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Out-of-Autoclave Here to Stay for High-Quality Composites
By Aldo Crugnola, Nick Schott and Don Rosato
The manufacturing of high-quality structural composite components for aerospace applications has historically involved autoclave curing, a time-consuming, high-labor, and capital-intensive manufacturing process. As the aerospace and defense industries look to lower costs, composite parts manufacturers are searching for low-cost alternatives to traditional autoclave molding processes that can produce the same mechanical performance that autoclave curing provides. Both commercial and academic research and development have been focusing on a variety of liquid molding or low-pressure consolidation processes to meet this need for lower cost "out-of-autoclave" composite molding.
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SPE HIGHLIGHTS


A New Approach to Reinforcing Nylon 6 Nanocomposites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Natural fibers are increasingly being used as replacements for synthetic fibers in automotive and other applications because of various environmental, financial, and performance characteristics. They also are cost-effective and renewable compared with synthetic fibers, and have reasonable performance. Most natural fibers are cellulose-based and exhibit high specific strength and stiffness, enabling the production of light-weight and high-performance composites.
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event More Information
February 22-25 2015 SPE International Polyolefins Conference Information
February 23-25 SPE ACE Conference 2015 Information
March 23-25 ANTEC Orlando at NPE2015 Information
May 5 Auto EPCON 2015 Information
May 14 Extrusion Minitech Information



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  • PLASTICS INDUSTRY NEWS


    Study: Indian Plastics Industry to Grow 10 Percent a Year Through 2018
    Plastics and Rubber Weekly
    India's plastics processing sector is expected to grow 10 percent a year through 2018, although from a small base, as the manufacturing industry and economy shows signs of rebounding, according to industry statistics released at the Plastindia trade show. The country's plastics market will reach 18 million metric tons of material processed by 2018, but will still face many challenges, including having too many small companies that are not competitive globally, according to an analysis by a senior executive at India's largest plastics producer, Reliance Industries Ltd.
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    European Plastics Posts Positive Growth
    Plastics News
    European plastics production rose by 1.5 percent in 2014, according to trade group PlasticsEurope. The organization presented its most recent economic data for the plastics industry at a recent round table in Brussels, showing the overall trends for 2014 and 2015 across the continent. European plastics producers benefited from the recovery of its customers industries such as automotive sector, electrical appliances and construction; gaining momentum in the second half of 2014.
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    PRODUCT SHOWCASE
      Paul N. Gardner Company, Incorporated

    Distributors, producers and designers of physical testing instruments for the paint, coating and related industries, such as automotive, aerospace, specialty chemical, petroleum, plastics, pharmaceutical and food. We provide quality control instruments used in laboratory and field for testing and measurement.
     


    These 3-D Printed Bricks Cool Rooms Without Air Conditioning
    Fast Company
    The idea of "evaporative cooling" goes back centuries. Now it's seeing new life in the shape of a brick — the 3-D printed "Cool Brick." Developed by Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello, the Cool Brick is both masonry and an alternative to air conditioning. Containing thousands of holes, it's porous enough to hold tiny droplets of water that evaporate in contact with warm air. The effect — multiplied over lots of water droplets — is a cooler room.
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    Global Plastics Additives Market Expected to Grow
    Manufacturing.net
    The global plastics additives market was valued at $41.4 billion in 2013. According to a recent report, it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.9 percent to generate revenues of $57.8 billion by 2020. The market research included companies such as BASF, Exxon Mobil, Bayer Ag., Zeon Chemicals, Dow Plastic Additives and others. It looked at the growth potential for chemicals added to polymer/plastic processing and production, including plasticizers, flame retardants, UV stabilizers, antioxidants and others.
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    Plastics Covers More Territory in Roofing
    Plastics News
    Ply Gem Industries — a leader in sales of vinyl siding, windows, fences, rails and trim — topped off its product offerings last year with third-quarter shipments of "engineered slate" roofs developed by a separate legal entity it formed in 2012 called Foundation Labs. At this year's (2014) International Builders' Show, the $1.8 billion-company, introduced hinged hip and ridge shingles that conform to any angle to help roofers achieve a more authentic look than they can get from a one-piece ridge cap.
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      PRODUCT SHOWCASES
    Water Content by Karl Fischer


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    REEDY CHEMICAL FOAM & SPECIALTY ADDITIVES


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    Quick Change of Mold Inserts!

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    These New Plastics will Change the World
    Red Orbit
    Eighty years ago, on February 28, 1935, the scientist Wallace Carothers, working at the DuPont Experimental Station, produced the first ever fully synthetic man-made fiber. Carothers' new baby was nylon, and he surely never imagined that such materials would come to dominate the modern world and create the "plastic age" in which we all live. The general population didn't get the chance to see nylon for themselves until the New York World Fair in 1939-40 which was held at Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. Along with such delights as the television, the videophone and the Ford Mustang, visitors saw nylon being sewn into pantyhose and two models playing a kind tug of war to test the strength of the new material.
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    Bottled Water poised to Become Top US Drink Category
    Plastics News
    Bottled water experienced remarkable growth in 2014 and is predicted to have another strong year again in 2015 as the beverage continues a march toward becoming the nation’s largest drink category. Thanks to a 7.1-percent increase last year in 2014, and a projected growth of 5 to 6 percent this year, the research and consulting firm now predicts bottled water will overtake carbonated beverages by the end of 2016. Single-serve bottles measuring 1.5 liters or less, typically made from PET, dominate the bottled water market with about two-thirds of that business. While the overall water market grew by more than 7 percent last year, the single-serve PET water bottle business actually grew by 8.4 percent.
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    SPONSORED CONTENT


    All-Plastics Grows by Investing in Lean
    Plastics News
    All-Plastics LLC has invested over $1 million in 2014 in a drive to improve efficiencies and build a culture of continuous improvement. "We're based on lean principles. When you think about scientific molding manufacturing, it means using lean manufacturing technology and creating a robust culture in All-Plastics," said Thomas Houdeshell, president of All-Plastics of Addison, Texas, during a phone interview.
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    Plastics Recycling in the Automotive Industry
    Plastics Today
    The use of plastics in automobiles has continued to grow over the past 20 years. The primary reason for this is that they help to reduce vehicle mass. A lighter car consumes less fuel, which also translates into less exhaust emissions. In addition, plastic parts are not prone to corrosion, offer flexibility and resilience for added safety, have very good thermal insulation, reduce noise and allow optimum space utilization. Today, an average vehicle consists of 12-15 percent plastic). Assuming that an average car weighs 1300 kg, this amounts to 150-200 kg of plastic per vehicle.
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    January Resin Prices: PE Down $.04/lb and PP Declined $.10/lb
    Plastics Today
    The spot resin markets found renewed interest into month-end and an above average volume of material, particularly PE, changed hands to finish off the month of January, according to The Plastics Exchange. Commodity resin prices were mixed; polyethylene was steady to mostly lower amid heavy offerings, while polypropylene stabilized and then managed a small gain at the end of the week. While there could be some variance amongst participants, average PE contracts were down $.04/lb in January and PP contracts generally declined $.10/lb. Houston prices have been chasing export bids lower, with extra large concessions made to move swathes of material offshore.
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    Fine-Tuned Supramolecular Polymerization
    Phys.org
    In nature, supramolecular complexes — chain-like structures that are composed of many small units linked mainly by weak non-covalent bonds — are assembled and disassembled in a precisely controlled way. Now, in work published in Science, researchers from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science, led by Takuzo Aida, have demonstrated a new method for artificially building and dismantling supramolecular polymers in a tightly controlled and selective way, following the methods of traditional polymer chemistry by taking advantage of the monomer elements' own tendency to self-organize.
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    Dissolving Disks Deliver Drugs to the Eye
    Chemical & Engineering News
    Researchers have developed a biodegradable polymer wafer designed to dissolve in the eye to release safe, sustained doses of a drug. Tested in mice, the wafers delivered a drug more effectively than eyedrops did. Although the eyes are easily accessible, delivering steady, nontoxic concentrations of drugs to them is a difficult problem, says Stephen C. Pflugfelder, an ophthalmologist at Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, Texas.
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      PRODUCT SHOWCASES
    Fast Heat's NEW CableXChecker™ Hot Runner Cable Testing System Ensures Proper Connectivity


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    Polymer-Based Drug-Delivery Pioneer Wins 'Nobel' of Engineering
    Plastics Today
    A pioneer in the engineering of polymers for drug-delivery applications to treat diseases such as cancer and mental illness, Dr. Robert Langer has been awarded the 2015 Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. The QEPrize, often called the "Nobel" of engineering, is a $1.5 million prize designed to promote engineering globally. Langer is the second recipient of the award, which was first given in 2013 to a group of five people who contributed to the development of the Internet.
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    Why 'Baking Powder' Increases Efficiency of Plastic Solar Cells
    Nanowerk News
    The efficiency of plastic solar cells can be doubled or tripled if an extra solvent is added during the production process, comparable with the role of baking powder in dough mixture. Exactly how this works has been unclear for the last ten years. But now researchers at TU/e have come up with the answer in a publication in Nature Communications ("A real-time study of the benefits of co-solvents in polymer solar cell processing"). This new understanding will now enable focused development of plastic solar cells.
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    3-D Printing Struggles to Enter Mainstream
    CNBC
    Shares of Stratasys plunged more than 33 percent recently after the 3-D printer maker cut its fiscal 2014 guidance for the second time and its 2015 guidance is below estimates. The company is also writing down a $100 million to $110 million goodwill impairment charge for its MakerBot unit, acquired in 2013 for $403 million. The scope of possibilities associated with 3-D have yet to be realized, but the purpose and functionality of 3-D printing in day-to-day life remains a challenge. "The fact that someone can 3-D print a car doesn't mean you're gonna do it," Guy Kawasaki, Former Apple chief evangelist said. "So it may be that we're just a little bit too early to see what's really gonna happen there."
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      FEATURED COMPANIES
    Color and Appearance Control for Plastics

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    New Filament Aims to Bring Sustainability to 3-D Printing
    Plastics Today
    Chicago-based technology start-up Dimension Polymers has developed the first professionally engineered 3-D printing filament made from recycled plastic. Launched in June 2014, Dimension Polymers was founded by Gerald Galazin and Mark Sherman, who since then have developed and refined their formula to create a sustainable filament solution that is expected to reduce those carbon emissions by 66 percent. After rounds of beta testing with industry stakeholders and manufacturers, they have now successfully developed a product that is refined and ready to bring to market.
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    The Fascinating Bit of the US Labor Productivity Numbers: Where the Manufacturing Jobs have Gone
    Forbes
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released the quarterly figures on labor productivity and there’s a fascinating little detail buried within them. OK, fascinating to a certain sort of economics geek perhaps but for that small subset, fascinating all the same. And what this detail explains is where all the manufacturing jobs have gone. The point being that William Baumol was right.
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    Modest Film Growth Driven by Food Packaging
    Packaging Digest
    When it comes to films, degradable plastics' star is on the rise while PVC’s star value is waning, according to this new study that forecasts plastic film growth at 1.5 percent yearly through 2018. The U.S. demand for plastic film is expected to grow 1.5 percent per year through 2018 to 15.4 billion pounds, valued at $24.9 billion, according to a new study from The Freedonia Group. Accelerating growth in manufacturing output and disposable incomes bodes well for plastic film sales in a wide range of markets.
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      FEATURED COMPANIES
    Milliken Enhances Clarity and Aesthetics
    Ultra Clear PP enabled by Millad’s NX® NX 8000 additives steadily replace traditional PET and PS as the material of choice in thermoformed packaging. MORE
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    TRENDING ARTICLES
    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Innovative Medical Plastics Applications Breaking into New Areas (By Don Rosato)
    3 Amazing Bio Materials that are Growing a More Sustainable World (Fast Company)
    1st US patient Receives Plastic Meniscus Implant (Plastics Today)
    Auto Industry on the Hunt for New Lightweight Materials (Plastics News)
    Eye Glasses That Can be Manually Switched to 'Sunglass Mode' May be on their Way (Gizmag)

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


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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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