October 14, 2014

It’s hard to imagine a world without plastic. From our health and well-being to our safety and security, plastics certainly play a critical role in our everyday lives. It’s no wonder the news is often full of references to the future of plastics, from the next generation of bioplastics to the latest 3D printing innovations. But what we often don’t hear about is just how far the plastic industry has come since Alexander Parkes unveiled Parkesine at the Great International Exhibition in London in 1862. 

While the evolution of plastic spans almost two centuries, some of the most significant innovations have occurred since the early to mid 1900’s, including these impressive developments highlighted in the Plastics Make it Possible article Plastic Innovations in Packaging Through the Decades

  • 1930 – Scotch tape was invented by 3M 
  • 1933 – Saran was accidentally discovered by Ralph Wiley, a Dow Chemical lab worker 
  • 1946 – Tupperware® was developed by Earl Silas Tupper 
  • 1946 – The first major commercial plastic spray bottle was developed by Dr. Jules Montenier 
  • 1950 – The familiar black or green plastic garbage bag was invented by Canadians Harry Wasylyk and Larry Hansen 
  • 1954 – Robert W. Vergobbi patented zipper storage bags 
  • 1960 – Sealed Air Corporation engineers Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes created Bubble Wrap® 
  • 1988 – The Society of the Plastics Industry introduced a voluntary resin identification coding system 
  • 2000 – Polylactic acid (PLA) made from corn was introduced to the packaging market 
  • 2007 – The two-liter plastic beverage bottle and the one-gallon plastic milk jug reach a milestone in “lightweighting” – both containers shed a third of their weight since they became widely used in the 1970s. 

It’s clear from this short list that great strides have been made in the evolution of plastic, which made us wonder if we looked back at our own history, could we say the same? 

The evolution of TEQ began with Schawk, Inc. acquiring two companies – A.E. Robinson, one of the first Chicago area companies to offer a complete package of printed blister cards and thermoformed blisters, and Fuzere, Inc., a provider of innovative, high-quality packaging to medical and electronic OEM’s. In 1994 these two companies consolidated, forming TekPackaging, which was later acquired by ESCO Technologies.  

As shown in the chart below, TEQ made a variety of significant advancements from achieving several preferred certifications and registrations to expanding our clean room facilities, acquiring new machinery with distortion printing capabilities, developing proprietary packaging solutions and materials (such as TEQethylene™), and even developing a modular supply chain solution to help companies onshore manufacturing operations to the U.S. 

TEQ history timeline - English.

Today we still produce high-quality plastic packaging, of course, but we have grown into a company that also offers creative design and engineering, state-of-the-art technology, and market-leading thermoforming to produce a variety of products for medical, electronic, and commercial markets.  

And just as new applications and materials are being developed every day in plastics, we are continuing to add new offerings and capabilities to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs. 

What about you? How has your company or business evolved over the years?