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Automotive Lightweighting Trends Drive Plastics Technology
By Don Rosato
Despite global efforts to improve fuel efficiency, vehicle weight has actually been increasing as manufacturers continuously add car features, and reversing this growing weight spiral has become a top priority. Over the past 15 years, cars have not become lighter, but are rather some 30 percent heavier. Plastics are helping to shed weight without compromising the safety and comfort features mainly responsible for the upward weight spiral.
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SPE HIGHLIGHTS


Improving the Mechanical Behavior of Polypropylene Nanocomposites
SPE Plastics Research Online
The potential of layered silicates to increase the strength, toughness, thermal stability, thermal conductivity, and flame retardancy of polymers has drawn significant interest in recent years. For nanoclays to be used as additives in nonpolar polymer matrices, compatibilizers (which act as a bridge between nanoclay and polymer matrix) are required. Montmorillonite (MMT), phlogopite, and hectorite are the most commonly used smectite-type layered silicates for the preparation of polymer nanocomposites (PNCs)
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event More Information
June 9-11 17th Annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-on Workshop Registration
June 16-17 Plastics Design & Moulding 2015 Information
June 23-25 6th Annual National Hands-On Thermoforming Workshop Registration
June 29 - July 1 Application-Based Plastics Selection (How properties, performance, and cost determine the optimal plastic for any application) Registration
July 28-29 Novel Trends in Rheology VI Information
Aug. 31-Sept. 3 SPE Thermoforming Conference® 2015 Information
Sept. 8-10 GPPS 15: Gulf Plastics & Polymers Show 2015 Information
Sept. 8-11 Foams 2015 and Tutorial Registration
Sept. 9-11 SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition Information


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  • PLASTICS INDUSTRY NEWS


    How 3-D Printed Bones are Revolutionizing Forensics and Bioarchaeology
    Forbes
    On the most recent episode of "Bones," a team of forensic anthropologists scanned and uploaded a skeleton to the cloud, so that another team could download and print the bones halfway around the world and solve a murder. This is, of course, a TV show, but the technology employed is not far from reality. And 3-D is radically changing the way we practice biological anthropology.
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    Bill Would Ban Microbeads from Soaps and Body Washes
    The Hill
    Senate Democrats have introduced legislation to protect the Great Lakes from the small plastic microbeads used in body washes, soaps and other personal care products to exfoliate the skin. Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., unveiled the Microbeads Free Waters Act of 2015, a bill to phase out the manufacturing and sale of microbeads found in household products.
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    6 of the Nation's Largest School Districts Dump Polystyrene Trays
    The Washington Post
    Six of the largest U.S. school districts have pooled their collective purchasing power to make significant changes to school lunch, and they're starting by jettisoning the polystyrene tray. The Urban School Food Alliance, a coalition that includes the school systems of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas and Orlando, has commissioned a school lunch dish that is made from recycled newsprint and can be turned into compost after use.
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    European Alliance Calls for 'Long-Term Vision' to Solve Polymer Shortages
    Plastics News
    The European Plastics Converters Association launched a strategic alliance for polymer supplies across the continent during its recent general assembly in Warsaw. Since early March, the EU polymer industry has declared force majeure on 34 occasions which the association says has driven polymer prices to levels not seen in the past decade at a time when oil prices are still relatively low. The EuPC has been monitoring the overall situation since 2010.
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    PE and PS Prices Rise, While Polypropylene Slips
    Plastics News
    North American polyethylene resin prices awoke with a vengeance in May, increasing for the first time in eight months. Regional polystyrene prices weren’t far behind — rising for the second straight month — while polypropylene resin prices ticked slightly down.
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    PRODUCT SHOWCASE
     
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    Walmart Exec Invites Plastics Industry to Work with Company to Help Meet $250 Billion US Sourcing Goal
    Plastics Engineering
    Walmart Vice President of U.S. Manufacturing Cindi Marsiglio discussed her company’s 2013 pledge to source an additional $250 billion in products from American manufacturers at NPE2015, during the SPI and IHS Key Market Breakfast Briefing. Marsiglio noted that Walmart is working to accomplish its ambitious goal in three ways: Buying more from the suppliers Walmart already buys from in the USA; finding new products made in the USA to sell on Walmart shelves; and reshoring the manufacturing of goods Walmart currently buys by facilitating these efforts among its suppliers.
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    Analyzing Reshoring's Impact on the Market
    Plastics News
    In the past three to four years, one of the commonly observed trends in North America manufacturing has been reshoring or repatriation of the manufacturing industry. Nexant conducted a survey of the plastics industry, in collaboration with Plastics News, to understand reshoring trends and the effect on the North American market.
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    3-D Printing Materials that Cure with Light and Remain Water Soluble
    Consumer Electronics
    Scientists at Bucktown Polymers have developed a new type of 3-D printing material that cures rapidly when exposed to light yet remains water soluble after curing. The materials have interesting uses in additive manufacturing and casting since they change from a liquid into a solid using only light to act as a temporary support for other materials or as a pattern for casting. The post-cure water soluble support material or pattern is quickly dissolved in minutes using only warm water.
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    Warnings of Pet and HDPE Recycling Industry 'Collapse'
    Resource Magazine
    According to the group, producers of milk packaging, as well as those manufacturing home and personal care packaging, are increasingly planning to switch from using high-density polyethylene in their products to polyethylene terephthalate, due to "cost, marketing and sustainability reasons."
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    Method's New Liquid Laundry Detergent is 1st to be Packaged in 100 Percent PCR PET
    Packaging Europe
    Well known for its brightly colored hand wash and all-purpose cleaning formulations showcased in clear PET bottles, Method has broken new ground in the liquid laundry detergent aisle, according to Joe Hunter, Director of Packaging for Method. “This new PET offering in the liquid laundry segment resonates with the rest of our brand portfolio in hand wash and all-purpose cleaners,” said Hunter. “This is an important achievement in a market that has previously been predominately limited to opaque high-density polyethylene containers.”
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    Living in a Material World
    Phys.org
    A new multi-disciplinary research team is making a pop-up, waterproof, solar-powered shelter a reality. The team's research will focus on three fields of investigation in textile fabrication: Fibers and yarns, weave structures and 3-D architectural modelling. The first step will be modifying the physical and chemical properties of fibers using polymers and graphite coatings to develop "smart" yarns that can double as construction materials.
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    Blending 3-D Printing And Injection Molding Reduces Tooling Costs, Speeds Time to Market
    Plastics Today
    Design bureau Worrell announced a partnership with 3-D printing leader Stratasys in October 2014 to offer 3-D printed injection molding services to medical device manufacturers. "The medical device industry is facing budget crunches and tight time constraints to determine if a product is going to take off in the marketplace," says Sella. A rigorous regulatory process compounds the complexity, he adds. Consequently, "finding ways to save on tooling costs is a big issue, and that's where the advantages of 3DIM become apparent."
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    DARPA to Propel 3-D Printing Manufacturing by Improving the Understanding of the Processes and Materials Involved
    3Dprint.com
    DARPA announced a new initiative under their Open Manufacturing program, which seeks to improve the understanding of the various materials and processes involved in additive manufacturing as well as other new manufacturing techniques. The organization points out, that in order for 3-D printing to become a mainstream form of manufacturing of complex military related components — for example aircraft wings — shortcomings involving a lack of understanding related to "subtle differences in manufacturing methods on the properties and capabilities of resulting materials," need to be overcome.
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    New 'Designer Carbon' Boosts Battery Performance
    Nanowerk News
    Stanford University scientists have created a new carbon material that significantly boosts the performance of energy-storage technologies. "We have developed a 'designer carbon' that is both versatile and controllable," said Zhenan Bao, the senior author of the study and a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. "Our study shows that this material has exceptional energy-storage capacity, enabling unprecedented performance in lithium-sulfur batteries and supercapacitors."
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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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