Carl Baker

Meet Our Pro

Carl Baker

Senior Technical Service Engineer | PE Pipe

As the construction of its new polyethylene plant in Monaca, USA, continues, Shell Polymers has been hiring a team of industry experts, aka Polymer Pioneers and Polymer Pros, with proven track records in PE. In this article, Senior Technical Service Engineer Carl Baker shares insights from his extensive industry experience and the top-four opportunities for converters to improve their operations.

Track Record in Innovation and Delivering Customer Value

Back in 2000, Carl developed polyethylene raised temperature (PERT) resins that could meet the rigorous demands of the North American market and can be used at temperatures of up to 82°C. Until then, the maximum use temperature for polyethylene (pe) pipe was 60°C, which precluded it from use in potable water applications in homes and buildings in North America.

“Now, PERT resins are widely used in the North American potable water industry and in industrial and mining applications where its elevated temperature capability is a highly valuable characteristic,” he says.

Unlocking Technical Insights

Shell Polymers’ application hall will contain commercial-sized units for multilayer linear low density polyethylene film, high molecular weight film, pipe, and injection and blow molding, and Carl explains that this will enable him and his colleagues to unlock technical insights.

Related Reading: 5 characteristics of a Reliable, Innovative Polymer Supplier

“For example, if a product’s striping was failing ultraviolet exposure testing, we could work closely with the producer to identify what was going on,” he says. “Most likely, we may go on to recommend alternative masterbatches and do verification testing on them.”

Crucially, by running those trials here, they would not have to stop their production, and that’s really significant.

“Or maybe their pigments are fouling the die and causing surface defects. One of the things we can do is to run their current formulation on our machines and try to find ways of solving the problem. Perhaps it needs a processing aid or a different masterbatch, or maybe it’s something else. Crucially, by running those trials here, they would not have to stop their production, and that’s really significant because most pipe extruders run 24/7/365. Stoppages mean lost production and can lead to start-up difficulties.”

Carl’s top-four opportunities for converters

  • Invest in the latest-generation extruders

    Invest in the latest-generation extruders

    Although there are some highly effective productivity-boosting solutions, such as processing aids, sometimes the best solution will be to invest in new equipment. State-of-the-art extruders are getting progressively longer, which can enhance product quality and output levels. The new machine will run faster, make less scrap and need less operator input so the investment can be compelling.

  • Penetrate other market segments

    Penetrate other market segments

    There are still a lot of applications and a lot of industries that haven’t exploited the benefits of bimodal polyethylene pipe yet. Sure, we’ve seen sustained growth in pressure pipe for gas, water and industrial mining applications, all the way over to irrigation, but I think there is potential for it to penetrate other market segments, too.

  • Collaborate with a strategic supplier

    Collaborate with a strategic supplier

    The performance of the resin is critical, of course, but some suppliers have so much additional value that converters can tap into. Look at what your supplier has to offer. Can they offer troubleshooting at your site so that you don’t have to shut down your production? Do they share the latest thinking and techniques with you? That kind of strategic support can be extremely valuable.

  • Look at your supply chain

    Look at your supply chain

    Innovation is not only about what goes on in your labs and production facilities. It is also about finding opportunities to run your business in a quicker, cheaper, simpler and more efficient manner. In our experience, there can often be opportunities in areas such as logistics and forecasting.

Providing Converters with Industry Leadership

It is vital that businesses keep up to date with the latest developments and thinking in the sector, and Carl is keen to add that this is another way in which Shell Polymers adds value to customers’ businesses. “We not only keep abreast of the latest developments, we are also at the forefront of them – delivering papers at conferences, holding leadership positions in the trade associations and certification bodies, and so on,” he says. “And we are committed to sharing the insights that come from this with our customers to help them unlock competitive advantage.”

Explore How Shell’s Polymer Experts Support Customers with Industry Expertise

Carl's industry involvement includes: 

 Plastic Pipe & Fittings Association

  • Board of Directors Member
  • Executive Committee Member
  • Chairman Polyolefins Product Line Committee
  • Chairman Flexible Polyolefins Product Line Committee

 Plastic Pipe Institute

  • Management Committee Member of Energy Piping Systems Division
  • Former Board of Directors Member
  • Former Advisory Council Chairman
  • Former Management Committee Member of Building and Construction Division

ASTM International

  • Committee F17 on Plastic Piping Systems Executive Committee Member
  • Chairman of F17.61 Subcommittee on Water Piping Systems
  • Committee D20 on Plastics Member
  • Vice-Chairman Subcommittee D20.15.26 on Polyolefins
  • Committee E05 on Fire Standards Member
  • Committee E60 on Sustainability Member

Canadian Standards Association

  • Chairman of B137 Technical Committee on Plastic Pressure Piping
  • Member of B1800 Technical Committee on Plastic Non-Pressure Piping.

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