SPE Industry Update
Sep. 3, 2014

Smart factories know how to use big data
By Alan Kelsky
Go to a meeting of any trade group or association and someone is going to mention "big data." I know of scores of companies that have scores of servers dedicated to storing all this data. So what? If they are not using the data to improve their business, storing it is a waste of server space and money. However, you need to know which data you need and how to use it to improve your company. A huge area that is great territory for using big data is for measuring untold numbers of little things in factories. More

Post-industrial waste nylon for automotive applications
SPE Plastics Research Online
For over a decade, nylons have been the material of choice in many demanding automotive applications, such as vibration-welded (VW) under-hood air intake manifolds (AIMs). The service conditions for such applications can be harsh, with temperature extremes ranging from -40 to 130°C, which has led to nylon and its composites becoming commonly used materials.More

The future of plastics manufacturing in the US
The future of plastic manufacturing in the United States is far from certain, but many trends are beginning to take shape. From the accelerating pace of 3-D printing innovation to new production procedures, plastic manufacturing will likely continue to be a strong, yet steadily changing segment of the manufacturing industry.More

China's plastics processing industry adapts to a plastics era
Plastics Engineering
Since China joined the World Trade Organization more than a decade ago, China's plastics processing industry has made great progress. It is now a modern manufacturing industry which utilizes new materials, new crafts, new technologies and new equipment. After playing catch-up, with exponential growth, the industry is shifting from focusing on quantity to focusing on quality.More

Polycarbonate training device for swimmers
European Plastics News
A strange-looking Australian-designed polycarbonate swimming training device has helped an Aussie swimmer win gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. The injection molded PC device, called a Corsuit, has a nylon strap and an acetal thermoplastic buckle. It straps on like a belt, contouring to fit the spine and support swimmers' core muscles and posture.More

Smart factories know how to use big data
By Alan Kelsky
Go to a meeting of any trade group or association and someone is going to mention "big data." I know of scores of companies that have scores of servers dedicated to storing all this data. So what? If they are not using the data to improve their business, storing it is a waste of server space and money. However, you need to know which data you need and how to use it to improve your company.More

BMW closes the carbon fiber loop
Plastics News
BMW's extensive use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic in its i-series vehicles has prompted the development of ways to recycle unused material. BMW's all-electric i3 and the hybrid i8 represent the first mass-production vehicles with carbon fiber-intensive construction. As the market for carbon fiber grows, so does a need to cut costs, including reclaiming and reusing leftover portions of the valuable material.More

Legislation and performance requirements define electronic device trends
By Don Rosato
Manufacturers in the various electrical/electronic sectors can choose from an enormous and versatile range of plastics to meet every requirement. Depending on the electronic component or device, designers choose plastics for their rigidity or flexibility, toughness/durability, resistance to voltage and their electrical insulation or conductive qualities. More

Tokyo Tech scientists synthesize multicyclic type of polymers
Polymers come with a range of properties dictated by their chemical composition and geometrical arrangement. Yasuyuki Tezuka and his team at Tokyo Institute of Technology have now applied an approach to synthesize a new type of multicyclic polymer geometry. "This additional step will give a library of architectures to allow systematic studies of what properties derive from what structures," explains Tezuka, adding, "Mathematicians who study these complex geometries are also interested in knowing that they can be made at the nanoscale."More

How's the media treating plastics these days?
Plastics News
Daily searches for breaking news within the plastics industry usually result in interesting stories about plastics that doesn't really fit in anywhere specific. Plastics News editor Don Loepp shares the top stories that have been making the rounds on the Web.More

NIST research center helps the auto industry understand lightweighting materials
Reinforced Plastics
The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology Center for Automotive Lightweighting aims to provide automotive companies and their suppliers with design and manufacturing information on new types of steel, aluminium, magnesium, composites and other materials which they can use to reduce the weight of their vehicles.More

Planet-satellite nanostructures from gold nanoparticles and RAFT star polymers
German researchers have produced nanoparticles surrounded by a group of smaller nanoparticles like a planet orbited by satellites. They equipped larger gold nanoparticles with special star-shaped polymers, which in turn bind to smaller gold nanoparticles. As the researchers report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, it is possible to precisely control the distance between the tiny "satellites" and their central "planet" by means of the molecular weight — and thus the chain length — of the polymers.More

Green trend boosts plastic building materials in China
Plastics News
The greening of China's domestic building materials market is giving the plastics industry a boost. At the Green Building Material Exhibition, the trend for "green" was apparent, even if one had to search hard for companies for whom "eco" was not just an advertising gimmick. One company showcasing its sustainable products says that the market for green building materials has huge potential for plastics processors.More

Stretchy plastics hide secret pictures
New Scientist
Squeezing or stretching the plastic reveals a hidden image: In these cases, the sun and a rabbit. It could be the ultimate stress ball for spies. An invisible ink creates secret messages on bendy plastic that are only revealed when you give it a squeeze. Previously, Jianping Ge of the East China Normal University in Shanghai, China, and his colleagues created invisible inks that appear when submerged underwater or exposed to a magnetic field. Now they've made an ink you can reveal just by squeezing with your hand.More

This house will generate more energy than it takes to build it, operate it and charge the car in the garage
Designboom shows the latest building designed to the Zero Energy Building standard, perhaps the toughest and most interesting standard in the world. In America, the plastics industry would go crazy over a standard like this. In each square foot of R-20 insulation, cellulose insulation embodies 600 BTU, mineral wool 2,980 BTU, and the expanded polystyrene is 18,000 BTU (according to Martin Holladay at the GBA).More

Raising the bar for blow molding
Plastics Engineering
Racking up awards from your peers in the blow-molding sector is a sure sign you're on the right path in bringing innovation to the marketplace. Among the top part winners lately are Plastics Technologies' bottle-in-bottle package for semiconductor production and a fuel tank by Kautex. More

Farmer left with a chunk missing from his skull after horrific fall has it rebuilt by 3-D printer
Daily Mail
A Chinese farmer left with a large chunk missing from his skull will have it repaired with the help of a 3-D printer. The man, known only as 46-year-old Hu, was injured after falling from the third floor of his home in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. Doctors are now planning to re-build his skull with a titanium mesh created by a 3-D printer.More

How will the 1st FDA-approved 3-D-printed facial implant affect industry?
Plastics Today
In early August, Oxford Performance Materials Inc., received 510(k) clearance from FDA for its 3-D-printed OsteoFab Patient-Specific Facial Device. It is the first and, thus far, only 3-D-printed polymeric implant for facial indications cleared by FDA, says OPM. Is this the dawn of a new age, when every hospital bed will come with a 3-D printer, as some industry observers have speculated? Not so fast, says Linda Tian, medical device analyst at research and consulting firm GlobalData.More

100 percent film made from post-consumer waste
Packaging Europe
This mix consists of LDPE film waste from agriculture as it is used in crop forcing or silage film. With different film waste, obviously, a different demand is put on the single recycling steps. The advantage of agricultural film is that the material is always exactly the same raw material, with the same color and the same properties.More