SPE Industry Update
Oct. 30, 2014

FDA examining regulations for 3-D printed medical devices
By Renee Eaton
The official purpose of a recent FDA-sponsored workshop was "to provide a forum for FDA, medical device manufacturers, additive manufacturing companies and academia to discuss technical challenges and solutions of 3-D printing." Simply put, the FDA is trying to stay current with advanced manufacturing technologies that are revolutionizing patient care and, in some cases, democratizing its availability. When a next-door neighbor can print a medical device in his or her basement, it clearly has many positive and negative implications that need to be considered.More

High-voltage insulation with enhanced delamination resistance
SPE Plastics Research Online
High-voltage rotating machines and generators consist of two main components: The rotor and the stator, which comprise the rotating and stationary components of the electrical machine, respectively. In stator bar insulation, delamination resistance is a crucial factor in terms of both the reliability and lifetime of these machines. In hydro-generators, more than 50 percent of reported failures occur as a result of damage to the insulation, which is made up of a multi-layered structure of mica and glass materials. More

Plastics industry healthier than ever
Plastics News
The U.S. plastics industry is back, big time, and stronger than ever and the hard times of 2008-2010 appear to be a distant memory. (Back then, it was big news when a U.S. company purchased a machine — yes, a single machine. During one recent trip, every one of the three plants that Greg Hanoosh, seasoned plastics industry professional, visited was booming. Take a look.More

3-D hot stamping: A new technology for decoration automotive parts
Plastics Engineering
At the K 2013 trade fair, Kurz, an international manufacturer of decorative and functional coatings, presented its patent-pending 3DHS process for decorating three-dimensional plastic parts. This technology allows slightly curved plastic parts, which could previously only be coated by more expensive means, to be decorated using the economical hot stamping process. The new decoration process was demonstrated at K by means of a small, ring-shaped cover. More

Simple lightweighting in packaging, caps not so simple anymore
Plastics News
The days of finding simple ways to remove additional weight — and costs — from plastic bottles are over, according to one expert. As director of technical marketing and business development for Bericap GmbH & Co., Lothar Brauer believes the industry has gotten to the point where simply stripping weight out of the components is no longer feasible to achieve lightweighting goals.More

New particle manipulation technique for 3-D printing applications
New York University scientists have discovered that the low-temperature microscopic particles tend to melt with the rise in temperature to moderate levels and again recombine under high temperature. This invention paves the way for the development of smart materials capable of adapting to any new environment, and for providing detailed study of 3-D printing technology.More

Plastics industry spends big to reverse California's bag ban
The Sacramento Bee
The clash over California's newly passed ban on single-use plastic bags has moved from the Legislature to the streets as the national plastics industry has donated more than $1 million for a campaign to undo or delay the law. Moments after Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Senate Bill 270 in September, a plastic industry group that vociferously fought the legislation declared its intention to launch a referendum campaign. If proponents secure enough signatures by the end of December, the measure would be placed on the 2016 ballot, suspending the law’s implementation until then.More

Survey: Profitability returning to plastics
Plastics News
The profitability of the plastics industry is as good as it was in the late 1990s as more companies get strategic about pursuing customers in industries of interest, investing in new technology and finding the best employees. The overview comes from a new survey done for the Manufacturing Association of Plastic Processors by Plante & Moran PLLC, which has been gathering information on the industry for 18 years. More

EU commissioners share duties affecting plastics
European Plastics News
The plastics industry will be especially influenced over the next five years by four new European Union commissioners who have been nominated to serve in the new European Commission of its incoming president Jean-Claude Juncker. Assuming they are confirmed in their positions and begin work on Nov. 1, a key figure will be new health commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, a former Lithuanian health minister who will be responsible for food contact materials and the European Food Safety Authority.More

An efficient catalytic process converts sugary biomass into a renewable feedstock for polymer production
The environmental impact of synthesizing adipic acid, an important precursor of nylon polymers, can be dramatically reduced by a chemical technique developed by Yugen Zhang and co-workers from the A*STAR Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology. The researchers found that an oxygen–rhenium catalyst complex transforms bio-based compounds derived from straw waste and other agricultural material into adipic acid with higher yields and lower emissions than conventional processes.More

PET bottles, flasks and an HDPE cooler take top honors in blow molding
Plastics News
The Society of Plastics Engineers' Blow Molding Division presented awards to packaging innovations like triangular bottles, flask containers for Jack Daniels, an industrial products line a game table and a giant ice cooler. Judges selected winners from 14 entries, at the SPE Blow Molding Conference, held Oct. 5-7 in Chicago. This was the second annual blow molded parts competition.More

Plastic bottle recycling rate increases
Recycling Today
A recently released report notes that domestic plastic bottle recycling increased by 120 million pounds in 2013 from the prior year, a 4.3 percent increase. The increase in bottles collected pushed the total amount of plastic bottles collected for recycling in 2013 to 2.9 billion pounds.More

Post-consumer plastic recycling rates continue strong growth
Plastics News
Plastic bottle recycling grew by 120 million pounds in 2013 to exceed 2.9 billion pounds, according to the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the American Chemistry Council. "America’s plastics recycling industry is growing, vibrant and poised to help brand owners, retailers, and packagers meet their sustainability goals with high quality recycled plastics," said Steve Alexander, APR executive director, in a statement.More

The industrial internet of plastics
Plastics Today
The plastics sector, which represents the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States, stands to benefit significantly from the improved efficiencies enabled by IoT. Plastics facilities that integrate IoT solutions into their remote monitoring activities can see value added to their operations through three interrelated dimensions: Enhanced data gathering, advanced analytics and remote service.More