passed away after a long battle with cancer in June, 2012. His funeral had standing room only and many more visited to pay their respects to his family and say farewell to a man that helped bring engineering plastics into the modern industry it is today.

So there you have it. A brief story of Norman Drucker and along with it the early history of AIN Plastics. I don’t think you could tell the story of one without telling the story of the other. Although AIN lives on and has grown even larger and better over the years since Mr. Drucker it is clear that it all began with the strong foundation laid by it’s founders. Our hats go off to you Norman Drucker!


Lisa Anderson
Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA, AIN Plastics Division

For more information about AIN Plastics please visit our website:


Aerospace Utilizing More Plastics

When you talk with Paul it is clear that he truly enjoys his work and shares a passion for flight, with his aerospace colleagues. Paul says, “To me, It’s almost magical to see a Boeing 777 loaded with over 400 people in it’s cabin, thundering down the runway powered by just 2 jet engines.”  The “Boeing Triple 7,” as its now known, was launched in 1990, over 20 years ago.  At that time it was unheard of to fly around the world in a passenger jet with only 2 engines. Thanks to the Triple 7 plane Boeing proved that long flights were indeed safe and with that realization Boeing changed air travel forever.

Paul noted that on the first Boeing 777 plane it was highlighted that 10% of the plane was made of non-traditional composites and yes – PLASTIC!  It was also the first jumbo passenger jet to implement “fly by wire” controls, now considered the norm for newer planes.  As we’ve all heard in the news, rising fuel costs have dramatically affected travel cost whether by air or other means. Since fuel is the largest expense on a commercial flight, weight factors have become precious numbers in the calculations of whether a new plane makes sense for an airline to commit to adding it to their fleet.  The Boeing 777 LR lifts off at nearly 750,000 lbs. and that’s a lot of weight to move around, so any savings in weight can add up over time to a big difference in cost! DuPont™ Vespel’s® SP-1 and SP-21 can be found on many components including the engine area and many of the control systems.

Today Boeing is starting to deliver the first of over 700 orders for their newest aircraft, the B-787 Dreamliner.  This engineering gem will cut operation costs by over 30% compared to a large B-767 jetliner.  It’s no surprise that Composites and plastics will replace even more steel than ever before on a jumbo jet.


Image showing the average use of plastic materials in the Boeing 787 Airplanes

All percentages on useage are from published Boeing information

AIN Plastics is one of several ThyssenKrupp Material Divisions that have been deeply entrenched in Aerospace for many years.  Steel and aluminum have been major components of aircraft since the Wright Brothers determined that wood and fabric could only go so far in air travel, and with the high tech engineering plastics we now have AIN Plastics expertise has been welcomed into the aerospace business as well. Paul says he is not surprised that these days plastics are finding their way into more parts of today’s jetliners just as they are finding their way into cars, trucks and other vehicles.  In both aerospace and automotive industries the benefits of choosing plastics stem from many of the same reasons:

  1. Lower weight means less fuel used
  2. Specialized Engineering Plastics can eliminate the need for lubrication (like internally lubricated DuPont™ Vespel’s® SP-22 and SCP-5050)
  3. Plastics can extend the life of mating parts because they wear well under extreme conditions such as high heat
  4. Plastics can last longer than steel in corrosive environments
  5. In some cases plastics can rival or surpass the properties of previous materials including metals, wood, and more.

Throughout Paul’s work in the plastics industry he has found when it comes to plastics, no material is more high tech than DuPont™ Vespel®.  He explained this family of Polyimide Thermoplastics can handle temperatures over 550°F  with excursions up to 900°F.  Some Vespel® is graphite filled to reduce friction, others have a coefficient of thermal expansion close to that of steel. The unique combination of benefits is what makes Vespel® the choice material for Actuators, Bearings, Bobbins, Bushings and many other components that work behind the scenes to keep the mechanical functions of an airplane functioning. In fact, DuPont™ Vespel’s® use in aircraft is mandated by ASTM Standards (ASTM D 6456-99, MIL-R-46198) as the material to be used in numerous applications. For more on this, see our earlier blog post titled “When Saving a Little can Cost you a Lot!” Paul noted too that “AIN Plastics is the DuPont™ Vespel® Authorized distributor so you can always buy with confidence that you are getting authentic DuPont™ Vespel®.”

To find out more contact AIN Plastics today and Paul Hanson or one of our other AIN Plastics sales team will be happy to share the benefits of high tech plastics with you and more importantly, work with you to engineer these components into your products. When it comes to highly specialized materials like DuPont™ Vespel® there are many things to consider and our sales team is knowledgeable in products as well as applications so we can assist you in finding just the right material for your needs.

For more about DuPont™ Vespel® visit our website: or call us toll free: 877.246.7700

Now that you are thinking about plastics on airplanes, the next time you jump onboard,  take a look around, see where plastics have made for a more comfortable and safe ride.  FYI – Even the mirrors may just be a polycarbonate supplied by AIN Plastics. Most of all, enjoy a safe and happy trip!

See you again soon!