Manufactured (or synthetic) polymers were introduced in the 1800s, and since then, they have contributed significantly to our quality of life. Many products we rely on daily would not be possible without plastics, and those that would be possible without plastics have been vastly improved with plastics. For example, strong, lightweight plastics have made cars and airplanes lighter, reducing the amount of energy needed to operate them, thereby lowering emissions.
To best be able to exploit plastic polymers to improve our lives, it is important to preserve the quality of the polymers plastic processors produce as they are manufactured and transformed into the final consumed products. Heating, cooling and drying plastic polymers can be resource-intensive processes using traditional thermal technologies. Newer methodologies allow manufacturers to increase efficiencies and limit the impact on the environment.