Plastics Hall of Fame Announces New Entries for 2021

The Plastics Academy has announced that it will be inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame for 2021.

Yoshiharu Inaba is a pioneer in all-electric injection molding technology. Inaba joined the Japanese Fanuc Corp. in 1983. at. In the same year, the company decided to focus on injection molding press electrification to make it more efficient and precise, using Fanuc’s expertise in numerical control. In 1985, Fanuc introduced the world’s first mass-produced all-electric injection molding machine, the Autoshot. Today the company estimates that there are more than 200,000 all-electric machines worldwide. Fanuc is chaired by Inaba, who holds more than 110 designs.

Mayumi Kotani, the fourth woman to be inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame, is President of Yushin Precision Equipment Co. Ltd. based in Kyoto, Japan, a leading manufacturer of removal robots for injection molded products. Kotani helped start the company in 1973, and Yushin entered the take-out robot market in 1978. She served as the vice president of sales for 12 years before being named president in 2002. Under her leadership, the company quickly expanded overseas and received multiple awards for its optimally designed robots.

Salvatore Mountain is President and co-owner of Kenrich Petrochemicals Inc., holds numerous patents and has been an active member of numerous groups in the plastics industry for decades. He is considered an expert in the development and marketing of coupling and tolerance agents. Monte holds 31 US patents and has authored numerous technical articles, magazine articles and book chapters, as well as a popular reference manual on titanates, zirconates, and aluminates. His first commercial titanate was hailed in 1974 as the new adhesion promoter for filled polyethylene. He is a member, fellow and honorary member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and long-time director of the Plastics Pioneers Association.

Peter Neumann led the transfer press manufacturer Engel Holding GmbH through a period of rapid global growth and was President of Euromap, the European committee for manufacturers of plastics and rubber machines. When Neumann came to Engel in the early 1980s, the company employed 783 people. As Head of Purchasing, Scheduling and Logistics, Engel was the first press manufacturer to produce machine plates made of steel instead of cast iron. In the 1990s, the company’s global business grew rapidly thanks to other innovations such as rodless and dual platen machines. With Neumann as CEO, Engel’s sales grew from 76 million euros to 1.36 billion euros.

Donald Paulson is an experienced plastics processing instructor with nine US and European patents. He began his career in 1963 by setting up a research laboratory for plastics processing at the General Motors Institute. Using the results of his research, he founded Control Process Inc. in 1968, the first company to use cavity pressure to control machine injection pressure. The company was sold in 1980 and he founded Paulson Training Programs Inc., now a leading provider of interactive online and seminar training for plastics engineering. In 1998 he was named one of the six most important inventors in the plastics industry. Paulson received the SPE Lifetime Engineering and Technical Achievement Award in 2006.

Joseph Prischak is the founder of the Plastek Group, a large global injection molding and tooling company based in Erie, Pennsylvania. He also supports training in the plastics industry and is a noted philanthropist. In 1956, he and two partners founded Triangle Tool Co., a leading company in the field of mold design and manufacture. In 1971 they switched to plastic molding and expanded to Europe, Brazil and Mexico. He is considered the father of the Plastics Engineering Technology program at Penn State Erie, which has produced more than 1,000 graduates and is the largest undergraduate plastics degree in the country. Prischak is also the founder of African 6000 International, a non-profit organization that drills deep freshwater wells across the African continent.

Ulrich Reifenhäuser joined the German extrusion machine group Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. in 1983 and expanded the family business with his brothers Klaus and Bernd into a global company with leading technology for high-performance blown films and nonwovens. Reifenhäuser has been chairman of the K-Messe since 2004, is involved in the VDMA and often appears as a spokesman for the German plastics machinery community. He is currently the company’s Chief Sales Officer. During his tenure, the company’s turnover grew from 142 million euros to over 500 million euros.

Wylie Royce is a senior executive at a plastics supplier who is also known for his association leadership. Royce is executive vice president of colorants and specialty chemicals company Royce Global and a partner and director of Royce International. Royce International is a supplier and manufacturer of epoxy resins, hardeners, thinners and specialty chemicals for the coatings, construction, electronics and aerospace industries. Royce is currently the past chair of the Plastics Industry Association and treasurer of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Packaging Materials Committee. He is a board member of the Foodservice Packaging Institute and a member of the Technical Advisory Board of Health Beauty America. He holds a US patent for a proprietary process that uses electron beam modification of resin to create marbled color effects for injection molded products.

Suresh Shah developed and marketed key plastics innovations for the automotive industry and held numerous roles for the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE). The retired engineer from General Motors and Inteva was the first to invent and introduce the plastic module concept 27 years ago, and led a team that designed and developed the all-plastic interior door module called SuperPlug. The component, which replaced 50 metal parts, was the first and most complex part to be commercialized using gas injection molding technology. He has worked in numerous voluntary functions at SPE, including as a board member and chairman of the automotive division. In 2017 he received the division’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Vince Witherup carried the torch for the US plastics industry around the world as an executive at Conair Group Inc., a Franklin, Pennsylvania-based auxiliary equipment manufacturer and as an ambassador for the NPE trade show. He has been involved in plastics for more than 50 years, from sales at Conair to Executive Vice President. Witherup has held honorary leadership positions for the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI), now the Plastics Industry Association. He was chairman of the NPE2000 exhibition, where he was named International Business Person of the Year by SPI. He has been a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association for more than 20 years.

The ten leading figures in the plastics industry will be officially presented on October 7, 2021 as part of a ceremony at the annual autumn meeting of the Association of the Plastics Industry. The ceremony will also include the introduction of the 2020 posthumous class of six to the hall, which has been postponed several times during the pandemic. The members of the Posthumous Class 2020 are: Howard Irvin (Marbon Chemical), Ronald Saxton (DuPont), Walt Schrenk (Dow Chemical), Dennis Tully (MTD), Charles Sears (Dri-Air Industries) and Bill Stoesser (Stoesser Industries).

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