Published August 19, 2003
Volume 11, Number 8

GE Plastics Offers a World of Polymers and Resins for Cutting-Edge Products
GE Seminar
GE Plastics uses their Hacienda facility to conduct engineering seminars for their many customers.

By George Walsh
Network Editor

Back in 1967, when young Benjamin Braddock was given his advice for the future by a family friend, the word “plastics,” gave many viewers of The Graduate a quirky chuckle. Watching the movie now, that advice seems more sage than humorous. Nearly everything around us is either made of or housed in plastic. In fact, the history of plastics reaches back at least to 1893, when Thomas Edison experimented with plastic filaments for light bulbs.

GE Plastics, with facilities at 4160 Hacienda Drive, is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of plastics used in industries that include automotive, computers, telecommunications, appliances, optical media, packaging, building, and construction. Part of the $132 billion General Electric Company, GE Plastics can trace its roots to 1930, when its parent company opened its fledgling Plastics Department. Familiar brand names for GE Plastics products include Lexan, GE’s first engineering plastic, which was introduced in 1958.

The western regional office of GE Plastics (formerly known as GE Polymerland here in Hacienda) sells GE’s whole range of engineering plastics, which are used in a variety of applications. “We do a lot of development work here with Silicon Valley companies,” says Joe McGovern, western regional manager for GE Plastics. “We sell ideas to end users as well as pellets of our materials to be used for injection molded products like computer housings, car bumpers, compact discs, water bottles, and any other plastic item you can think of.”

GE Plastics works with companies who are designing a plastic product to ensure that its materials meet the customer’s requirements, including flammability, impact, and design. Sometimes a customer has a particular color in mind for the end product. Other times they’re looking for something new and different. To help customers decide on the color they want for their product, GE Plastics has a chip room on site where they can view the available colors. If the customer doesn’t see what they need, GE will help them interface with its color matching center in New York.

“We’ll even mold a plastic part for a customer,” McGovern says. “We don’t build a prototype of the part or create the mold, but sometimes a customer will take care of that part of the process themselves and have a mold or tool delivered here.” GE Plastics can then injection mold a test part so that the customer can see what it will look like when it’s made of the material they’re considering using. “It’s a joint development effort.” McGovern says. The company also offers educational training and plastics design center workshops to help customers understand the process of creating plastic products.

“Most of our customers don’t make the parts themselves,” McGovern says. “They contract a custom molder in the area who will then do the molding for them. We serve the end user, who specifies the materials and controls the design, as well as the people who will actually do the molding.” The end result is that GE Plastics brings all of the necessary elements together to help companies create a plastic part, whether it’s a computer case or a car’s dashboard.


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