Massachusetts has the seventh largest concentration of plastics companies in the country, and Western Massachusetts is well represented with highly skilled and specialized businesses. Beginning with the production of raw material, the industry in Western Massachusetts extends through plastic converters, radio frequency sealing, and processes such as injection molding, blow molding, and thermoforming. This range of production is covered predominantly small to medium-sized businesses.
The area's plastic producers manufacture products predominantly for medical devices, packaging, aerospace, and defense industries. With over 220 companies in Western Massachusetts, the region's industry currently employs more than 16,000 workers.
With many local colleges and universities providing degrees in polymer/plastics engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial engineering, there is no shortage of a well equipped labor force with the skills necessary for the plastics industry. In fact, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst was ranked as the having the #1 Polymer Science and Engineering Department by U.S. News & World Report (2007).
The Western Massachusetts plastic industry currently supplies customers from across the country, as well as internationally. The crucial intersection of I-91 and I-90 links Western Massachusetts to domestic markets in all directions. Competitive outbound transportation rates for trucking and trains provide a key advantage for exporting goods. With only a 1.5 hour drive to Boston, and 2.5 to New York City, major city ports for exporting internationally are easily accessible.
SABIC, formerly General Electric Plastics, is a major player in the area's industry. With headquarters in Pittsfield and operations in over 25 countries, SABIC provides plastic resins, as well as coatings, plastic films and sheets, polymer shapes, and automotive components.
Walter Drake Inc., located in Holyoke, is another local business that has expanded its customer base far beyond Western Massachusetts. The plastic package thermoforming company developed products and components used by Home Depot, Sears, major hospitals, and NASA's space shuttle. Their custom packaging is used in medical, pharmaceutical, electronic, consumer, and industrial markets.
Western Massachusetts Plastics Companies*
Cavallero Plastics provides custom injection molding and mold manufacturing, specializing in engineering thermoplastics. Facilities include a Three Axis Coordinate Measurement Machine and MicroVu Video Inspection System.
Creative Machining & Molding Corp. offers machining and injection molding capabilities with CNC lathe turning, CNC Milling, and Swiss Turning. Facilities are ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System certified.
Dielectrics Inc. designs, develops, and fabricates thermoplastic medical device components and products, specializing in flexible film and laminate welding using radio frequency, impulse, thermal, and ultrasonic processes. Dielectrics offers an ISO 13485 and 9001 certified facility.
Hillside Plastics Inc. uses the process of blow molding to manufacture plastic containers. They also produce custom blow molding products specializing in high density polyethylene.
Injected Solutions manufactures injection molded plastics offering sonic welding, complete assembly, sub-assembly, decorating, and packaging.
Pittsfield Plastic Engineering Inc. is an injection molding company that covers the steps from the initial consulting to custom mold design and production. Quality is assured through an audited Quality System to ISO 9002 standards.
Plastipak Packaging Inc. produces plastic packaging using barrier, heat set, wheel, and wide mouth packaging technology. Plastipak serves beverage, consumer cleaning, food, automotive, and industrial markets.
Toner Plastics develops and produces specialty profile extrusions, specializing in PVC, polypropylene, polyethylene, and other polymers, while adhering to SPC, SQC and ISO industry guidelines.
Universal Plastics specializes in precision custom thermoforming and pressure forming, with a quality management system based on ISO 9000. They perform secondary operations, offering assembly, painting, shielding, inspecting, unit packing, and shipping.
Walter Drake is a Manufacturer of Custom Design Packaging for the consumer, medical and static dissipative markets with a class 1,000 cleanroom.
*This list represents a sampling of the region's plastic companies.
Intertek Plastics Technology Laboratories (Intertek PTL), located in Pittsfield, provides testing of the materials needed for all aspects of the plastic industry, from resin manufacturers to plastic molders and converters. Facilities include analytical, mechanical, electrical, weathering, thermal, rheological, and optical testing laboratories.
MassPlastics is the Northeast's largest trade show for the industry, providing a forum and exhibit space for over 200 companies in the plastics and related industries. This annual two-day show hosts more than 4,000 attendees for discussion, exhibits, and seminars on manufacturing, new technologies, and innovative applications for the plastics industry.
Plastic Institute of America (PIA) is a not-for-profit organization located on the University of Massachusetts campus. They support, foster, and guide plastics education and research at all levels to ensure the continued growth of the industry. The PIA provides training, seminars, and scholarships to further the knowledge, understanding, and skills of those in the industry.
Plastics-Market.com is a website designed to help companies source, sell, buy, and transport thermoplastic resins. Depending on a companies needs, this online marketplace can provide either new suppliers or new market outlets.
The Western Massachusetts Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association is a formal alliance of more than 60 member companies, united to promote the precision machining industry, and provide critical business intelligence to members. This group's main focuses are in public policy as well as the development of education, workforce, industry and membership.