Filed under: The Elements & Total Plastics | Tags: alternative materials, chemical resistance, copper prices, plastics company, price of copper
Tracking the price of copper, like many other commodities, would inspire the world’s greatest rollercoaster design. In 2011, it hit 5-year record highs at more than $4.50/lb. Copper prices saw steady gains through much of 2011, consistent with previous years, until the cost finally dipped as 2011 came to a close [illustrated in the chart below]. Entering the year, investors tabbed copper as fundamentally one of the strongest commodities, something that isn’t likely to change in 2012. From various forecasts and projections, the price of copper is likely to rise up from approximately $3.50/lb to between $4-$4.50/lb. This is in stark contrast to the recession years when the price of copper bottomed out at less than $1.50 a pound.
I first stated that copper’s prices had more of a rollercoaster design appeal. This wouldn’t be true if your business relies heavily on the metal. It’d sooner inspire the world’s biggest headache. The price per ton has ranged from $3,000 to $9,400 in the last 3 years. The purchasing department’s cost allocation report for the quarter could simply be “?”.
I can look at prices, past and projected, stockpiles and mining outlooks all day on various commodities. I find it fascinating to track the ripple affect that leads to this-or-that gain and loss, whether it stockpiling by the Chinese, natural disasters impacting mining, or the advent of alternative materials . I typically zero in on copper since in a previous position, its price had the biggest impact on the company month-to-month.
As you may expect from someone sitting in a position with a plastics company, the “alternative material” is a popular subject matter when addressing metals, metal prices and properties. I recently stumbled upon a chart comparing the polymer PEEK to various metals. According to the research, PEEK has better chemical resistance when compared to bronze, aluminum or steel. It’s also harder than bronze or aluminum while maintaining a much lower density. That was just a snippet of the information this research revealed.
This post is just an initial entry, an introduction of sorts, into a series we’ll publish of the course of the year that will measure plastic material against certain metals. There are applications and where metal, such as copper, has long been the standard. We mean to demonstrate that plastics can be used as a suitable, if not better, alternative material.
Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment