The Polyurethane Manufacturers Association does a nice job of uniting cast urethane processors and suppliers.
Both work hard to promote the business. Their biggest victory, of course, occurred more than two decades ago, when they united to withstand the Occupational Health and Safety Administration´s attack on their key material, MOCA. In essence, the PMA saved itself with its defense.
The PMA has aged since that war. New hands have arrived to carry the flag, and the organization functions nicely. Except in one area.
The processor-driven group is split pretty evenly between suppliers and manufacturers. The suppliers have their own committee, meet regularly and resolve issues pertaining to them.
Ironically, the processors don´t do that. They´re involved in the overall operation but don´t huddle on a regular basis.
Jay Meili, Molded Dimensions Inc. CEO and a key player in the group for many years, brought that to light at the PMA´s spring meeting. He suggested members follow the money and recognize that processors have the most to lose if the industry doesn´t continue to grow.
The idea makes a lot of sense. Suppliers have poured large amounts of money into technology to support their customers, the cast urethane manufacturers, so they have a vested interest in the industry´s success. Cast urethane processors have even more at stake, simply because they have made investments in equipment that can only be used for urethanes, noted Meili.
If the cast urethane industry is to grow, it needs more engineering data from suppliers. "They would likely provide more data if they knew what we needed," he said. But they don´t.
A processors committee would force manufacturers to sit down and tackle that and other manufacturer-related issues. The data could create more niche markets for cast urethanes.
Actually, the real question is not, "Why is one needed?" It´s "Why wasn´t a processor´s committee formed long ago?´´
McNulty is an RPN reporter.