Raw Materials

It may surprise some people to learn that both plastic and rubber originated from naturally-occurring materials. In fact, gutta-percha, shellac, and the horns of animals were all used as plastic material before the first synthetic plastics were produced.

Gutta-percha is derived from the sap of certain trees, and shellac is made from the secretions of the tiny lac insect. Animal horns were also used to make plastics after the horn was boiled and soaked in an alkaline solution.

Further about 40% of rubber used today is natural rubber harvested as latex from a variety of trees such as the Pará rubber tree in a process similar to that of tapping trees to make maple syrup. Latex is a milky fluid which is also found in 10 percent of all flowering plants such as the common dandelion and milkweed.

The process of cultivating and harvesting naturally-occurring raw materials for plastic and rubber production is not dissimilar to the process of harvesting fruit and vegetables in agricultural and farming industries.

Companies engaged in these early stages of harvesting natural ingredients for rubber and plastics commonly use ERP software designed for the farming and agricultural industry.

These systems include specialized capabilities to manage their land and crops; irrigation, fertilization, and care for their trees; planting of new trees; and cultivation of the harvest.

Larger producers typically use ERP software from Oracle or SAP while smaller producers will typically use general midmarket ERP solutions such as Sage X3, Sage 100cloud, or Epicor ERP with add-on modules, small modifications, or integration to specialized third party operational systems to handle their unique agricultural requirements.


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