SPE Industry Update
Jan. 29, 2014

Solar energy global market drivers and challenges
By Don Rosato
The worldwide solar energy or photovoltaic demand reached only 29 gigawatts (GW) last year, a 5 percent year-over-year increase. This is the first time in 10 years that the year-over-year photovoltaic industry market growth has been less than 10 percent. For supply and demand to have been balanced during 2012-13, end-market demand should have approached the 45 GW level. This overcapacity is having a significant effect on companies all along the supply chain as the industry consolidates. More

Extrusion of foams from engineering plastics using supercritical carbon dioxide
SPE Plastics Research Online
The need for polymeric foams with advanced functionalities is increasing, especially for applications in the aerospace, electronics, construction, automotive, and energy industries. High-performance engineering plastics provide opportunities for foams with superior properties. We have used poly(ether imide), which has a high glass transition temperature of 215–220°C. It does not soften until it reaches temperatures above that range, and so is desirable for space applications that expose materials to temperature extremes.More

Lawmakers unveil new plan to ban plastic grocery bags in California
The Sacramento Bee
Disposable plastic bags would be banned from grocery checkout stands in California and consumers would pay at least a dime for a paper or a sturdier, reusable plastic bag under a compromise proposal negotiated by key legislators. An attempt to pass a bill banning the bags failed last year amid opposition from plastic bag manufacturers and concerns that the move would eliminate jobs.More

Indian industry looks to double plastics use by 2020
Plastics News
In spite of some recent economic headwinds, India's plastics industry believes it's on track to more than double its polymer consumption by 2020, to 20 million metric tons. At a gathering of more than 30 Indian plastics trade associations on the sidelines of the Plastivision trade show in Mumbai in December, industry leaders pushed the case that the fundamentals remain strong for the country's plastic sector, although growth has slipped.More

Solar energy global market drivers and challenges
By Don Rosato
The worldwide solar energy or photovoltaic demand reached only 29 gigawatts (GW) last year, a 5 percent year-over-year increase. This is the first time in 10 years that the year-over-year photovoltaic industry market growth has been less than 10 percent.More

Nanotechnology to help recover leftover oil
The Daily Fusion
Two new research projects are receiving funding from the Research Council of Norway to develop nanoparticles that can dislodge leftover oil that remains trapped in reservoirs after conventional recovery has been completed.More

Injection molding: New twists for a mainstream technology
Design News
When it comes to manufacturing technologies, the choices are many and their number seems to grow daily. They include machining, laser cutting, water cutting, stamping, die casting and various forms of 3-D printing.More

Experts answer questions on additive manufacturing
The Engineer
Additive manufacturing or "3-D printing" is now frequently referred to as a revolutionary technology that is changing the way products are designed and made. But what exactly is additive manufacturing capable of beyond producing plastic models and bespoke dental implants? More

Palram Israel uses flexible extrusion concept by KraussMaffei Berstorff for its PVC sheet production operations
Plastics Engineering
Palram Israel Ltd. has recently been producing multi-layer PVC sheets in a finished width of 2030 mm for a wide range of applications on a KraussMaffei Berstorff coextrusion line. The company, with head offices in Ramat-Yohanan (Israel), is one of the leading manufacturers of thermoplastic semifinished products, as well as polycarbonate and PVC sheets.More

Plastics machinery shipments rise sharply in Q3
Business levels for manufacturers and suppliers of primary plastics machinery (injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, and thermoforming equipment) improved smartly in the third quarter of 2013. According to statistics compiled and reported by the Committee on Equipment Statistics of the Society of the Plastics Industry, shipments of primary plastics equipment for reporting companies totaled an estimated $3276 million in Q3. More

Polymers, other materials offer new ways to control sound, light
Laboratory Equipment
Flexible, layered materials textured with nanoscale wrinkles could provide a new way of controlling the wavelengths and distribution of waves, whether of sound or light. The new method, developed by researchers at MIT, could eventually find applications from nondestructive testing of materials to sound suppression, and could also provide new insights into soft biological systems and possibly lead to new diagnostic tools. More

Sugar and starch producers cash in on bioplastics
Food Quality News
Food packaging boasts the largest share in the total plastics market and has the greatest opportunity in terms of volume sales, according to Rabobank.More

Plastics putting the buzz in electric cars
Plastics News
Electric cars may not have gotten the same buzz at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year as they have in the past, but that doesn't mean they've disappeared. Watch this video report from the show on how suppliers and industry leaders see only growth ahead. More

Manufacturers changing packaging for OAPs
Food Production Daily
The German Packaging industry will grow at an annual rate of 1.05 percent (by volume in million units) by 2017, but heavier and fragile glass will decline at an annual rate of -0.36 percent, according to Canadean.More

Indian scientists turn plastic bags into car fuel
Business Standard
In a breakthrough, Indian researchers have developed an innovative method to reuse discarded plastic bags by transforming them into fuel to power car engines. Researchers developed a relatively low-temperature process to convert certain kinds of plastic waste into liquid fuel as a way to re-use plastic bags and other products. More

Ultra-thin tool heating for injection molding
Today's Medical Developments
If you have ever tried to make waffles, then you are bound to be familiar with the following problem: You only get good waffles if the iron is heated to the correct temperature. The same principle applies to the manufacture of plastics parts, such as displays, facings, covers, and instrument panels, using injection molding techniques. A liquid plastic melt is injected into a steel forming tool, which is heated just like a waffle iron. The point is to produce a perfect cast of the tool's surface, which may be smooth like a mirror or feature a functional structure. Using injection molding to realize the desired structural and functional surface qualities of plastic parts is intended as a one-step process without the need for any extensive finishing work. The process also has to be economic and energy efficient.More

Reshoring: Let's stick to the facts please
Plastics Today
Doug Smock writes: "J.M.Barrie, the Scottish writer who created Peter Pan, once said: 'Dreams do come true, if we only wish hard enough.' This comes to mind because of the recurring media stories trumpeting a reshoring of manufacturing jobs in the United States. Well, in yesterday's New York Times, Steven Rattner rained on that parade with a strongly argued opinion piece headlined: 'The Myth of Industrial Rebound.' Rattner is a consultant, former investment banker and lead adviser to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry in 2009. Rattner's work on General Motors and Chrysler turned out pretty well, even though I was among those strongly opposed to government support of the auto industry.More

At NAIAS, composites not difficult to find
Composites World
The 25th anniversary of the North American International Auto Show took place at Detroit, Mich.'s Cobo Center in January, giving visitors a chance to view dozens of new production vehicles, models and concept cars, as well as providing them with an up-close look at the rapidly changing face of the industry. Composites, as well as other materials, are expected to play an integral role in the design and manufacture of the next generation of vehicles, a case in point being the BMW i3, the company's first fully electric vehicle, which made its North American debut at the show. More