Monthly Archives: July 2012

Do I Need to use DuPont™ Vespel®?

It seems like nearly everyday we hear about a new breakthrough advancement in plastics materials. From biodegradable to new engineering plastics and more. Why I just recently posted one on our Facebook about a new invention that is being called OLED ( These new products and materials have features we couldn’t even imagine 10 years ago. So how do you know when you need to use certain products and when could you maybe use something a little less costly?

In this blog post, I wanted to take a look at one product in particular that we’ve talked about before; DuPont™ Vespel®. There has been a lot written and said about DuPont™ Vespel® and it’s with good reason. It’s been around for a long time (Since the early 1960’s) and the DuPont™ Vespel® product line offers some pretty unique features. But it’s also not the most inexpensive to purchase so we’ve created an easy top 10 list of things to consider when making product selection and considering whether or not Vespel® is right for your application…

The Top 10 Things to Consider when Thinking About Whether or not DuPont™ Vespel® Is the Right Material for Your Application:

1. When you have a critical application such as aerospace or military where DuPont™ Vespel® may be the ASTM specified product. (See our post “When Saving a Little can Cost you a Lot”). If it is specified you can stop reading here. You’ll want to be sure you follow the standard.

2. When you want a plastic material that will hold up in a high temperature environment and not lose it’s properties. DuPont™ Vespel® SP-1 and SCP-5000 can operate in temperatures up to 550° F with excursions up to 900° F! In fact, SP-1doesn’t even have a melting point. Gheesh, I’m melting in our Michigan weather this summer, but as hot as it is here, we aren’t even close to those temps!

3. When you have a high load application such as a bearing.

4. When you are looking for weight savings DuPont™ Vespel® can be an excellent alternative to metals such as aluminum or metallic alloys, or ceramics. It’s properties may even exceed that of metal and ceramic.

5. When you are working in a critical testing environment and need a low outgassing product.

6. When you need a long-lasting material. Low friction and high stability along with heat and wear resistance mean your parts last longer and require less maintenance.

7. Variety. In the “S” product line alone DuPont™ has over 10 products to choose from. This can help to save money as you don’t always have to get all the bells and whistles, but instead get a product that fits your specific application needs.

8. An easy to machine alternative to ceramic. VDuPont™ Vespel® has electrical insulative properties like ceramic, but the ease of machining using standard machining techniques means it can cost less to fabricate Vespel than it does ceramic. This is especially true for design that include details like under cuts, holes, or threads. Vespel is also tougher than ceramic and it can take high impact.

9. When lubrication may not be viable or when you need a low wearing material that can withstand poor tolerances or when you need low friction to improve efficiency. DuPont™ Vespel® Bearing Grade SC and SCP possess some of the highest unlubricated pressure-velocity limits among engineering plastics.

10. When you need a plastic with high chemical resistance, or that will work well under hard vacuum, radiation, oxygen compatibility, cryogenic conditions, and exposure to flame.

Common Uses for DuPont™ Vespel®
Now that we have 10 considerations did you want to know what DuPont™ Vespel® is being used in? OK, we pretty much mentioned aerospace and military. But beyond that you can find Vespel in snowmobiles, ATV’s, farm equipment, and semiconductors. Since 1964 Vespel has been used in transmissions, small motors, brake pad assemblies, seal rings, valve seats, bushings, washers, thrust plugs, anti-lock break systems, fuel systems, turbo chargers, vacuum pumps, door hinge bushings, belt tensioners, gear stick rollers, rubbing blocks,wheel disc nuts, steering and air conditioning systems, suspension systems, intake and exhaust systems, piston rings. Handling of hot glass in manufacturing of bottles and hot runner systems in plastic packaging manufacturing are two more! In other words it’s pretty tried and true in a lot of applications. It may not be right for yours, but to find out see how many of your needs are in the top 10. After that if you need more detail on specific DuPont™ Vespel® products, take a look at the following links. They will take you to product technical data for each DuPont™ Vespel® material. If you don’t have the time to do all that comparing, give us a call and ask one of our people. We can help you determine if Vespel is right for you, and if so, which one fits your application best.

New Video Coming Soon!
Just a heads up…we’ve got a new video coming soon. Above we mentioned Vespel machines easily and in our video we will show just how easily DuPont™ Vespel® machines and we will offer some tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years that can help you get the best out of these materials.

Until Next Time!

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager

ThyssenKrupp Materials NA

AIN Plastics Division

Why Should our Business buy Material Through Distributors?

Aren’t I better off Cutting the Middle man out and Going Direct?
In our pop-culture world today we are barraged with phrases like “buy factory direct” or “manufacturer direct cost savings to you”.  Are these cost saving statements even true, or just snazzy marketing terms meant to get ones attention?  Furthermore, is it relevant to your business decisions?  I think its worth a laugh to imagine people traveling miles to stand in line for a gallon of milk outside of a dairy farm.  We don’t really think about distributors on a day to day basis, but companies like Costco and Wal-mart helped make the term “just in time” (JIT) part of our common vocabulary and those organizations, by definition, are distributors. They build relationships with the dairy farmer, the bread baker, the shoe maker. They then buy in bulk and move product you need to places where it’s easy to buy them all in one place. (The one-stop shop.)

Let’s Apply Distribution to the Industrial Market
Let me illustrate these same principles of the use of distribution into the industrial marketplace.  As an example lets consider a sector of the healthcare market. Medical

Medical Plastic Rod Colors

grade plastic shapes are used in the manufacture of surgical instruments and devices, healthcare equipment and the like.  The raw material for medical grade plastics come in a variety of colors, sometimes its for ease of identification purposes between various sizes, sometimes colors may be valued for the aesthetics of an individual brand.  The real problem could begin when a desired color isn’t a common/standard color.  For example we can get a ‘flamingo pink’ produced but it will likely require both a lengthy lead time for the resin and a minimum quantity to extrude the shape.  The volume needed for such customization is usually out of most individual customers reach especially while their end product is still in the proto-type stage.  Now imagine this special color, along with other common ones, used by a large volume OEM and they perceive their best price is to buy direct from the mill.  Let’s also keep in mind the price of material may not really be the same as the cost.  So why might this company consider buying via a distributor instead of direct?

The ‘What-Ifs’ of What Could and Sometimes Does go Wrong

  • There is a resin shortage in the market – it happens! Aside from the pain of the long lead time there’s now no room for error; in quality or inspection, quantity changes to accommodate an increase in demand.
  • Outside forces affecting production or shipping and delivery – power outages, hurricanes or blizzards, fire or flood, etc.
  • The mill accepted the order for the flamingo pink previously, but then there’s a capacity or another manufacturing issue.  Now it’s a triage situation.  Consider what then may happen with the common colors that this same customer needs or for that matter the whole industry is wanting to purchase.

The Benefits of Buying Through a Distributor

  • Manufacturers produce material and they are experts at it!
  • Our manufacturing partners are, and should be, the innovators of new and better plastic materials to the market.
  • Most often manufacturers are single location facilities and many have a limited

    Customers can benefit from the large steady inventory distributors keep. It can mean low minimum orders and shorter lead time to receive your order.

    logistical reach.

  • Tying up space in their facility in order to stock huge amounts of material for customers limits areas they could use to expand operations.
  • The same great application and technical resources are still available to customers through an approved distributor. In fact, sales staff at distributors can also be a great resource for technical advice as they have relationships with multiple customers using the same product.
What Exactly Does a Distributor Do?
  • A distributor ‘supplies’ material so managing and inventing inventory solutions and moving product to customers is what we do – its who we are.
    • Multiple Locations Close to you. ThyssenKrupp AIN Plastics Division has multiple facilities and more people in a local area that can assist customers, and still helps them in meeting vendor reduction goals.

      Distributors often have many locations stocked with product while manufacturers often have a single location. Multiple locations can mean shorter lead time, and product you need in stock.

    • Large Inventory all the Time. We already buy in bulk from all the world’s best manufactures of plastics shapes thus providing the same quality of material.
    • Enjoy the Benefits of low Minimums and JIT. Combining volumes of special material may alleviate large minimums to any one customer.  Keeping material in our warehouse and not the customer’s allows for product to be received only when its needed.  This not only frees up space but inventory dollars that could be used for other business purposes.
    • Less Lead Time, Fewer Headaches. A good stocking distributors who focuses on your particular industry helps ensure a smooth flow of product thus becoming a buffer between the end-user and the bumps in the market such as issues of lead-time, volatile pricing etc.

It Is Called a ‘Supply Chain’ –Let us Be Your Strongest Link!

Lin Poulin
Telemarketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division


IAPD (international association of plastics distribution) “The Distribution Channel Value”, content provided from NAW (National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors) value

Know This, marketing tutorial  “Benefits Offered by Channel Members”

TexasA&MUniversity, Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution program,

Mergers, Takeovers, Healthcare Reform All Affecting Medical Device Market

Medical Device Manufacturers Delaying new Projects and Increasing Layoffs due to Unease Over Multiple Issues
CaduceusThe medical device manufacturers have had a volatile year so far with the impending device excise tax slated for 2.3% of total revenues generated to start 2013. In anticipation of this new tax many companies have delayed product development as well as New Product Introduction (NPI) until after the Presidential election in hopes that there is more clarity in regards to the excise tax.  Jitters within the EU have also contributed an overall uneasiness within the industry.  Major medical device companies like Stryker have already begun workforce reduction to the tune of 1,000 global employees from their workforce in the Orthopedics division with an estimated cost savings of approximately $100 million.  Former Stryker CEO Steve MacMillan in November of 2011, estimated the new tax will add an additional $150 million to their tax liabilities.  On Thursday, June 28, 2012 a spokesperson for Stryker stated that the added tax will eat into approximately one third of their R&D budget. Other companies such as Medtronic announced they will reduce their workforce by 1,000 employees globally across many of their business units, Smith and Nephew, and Covidien have also announced layoffs that began taking effect in 2011 and/or 2012 (see the Wall Street Journal for more)  With the House of Representatives recently  passing legislation (Health Care Cost Reduction Act H.R. 436) and the decision by the Supreme Court  on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in 2010 by President Obama the excise tax slated for January 1, 2013 is starting to look like a reality. At this point it appears that the big guys are setting themselves up to operate more effectively and efficiently with expectations of continuing to meet market demands, while also trying to maintain the quality standards that are required. Who in your eyes are the best positioned companies as we move forward? Can you really reduce headcount without having a detrimental affect on quality? With yesterday’s ruling I think it is very likely we will see even more layoffs as the industry attempts to reduce staff to offset the additional tax liabilities.

The Upside to the Shifting Medical Device Industry
In addition to the health care reform debate and the recent Supreme Court ruling,  mergers and acquisitions have also played a large roll in making this a volatile year as large medical conglomerates continue to acquire competitors in order to balance and strengthen their portfolios and focus on areas where they currently do not have a strong market share position.  Most notably the acquisition of Synthes by J&J (DePuy) for $21.3 billion, strengthening their brand in the Spinal, Trauma and CMF segments.  The deal which was approved by the FTC on June 11, 2012 with a provision that it divest its wrist fracture system (DVR ) to Biomet. (see FTC article) Without the sale,  the new Synthes/Depuy portfolio for Distal radial fracture devices would have had 70% market share.  Synthes is the market leader for these systems with an estimated 42% market share,  Biomet also previously agreed to acquire Depuy’s trauma unit for an estimated $300 million. (click here to see Johnson & Johnson’s article) I believe we will continue to see market consolidation through the remainder of 2012 and through 2013 with a major focus on Chinese manufacturers being acquired for easier penetration into this emerging market for devices.  Other notable acquisitions: Asahi Kasei acquired Zoll medical ($300 million). Symmetry medical acquired Codman ($300 million) and Stryker acquired Orthovita for ($316 million), Memometal in France ($150 million) and Boston Scientific’s neurovascular unit ($1.45 billion).

Speaking of China…
With yesterday’s ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will we begin to see even more business transition over to China? Will it be India? How about Africa, where many of the MRO Aerospace operations have sprung up. Is this an option for the medical device industry? Will R&D transition over to Asia at a faster pace than was originally planned for these corporations? Not only did the device industry take a hit yesterday, but its been a tough week with the Senate passing the User Fee Act for Medical device manufacturers increasing it from $295 million over the last five years to $595 million over the course of the next five years. What’s $595 million over five years for the device industry? We shall see, it should be an interesting run up to the election and an even more interesting time after the general election.

What will Happen to the Growth we Have Seen?
Although there has been little in the way of growth for most of the last 12 months in the medical device industry,  there are some fairly sizable product developments churning at some of the larger OEM’s. There have also been some key innovators that have popped up over the last 36 months.  Will these new guys set new market trends and turn into a preeminent market leader on a new system or device?  Will the innovators be the ones that help turn around domestic manufacturing or will they be gobbled up by one of the big guys that is looking to acquire some IP to add to its portfolio and then shift the manufacturing offshore? We are in interesting times, how will it all shake out? Stay tuned, we will find out sooner rather than later and as things happen I will do my best to bring the facts to light so everyone can stay informed about changes to this very important industry.

Dave Piperi

Sales and Marketing Manager – East Region
Medical Materials
ThyssenKruppMaterials NA
AIN Plastics Division


Here are links to related articles and websites:

The Wall Street Journal – Excise Tax Article

Federal Trade Commission conditions on Johnson and Johnson

Johnson and Johnson article from their website

Synthes website