SPE Industry Update
Sep. 10, 2014

E/E plastic material and process advances to watch
By Don Rosato
Convergence among computer, consumer electronics and telecom industries continue to blur the lines between information, entertainment and communication. Electrical and electronic applications polymer development is pushing plastic resin properties. This is in response to ongoing demand for smaller electronic devices where high heat and high-flow grades permit more intricate, miniaturized parts in electronic applications. Let's take a look at new E/E material and process advances.More

Foaming mechanism and control in microcellular injection molding
SPE Plastics Research Online
Microcellular injection molding (MIM) is a unique injection molding process that can produce plastic parts with porous structure. It is a green, pollution-free, environmentally safe, and also very efficient plastic foam manufacturing technology. In contrast to conventional injection molding, MIM has several advantages. It reduces material consumption and product weight due to the large number of cells present in the part.More

Green technology for modification of poly(vinyl chloride)
SPE Plastics Research Online
Despite some recent concerns, poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) is still one of the major commodity polymers produced and consumed worldwide. Recent life-cycle studies show that vinyl products perform favorably in terms of energy efficiency, provide high thermal insulating value and low contribution to greenhouse gases, require low maintenance, and offer product durability. The health and environmental impacts of vinyl products generally are comparable to or less than the impacts of alternatives.More

How recycled material is remolding the plastics industry
Waste Management World
Ten years ago, many manufacturers wouldn't consider using recycled plastics because of issues with quality and consistency. The good news is that research and development by the waste and recycling sector has led to a growing supply of fit-for-purpose recycled plastics, giving confidence to manufacturers and in turn driving demand for what used to be a waste stream.More

Key trends driving bioplastics for packaging
Packaging World
With packaging markets consuming more than 60 percent of all global bioplastics production, the packaging industry has become the most important end-use sector for bioplastics. The growth in consumption of bioplastics for packaging is very much linked to the relative competitive prices for traditional polymers, based on fossil fuel products such as oil, natural gas and derivatives. Therefore, the acceptance and growth of bioplastics in packaging is driven by the dynamics and economics of the fossil-fuel industry on a global basis.More

PET film is the secret weapon for comic book sales
Plastics News
For the second year in a row, plastics are helping DC Comics superheroes in their fight against crime. In September, DC will release 41 special issues of their comics with lenticular 3-D motion covers made from amorphous PET film. The event is part of DC's Futures End promotion, which takes the storylines of characters like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman five years into the future.More

E/E plastic material and process advances to watch
By Don Rosato
Convergence among computer, consumer electronics and telecom industries continue to blur the lines between information, entertainment and communication. Electrical and electronic applications polymer development is pushing plastic resin properties. 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

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.More

Report: Shale gas renaissance reshaping Latin America
Plastics News
The North American petrochemical renaissance, driven by low-cost shale feedstocks, is reshaping the Latin American petrochemical industry, including investments and projects in Brazil, Mexico, and other countries in the region, according to IHS Chemical. "This is a critical time of change and opportunity for the Latin American petrochemical industry," said Rina Quijada, senior director, Latin America, for IHS Chemical, in a news release.More

The US south rises as a manufacturing hub
Bloomberg Businessweek
Manufacturing is slowly returning to the U.S. — and much of the action has been below the Mason-Dixon line. With its low tax rates and rules that discourage unionization, the South has for decades been seen as business-friendly, which helped the region attract service companies that rely on low-skilled workers, such as call centers and warehouses. Now industries such as autos and aerospace are moving in.More

Global demand for PVC to increase
European Plastics News
Germany-based research company Ceresana has released a report estimating that demand for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is set to increase by 3.2 percent a year until 2021. The company states that 49.3 million tons of PVC was consumed globally in 2013, with the Asia-Pacific region accounting for almost 56 percent. Ceresana also states that the North America and Western Europe PVC markets have begun to grow again after incurring significant losses in the past few years.More

Researchers develop water-resistant porous coordination polymers
Kyoto University researchers have developed a new technique to develop water-resistant functionalized materials by forming external grooves on its surface. Their study acts as a guide for scientists to design similar materials for gas separation and energy storage applications. The materials used in the research are porous coordination polymers (PCPs) - materials with hollow cage-like structures at the nanoscale.More

Driving examples: Greater composites use in passenger vehicles
Plastics Engineering
Automakers in many parts of the world face challenging new fuel-economy and greenhouse-gas emissions regulations. In North America, passenger cars must meet corporate-average fuel economy standards of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, and in the European Union, light-duty vehicles will be required to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on new cars to 95 g/km by 2021 or face extremely costly penalties.More

Europe recycled equivalent of 65 billion PET bottles in 2013
European Plastics News
PET is the most recycled plastic material in Europe, according to a Brussels-based trade association. New figures from Petcore Europe, a non-profit trade body located in the Belgian capital, said the equivalent of around 65 billion bottles – 1.64 million tons – was recycled in the region in 2013, up 7 percent percent on 2012.More

Nanotechnology to provide cleaner diesel engines
Nanowerk News
It may seem paradoxical that a rare precious metal such as platinum is used in something as simple as smoky truck exhaust systems — nonetheless, this has always been a fundamental technological principle. When it comes to diesel engine catalysts — i.e. the element responsible for cleansing exhaust fumes particles — platinum has unfortunately proved to be the only viable option, which has resulted in material costs alone accounting for half of the price of a diesel catalyst. More

US pharmaceutical container market growing
European Plastics News
U.S.-based research company, Freedonia, has reported that demand for pharmaceutical packaging products in the US is set to increase by 4.9 percent annually to reach $22.1 billion (16.6 billion euros) in 2018. Two-thirds of that total will consist of primary containers, with the remainder being made up of closures, secondary containers, labels and other packaging.More

Magnetic nanoparticles and polymer fiber probes for treating neurological disorders
A group of scientists led by Polina Anikeeva, AMAX Assistant Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, recently developed polymer-based neural probes and magnetic nanoparticles to treat neural disorders like paralysis and Parkinson's by stimulating the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Chi (Alice) Lu, Materials science and engineering student, developed the polymer-based fiber probe that optically triggers nerve cells in vivo and records neural activity.More

Polymers bring future solar cells
A polymer-based technique could lead to production of highly efficient solar cells. A team from IK4-Ikerlan and the University of the Basque Country used polymers that absorb light at different wavelengths to produce solar cells with a tandem structure. "Until now, that structuring has been done mechanically or by means of laser, but with the risk of damaging the substrate," said Dr. Ikerne Etxebarria-Zubizarreta, a researcher in chemical engineering at UPV/EHU and IK4-Ikerlan. "However, in this research we have developed a new automatic structuring technique. This technique involves transforming the features of the surface of the substrate."More