Re: Styron

Gatwood, Elden J SAD


The only resin operation I was familiar with was the old Pennsylvania
Industrial Chemical Corp that was taken over in the mid-70's by Hercules.
They made PICCOLASTIC among others, lots of it used in the rubber and
plastics industry, among what I understand were literally hundreds of varied
end users. I believe they were once users of coke by-products but gradually
turned to shipment of petroleum derivatives for use in their resin
production, and I have photos of insulated ICC 103 tank cars with platforms
going in and out of there; they also shipped out drums in box cars, but I do
not remember at what point. I would love to know more about how the
industry, and they in particular, got and shipped their products. Do you
know how that end of the industry worked and how and when it evolved? I
worked in a Styrofoam manufacturer in the 1970's, and by then, it had all
gone to pellets that were heated in giant molds, and I never saw any liquids
in that product. Even my stepfather, who worked as an organic chemist on
hydrocarbon research, has been unable to tell me how it worked at the working
level, for resins like they made at PICCO.


Elden Gatwood

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...] On Behalf Of Tim
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 10:29 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Styron

I remember those fiberboard drums, a very common item. Were they about the
same size as metal drums? (55 gallons, I think?) I think dozens of HO scale
models exist of ribbed metal drums, but I can't recall seeing any models of
smooth-side fiberboard drums. A manufacturer would be a good lineside
industry -- receiving kraft paper box cars (or ?) and shipping out box cars
of empty drums.

Tim O'Connor

And many resins were shipped in drums, in box cars, as an alternative
to tank car shipment, especially where the end user desired smaller
Elden Gatwood
Polystyrene resin "feedstock" is shipped as pellets, as are most
thermoplastic resins used by the extrusion and molding industry. The
polymerization process yields a molten blob that would solidify into one
giant rock at room temperature, so the blob is extruded into strands maybe
3/32" or 1/8" in diameter, then immediately diced into pellets of about the
same length by calender rolls. These pellets are then remelted in an extruder
and further made into extruded profiles, bottles, or molded parts, such as
our kits.

Most plastic feedstock is shipped today in covered hoppers; the largest
sizes on the rails, since the material is so light in weight. In years past,
however, 50 pound bags on pallets or fiberboard drums were the norm. I worked
in a molding shop back in the sixties, and almost all of our material arrived
(by truck) in bags on pallets. The big "Gaylord" boxes (named for the
originator, the Gaylord Container Corp) were just then coming into widespread


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