Ohio Leads Nation in Polymer and Advanced Materials Production

Product improvement and new product development are a critical part of all manufacturers' growth opportunities. These elements are the way to stay ahead of global competition. But, the time required in the real world to model and test any product design change is significant. Assuming companies have the resources to devote the time and effort to R&D, it still takes months to prototype, test, refine and test again.

The polymer industry is a perfect example. Built around the interaction of complex molecular structures, understanding how they bond and then change over time is critical to the reliability of products. Because of the real world complexities of temperature, pressure and wear and tear, the only practical option for many polymer manufacturers is the time-consuming and costly approach of building and observing. Anything that can reduce time or expense can mean the difference between commercial success and failure in the polymer industry.

Ohio is committed to capitalizing on its strength in advanced materials to create and attract 21st century businesses and jobs. From its early roots in Akron's tire production and the region's support for the auto industry to supply today's growth industries, Ohio has always been the heart of America's polymer industry.

Costs associated with accessing markets and shipping products and supplies can be a considerable business expense for polymer and advanced materials companies. In addition, the challenge of coordinating with polymer manufacturers, suppliers and other resources across many states can be a logistical nightmare for companies.

Collaborative industry relationships are critical to developing and assuring the commercialization of technology-based, high value-added polymer products, says Dennis Barber, executive director of the Ohio Polymer Strategy Council, focused on providing strategy and resources for Ohio's polymer industry.

Ohio's world-class transportation infrastructure, proximity to major markets and large-scale polymer and advanced materials industries offer key cost-reducing advantages for polymer companies and makes the state the preferred location for advanced material businesses. Generating $50 billion in annual economic activity and $1.3 billion in exports from plastics, rubber, resins, polymers, composites and other advanced materials, Ohio leads the nation in polymers and advanced materials production.

Ohio's world-leading polymer industry is one of the state's most expansive and important economic sectors. With more than 1,150 companies and a workforce greater than 80,000, the state has the largest concentration of polymer product producers, machines, materials and workers in North America. At least one industry establishment exists in 76 of Ohio's 88 counties.

Ohio also is home to the world's largest concentration of advanced materials and polymer research and development expertise. Eight Ohio universities have polymer research programs, offering a well-educated workforce and opportunities for research collaborations to create new products, applications and opportunities for growth. This workforce supply minimizes time associated with training, significantly increases productivity and reduces operating costs. In addition, millions of dollars of strategic investments by Ohio Third Frontier and more than 60 collaborating private industry partners are paving the way for commercialization of new technologies.

In addition to plastics, rubber and resins, Ohio's key polymer sectors include advanced composites, advanced energy, bioproducts, flexible devices, nanotechnology and polymer processing.

"Building on its rich rubber and automotive manufacturing heritage, Ohio has become a global leader in polymers and advanced materials," Barber continued. "Ohio's leadership is supported by the top polymer science programs in the U.S., the world's highest concentration of polymer research and development and the country's most extensive industry supply chain."

Bahman Taheri, chief executive officer of AlphaMicron in Kent, Ohio, believes his location in Ohio has attributed to the company's success. "Ohio's strong industrial base in plastics and printing and leading research in liquid crystals, polymers and polymer engineering make the state a natural home for the polymer industry," shared Taheri. "In Ohio, I have everything I need to succeed professional and personally."

Ohio's polymer success is not solely dependent on the strength of its business advantages. Today's industry leaders have made Ohio a top choice to pursue their personal goals as well.

"In Ohio, work-life balance is more than a buzzword; it's the way we do business," said Ed Burghard, executive director of the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment. "Low-cost, low-stress communities and short commutes create the State of Perfect Balance, where you can achieve both professional and personal success without sacrificing one for the other."

Download Ohio's latest brochure about the polymer industry: http://bit.ly/enSJxM

About the Ohio Business Development Coalition
The Ohio Business Development Coalition is a nonprofit organization that provides marketing strategy and implementation to support Ohio's economic development efforts. For more information, visit www.ohiomeansbusiness.com

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