SPE Industry Update
Oct. 8, 2014

Bioplastics trends and drivers for greener plastics
By Don Rosato
The bioplastics market has been growing roughly 20 percent per year with a mix of industry internal and external market drivers facilitating this growth. Global bioplastics production capacity is expected to see almost a fivefold increase from 2012 to 2016. For industry players, the advantages of bioplastics focus on advanced technical properties, which increase product attractiveness, potential cost reduction through economies of scale, and the development of additional disposal options.More

Improving the miscibility of polymer blends with nanoclays
SPE Plastics Research Online
A well-established strategy for designing new polymeric products with unique properties is mixing different polymers into multicomponent blends. However, the high molecular weight of polymers generally prevents them from mixing well, and immiscible polymer blends show heterogeneous microstructures that influence the characteristics of the final products.More

Integrated plastic/metal injection molding helps cars trim weight
Plastics News
Although it consumes a scant 9 percent of European plastics production, the auto industry is driving plastics research in the region, said Mathias Weber, head of the injection molding department at the Institute of Plastics Processing at Germany's RWTH Aachen University. Under pressure to meet tough new European Union pollution standards (a fleet's average emissions must be 130 grams CO2/kilometer next year and 95 CO2/km in 2020), automakers are scrambling for ways to put their cars and trucks on a diet. More

Liquid-phase 3-D metal printing for low melting conductive metals
Researchers at the Beijing Key Laboratory of CryoBiomedical Engineering described a new 3-D printing method using low melting metal alloy ink. The melting point of the alloy is slightly more than room temperature. This liquid-phase printing technique is suitable for the manufacture of a conductive metal product in various dimensions. Unlike the traditional 3-D printing, the liquid-phase printing technique is devoid of the air cooling process that results in oxidation of the metal.More

Plastic bag manufacturers ready to delay, undo California's new bag ban
In a move that surprised no one, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB270, aka California's 'Plastic Bag Ban' into law. In a statement sent to media, The American Progressive Bag Alliance (a coalition of manufacturers), which describes the ban as "what happens when greedy special interests and bad government collide in the policymaking process," says that they "have taken the necessary steps to gather signatures and qualify a referendum to repeal SB 270 on the November 2016 ballot."More

Bioplastics trends and drivers for greener plastics
By Don Rosato
The bioplastics market has been growing roughly 20 percent per year with a mix of industry internal and external market drivers facilitating this growth. Global bioplastics production capacity is expected to see almost a fivefold increase from 2012 to 2016. More

How 3-D printing improves surgical outcomes
By Renee Eaton
Recently, an acquaintance underwent what was expected to be a routine ablation procedure — nearly 10 hours later, the surgery finally finished. Despite CT scans, X-rays and EKGs, the surgeons encountered "structural issues" that complicated the operation.More

3-D printing and the future of additive manufacturing
By Alan Kelsky
In the United States, 3-D printing is ranked sixth among the top 10 fastest-growing industries in the United States. In fact, Goldman Sachs names 3-D technology as "disruptive" in a recent report on technology. The term "disruptive" is used in a benign manner to describe the technology as growing at a rate of 20 percent per year. More

PE, PP outlooks good, PET still shaky
Plastics News
Things are looking up for North American polyethylene, while polypropylene in the region is holding its own and PET ... well, there's always next year ... or the year after that. Industry experts with IHS Chemical gave their outlooks on those markets at the 2014 Global Plastics Summit, held Oct. 1-2 in Chicago.More

New shape shifting material may help correct facial defects
BioNews Texas
A Texas A&M University researcher has created a shape-shifting material that can mold itself and fill unsightly gaps in bone, while promoting bone growth, which she says could be used to effectively treat defects in the facial region. More

Demand for PVC-free and specialty polymers fuels growth for medical materials compounder Melitek
Plastics Today
Denmark-based Melitek made the bet early on that PVC-replacement materials for medical and packaging applications was a growth industry. When I toured the facility about 10 years ago, Melitek proudly showed off what it called one of industry's most advanced medical compounding plants for thermoplastic olefins and thermoplastic elastomers. Anticipating steady growth in demand for its meliflex materials at that time, the company bought additional land next to the new facility to meet future expansion needs. More

Continuous fabrication platform for highly aligned polymer films
Nanowerk News
A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts have demonstrated a novel automated fabrication process consisting of a three-step sol-gel extrusion, structure freezing and drying, and mechanical drawing process which results in production of highly aligned polymer films. Alignment of molecular chains within polymers is a desirable trait for many applications as it results in superior mechanical and thermal properties in the polymeric materials. More

US manufacturing: A remembrance and a look ahead
U.S. manufacturing is booming. Customers everywhere want our aircraft, electrical equipment, engines, metal products, chemicals and much more. So in dollar terms, output is at record levels — worth more than $2 trillion. Back in 1964, remembered as a glorious time in our industrial history, factories generated only about $1.3 trillion in inflation-adjusted dollars. Only two other rivals can play in the $2-trillion ballpark: China, which has about four times as many people, and the entire European Union, with more than a half-billion people in 28 countries. More

Lamborghini obtains TÜV certification for its carbon fiber repair service
Reinforced Plastics
According to Lamborghini, the certification is a first for the automotive industry and recognizes the car maker's technological leadership in research and development in the field of composite materials. Thanks to its collaboration with Boeing and its Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL), the Lamborghini research laboratory in Seattle, USA, a carbon fiber composite chassis repair service has been provided since 2011, which assists the Lamborghini sales network around the world.More

Ironwood Plastics expects to double workforce
The Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter
Ironwood Plastics doesn't have any job openings, at the moment, at its 18th Street manufacturing facility. But Plant Manager Lynn Caruso-Stueck said that will change come spring as its new expansion project installs insert molding machinery to make components used in the automotive, electronics, manufacturing and medical industries.More

New bioplastic set to accelerate 3-D printing market
Packaging Europe
Plant-based plastics are already a popular choice for 3-D printing because they are much easier to work with during processing, and are food safe and odor free. They are a great example of how sustainable alternatives can gain market share based on their performance, rather than just their "green credentials." However, oil-based printing filaments are still used because they have a higher softening point and make more flexible models that will bend before they break.More

Demand for caps and closures forecast to increase
European Plastics News
U.S.-based research company, Freedonia, has released a report estimating that the demand for caps and closures is expected to increase by 4 percent per year to hit $11.1 billion in 2018. The company says that the increases will be driven by an acceleration in container unit growth reflecting that of the period between 2008 and 2013, the continued popularity of single serving containers, and greater use of more expensive products such as child-safe closures.More

Pill made of needles being developed by MIT
Researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital developed a swallowable pill covered in tiny needles that injects the stomach lining with drugs. The prototype capsule measures in at two centimeters long and just one centimeter wide, and is covered in stainless steel needles that measure about five millimeters long. Though animal trials proved fruitful, the team is working on making the tiny needles out of sugar and degradable polymers so they’d break off and embed in the stomach lining.More