Problem Solver

James Botkin

James Botkin

Areas James Botkin is Knowledgeable in:

Polymer degradation and stabilization
Preventing failure of plastics when exposed to heat or light
Providing "special effects" in plastics through the use of additives

Techniques James Botkin Uses:

(1) Gather as much information as possible from the client concerning the nature of the problem, the approaches that they have already tried, and the results.

(2) Conducting a thorough search and analysis of the patent and technical literature relating to the topic is essential background work. In many cases clients have not done this job properly, and are unaware of pre-existing solutions. Also when working on fundamentally new approaches to solving a problem a thorough search will help ensure that the new approach does not infringe existing patents.

(3) In developing new plastic additives and formulations containing them, developing an understanding of structure/activity relationships is often the key to success. By this I mean understanding how the functional groups and other structural features of chemical products affect performance attributes. Developing this knowledge is an important objective of technical projects.

(4) Never underestimate the importance of serendipity! In my work with clients I often come across chemical technologies that often have applicability in areas other than those for which they were originally developed. It also helps to read as much of the technical literature related to your field as possible. I also spend a fair amount of time filing and organizing chemical product literature, technical articles, and patents in electronic form so that they can easily be retrieved in the future. Solution #2 above is an example of serendipity in action. Trust me, serendipity happens so often that it's surprising!

James Botkin's Problem Solving Skills:

  1. Technical writing
  2. Project design to demonstrate the efficacy of new chemical products
  3. Regulatory affairs pertaining to chemical substances
  4. Plastics processing, e.g. extrusion, injection molding, rotational molding, foaming
  5. Patent and technical literature research and analysis
  6. Plastic additives for stabilization, nucleation, scratch resistance, and other effects
  7. Polymer degradation and stabilization
  8. Marketing new products to the chemical and plastic industries
  9. Organic chemistry
  10. Polymer science

James Botkin's Problem Solving Experience:

  1. While at Ciba Specialty Chemicals, collaborated with a major customer to develop a light stabilization system that enabled the commercialization of a new polymer blend. Designed projects to identify the types of additives needed for proper stabilization, understand structure/activity relationships, and determine the appropriate ratio of the components. This polymer blend was commercially adopted in a major automotive exterior platform and received the Society of Plastics Engineers Automotive Division Innovative Material award in 1999.
  2. Based on a need in the plastic industry for polypropylene-based materials with excellent thermal oxidative stability and low discoloration, developed an additive formulation that was successful in meeting these performance requirements. This formulation is the subject of US Patent No. 7,291,669. Designed sequential projects to understand the structure/activity relationships of the additives involved and to demonstrate the performance of the final formulation.
  3. Led the development of a state-of-the-art rotomolding laboratory at Ciba Specialty Chemicals, including upgrades to equipment, molding procedures, and test methods. Designed projects (executed by the technical staff) to understand how different types of plastic additives affect the processing window in the rotational molding of linear low density polyethylene. The results led to the commercialization of a new product platform in alignment with the industry need for a broad processing window.
  4. Worked as part of a client's team at a startup company to develop and commercialize new chemical products. Specific contributions included:
    Development of testing protocols to assess product performance and understand structure/activity relationships,
    Utilize the knowledge developed from the testing to develop new products and/or formulations with performance to meet the requirements of prospective customers,
    Conceived an improved manufacturing process for one product which reduced raw material costs by more than 50% and was successfully demonstrated on a pilot scale,
    Invented a new product candidate that successfully overcame issues with the prior candidate's product form without sacrificing performance, and
    Prepared Pre-Manufacture Notification (PMN) applications for new products which were successfully submitted to the US EPA.
    As a result of the team's efforts, two new chemical products are being commercialized in 2009.
  5. "Winning Solver" award for my solution to the Innocentive Challenge "Increased Crystallization Rate" (InnoCentive Challenge 5420476). The solution involved the identification of additives to increase the crystallization rate of a semicrystalline polymer by at least 30% vs. state-of-the-art technology without decreasing its mechanical properties.
  6. Developed a novel approach to improving the impact strength of rotomolded plastic parts without sacrificing stiffness involving incorporation of a special additive. The efficacy of the approach was demonstrated in independent testing and a polymer grade based on it has been commercialized.