Polymers find fertile ground in Northeast Ohio

The Netherlands boasts a solid innovation infrastructure that fosters startups and scale ups in the advanced materials space, including various polymers and polymer applications. Similarly, Akron in Northeast Ohio is home to 45 percent of the state's polymer industries, making it the epicenter of polymer innovation in virtually all fields. As such, this region poses interesting business opportunities for innovative Dutch companies seeking to scale internationally.

Due to a mixture of technical expertise, experienced workers, heritage, and early roots in tire production, Akron became the center of America’s polymer industry and other advanced materials including:

Plastics Bio products
Rubbers Adhesives
Paints Inks
Sealants Flexible devices
Advanced composites Nanotechnology
Advanced energy Polymer processing

These polymers have medical as well as industrial applications in automotive, energy production, aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Northeast Ohio is home to 400 polymer-related companies employing more than 26,000 workers.

The region is competitive and valued for its market access, infrastructure, skilled workforce, cutting-edge research facilities, and low cost of doing business. If your company seeks to scale up internationally and works with any sort of polymers, taking Akron into serious consideration as the place to enter the US market is a no-brainer.

Positioned to lead

Northeast Ohio is where polymer technology is developed, produced and adopted by industry. The region has the manufacturing base to handle production, and universities work closely with the region’s polymer and materials companies to advance R&D and develop the right talent to remain the frontrunners.

Many University of Akron scientists became world-renowned for their research done at the Goodyear Polymer Center. The first College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering was started by this university.

The University of Akron College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is the nation’s No. 2 polymer science program, outperforming Cal-Tech, M.I.T. and Virginia Tech. The Akron Polymer Training Center is also on track to become the world’s leading provider of advanced materials industry workforce development and training.

The National Polymer Innovation Center is also located at the university of Akron. Here, academic researchers and industry partners focus on providing solutions to emerging research challenges.

Case Western Reserve University also has a well-respected Institute for Advanced Materials, and Kent State University houses the Liquid Crystals Institute, the birthplace of the modern LCD industry.

Big companies in NEO's polymer and advanced materials innovation ecosystem
The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company First Energy
Lubrizol PolyOne
Proxy Biomedical GOJO
Advanced Elastomer Systems Myers Industries
Bridgestone Timken Company
The Cleveland Clinic Akron Children's Hospital
Summa Health System  


Ready, set, grow!

The polymer and materials industry in Northeast Ohio is poised for growth.

Natural gas and natural gas liquids in Utica Shale deposits will provide low-cost energy and a domestic source of raw materials for plastics and rubber manufacturing. State-sponsored programs, grants and incentives will support this growth potential.

Notably, the Ohio Third Frontier supports applied research and commercialization, entrepreneurial assistance, early-stage capital formation and expansion of a skilled talent pool for industries such as polymers and materials.

Landing softly

The Akron BioMedical Corridor and the Akron Global Business Accelerator are surrounded by the largest concentration of polymer-related businesses in the world and many key resources and organizations in the advanced materials innovation ecosystem.

This makes Akron a natural to soft landing place for international polymer businesses seeking to enter the US market. America Makes in Youngstown is a public-private partnership of industry, academia, government and workforce development resources that collaborate to transition additive manufacturing technology and 3D printing to the mainstream US manufacturing sector.

For startups in this particular space, Youngstown may be of interest as well.

Stay tuned for the next blogs, and as always, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have. We’re here to help!