Plastics and Rubber: Innovative Materials
Israel has introduced high-tech methods to the plastics and rubber sector to produce innovative materials that are advanced,adaptable ands affordable. From the production of raw materials like polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, PVC and specialty compounds through to the design, development and manufacture of consumer products, Israeli plastics have an international reputation for market-driven quality and flexibility.
Resourceful manufacturing focused on specialty products for customized applications, small batch production, uncompromising quality standards and rapid delivery schedules result in customer satisfaction and repeat orders. Over the past decade the plastics sector has enjoyed dynamic expansion. New plants have opened, supported by state-of-the-art equipment, and products have been developed through ambitious R&D programs. Typically products as diverse as tool boxes, kitchen furniture and irrigation equipment use EDI and CAD/CAM technology to ensure optimum design and production while Internet video-conferencing enables customers to receive the product they want.
Packaging is one area in which Israeli companies excel. In recent years Israeli companies have won seven major awards from Worldstar, the world packaging organization, for innovative packaging. Film processing and lamination have developed into extremely advanced sub-sectors in this field. Israeli manufacturers have penetrated highly competitive markets with specialized products such as anti-static packaging to protect electronic components from handling and storage damage and thermo-plastic products capable of withstanding heat.
The industry is also able to produce large and unique packaging items through injection molding. The large plastic crates used in sorting and packaging plants, food plants and production lines are such an example. Israeli manufacturers also offer a broad range of packaging solutions made of other materials including metal drums, aluminum tubes and boxes and cartons made of paperboard and corrugated paper. Grofit Plastics has developed anti-corrosion packaging using a unique VCI technology.
Products for applications in agriculture account for 20% of industry sales. Drip irrigation systems, sprinklers and accessories, produced by Netafim, NaanDan, Plastro and MetzerPlast, for improving the efficiency of water usage are based on networks of plastic pipes. At the same time such companies as Palram have developed special plastic sheeting for greenhouses, which filter out the sun’s harmful rays and increase crop output. Another innovation is photo-degradable plastic sheeting, which is programmed to disintegrate at a at a pre-determined rate after exposure to the sun. These sheets protect crops while eliminating the expense of subsequent retrieval and disposal. Ginegar Plastics manufactures cover films for agricultural applications.
Israel offers many special-purpose products and systems in this area. Plastic materials are used for applications as diverse as lining water reservoirs and covering sports fields. Large scale public and municipal projects worldwide incorporate plastic piping systems made in Israel. Among the country’s various achievements are high-durability plastics with a life expectancy that is three times higher than traditional materials. At the same time companies like Plasson are leaders in injection molding technology for a range of applications such as valves and pipe fittings. Pol Bag produces polyethylene film and plastic bags while Polymer Gvulot manufactures epoxy, polyurethane and RTV silicone for potting, encapsulation and molding applications. Polygal Plastics Industries Ltd. is a world leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of Polycarbonate and Polypropylene structured sheets and has pioneered PC multiwall roofing. Plasgad produces a range of plastic containers, childrens furniture and toys and DIY products while Plasel manufactures injection moulds and packaging for tools and electric components.
Israeli companies also supply precise, miniature elements to such leading corporations as IBM. The ability to manufacture precision parts based on a full command of engineering materials and components, emphasizes the level of sophistication which the country’s plastics, rubber and packaging industries have achieved. The country’s universities play a major role in innovative developments. An important area for high-tech products is the medical field. Producing the highest quality items from advanced materials under aseptic conditions, manufacturers have been able to conform to the stringent international standards of the most demanding markets worldwide. Most companies in this sector have ISO 9002 certification.
Such firms as Keter Plastic and Zag Industries also produce a wide variety of household products, made of plastic and rubber, in Israel. These include in the case of Keter a broad range of garden, outdoor and other light furniture, kitchen and bathroom fittings, and toys, while Zag designs and manufactures tool cases, shelves, cabinets and storage items. The products are well designed, usually by computer, in collaboration with customers via the Internet so that specifications can be built into the product from the earliest stage.
Israeli companies also manufacture advanced thermoplastic products. For example Erez Thermoplastic produces coated fabrics which are not rubberized as well as plastic films and sheets and thermoplastic mebranes for construction, transportation, marine and water treatment and agricultural applications. Raviv ACS makes advanced thermoplastic precision products for diverse applications.
Israel’s rubber industry encompasses about 50 manufacturers including Alliance tires which accounts for about 65% of rubber exports. Total rubber exports amount to about $220 million each year. Alliance Tire is one of the largest companies in this sector with annual sales of $150 million of vehicle tires and an innovative range of forestry, OTR, flotation and earthmover tires.
With more than 20,000 employees the plastic, rubber and packaging industry is one of Israel’s fastest growing sectors. Exports amount to about $2.5 billion each year and an additional $200 million in raw materials. Nearly half of these exports are sold to the European Union, 25% to North America and the remainder to to Latin America and the Far East.
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