Monthly Archives: May 2016

The History of Cellophane

iStock_000041386120_FullMany of the types of plastics we use each day have surprisingly interesting histories and stories of creation. As consumers we often don’t think about the type of plastic we are using or how it came to be. Was it created intentionally or by accident? Is it still used today for its original purpose? What is its effect on us? These are the kinds of questions we don’t typically think to ask, and we are actually missing out on fascinating history because of it.

wine spill 1Take cellophane for example. Cellophane has come a long way since its original creation in 1908 by Swiss chemist Jacques E. Brandenberger. The material was actually created as a result of a failed experiment by Brandenberger when he was originally trying to create a waterproof tablecloth. The story goes that Brandenberger was eating at a restaurant when he watched someone spill a glass of wine onto the nice tablecloth at their table. After seeing all the work and time this one spilled glass caused, it inspired him to create something that would repel liquids instead of absorb them. He set out to create this new type of tablecloth but was dismayed when he realized using viscose to spray a waterproof coating on fabric was too stiff.

But, with this failure came a realization: although the coated fabric was too stiff, it produced a clear film which easily separated from the backing cloth. He began exploring new possibilities with this great discovery. After ten years of research and experimenting, Brandenberger was able to create the waterproof material that was eventually named “cellophane.” “Cello” comes from the material used to create cellophane, cellulose, and “phane” comes from the French word for transparent, “diaphane.” With this creation Brandenburger also invented a machine that could manufacture cellophane in 1912. This marked the beginning of cellophane’s great potential and did not go unnoticed for long.

Cellophane was first used in the U.S. by Whitman’s Candy Company in 1912, shortly after the creation of Brandberger’s manufacturing machine. Whitman’s used the plastic for candy wrappers, and was the largest user of imported cellophane from France until 1924. It was in 1924 that cellophane received even greater attention by one of America’s leading plastics companies, spill 2

DuPont saw the potential in cellophane and acquired U.S. patent rights in 1923 to begin production in Buffalo, New York. Although cellophane was waterproof it was not vapor-proof, meaning it was impossible to use for food packaging since moisture could still collect inside the cellophane. DuPont hired chemist William Hale Charch to solve this problem, and four years later, he did. Now that cellophane was both waterproof and moisture-proof it could be used for food packaging, which is exactly what it was used for then and still is today.

With the invention of moisture-proof cellophane came great benefits for DuPont, including a tripling in the material’s sales between 1928 and 1930. In 1938 cellophane accounted for ten percent of DuPont’s sales and twenty-five percent of its profits, making it one of their best selling products.

DuPont is well known for many other materials and products besides cellophane. Materials we use every day come from DuPont, such as nylon, artificial leather, ammonia, and rayon. Then there are the materials used in very specific applications that also come from DuPont, like Kevlar, the bulletproof material used in police vests. Another material used in specific applications is DuPont Vespel, a polyamide with a unique combination of properties that makes it ideal for aerospace and other highly specialized uses.

DuPont’s products are even more interesting when their history is known. Because of this, DuPont created several pages on their website dedicated to telling the stories of their various products, going all the way back to 1802, the very beginning of DuPont. To learn more about the history of DuPont’s products, check out

For more on DuPont Vespel, visit their website.

For more on Jaques E. Brandenburger visit this site.


DSC_0138About Alyssa Warner

Alyssa Warner will be a senior at Judson University this fall. She is studying Graphic Design and has completed three internships in her field of study. Alyssa has interned at Kensington Church, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and thyssenkrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics Division.

Learn more about AIN Plastics and the family of thyssenkrupp Materials North America on our website. and for a catalog of the engineered plastics and other products thyssenkrupp Materials NA AIN Plastics sells please visit or join us on social media for the latest in plastics news and more.

Machined Plastic Parts Provide Solutions for Noise Reduction


The famous line from the 1993 Car-X commercial  “RATTLE RATTLE THUNDER CLATTER BOOM BOOM BOOM”** is a heads up for some people that improvements can be made to reduce noise. For engineers and operators these sounds on a manufacturing line or in a production environment are a trigger for to “investigate” the cause and dig into the field of tribology. In the field of engineered plastics, these noises can also be an opportunity to provide machined parts from thermoplastics as a solution for noise reduction and improved efficiency!

On the floor of production and manufacturing facility environments loud noises are an OSHA concern as they can be an issue for the health and safety of workers. In these situations, parts machined from thermoplastics can provide an design option that can greatly reduce noise levels and improve conditions. In addition, machined plastics can bring about increased efficiencies that reduce downtime.

“As with any occupational hazard, control technology should aim at reducing noise to acceptable levels by action on the work environment. Such action involves the implementation of any measure that will reduce noise being generated, and/or will reduce the noise transmission through the air or through the structure of the workplace. Such measures include modifications of the machinery”

Engineering Noise Control

Professor Colin H. Hansen & Dr Berenice I.F. Goelzer

Department of Mechanical Engineering – World Health Organization

(You can get a .pdf of their complete article on the topic of acoustics here)

Have you considered Thermoplastics, to reduce that noise and improve operational efficiency?

Key Characteristics of Plastic Components:

• Low weight – Easier handling, reduction in drive power required, improved lifting capacity

• Excellent price/performance ratio – Extended part life due to very high wear resistance

• Many are self-lubricating – Maintenance requirements can be reduced or eliminated

• Reduction of equipment noise and vibration

• Mating parts are not worn or damaged

• High mechanical strength, hardness and stiffness

• Impact strength even at low temperatures-cryogenic

• High mechanical dampening capacity

• Excellent fatigue resistance

• Good sliding and emergency running properties

• Outstanding abrasion resistance

• Dimensional stability and weather resistance

• Broad chemical resistance

• Will not corrode

IMG_0465 IMG_0496 UHMW-DSC_0056-2

Here are a few links to some other sources where you can learn more about the use of engineered plastics to help reduce noise and improve efficiency, plus a little link just for fun – in case you have never seen the 1993 commercial.

Connect with Vitrex on LinkedIn to see how a change to machined parts from PEEK helped to reduce noise caused by wind turbines.

Read more about tribology in one of an earlier AIN Plastics blog post by AIN Industry Segment Manager for DuPont™ Vespel® Paul Hanson.

If you don’t know the 1993 commercial we are referring to, no worries, you can find it on YouTube!

ASME (Americann Society of Mechanical Engineers) also has an excellent article that details the benefits many are finding as they replace metal parts with thermoplastic parts.

Finding the right thermoplastic for machined parts is not always a simple straight forward task of looking online or in a catalog. Today’s engineered plastics include thousands of options and many are specially designed with high wear applications in mind like bearing, bushings and more. As a provider of engineered plastic solutions we look to assist you in finding that just right plastic material that will meet the application specific needs and be the best possible value. In the end you may find benefits beyond noise reduction by changing from metal to plastic parts. If you have questions please contact me.


Kendall Montague
Industry Segment Manager

thyssenkrupp Materials NA
AIN Plastics Division

Kendall Montague is a veteran of the plastics industry with 16+ years experience working with OEM and MRO engineers assisting in developing thermoplastics material selection as well as custom design and fabrication using CNC equipment.

Active Member with the Energy & Polymer Group – Houston

AIN Plastics Participates in World Health and Safety Day with tkmna

It’s been a busy, active and fun year so far at AIN Plastics. Already this year we have had charity golf outings, 5K run walk events, bike rides and much more. This year’s annual World Heath and Safety Day at tkmna was no exception. thyssenkrupp Director of Safety Programs & 6S, Derek Overly, noted that the event had primarily focused on employee safety in past years. But this year the company wanted to add to the health side of the day. In fact, thyssenkrupp’s motto for this year was one word “Movement”! On the schedule was a lunch and learn featuring Dr. Barry Franklin from Beaumont Health and AIN Plastics, Markala Goodson, who spoke about the company group called tkactive. The day ended in a 5k Run Walk event for all employees.

Guest speaker, Dr. Barry Franklin presented great information on the importance of an active lifestyle

Guest speaker, Dr. Barry Franklin presented great information on the importance of an active lifestyle

Dr. Franklin provided an entertaining discussion of how everyone can do easy things to improve their health and create a healthy lifestyle no matter your age or current level of activity. Along with this, two lucky people took home a new fitbit, a great way to help track progress and keep you on track with fitness and healthy eating goals.

Next up in the day, Markala Goodson, presented information about thyssenkrupp’s tkactive program which is open to all tkmna employees. The group initially began in the AIN Plastics Division as AINFit.  AIN’s goal was to create a fun way to promote a healthy and active lifestyle and to support each other whoever we are. AINFit has an active FitBit group where you will find members challenging and cheering each other on as they meet their step goals. AINFit members also challenge each other with monthly contests and team up for everything from 5K run walks, to Mud Runs, and Bike rides. It’s been a great way to keep in contact with everyone and to work as a team even though our branches extend from the East coast to Dallas.

Markala Goodson, AIN Plastics Associate presented tkactive at World Health and Safety Day

Markala Goodson, AIN Plastics Associate presented tkactive at World Health and Safety Day

Some members of AINFit began by walking and have gone on to run their first 10Ks and beyond! The AINFit program has now gone company-wide and become tkactve. It’s free to employees, and has a simple goal of providing tips and information to achieve and maintain a healthy active lifestyle and to support each other. To that end Markala is always looking to add local 5K run walks, bike rides, and other activities employees can take part in. She is also doing contests for tkactive participants and keeps everyone up to date on the tkactive Twitter.

For World Health and Safety Day, Markala also brought in Catherine A. Smith, Executive Director/Vice President, Development, Midwest Affiliate from the American Heart Association. The Michigan area tkactive team joined in the annual Heart Walk in Detroit on May 14. In support of the

Markala Goodson, AIN Plastics Sales and Marketing Associate with Catherine A. Smith of the American Heart Association

Markala Goodson, AIN Plastics Sales and Marketing Associate with Catherine A. Smith of the American Heart Association

American Heart Association, thyssenkrupp will do a donation to the association for every employee that takes part.

On March 7, thyssenkrupp’s WE Move the World event began, a global step event for all employees of thyssenkrupp around the world. tKMNA’s Southfield office stepped it up on World Health and Safety Day with a 5K run walk and, in spite of the cold rainy day, the turnout was great and everyone enjoyed the course that lead everyone through a local neighborhood and park.

Other events for the day included a safety talk and some great healthy breakfasts, snacks, and lunches at other locations including AIN Plastics Kennesaw and Dallas. Topping it off, AIN Plastics Canton did their first 5K as a team and got the gear too!

Keep up with thyssenkrupp and everyone at AIN Plastics. We would love to be cheered on as we head out to more events. To find out more about how you can participate in the American Heart Association Heart Walks visit their site. Although the Detroit Walk for 2016 is past, other locations across Michigan and in other states are still coming up this year – You can visit them at



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See you in the blogosphere again soon

Lisa Anderson

Marketing Manager
ThyssenKrupp Materials, NA
AIN Plastics Division

lisa_anderson_001CroppedAbout Lisa Anderson

Ms. Anderson has been ThyssenKrupp Materials AIN Plastics Division for over 4 years. She brings 20+ years of advertising, award winning graphic design, social media and marketing. She has worked in book publishing, advertising agencies, printing, manufacturing, and the apartment industry. Ms. Anderson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Arts from Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI.