SPE Industry Update
Jun. 5, 2013

Wind energy applications — the road ahead
By Don Rosato
Wind energy is providing significant growth opportunities for plastic composite materials. The global market for plastic composite materials in wind turbine production is projected to reach $3.95 billion by 2014. Carbon fiber and other advanced composites are expected to play an increasing role in wind blade production, owing to the expansion of offshore installations and the adoption of larger scale turbines that call for stiffer and lighter materialsMore

Side chain crystallinity enhances polymeric lubricant additives
SPE Plastics Research Online
In formulating lubricants, polymeric modifiers are added to achieve a requisite set of rheological properties, which typically include improved cold flow performance and reduced thinning at high temperatures. For both economic and performance reasons, it is desirable to limit the amount of polymeric additive that needs to be used in a lubricant, which calls for designing efficient copolymers. Therefore, understanding how the composition and structure of such additives affect their application characteristics is important for achieving optimal performance.More

Narrowing the skills gap for successful American manufacturing
IndustryWeek
Stories about high unemployment permeate news reports, so you'd think it would be easy for manufacturers like Hypertherm to find the help they need. Unfortunately, as many companies know, that isn't necessarily the case. Dick Couch, CEO of Hypertherm, writes about opening up its own technical training institute to train skilled mechanics so they can keep production in the U.S.More

China growth limited by struggling small manufacturers
Bloomberg
Chinese manufacturing indexes showed small businesses struggling, sapping momentum in the economy and underscoring the need for the government to shift support away from larger, state-backed companies.More

Why 3-D printing is overhyped — I should know, I do it for a living
Gizmodo
Everyone's now aware of 3-D printing, but 3-D printing is severely overhyped. Nick Allen, the founder of 3-D printing company 3-D Print UK, should know because it's what he does for a living.More

Nanomaterials in the construction industry: A 21st century revolution
By Adolfo Benedito
When we talk about innovation of materials for construction, inevitably, terms such as energy efficiency, sustainability, ecology, home automation and autonomy arise. The development of the house of the future demands a continuous innovation in new materials, such as polymers, whose versatility and capacity of being functional and intelligent confer new and attractive options.More

PSA encouraging plastic packaging recycling featured at the Brooklyn Film Festival
Plastics Today
A two-minute animated public service announcement covering the growing issue of plastic pollution in the oceans is currently being screened at the Brooklyn Film Festival. For the PSA, motion design studio leftchannel opted for character animation and went for a 1950s inspired "after school special" to put together both what they call an "entertaining yet informative public service announcement that serves as a call to action for viewers to 'reduce, reuse and recycle' plastic packaging."More

Coffee makers wrestle with recyclability of single-serve pods
Waste & Recycling News
As America's culture of convenience continues to flourish, single-cup coffee makers have become increasingly popular among coffee drinkers. But beneath those expedient one-cup coffee pods lies a growing environmental problem. As consumers become more and more aware of the recyclability issue, single-serve coffee manufacturers are looking for more sustainable solutions.More

Alabama is adding a bunch of manufacturing jobs, but mind the long-term trend
AL.com
Since the start of 2011, Alabama's manufacturing industry has added 14,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — a total that represents essentially 50 percent of all the jobs added across the state over that time. Put another way: without Alabama's manufacturing gains, the state's slow rate of job growth since 2011 would have been slashed in half.More

Shapeways introduces new experimental, bendy, stretchy and sometimes squishy 3-D printing material
3D Printing Industry
Following the announcement of Materialise's rubber-like 3-D printing material, word has reached us that Shapeways, too, is pushing the bendy and stretchy with the introduction of the new, experimental Elasto Plastic material. But this material comes with a bit of a twist and a new branch to the Shapeways mission, which as the company states "has always been to enable anyone to make anything they want."

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Texas getting 1st smartphone manufacturing plant in US
The Associated Press via TIME
Smartphones are coming to America. Well, America has had smartphones for a long time, but it's never had a production facility in the country until Motorola announced it will open one in Fort Worth, Texas, to produce the new Moto X smartphone. Hiring is already underway.More

China's 'Green Fence' triggers US recycler expansion
Plastics News
China's "Green Fence" crackdown on imported plastic scrap is changing the economics of exporting some material to China, according to U.S. recycler Intercontinental Export Import, and pushing the firm to make a $6 million investment in new capacity in the United States.More

Could Newark, NJ, be a manufacturing hub again?
The Star-Ledger
Newark, N.J., has much of what it would take to undergo a new manufacturing boom, but it also has much to overcome before it can, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. The Washington, D.C.-based think tank yesterday issued a 60-page study on the manufacturing sector in New Jersey's largest city, pointing out strengths and weaknesses its researchers found after a year-long survey of data and interviews with area manufacturers.More

Manufacturing panel talks success despite obstacles
WWJ-TV
One panelist at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference, National Association of Manufacturers CEO Jay Timmons, railed on Washington for excessive regulation and taxation of business, called the Affordable Care Act "a failure from the start" and said President Barack Obama doesn't put economic development front and center. But the actual manufacturers on the panel, Rush Group LLC CEO Andra Rush and Sturgis Molded Products CEO Mark Weishaar, described their success and growth regardless.More

Making sense of oil pricing and price manipulation
By Stefanie Heerwig
A shock wave recently hit the oil market as it came to light that the European Commission had raided offices of BP, Shell and Statoil to investigate whether the three European oil giants had colluded in reporting distorted prices to Platts and thereby manipulated the Brent benchmark. Since then investigations have even spread to the U.S., for a case that is as big as the Libor scandal. The new scandal not only hit the places closest to the epicenter but also shocked markets across the ocean.More

Rice, Penn State labs lay groundwork for block copolymer solar cells
Domain-b.com
A new version of solar cells created by laboratories at Rice and Penn State universities could open the door to research on a new class of solar energy devices. The photovoltaic devices created in a project led by Rice chemical engineer Rafael Verduzco and Penn State chemical engineer Enrique Gomez are based on block copolymers, self-assembling organic materials that arrange themselves into distinct layers. They easily outperform other cells with polymer compounds as active elements.More

Case researchers developing self-healing polymers
Plastics News
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed materials that can heal themselves. A team, led by Case Western professor Stuart Rowan, is working on structurally dynamic polymers that respond to stimuli like ultraviolet light.More

Mataerial is an anti-gravity 3-D printer
DVice
When you think 3-D printers, chances are you think of a cube-like desktop device. Something that can create anything you can design — as long as your creation is small enough to fit within the printer's build platform. You can throw all of this out the window with 3-D printing's newest innovation: Mataerial.More

Making sense of oil pricing and price manipulation
By Stefanie Heerwig
A shock wave recently hit the oil market as it came to light that the European Commission had raided offices of BP, Shell and Statoil to investigate whether the three European oil giants had colluded in reporting distorted prices to Platts and thereby manipulated the Brent benchmark. Since then investigations have even spread to the U.S., for a case that is as big as the Libor scandal. The new scandal not only hit the places closest to the epicenter but also shocked markets across the ocean.More

Rice, Penn State labs lay groundwork for block copolymer solar cells
Domain-b.com
A new version of solar cells created by laboratories at Rice and Penn State universities could open the door to research on a new class of solar energy devices. The photovoltaic devices created in a project led by Rice chemical engineer Rafael Verduzco and Penn State chemical engineer Enrique Gomez are based on block copolymers, self-assembling organic materials that arrange themselves into distinct layers. They easily outperform other cells with polymer compounds as active elements.More

Case researchers developing self-healing polymers
Plastics News
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed materials that can heal themselves. A team, led by Case Western professor Stuart Rowan, is working on structurally dynamic polymers that respond to stimuli like ultraviolet light.More

Mataerial is an anti-gravity 3-D printer
DVice
When you think 3-D printers, chances are you think of a cube-like desktop device. Something that can create anything you can design — as long as your creation is small enough to fit within the printer's build platform. You can throw all of this out the window with 3-D printing's newest innovation: Mataerial.More