Archive for May, 2023

Congratulations to Marie-France Sosa on being elected Madame President of SPE Quebec!

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The alarm clock rings, I open one eye to see the time displayed through the GPPS screen, and I press the snooze button to give myself time to stretch quietly in my soft polyester blankets before getting up. I open the extruded PVC window assembled with a TPV seal to see the weather and take a deep breath of fresh air. I lower the temperature of my thermostat in PC FR. Head for the shower, made up of a large thermoformed ABS/PMMA bi-material sheet with shelves molded into the wall to avoid joints. ABS provides impact resistance, while acrylic (PMMA) provides a glossy surface that is easy to clean and that provides scratch resistance. I notice that my shampoo bottles, previously made of HDPE, are more often made of PETE now. This is no doubt because the major manufacturers of personal care products have realized that HDPE is recycled much less than PET water bottles which retain their transparency once recycled, allowing a greater choice of colors. When I get out of the shower, I carefully extract my acrylic-based contact lenses from the protective PP case to insert them into my eyes and regain perfect vision. When working from home I wear my cellulose glasses with acrylic lenses that have been coated against blue light. I then apply my moisturizing creams which glass jars are fitted with unscrewable PP lids with threads that perfectly match those of the container to allow easy opening/closing repetitively while preventing the content from losing its moisture and hardening.

I start the coffee maker made of metallic ABS parts to give it a more stylish look. Coffee capsules, extruded in multi-layer film and then thermoformed, are increasingly being replaced by compostable starch-based plastics. I open the fridge to prepare my lunch. SAN or MABS drawers allow me to see the food at a glance. I grab a PET bottle of vegetable juice that protected the liquid from oxidation during transport and tableting to my fridge. I take the sandwich that I made the day before in which “zip-loc” made of PE film has kept it fresh. Another item for my lunch: the vegetable salad stored in a PETG container with a clarified PP lid equipped with flexible hinges and overmolded with a TPE gasket ensuring a good seal so that the vinaigrette does not leak! I put everything in my lunch bag with a blow molded HDPE ice pack.

I put on my clothes, the stockings of which are made of nylon, invented by DuPont in 1935-1938. Next step: makeup. Brushes for applying cosmetics have soft polyester or nylon bristles. The ABS cases have acrylic lids so I can see and choose the colors well. Then I grab my toothbrush, which alone is an example of manufacturing genius. It presents the complex assembly of a polypropylene handle overmoulded by injection in a multi-cavity rotating mould, and extruded nylon or PP monofilaments whose molecular chains have been oriented to give them more resistance.

A look at my cell phone which data has been updated thanks to the telecommunication system composed of fiber optics with PEI connectors, and ABS FR or PPE cases powered by electrical wires covered with flexible PVC sheaths, all meeting very strict CSA and UL standards. I grab my keys and get in my car. So there, the list is long because the automobile is the product which contains the greatest number of plastic materials: ABS, ASA, TPU, PA 6, 66, 45 and 12, sometimes loaded with reinforcements, PPA, PC, PMMA, POM, PPS, PP filled with talc or fiberglass, seals in TPV, thermosetting rubber or SEBS, non-woven polyester fibers ”spundbonded”, etc.

This is just the start of my day, now imagine how many products contributing to the comfort and functionality of our daily lives are made of polymers. It is said that we touch a product containing plastic around 2000 times a day. In the end plastics aren’t that bad, are they? My former teacher, Michel Labonté, said: “there are no bad plastics, just bad applications”.

However, when it comes to their end of life, we agree that there is still a lot of improvement to be made. Fortunately, the major producers are aware of this and have been working on solutions for several decades now. Like what? Ask the experts in the plastics industry, they will surely be able to give you examples.

Become a member of SPE Québec and attend our events to meet with them and learn more! Your president Marie-France Sosa, e-mail:, tel: 514-245-3204. Visit our new website:

Jason Merkle, Chase Plastic Services Inc. | Rising Stars 2023

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Plastics News

Jason Merkle, 35, owes his knowledge of and interest in the plastics industry to his father, who has worked in plastics for 40 years. Merkle’s first job for a plastics company was in high school, doing administrative work for Uniform Color’s customer service team.

Merkle earned a bachelor’s degree in plastics engineering technology from Ferris State University and a master’s degree in plastics engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. During college, he interned at Uniform Color, Johnson Controls and Chase Plastic Services Inc.

After graduation, he joined Clarkston, Mich.-based resin distributor Chase as an applications development engineer, relocated to the Philadelphia area for field support to the East Coast, then moved to Charlotte, N.C., to support the Southeast area. Merkle then was named automotive business development manager and relocated back to Michigan, focusing on Tier 1 support.

“I was the guinea pig, so to speak, at Chase Plastics for field-based engineering work. I helped to design the expectations and road map for successful application development in collaborations with our molding customers and OEMs alike. The success of this position has now allowed it to be mirrored in other CPS sales regions with future growth expectations on the horizon,” said Merkle, who moved to the technical manager role in January 2020.

“I know society and the media can seem like a downward spiral at times, but taking a step back, we have had a lot of innovation and success even in recent years and trajectory forward for technology acceleration will continue to be groundbreaking,” he said. “I’m anxious to see what challenges the market will throw our way in the next 10-20 years that will push the expectations of plastic performance to new heights.”

Q: What is your current challenge at work?

Merkle: While a great deal of our work is reactive to customer needs, we are always looking for new ways to grow business through engineering support to OEMs and tier customers alike. Keeping up with material innovations and conveying that information to our customers is a value that hasn’t yet reached its full potential. We’re working to increase our account coverage and engineering exposure to key markets and organizations to accelerate bottom line growth in concert with our customers.

Q: What has been the biggest impact/challenge on your career from the coronavirus pandemic?

Merkle: As a materials provider, the pandemic produced a lot of chaos in the market that still is having ripple effects. As engineers, our job is not only to recommend a material that will meet the performance expectations of an application but also to make sure it is a product available in the necessary quantities, competitively priced and ideally with a relatively short lead time. Finding the right balance of performance needs and market constraints has been challenging at times.

Q: How do you feel about the future of the environment/climate?

Merkle: I’d say we are getting better as an industry, but we also have significant room for improvement. As plastics engineers, it’s our responsibility to understand the sustainable aspects of our business, and there have been many advancements in materials to help create a more environmentally friendly plastics industry. Educating customers and consumers alike on the options available and their corresponding costs is our most immediate challenge as more material options are innovated regularly. Getting OEMs to adopt more sustainable materials at a higher cost than their traditional alternatives will be an ongoing challenge as well.