Monday, July 6, 2009

Ohio is at the Heart of America’s Polymer Industry | Ohio Business Development Coalition » Blog

Ohio is at the Heart of America’s Polymer Industry | Ohio Business Development Coalition » Blog

By: Kristi Tanner, Brand Manager, Ohio Business Development Coalition

The polymer industry is no stranger to the state of Ohio. From its early roots in tire production and the auto industry, Ohio has always been at the heart of America's polymer industry. And today, polymers is one of the state's largest industries.

Ohio leads the nation in the production of polymer products, machinery for the polymer industry, motor vehicle components, and more than 100 other industrial products. Employing more than 140,000 workers, the Ohio’s polymer industry generates nearly $50 billion in annual sales revenue and pays its workers $5.6 billion in wages.

More than 200 Ohio companies produce equipment for the polymer industry, including many world leaders, ranging from the global plastics equipment supplier, Milacron, to the specialty inspection equipment manufacturer, Pressco Technology. Another 200 materials suppliers also include many world leaders. Their proximity saves Ohio businesses time and money in the manufacturing process.

And this is just the beginning. The Ohio Third Frontier is catalyzing innovation to transform Ohio’s economy for future generations. The Ohio Third Frontier is a $1.6 billion investment in targeted industries and technologies to help create new technology-based products, companies, industries and jobs. Investments in the polymer industry alone are well over $100 million.

One example of a polymer start-up success supported by the Ohio Third Frontier is Akron Polymer Systems Inc. (APS), a spin-off from the University of Akron, founded in 2002 by two professors, Frank Harris and Stephen Cheng. APS is focused on developing high-performance polymers and advanced materials commonly used in liquid crystal display (LCD) technologies, as well as in aerospace, medical, and fuel cell applications.

Ohio's large concentration of polymer companies has resulted in a number of essential assets already in place for companies joining Ohio's polymer community, including a highly skilled, quality workforce and rapid development of new technologies, as well as valuable industry relationships that promote collaboration in business development.

Ohio polymer companies also benefit from PolymerOhio, an Ohio Edison Technology Center that is focused on enhancing the industry in Ohio one company and one connection at a time. The PolymerOhio team has deep industry expertise across the industry supply chain and a firm grasp of available resources. They provide industry leaders with valuable business connections and industry know-how.

In addition, seven of Ohio's universities have polymer research programs, placing best-of-class research at these emerging businesses’ fingertips. The state also is home to federal research and several private research organizations, including Battelle.

As Ohio continues its focus building up 21st-century industries, the visionary leaders of polymer-related businesses are not only reaping the benefits of the state’s business-friendly environment so that they can achieve business and professional success, but also the ability to achieve their personal aspirations as well.


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