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US natural gas exports revisited: A real debate emerges
By Lucy Wallwork
On the back of a Senate hearing in January, the debate over the wisdom of a continued ban on U.S. oil and gas exports has intensified. While this was lauded as the first time the question of lifting the ban could be discussed without being laughed out of the room, there is still some way to go to strike a balance between the demands of domestic manufacturers hungry for cheap gas, and those who want to open the U.S. energy boom to market forces. First, we must revisit why the gas export ban was established in the first place.
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SPE HIGHLIGHTS


Poly(butylene succinate)/ halloysite nanotube nanocomposites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Poly(butylene succinate), a biodegradable aliphatic polyester, shows a wide variety of potential commercial applications, spanning from packaging to tissue engineering. This is due to its good processability, relatively high heat distortion temperature, biodegradability, and desirable thermomechanical properties.
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event More Information
Feb. 23-26 2014 SPE International Polyolefins Conference Register
Feb. 23-26 Plastics News Executive Forum 2014 Information
Feb. 24-26 SPE Thermoset Conference 2014 Register
March 3-4 All Ireland New Technology Forum: "From Translation, to Convergence, to the Bottom Line" Information
March 11-13 Extrusion 2014 "Continuous Compounding" Register
March 12-14 GPEC ® 2014 Register
March 25-26 Successful Plastic Part Design — The Fundamentals Revealed! Register
April 1-2 Plastics Financial Summit 2014 Information
April 3-4 9th European Thermoforming Conference Information
April 28-30 ANTEC® 2014 Register
May 6 AutoEPCON 2014 Information
May 6-8 Plastics in Medical Devices 2014 Information
May 31 Plastics & Polymers Innovation Awards Information
June 1-4 Rotational Molding Conference 2014 Information



PLASTICS INDUSTRY NEWS


Prices jump for polypropylene and suspension PVC
Plastics News
North American prices for PVC and polypropylene resin have started off 2014 with a bang, with prices of both materials climbing since Jan. 1. Regional prices for suspension PVC are up an average of 3 cents per pound, while prices for PP are up an average of 5 cents, according to buyers and market sources contacted recently by Plastics News.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  New Syntactic Foam Training Series
CMT Materials has developed a new series of narrated presentations to help thermoformers and toolmakers better understand the properties of syntactic foam plug assists. With 10-12 slides each, these short learning modules are perfect for part designers, tool designers and set-up technicians. Click here for your free download today.
 



UCLA researchers improve process for manufacturing highly efficient solar cells
Plastics Engineering
Working on the cutting edge of a newly emerging area of solar-cell research, UCLA engineers have invented a new process for manufacturing highly efficient photovoltaic materials that shows promise for low-cost industrial production. The new process uses so-called perovskite materials, which in the past few years have significantly advanced scientists' efforts to create the next generation of solar cells.
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US natural gas exports revisited: A real debate emerges
By Lucy Wallwork
On the back of a Senate hearing in January, the debate over the wisdom of a continued ban on U.S. oil and gas exports has intensified. This was lauded as the first time the question of lifting the ban could be discussed without being laughed out of the room.

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Plastics machinery shipments rise sharply in Q3
Manufactuing.net
Business levels for manufacturers and suppliers of primary plastics machinery (injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, and thermoforming equipment) improved smartly in the third quarter of 2013.

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Experts answer questions on additive manufacturing
The Engineer
Additive manufacturing or "3-D printing" is now frequently referred to as a revolutionary technology that is changing the way products are designed and made. But what exactly is AM capable of beyond producing plastic models and bespoke dental implants?

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New packaging allows consumers to separate plastic from carton
Plastics Today
Tetra Pak has launched Tetra Top, a new product that enables consumers to detach the injection molded plastic top from the carton sleeve, allowing them to be recycled separately. Tetra Paks are recyclable, but since they are made up of a mixture of cardboard, plastic and aluminium, they need to be collected separately.
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How are your vendors doing? Tell us in the SPE Plastics Industry Resource.



Report: US plastics continues to grow
Canadian Plastics
After the pounding of the Great Recession, the U.S. plastics industry experienced steady growth in 2012, according to two new reports from the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. "While the nation's employment began improving in 2013, the plastics industry has been steadily recovering since the 2008-2009 recession," Washington, D.C.-based SPI said. "The latest figures indicate that plastics industry employment in 2012 included 892,000 people in 15,949 facilities across the country. The industry kept pace by growing 0.1 percent per year from 1980 to 2012, which is better than manufacturing as a whole."
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  FEATURED COMPANIES
EMI - New Products, Prices, & Catalog
View our large, in-stock inventory of end-of-arm tooling components including Gimatic electric grippers ; OEM vacuum cups; sprue grippers; and framing components. MORE
Precision Solutions through Optimized Tubing

A global leader in precision polymer extrusions and material science, Zeus excels at optimized tubing solutions including flaring, flanging, draw downs, drilling, etching and more.



Key to the future is plastics, but maybe not the kind you imagine
E&E Publishing
Mark Herrema's road to making renewable plastics without oil wasn't easy. The 31-year-old Princeton graduate set aside his studies in politics and medical school plans to pursue his passion to make a plastic from methane, a colorless gas and a common byproduct on farms. He and his business partner, Kenton Kimmel, slowly built their enterprise working odd jobs like hotel bellhops and valets.
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New process recycles old plastics into usable liquid fuels
Oil Price
Researchers in India have developed a process that can turn old low-density polyethylene (the most common form of plastic waste) into usable liquid fuels. Plastic is a long chain polymer produced from refined oil products, and this new process takes advantage of that by breaking apart the polymer chains into smaller pieces and turning the plastic into a different product, that being liquid fuels such as paraffin and olefin.
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  PRODUCT SHOWCASES


Clean Plast® is a ready-to-use purging compound in pellet form that will minimize your purging problems! Clean Plast® has been put through vigorous tests and has been reformulated time and time again, to continuously improve and perfect product performance. We believe we have the best cleaning solution for the plastics industry and that this product is more effective than any other product out in the market. Clean Plast® will help to eliminate future problems with streaking, black specs and hard to clean resin. Contact us today for a FREE PURGE TRIAL at your plant and see the difference a Clean Plast® Purge makes.
DryCleaner Furnaces

PCPC's DryCleaner furnaces are designed to safely and economically remove small amounts (1 to 2% by weight) of varnish, insulation, epoxy, paint, oil, grease, plastics, etc. primarily from electric motor stators, transformers, end bells, engine blocks and other metal parts.



To find out how to feature your company in the SPE NewsBrief and other advertising opportunities, contact Geoffrey Forneret at 469.420.2629.

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What's behind rising PVC and PP prices
Plastics News
North American prices for PVC and polypropylene resin have come charging out of the gate in 2014. Find out why in this edition of Material Insights. Regional prices for suspension PVC are up an average of 3 cents per pound since Jan. 1, while prices for polypropylene in the region are up an average of 5 cents.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  iQ Series Servo Ultrasonic Press System
Dukane's patented iQ Advanced Servo Welder is the next step in the evolution of ultrasonic welding technology. Combining the efficiency and reliability of a 100% digitally controlled Multi-Core iQ Series power supply with the precision of an advanced servo press, the Dukane Advanced iQ Servo Welder delivers unprecedented repeatability, accuracy and reliability to your ultrasonic bonding process. MORE
 



University of Houston researcher works on plant-based plastics
Phys.Org
A researcher with the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering has begun work to develop plant-based plastics and rubbers, preparing for a future when petroleum — currently the feedstock for most plastics — isn't so readily available.
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  FEATURED COMPANIES
Hanser Publications

Premier Plastics Technology Books

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Sealing for higher shaft speeds/run-out.
MECO’s EP Type-3, for dryers, extruder-compounders, and reactors where solvents and other chemicals are present. Where extensive thermal shaft growth and/or pressure-vacuum cycles are present.



Plastics grow in stride with shale development
ideastream
The economic ripple effect of shale drilling has been particularly strong on the plastics industry. As ideastream’s Brian Bull reports, a plastics and chemical manufacturer expects long-term growth as development continues in parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania:
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World's biggest plastics show draws latest mold technology
European Tool & Mould Making
Along with advances in polymer materials and plastics processing, the triennial K Show in Dusseldorf, Germany, remains a prime environment for tool shops to present their latest products. Every three years, the world's plastics industry descends on Dusseldorf for the K Show, the largest such exhibition in the world. This time around, Germany's Zahoransky used its visit to present the Z.Zyklon system for making disposable syringes, which is said to represent an integral automation solution in modular construction.
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Earnings reports hint at changes in plastics
Plastics Today
A scan of end-of-year financial results from medical device manufacturers provides some hints of what may be ahead for medical plastics this year. Intuitive Surgical's fourth-quarter systems revenues were $205 million, a decrease of 23 percent compared with the fourth quarter of 2012, indicating tepid interest for the much-hyped da Vinci Robotic Surgical System. "System sales were down in the fourth quarter of 2013 primarily as a result of lower U.S. sales reflecting moderating growth in benign gynecology, combined with changing hospital capital spending priorities associated with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act," the company stated in a press release.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Lawmakers unveil new plan to ban plastic grocery bags in California (The Sacramento Bee)
Extrusion of foams from engineering plastics using supercritical carbon dioxide (SPE Plastics Research Online)
Solar energy global market drivers and challenges (By Don Rosato)
Reshoring: Let's stick to the facts please (Plastics Today)
Indian scientists turn plastic bags into car fuel (Business Standard)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


Plastic plant aims to close 'recycle loop'
The Dominion Post
A 106-year-old company has set its sights on closing the local "recycling loop" on the same day it opened a New Zealand-first $3.5 million plant. Wellington-based Flight Plastics officially opened the first domestic recycled polyethylene terephthalate packaging plant at its new Lower Hutt site recently. The process essentially turns recycled drink bottles and food packaging, which are broken down and "washed" into flakes offshore, into reusable food packaging.
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Trends in European plastics industry production
Recycling Portal
According to PlasticEurope's statistical monitoring of the European plastics industry by short-term view, the production quantities of primary plastics since May 2013 show a steady increasing trend. Also the plastics products production increased in the 2nd half of 2013, but with lower growth rates than for primary plastics. From May to September 2013, the production level remained on a significantly lower level compared to the months before, but latest production figures for October and November 2013 were on a higher level again.
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  FEATURED COMPANIES
Genarex - The Future of Bioadditives
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  • Can offset plasticizers in adhesive formulations
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    Disclaimer: The SPE Industry Update is a digest of the most important news selected for the Society of Plastics Engineers from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs. Neither MultiBriefs nor the Society of Plastics Engineers is responsible for opinions or statements of facts expressed in the articles referenced in SPE Industry Update. Advertising appearing in SPE Industry Update is not to be taken as an endorsement, expressed or implied, of the respective company's processes, products or services represented in the ad.

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