Speaker Interview: Mike Patel, Teknor Apex
Next up in our speaker interview series, we spoke to Mike Patel, Director of Marketing for the Vinyl Division of Teknor Apex.
What are the biggest challenges facing the market today, and how can this be overcome?
Customers want suppliers to meet broad sustainability programs without defining their objectives – is it a lower carbon footprint or is it waste reduction via use of recycled materials, or is it something else?
Also, product compliance to changing regulations and a lack of global harmonization of rules/restrictions has become a significant challenge and resource burden.
And finally, the pace of innovation varies immensely between customers and suppliers. This misalignment sometimes makes us look to non-traditional suppliers such as startups or universities to meet the needs of our fast-moving customers.
In your opinion, what do you consider to be the greatest development in your industry in the last decade?
While compounding itself hasn’t significantly changed in the last decade, there have been significant development in two key areas – sustainability and artificial intelligence.
In the area of sustainability, being able to achieve the compound performance requirements of our customers with a product line like BioVinyl® utilizing bio-derived materials and Cycle-TekTM products containing recycled content from PIR/PCR streams has been a significant accomplishment.
While artificial intelligence is still a relatively new technology in the compound industry, it has been an incredible tool that is beginning to foster innovation by revolutionizing the way that compounds are developed.
How do you see the sector developing in the next five to ten years?
In the next five to ten years, we’ll continue to see growth in the compound industry driven by demand for lightweighting and durable materials in automotive, higher flame resistance for wire and cable, greater adoption of industry 4.0 and increasing focus on sustainability.
We expect a mindset change where customers are starting to design for sustainability, even in the most demanding applications. As customer parts and designs evolve, we expect a greater understanding of the true meaning of sustainability.
Make sure to listen to Mike Patel at Compounding World Expo theatre.