SPE Industry Update
Dec. 7, 2011

Dow partners with Saudi Aramco to form new petrochemical supplier
Canadian Plastics
The Dow Chemical Company has entered into a joint venture with Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil and petrochemicals giant Saudi Arabian Oil Company - or Saudi Aramco - to create a new global petrochemical supplier called the Sadara Chemical Company.More

New dual-functional liquid crystalline photocrosslinkable polymers
SPE Plastics Research Online
Dual-functional polymers, such as liquid crystalline photocrosslinkable polymers (LC-PCPs), have found wide use in photolithography, optical data storage, information display, anisotropic networks, and liquid crystalline elastomers and thermosets. The photographic speed of the polymers increases with the increased order in the liquid crystalline polymers. More

Recovering low-density cross-linked polymeric foams
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polyolefin foams are widespread to such an extent that it is difficult to find a field where they do not have a significant application. They are used in packaging, toys, thermal insulation, buoyancy aids and cushions, in the sports and leisure, automotive, military and aircraft industries. Thermoplastic foams can be easily recycled; foam residues are ground and re-extruded, and pellets recovered in this way can be used to fabricate new products.More

Automotive designers delve farther into plastics' flexibility
Plastics News
Experts charged with lightweighting interior vehicle parts are rethinking what a car interior means and how parts can function in multiple ways to achieve aesthetic and operational goals. "Sustainable" and "conscious consumerism" no longer are trends or buzzwords. They have become part of the thread of culture, especially as governments issue higher standards for emission control and miles per gallon.More

Research: Yeast breaks down biodegradable plastic
International Business Times
Across Tsukuba, 45 miles north of Tokyo, plastic "mulchfilms" spread across fields of hakusai cabbage and daikon radishes, keeping the vegetable crops weed-free and the drip-irrigated soil moist. Each year after harvest, farmers need to dispose thousands to millions of acres of the plastic, creating a huge amount of labor and environmental headaches. Biodegradable plastics could be useful, but the degradation process can be irregular because of the weather so farmers can't depend on the plastic being eaten away when the next crop season arises. More

Plastics, tungsten compound offers solution to lead bans in medical
Plastics Today
Government regulations on lead and other hazardous substances in various electronic and electrical equipment are forcing medical device OEMs and others to find suitable substitutes for parts that have been manufactured from lead and other restricted materials, with plastics coming to the rescue.More

'Work together' for 100 percent recovery of packaging
European Plastics News
Continuing growth in the European recycling rate for plastics packaging could result in 100 percent diversion from landfill by 2020. This ambition was announced by pan-European trade body PlasticsEurope earlier this year and is given support by 2010 region-wide figures released by the European Association of Plastics Recycling and Recovery Organisations (EPRO).More

From coconut husks to car parts
Canadian Plastics
It might be the most novel use of a coconut since Gilligan and the Professor transformed one into a radio. In an effort to reduce the use of petroleum and make the parts lighter and more natural-looking, the Ford Motor Co. has teamed up with branded consumer product manufacturer Scotts Miracle-Gro Company to incorporate coconut fibers as a renewable feedstock in molded plastic parts for Ford's vehicles. More

Vietnamese exports of plastics up 35 percent on firming global demand
The export of plastic products is forecast to help the country gain an annual turnover of $1.35 billion, up 35 percent over last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Exports will be directed at mainly the EU, Japanese, Chinese and other Asian markets.More

UK recycler to use PET flake sorting machines
Waste Management World
U.K.-based Eco Plastics is to install five TITECH AutoSort Flake systems as part of a £15 million expansion at its Hemswell recycling facility in Lincolnshire. The expansion of the facility is planned to increase the amount of food grade recycled PET produced to 40,000 tons, almost 70 percent of the U.K. total, and supply high quality bottle grade recycled PET to the firm's recently announced joint venture with Coca-Cola.More

Smart baggers optimize efficiency
Packaging Digest
Nypro Healthcare integrates bagging machines with forming machines to produce various plastic fitments for health care companies with minimum operator interaction. The Nypro Healthcare plant in Gurnee, Ill., has 28 injection molding machines that produce in excess of 2 billion parts a year. Thirteen of the machines are equipped with baggers.More

Mexico boosts estimate for plastics industry growth to 9 percent
Plastics News
Mexico's plastics industry association has revised upward its 2011 growth estimate for the sector. In early October it was talking about a possible growth of 6 percent. Now it says 9 percent is likely, notwithstanding a deceleration in the national economy in recent months.More

Price Wise: Managing oil price risk in resin prices
Plastics Today
All resin prices contain crude oil price risk, but for propylene and derivatives, the extent of oil price risk (i.e. the price correlation) is more than90 percent, as you would expect if you looked at any upstream/downstream process chart with the monomers only a few refining steps removed from crude oil itself.More

Nanotube-polymer mixture prevents biofilms
Chemical & Engineering News
Carbon nanotubes can kill bacteria and prevent the formation of virulent and corrosive biofilms, probably by puncturing the microbes' cell walls. As a result, scientists think the nanomaterials could produce antimicrobial coatings for surgical equipment and industrial piping.More