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Solar energy process technology developments to watch
By Don Rosato
System considerations such as reliability, overall energy production rate and competitiveness in the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE, are dominating solar energy maturation as subsidized manufacturing is replaced by true grid parity. While the biggest photovoltaic producers of today push to optimize manufacturing and output, their fortunes could change sharply if a new kid on the block with a technology that dramatically cuts PV production costs and ramps up cell performance proves to be scalable. Globally, the solar industry is experiencing a period of heavy consolidation and international trade wars.
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SPE HIGHLIGHTS


Effect of kaolin and calcined kaolin loading on styrene butadiene rubber composites
SPE Plastics Research Online
Raw elastomers (elastic polymers) have poor thermal and mechanical properties that need to be enhanced to increase the abrasion and tensile strength of rubber goods, especially tires. To do this, the rubber matrix is frequently compounded with particulate fillers. In recent years, interest in alternative, environmentally friendly, and cheap mineral fillers, such as clays, has increased.
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PLASTICS INDUSTRY NEWS


Reshoring gives a boost to US manufacturers
Plastics News
Reshoring has added more than 100,000 jobs in the U.S. in the last three years — and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. That's the word from Harry Moser, founder of the Kildeer, Ill.-based Reshoring Initiative. Moser spoke recently at the Plastics News Executive Forum in Wesley Chapel. Since 2000, unit labor costs in the U.S. have roughly been flat, while those costs have increased rapidly in China. China's costs have increased at a compounded annual rate of 18 percent vs. an increase of 2 percent in the U.S. The U.S. increase also was matched by a similar increase in productivity.
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  The Principles of Plug Design

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Develoing bipolar plates for fuel cells
Plastics Engineering
The development of conductive polymer composites is a promising and growing field of research. CPCs are highly resistant to corrosion and have low densities, two properties that might result in the materials replacing metals in several applications.
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Solar energy process technology developments to watch
By Don Rosato
System considerations such as reliability, overall energy production rate and competitiveness in the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE, are dominating solar energy maturation as subsidized manufacturing is replaced by true grid parity.

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World Cup could hinder, not help, Brazilian plastics companies
Business News Americas
Brazilian plastics companies could suffer a negative impact from this year's World Cup, José Ricardo Roriz Coelho, president of plastics industry association Abiplast said, although plastics production will still rise in the year.

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Plastics pipe in the public spotlight in China
Plastics News
Plastic pipe manufacturers don't usually make prime-time national TV news, but they did in China last month, and not in a good way.

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Exec: Think plastics for lightweight, durable parts
Automotive News
Lanxess AG, a German chemical company spun off from Bayer AG in 2004, is working on plastics that can replace metal in auto parts such as springs and brake pedals. Jens Fischer, general manager of the company's high-performance materials business unit, spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett.
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How are your vendors doing? Tell us in the SPE Plastics Industry Resource.



Lego investigates shift to bioplastics
Plastics Today
Lego, the global producer of children's building blocks, expects to convert to bioplastics as part of a long-term sustainability program. "I know it will happen; it is just a matter of time," Alan Rasmussen, a materials engineer at Lego said this morning in a presentation at Innovation Takes Root, a conference sponsored by Nature Works in Orlando, Fla. Lego annually consumes 60,000 metric tons of plastic, mostly ABS, at giant captive molding plants in Denmark, Mexico, and Hungary. A factory in China is planned.
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Polymer puts a new twist on soft robotics
Chemistry World
Twisted polymer springs capable of turning light energy into mechanical movement have been developed by researchers from the Netherlands and the U.K. The coils work by translating molecular movement into macroscopic motion and could one day form the basis for soft robots.
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Shale gas is continuing to grow, along with new resin projects
Plastics News
More natural gas — a key plastic resin precursor — is expected to flow from Ohio. Natural gas from the Utica and other numerous shale-based fields throughout North America have prompted major resin makers to announce expansion projects for the first time in more than a decade. Most of these projects will be on the U.S. Gulf Coast, but some have been proposed for Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Ohio.
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  PRODUCT SHOWCASES


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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.
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



Carbon nanotubes improve polymers for aviation
Nanowerk News
We live surrounded by polymers and today, rather than come up with new polymers, there is a tendency to modify them in order to obtain new applications. Carbon nanotubes have excellent mechanical properties, are very tough, very rigid, and what is more, they conduct electricity.
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    The "Lure Makers" — plastics, anyone?
    Yak Angler
    Fishermen have used artificial fishing lures for ages. The ability to attract fish with an artificial bait using movement, vibration, flash, and color has been the mainstay of many people who yearn to catch fish. Behind the scenes there are the "lure makers" — the guys and gals who design new and intriguing imitations that will entice fish to strike. This series is dedicated to people who make plastic, feathers, fur, metal, and wood come to life in our aquatic world.
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    Styrolution Closes U.S. Polystyrene Plant, Expands Specialties
    Bloomberg
    Styrolution Group GmbH is closing a polystyrene factory in the U.S. to reduce capacity of a low-margin commodity material, and expanding production of a specialty transparent plastic in Germany. Closing the plant in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, will cut polystyrene production by 150,000 tons, or 16 percent of the company’s total capacity in the Americas, and affect 58 jobs, the Frankfurt-based company said in a statement.
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    TRENDING ARTICLES
    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Bikinis and other clothing from your 3-D printer (Polymer Solutions)
    Back to the future with Ford bioplastics (By Don Rosato)
    How new catalysts are changing PP (Plastics Engineering)
    New polymer could end battery fires, quadruple efficiency (WIRED)
    A bimodal shear rate distribution from multi-melt multi-injection molding (SPE Plastics Research Online)

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


    Bio-on hopes its bioplastics will replace metal, too
    CNET
    The automotive industry is famously reliant on the oil industry for fuel. But a partnership between Italian startup Bio-on and automotive supply giant Magna could reduce that reliance just a little by introducing plastic components derived from plants, not petrochemicals.
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    Warning to MEPs over biodegradable plastics
    Let's Recycle
    A British academic has warned MEPs against introducing a policy on plastic bag waste that would encourage greater use of biodegradable and bio-based plastics. Professor Richard Thompson, of Plymouth University's School of Marine Science and Engineering, was speaking at a seminar organized by MEPs from the Greens and European Free Alliance group on carrier bag waste at the European Parliament in Brussels recently.
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      FEATURED COMPANIES
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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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