Sunday 23 June 2024

New Polymer Material Selection Tool - Plastics Pricing Dashboard using Tableau

Hello and welcome to this post in which I present to you the plastics pricing dashboard I created with the business intelligence tool Tableau (is part of the suite of tools). It will support you during the material selection phase as an engineer, as well as a support tool for plastics purchasers and for everyone interested in the development of polymer pricing. 

The Polymer Selection Funnel - information gathering phase and cost considerations

Figure 1 shows the Polymer Material Selection Funnel and cost considerations are a relevant aspect during the information gathering phase for optimal polymer selection, which is the base step before starting with step 1 - Material Selection Factors. 

Figure 1: Polymer Selection Funnel and the information gathering phase which contains cost considerations. 

Plastic cost contribution to the final product costs can range from 50% up to 80%. If we are designing a technical part, cost contribution is around 50%, and in case we design an injection moulded consumer product, cost contribution is in the range of 80%. Having access to pricing data and understanding the dynamics behind, allow you to make better decisions along the material selection funnel steps. 

Additionally, the shape of the part is fixed by the design and not by the weight. Therefore, having plastics cost data per volume instead of cost per kilogram is more useful. In the pricing dashboard both representations are shown: cost per kilogram and cost per volume. 

What does the plastics pricing dashboard contain and how is it built up?

The tool Tableau allows me to organize polymer (engineering) data for material selection by interactive dashboards. 

Figure 2 presents two pricing charts of commodity and engineering polymers pellets. The following polymers are covered: ABS, PA 6, PA 6.6, PBT, PC, PE-HD, PE-LD, POM, PP, and PS. The data sources can be found here.

Figure 2: Plastics Pricing Dashboard - overview of the two pricing charts. 

The left one contains the average price in EUR per kg over the period of one year (July 2023 till June 2024). The right one contains the average price per liter over the same period of time. By clicking on one of the plastics, for example ABS, only ABS in color "blue" can be seen and all the others are shown in light grey color. 

On the bottom of the dashboard, the average sales price and the density of the same polymers is plotted (Figure 3). Additionally, there are two filters. The upper filter allows you to select polymers which have a certain density only. And the second filter allows you to select certain price levels. This in turn allows you to narrow your search and analysis. 

Figure 3: Plastics Pricing Dashboard - average sales price vs. density.

Time to try the dashboard out

Now it is time to check out the dashboard here or immediately below. 

Furthermore, it is possible to download it as a picture, PDF, powerpoint slide or as a Tableau workbook. 

I will update the dashboard in quarterly time steps to keep this selection tool as accurate as possible and will include more information such as ethylene (important for C2-pricing), propylene (important for C3-pricing), and other base chemicals important for plastics pricing as well as other plastics. 

I am curious about your feedback on this tool and feel fre to leave a message below or by using the contact form.

Check out my other dashboards here, which are part of my Tableau capstone project series: 

Plastics Environmental Sustainability Dashboard

Dynamic Mechanical Analysis Data of Engineering and High Performance Polymers 

As well as polymer material selection tools: 

Polymer Material Selector V1.1

Thanks for reading and #findoutaboutplastics



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