SPE Industry Update
Jun. 12, 2013

Can engineers develop a more flexible, eco-friendly plastic for packaging?
Ohio University via Phys.org
The idea of "going green" for one person can mean anything from driving a hybrid car to simply recycling glass bottles. But Barbi Wheelden, a doctoral student in chemical engineering, is thinking more globally. She's seeking a way for manufacturers to use a more eco-friendly and biodegradable plastic in their packaging. Wheelden is using a component called polylactide, a bio-based plastic that comes from any crop with a starch, such as corn or sugar.More

Efficient self-healing resins
SPE Plastics Research Online
The last decade has witnessed remarkable advances in the design and development of aircraft materials required to meet future challenges. Aircraft makers have sought to improve safety and fuel economy through the use of lightweight, yet stronger and stiffer materials, and polymeric composites appear to be emerging as candidates to replace the traditional metal alloys. However, impact damage can structurally weaken these by substantial matrix micro-cracking, delamination and fiber-matrix debonding.More

Developing bipolar plates for fuel cells
SPE Plastics Research Online
The development of conductive polymer composites is a promising and growing field of research. CPCs are highly resistant to corrosion and have low densities, two properties that might result in the materials replacing metals in several applications. More

Italy passes plastic bag ban despite UK opposition
European Plastics News
The Italian government has passed a decree law banning the sale of nonbiodegradable plastic bags, despite a legal challenge by the U.K. government, which claims Rome is breaching EU internal market rules. The European Commission has been postponing an EU-wide proposal on the handling of plastic shopping bags for several months. A nonbinding recommendation on what EU countries should do with plastic bags might be released by the end of June.

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The plastics industry will descend on UK
Plastics & Rubber Weekly
Machinery, ancillary and mold equipment companies are gearing up to show exciting new innovations at the PDM13 exhibition and conference in Telford, England. 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

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. More

DuPont's Diane Gulyas offers global polymer insights
Plastics News
The global head of DuPont Performance Polymers offered her thoughts on the fast-growing Asian market and on several other topics in a wide-ranging interview at her company's booth at Chinaplas. Diane Gulyas, Wilmington, Del.-based president of the $4.2 billion Performance Polymers unit, commented on the current state of DuPont's polymers business, the impact of recent corporate cutbacks, market shifts in China and Asia, the status of some DuPont expansions and North America's reshoring trend, among other subjects.More

Can we summit the growing plastics mountain?
PC Magazine
Just think about your life. The smartphone on which you may be reading this column, the 3-D glasses through which you may have seen Star Trek and the waterproof boots that you wear on stormy days — they all use plastic. Even airplanes and cars are increasingly made from composite plastic materials. Now think about your work. Most product prototyping relies on plastic because it is cheap. This is not just about 3-D printers. To attain the look of stainless steel, one insider revealed, firms spray weighted plastic with chrome.More

Government investment in 3-D printing presents recycled plastic opportunity
Material Recycling World
U.K. businesses will benefit from a funding injection to develop 3-D printing projects, business secretary Vince Cable has announced. The department stated that the aim is to help businesses develop 3-D printing technology across industries such as health care and energy. 3-D printing can be used to print anything from furniture to small-scale models, and can use recycled plastics.More

Ford's Australian closure to impact plastics industry
Plastics News
Plastics industry bodies say the planned closure of Ford Motor Co. of Australia Ltd.'s Melbourne manufacturing operations in 2016 will result in job losses and potential closures for plastics manufacturers. Ford Australia President and CEO Bob Graziano said the fragmented marketplace and low model volumes mean manufacturing in Australia is "no longer viable." Australia sells about 1.1 million new vehicles annually and customers have access to more than 65 brands and 365 models.More

The new EITI standard: What does it mean for oil and gas service companies?
By Lucy Wallwork
Sydney was recently host to the sixth global EITI conference, where a reformed standard was unveiled. The crowd featured high-level representatives from government and big-name energy companies. But what about the service companies that make the operations of Big Oil possible? They may not be directly involved in implementation of the initiative, but can they at least benefit from the supposed "governance dividend" in their countries of operation, as a "free rider"?More

Electroactive polymers help listeners 'feel' sound
Plastics News
The next time you listen to a live album, you could do more than just hear applause — you might be able to feel it. Artificial Muscle Inc., a subsidiary of Bayer MaterialScience LLC, is bringing electroactive polymer technology to phones, tablets and, most recently, headphones.More

PS resin prices rise, PVC prices fall in May
Plastics News
Different price directions for North American polystyrene and PVC are featured in this Material Insights video. We also report another downstream move by materials maker RTP Co., as well as news that China's Dalian Commodity Exchange will begin offering PP futures.More

The 'miracle' tongue patch: Venezuela's new extreme diet
"I don't have the willpower to go on a diet, so this was the only way," says Yomaira Jaspe, a Venezuelan woman whose eating decisions are currently dictated by a plastic patch sewn onto her tongue. A new form of extreme diet, the supposed "miracle" tongue patch has become popular amongst Venezuelans since it became available in Caracas clinics last year. The fad is the latest weight-loss technique in a country where female physical appearance is so prized that breast implants are commonly proffered as 15th birthday presents.More

Waste to energy industry welcomes consultation on plastic waste
Waste Management World
The European Commission's recently published Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment, which launched a consultation on how to reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment, has been welcomed by the waste to energy industry. In a statement, the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants gave its answers to all 26 of the questions posed by the green paper, and gave particular credence to moves towards ending the landfilling of plastic waste and ensuring that it is treated higher up the waste hierarchy.More

Researchers develop method for recycling plastic with printed ink
Researchers at the University of Alicante have developed a procedure that removes printed ink on plastic films used in flexible packaging getting a product free from ink and suitable for recycling. This new technology developed and patented by the UA Waste, Pyrolysis and Combustion Research Group, allows the removal of printed ink through a physical-chemical treatment and retrieves the plastic film clean, increasing the added value of the recycled product, plus pigments obtained can be used in other applications.More

Family leadership drives injection-molding Hoffer Plastics' success
Medill Reports
With strong second- and third-generation leadership, South Elgin, Ill.-based Hoffer Plastics Co. is a muscular injection molder that continues to be an Illinois manufacturing success story in a highly competitive industry. In recent years, the company has performed exceptionally well. Last year revenues spiked at $75 million, according to William Hoffer, CEO and president.More

How 3-D printing will rebuild reality
Boing Boing
With the recent rise of the maker movement and the advent of cheaper, easier-to-use 3-D printing technology, the sci-fi concept of a household device that can manufacture functional objects seems to be gaining reality. But for those who witnessed the technology’s birth and growth, it has been a surprisingly long and winding road, one that has, however, recently reached a significant but mostly unnoticed milestone.More

Design 'key' to boosting plastic packaging recycling
Encouraging design of products to ensure they can be recycled in an environmentally-sound and economically-viable way is crucial to improving recycling rates for the material, according to plastics recycling body Recoup. By following the guidance packaging producers should to ensure that they are compliant with the relevant legislation relating to the design of plastic packaging, to minimize recycling costs and to meet societal expectations around recycling.More

PVC-free medical plastics processing propels Eldon James
Plastics Today
A Colorado plastics processing company is significantly expanding capacity in response to growing demand for PVC- and silicone-free tubing and injection molded fittings for the medical and food markets. Eldon James is adding 10 injection molding machines and two extrusion lines to a consolidated 75,000-sq-ft facility in Denver, where the company's headquarters are located. More

Reducing mold qualification time
Plastics Today
Lead-time reduction remains a critical factor in the development of new injection molded products. While there are many areas that can be addressed to reduce the time it takes to validate the mold and parts, the time from initial mold sampling until the parts are production-approved is one of the biggest windows of opportunity for improvement.More