At the beginning of 2020, when reports from China began to emerge, nobody could imagine the ramifications which continue to impact us to this day – the shutdowns, lockdowns, quarantines, supply chain challenges, and sharp changes in demand for certain goods. The initial reaction created upheaval the world over and the impact on us at Plazit-Polygal could not be ignored. We all mobilized, from the production line workers, through customer service, the shipment team, and management – all to do our part in the global effort and in returning to the regular daily routine.
Every Transparent Plastic Sheet was Snatched Up for Protection Against the Virus
“The days at the beginning of the pandemic were characterized by a sharp change in demand for the sheets we produce. These sheets found a new use, like partitions and separators to protect against the virus; every transparent sheet was snatched up”, recounts Tamir Lavi, Plazit-Polygal Marketing and Sales Manager. “We are used to accurately characterizing the right sheet for the specific use for which it is intended in terms of thickness and composition of materials. However, from the outset of the pandemic demand was so high that there wasn’t any time to do this. The main use was protection against the virus. There were no vaccines yet, we had not yet changed consumption and engagement habits, and every sheet that could body block the virus and save a life was happily welcomed”.
The Company’s sites the world overworked around the clock to meet the high demand. “We organized production to give the protective sheets a high priority. The demand for other products, such as sheets for billboards and display stands, decreased, which was to our advantage. Any available means of production was routed to manufacture protective partitions”.
Protective Sheets for PETG Face Shields
The Company’s sheets were also used to produce multi-use face shields. “Such a product was also available before the corona, but with the outbreak of the pandemic, demand increased significantly. These face shields are usually based on PETG and used by hospital medical staff. They can be disinfected and reused, which is not the case concerning the disposable face masks, and this is their advantage”.
Increased Demand for DIY Products
The lockdowns and quarantines brought with them another phenomenon/trend. Closed at home, people began to invest in the interior of their house instead of allocating a budget for vacations, trips, and cultural events. “We saw a sharp increase in the demand for DIY products, mainly for MW (Multi-Wall) sheets made of PC. These plastic sheets are strong and especially lightweight and are suitable for awnings and pergolas. The large chains in the world switched to online sales, which enabled consumers to continue to buy products despite the social distancing, thus providing a solution to the high demand”.
Stabilization of Demand with the Continuing Corona Period
The virus which emerged suddenly is still with us, but we have grown accustomed to it. We developed new habits, adopted masks, got vaccinated, are awaiting an antiviral drug that is on the way, and hopefully, social distancing restrictions will soon be lifted. “There is no longer the high demand which characterized the beginning of the crisis, and we learned to live alongside the pandemic. Our sheets are still on the market, providing partitions and protecting faces. These are not disposable products and the sheets can also withstand mechanical stresses as well disinfection and cleaning. Therefore, after the world equipped itself, demand returned to normal”, explained Tamir.
Innovative Development: Completely Transparent Antibacterial Sheet
The pandemic brought not only challenges but also helped in advancing the Company’s special development project. “With the outbreak of the corona concern arose that the virus could survive on surfaces for a long time, and we vigorously began a project to develop a sheet with antiviral properties. Over time it appeared that, contrary to bacteria, viruses survive a bit longer on surfaces, and the project took a sharp turn to antimicrobial sheets. These sheets are not new on the market, and they are characterized by turbidity and milky color. In the innovative development project, which is underway these days, we succeeded in finding an antibacterial solution without compromising on the transparency of the sheet. The project is conducted in collaboration with a leading South American additives company, and the results are promising”.
Although the Omicron strain has spread throughout the world, it appears that we have learned to live and contend with the situation. Over the past two years, we did everything we could to provide plastic sheets for life-saving uses. We will continue to develop creative solutions in the future so that if heaven forbid we face a similar situation, we will be prepared.