Plastic manufacturers have had a hand in a fair amount of advances in modern innovation. In fact, the versatility of plastic has been taken for granted due to its prevalence in contemporary products and designs. New inventions are calling upon the skills of plastic manufacturers regularly proving that the medium is still moving at full speed thanks to its unique properties. But in a market so sprawling and a world so saturated with information, it’s surprising that there are still new ideas to be had. Inventors are breaking new ground and bulldozing through boundaries, arriving at their destinations in plastic cars on a plastic road. Plastic manufacturers have their work cut out for them with demand as it is. While these 3 new inventions don’t stand to send the world into any sort of shortage on plastic materials, they represent perfect examples of the type of creative ingenuity lovingly poured into bodies forged by the plastic manufacturers.
New Inventions Work to Soothe Drought-Ravaged California
Los Angeles wasn’t even close to breaking the bank when the city approached plastic manufacturers with a bizarre idea to combat California’s historic drought. They presented plans for black plastic spheres called “shade balls” that would be poured into the city’s reservoirs in an attempt to thwart evaporation while retaining optimum drinking conditions. Plastic manufacturers were able to pump the shade balls out at a meager 36 cents per ball. However, the unconventional plan is expected to save the state millions with the new inventions thanks to low production costs and high conservation. With each ball boasting an estimated 10 year lifespan, the project is expected to enjoy a 90% cutback in evaporation with over 300 million gallons of water retained.
While the shade balls aren’t being credited with saving California from the effects of the particularly vicious drought, the new inventions have dealt a particularly poignant blow to the problem while few viable solutions have yet to be offered. Each orb is molded from high density polyethylene, free from BPA to ensure the water remains drinkable. Though the shade balls are inexpensive, plastic manufacturers still made a pretty penny from the venture. Over 96 million shade balls were used to fill L.A. Reservoir alone.
Plastic Manufacturers May Be Working With Hemp
If Brian Westphal’s vision takes off, you may see plastic manufacturers working in hemp, or at least hemp-based bio plastics. That’s because Westphal is creating a skateboard using a molded grip pattern fabricated from a 30% hemp fiber plastic. Skateboards are hardly new inventions in themselves, but the application of hemp-based plastic in their design is innovative. While Westphal is initially using 3d printing of composite materials to get the project rolling, he acknowledges the potential of hemp in relation to the work done by plastic manufacturers.
“Hemp offers many benefits to our current methods of manufacturing paper, textiles, houses, and of course, plastics,” Westphal clarified. Westphal formulated Lotus Boards, the name he’s given to the bioplastic decks, with the intent to raise global consciousness about the potential bond between ecology and plastic manufacturers while at the same time providing a product that’s lightweight, quick, and environmentally friendly.
Plastic Polymers on the Frontlines of Combat
Plastic manufacturers may find themselves working with researchers at the University of California at Irvine in ensuring the safety of U.S. armed forces. Amidst the myriad of new inventions in martial technology, who’d have thought one of the more useful could be a simple plastic sticker? Yet researchers have studied camouflaging techniques in squid to create adhesive-augmented plastic sheets that can change color to match a soldier’s surroundings as well as protect the soldier from infrared detection. Several kinks will still need to be worked out before the technology can be brought to plastic manufacturers for mass production, such as determining how to sync up multiple sheets to display the same patterns.
The symbiosis between plastic manufacturers and inventors means that just as quickly as the inventor creates the essence of the product, the manufacturer can build the physical body. While plastic manufacturers rarely find themselves on the frontlines of the creative process, these 3 new inventions prove that high quality production of plastic materials is integral to the forward momentum of innovation.