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Rethinking How Plastics Manufacturing Continues to Grow

It’s common knowledge that when the plastic manufacturing industry grows, it does so by installing more production machinery and adding new factories. The industry’s biggest media outlets like Plastics News showcase this growth by regularly covering manufacturers that install new machines, open new factories, and acquisitions dedicated to adding more production capacity. Thus far, this tried-and-true method has paid dividends. However, as the cost of doing business in plastics rises, the way the industry continues to grow will have to change.

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Myths of Plastics Manufacturing: Manufacturers Are Cavemen

Manufacturing is an industry set in its ways. For decades, there’s been no crisis of how to make things, and what people need to do to keep it running day in, day out. For this reason, many people inside and outside the industry believe that manufacturing is in the Stone Age, run by cavemen, operating inefficiently. Even if plastics manufacturing hasn’t made big technology leaps in decades, this stereotype is far from the truth, and here’s the one reason why.

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Who's Behind Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing?

People and companies that produce new technology ultimately have a strong influence on the future of the industries where those technologies will be applied. In order to get an idea of the course of the next few years of development of smart technology in plastics, we took a look at 100 public professional profiles of people currently working on smart technology, industry 4.0, and industrial IoT. These are people from big manufacturers as well as smaller, newer companies looking to innovate*. Ultimately, this preliminary information points toward a future that looks a lot like the present.

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For Industry 4.0, Sales Matter Most

As a company in plastics, developing new technology, we feel the problem of slow Industry 4.0 adoption first hand. Some blame these difficulties on a lack of education, or bias against doing things differently. What few talk about is that the business market for plastics has been so successful that catching it with Industry 4.0 technology is difficult.

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Did Industry 4.0 Ever Make it to Plastics Manufacturing?

Did Industry 4.0 ever really make it to plastic manufacturing? Sort of. Industry 4.0 adoption has been slow because products are; (1) too expensive, because sales costs are high. (2) too complicated and demand too much upfront time, energy, and money to get online. (3) require too much time to use, making manufacturers feel like full-time IT workers.

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