SPE Industry Update
Apr. 10, 2013

Automotive lightweighting applications: The road ahead
By Don Rosato
Lightweighting measures are expected to be applied to every car model that is launched over the coming years. The average car contains 15 percent of its total weight — or roughly 400 pounds — of plastics, with its use in automotive manufacturing accelerating. As the automotive industry gears up to meet new emissions regulations, lightweight, structural engineering plastics will play a critical role. The trend to replace metal with plastics is also allowing integration of functionality often not possible in metal versions. Innovative materials combined with new production methods and reinforcing structures will play an important role in reducing vehicle weight.More

New tech forums will focus on managing innovation, 'smart' polymers and health care plastics
Three new technology forums at the SPE ANTEC® 2013 conference will provide insights on bringing innovations to market, explore unique polymers with built-in capabilities for responding to their environment, and present new developments in medical materials. For a detailed agenda of each forum during the April 22-24 conference in Cincinnati, please read more.More

Plenary speakers to discuss polymer advances and shale gas boom benefits
Plenary speeches by four industry leaders at the SPE ANTEC® 2013 conference will address new technical and business developments with great potential for benefiting plastics. For a complete list of speakers and their biographies, please read more. More

Nanocomposites via sol-gel reaction and nylon polymerization
SPE Plastics Research Online
Combining two common polymerization techniques generates reinforcing particles that increase modulus up to 20 percent. In situ polymerization provides a dispersion of nanosize fillers via polymerization of the monomer in the presence of filler. Polymer intercalation requires the addition of filler in a polymer melt or solution. More

How Ford uses 3-D printing
Plastics News
Ford has created a pretty good video on how it uses 3-D printing in its design and engineering efforts. The process allows engineers to experience the real look and feel of a part that they are developing for Ford vehicles.More

6-meter tall KamerMaker to 3-D print Amsterdam house by year's end
Amsterdam-based DUS Architects is the latest company to show its hand, and has developed its own 3-D printer, the 6-meter tall KamerMaker — literally, RoomMaker — with the intention of 3-D printing a house before the end of the year.More

How the US oil, gas boom could shake up global order
NBC News
A dramatic shift is occurring in how energy is being produced and consumed around the world — one that could lead to far-reaching changes in the geopolitical order. But many experts say the U.S. would be the big winner, in position to reshape its foreign policy and boost its global influence.More

SPE recognizes Infiltrator Systems with Chairman's Award
The Harford Courant
Infiltrator Systems Inc. has long been an industry leader in implementing sustainable manufacturing processes at their Winchester, Ky., facility. The company is a top 10 user of post-consumer recycled plastic in North America buying over 150 tons of plastic daily to produce innovative wastewater treatment products.More

Seattle Mariners' innovative packaging hitting home runs
Plastics Today
There's no denying that trash and litter are a huge issue for all stadiums that host sporting events. That's one initiative the Seattle Mariners team hopes to solve with its aggressive zero-waste goals. Rebecca Hale, director of public information for the Seattle Mariners, said the team has been working hard since 2006 to raise awareness among fans of not only what the Mariners are doing to reduce their impact on the environment, but to help them understand ways to make simple changes in their own lives outside of the ballpark.More

Tritan finds new application in IPG medical technology
Plastics News
New IPG Photonics Corp. technology for welding translucent and transparent polymers works with a new-generation Tritan copolyester from Eastman Chemical Co. Suitable for medical devices, the IPG technology can weld clear-to-clear polymers with fiber lasers and create welds almost invisible to the human eye.More

Proposed laws would require 'not recyclable' labeling on biodegradable plastic containers
Plastics News
Laws proposed in North Carolina and Alabama could require containers made from biodegradable or compostable plastic to be labeled non-recyclable. The proposed laws would prevent any plastic containers, including beverage bottles, sold or distributed in those states from being labeled compostable, biodegradable or degradable unless the container is also clearly marked "not recyclable, do not recycle."More

Looking to share your plastics expertise?
In an effort to enhance the overall content of the SPE Industry Update, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of SPE, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit and our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.More

India prepares to introduce plastic banknotes
Deutsche Welle
India has decided to trial the use of plastic notes across five of the country's cities. It is part of a move, experts say, aimed at reducing costs, increasing the life of notes and combating counterfeit currency. Polymer bank notes are more expensive to produce, but with the significantly longer circulation life of polymer notes, it is hoped the expense of printing replacement paper notes and disposing of soiled or torn currency will be cut.More

Myths of post-industrial America
The Washington Post
Almost everyone seems to yearn for a manufacturing renaissance. This would, the reasoning goes, kick-start the sluggish recovery. By providing well-paying jobs, it would strengthen the middle class. By restoring a heritage of "making things," it would reduce U.S. trade deficits and re-establish our global economic pre-eminence. No doubt, millions of Americans endorse this appealing vision. It's make-believe.More

EPA finalizes interpretation that would allow recycling of plastics from shredder residue
Bloomberg BNA
The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized an interpretation of regulations governing the management and recycling of polychlorinated biphenyls that it says will allow plastic materials recovered from metal recycling facilities and automobiles to be recycled.More

Wanted: Manufacturing jobs with higher wages
The Times of Northwest Indiana
University of Wyoming energy economics professor Timothy Considine said each of the 150,700 jobs directly in the domestic steel industry has a multiplier effect of 6.8. Put a different way, activities by a single worker in a melt shop help provide for nearly seven other jobs. The multiplier effect starts with the direct purchases the industry makes in its usage of energy, materials and machinery.More

Strong growth for North American plastics machinery market in 2012
Plastics Today
2012 was a capital year for North American plastics capital equipment, with orders for injection molding machines, blown-film lines, auxiliary equipment, thermoforming equipment and hot runners all up compared to 2011. The only market truly off in 2012 was the blowmolding segment.More

Report: Materials manufacturers will likely be unable to meet carbon-emissions reduction targets by 2050
MIT News
A new report by researchers at MIT and elsewhere finds that the global manufacturing sector has made great strides in energy efficiency. The manufacturing of materials such as steel, cement, paper, plastic and aluminum has become increasingly streamlined, requiring far less energy than when these processes were first invented.More

Note to manufacturers: California might not be so bad
The Golden State has a terrible reputation as a place to do business, a reputation it has earned over the years and richly deserves. Its taxes are high, it has far too much red tape and its environmental laws are so draconian that, by themselves, they keep a lot of manufacturers from thinking about locating here. But if you're a manufacturer and you must have a West Coast operation, California might be a good place to do business. All you have to do is find a suitable location in one of the state's 40 enterprise zones.More

Seeking a market for cheap 3-D printers
There is no shortage of amazing industrial commercial applications for 3-D printing — internal organs, stem cells, artificial limbs, art, cars and customizable furniture, to name a few. Now, dirt-cheap 3-D printers like the Printrbot and MakiBox are simplifying the technology and putting it in more people's hands and home offices.More

Virginia company part of 'green' manufacturing
Altavista Journal
A Virginia business is part of manufacturing a product that's made out of recycled plastic. Altavista Welding Inc. is putting together crane mats using a raw material that’s made of all types of plastic, except water bottles. The material comes to the local company in 18-foot, solid beams that weigh 400-450 pounds each. The beams are black and look like railroad ties.More