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Plastics pricing gone crazy?

Finegrain

Diamond
Joined
Sep 6, 2007
Location
Seattle, Washington
I haven't bought bulk plastics in a couple years, but I just ordered several hundred #'s of Delrin 5-1/2" round rod and 1" plate, and the pricing was, well, crazy. I asked 3 suppliers and got way different quotes, all of them much higher than last time I ordered similar. I ended up with oversize blanks that, on a volume basis, were like 40% lower than the other bids (but still 30% higher than last time).

Is this new? Or has it always been like this and I haven't noticed?

Regards.

Mike
 
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Plastics went absolutely crazy during COVID, and have been slower to recover than some other materials/consumables.

We have to be very careful with quoting plastics, because sometimes material that was easy to get several years ago is now back ordered six months and offered at 3X the price.

At one point, damn near everything used in semiconductor was unobtainable, because a couple of the giant chip builders were just buying it all up so they would be able to keep their suppliers fed with raw material.
 
We have a job running through the shop right now that we have ran in April 2022, August 2023, and May 2024 using 4.5" Virgin PTFE rod. $205/ft in 2022, and the last two jobs have been $167.90/ft. I'm not sure if plastics are like other materials where price generally rises and falls as a whole group regardless of alloy.
 
I'm not sure if plastics are like other materials where price generally rises and falls as a whole group regardless of alloy.
Very much agreed. It’s a total crapshoot. Acetal and HDPE seem to be close to normal again, but I definitely still get random crazy prices and shortages. Availability for large plate of just about anything seems a 50/50 shot at best.
 
We have a job running through the shop right now that we have ran in April 2022, August 2023, and May 2024 using 4.5" Virgin PTFE rod. $205/ft in 2022, and the last two jobs have been $167.90/ft. I'm not sure if plastics are like other materials where price generally rises and falls as a whole group regardless of alloy.
I hear they have tried to raise the price of Teflon a few times but it just wouldn't stick...
 
Is this new? Or has it always been like this and I haven't noticed?
One big factor is oil prices. Had a really good customer with a rope factory, they had extruders and made all their own yarn - nylon, dacron, polypropylene, and mylar. I think they were the only one in the US that made mylar rope ?

Anyway, the processes were pretty much set in stone, extuders and weaving machines do x pounds per hour no matter what, and so on. Their profits were totally dependent on the price of raw stock, which is all petroleum-based. They had a lot of resale customers and couldn't be jacking prices up and down all the time, so they either cut a fat hog or barely got by, depending on external conditions. Of course they tried to buy a lot when stock was cheap but you can only store so much.
 
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Yeah, Delrin is nuts

Yep.

Tiny plastic shards found in human testicles, study says​

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN
4:50 PM EDT, Tue May 21, 2024

Human testicles contain microplastics and nanoplastics at levels three times higher than animal testes and human placentas, a new small study found.
“They look like little shards, tiny broken bits from very, very old plastics,” said Campen, a regents’ professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.
 
I bought 2ft of 5.5" round delrin a few months ago, best price I found for "delivered to my door" was thru Amazon, but probably not what you want for a commercial order. There was a place in Vegas that had it for less, but they wanted another $50 for the "trouble" of shipping it.

If you want a real shocker, a gallon of boiled linseed oil cost me $49 yesterday, wtf, did last years linseed crop fail???

Covid has been done for almost 2 years now, I'm not buying the "supply chain issues" BS anymore, its straight up price gouging.
 
Plastics are basically solidified petroleum so they up and down with crude oil prices to some degree. All the needed plastic PPE and clear plastic sneeze guards being installed for covid protection took most of the world's plastic production for a year or two.
Bill D
 
I can tell you the people who make plastics are running wide open with no end in sight.

Of course, once oil is eliminated in the next 3-5 years none of this will matter.
 
There are 2 refineries I can see from my kitchen and one recently spent a half a billion dollars to reduce their gas and diesel output and make plastic precursors instead. I think it quadruples or more the wholesale price for the same input cost. Everything is made from plastic now… and it costs a lot more per pound than steel.
 
There are 2 refineries I can see from my kitchen and one recently spent a half a billion dollars to reduce their gas and diesel output and make plastic precursors instead. I think it quadruples or more the wholesale price for the same input cost. Everything is made from plastic now… and it costs a lot more per pound than steel.
Therein lies the stupidity of anti-oil people.

Go to any hospital and 80% of what you see is plastics and oils. They seem to think you can attack the oil companies and destroy their business - yet they're the first in line for medical care, drugs, and supplies. Same for iphones, a huge part of the music and film industry, and practically everything else in life.
 
Therein lies the stupidity of anti-oil people.
If you really want to talk stupidity you can reference the people who cannot tell the difference between burning it and using it for plastics, for lubricants, for fertilizer, and so on.

The goal is to stop using fossil fuels. Fuel, as in, add oxygen, match : get flames, heat, CO2, etc.
 
far from showing the stupidity of customers, the switch in refinery capacity from IC fuels to plastic precursors shows the profit motives of the refiners. They could care less if you are a tree hugger or burning coal- they are going to maximize profits.
 








 
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