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Smart Polymer Applications Entering Mainstream Markets
By Don Rosato
Properties inherent in shape memory polymers and other smart polymers have the potential to be game-changers across many industries. In the automotive field, these advanced materials may eventually lead to vehicle subsystems that can self-heal in the event of damage, or that can be designed to change color or appearance. In the medical field, smart polymers are being chemically formulated to sense specific environmental changes in biological systems and adjust in a predictable manner.
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Date Event More Information
March 23-25 ANTEC Orlando at NPE2015 Information
May 5 Auto EPCON 2015 Information
May 14 Extrusion Minitech Information


Eco-Molding: More Power for Less Energy
Plastics Engineering
For years injection molding machine makers have touted savings of 30 percent, 50 percent, and even more in energy cost. But OEMs typically calculate energy savings by comparing new efficient machine functions to old-fashioned hydraulics in which standard induction electric motors run at constant RPM. These power one or more hydraulic pumps, running constantly, even when the machine is idling. The big energy savings come from reducing that unnecessary motion by adding servo motors to hydraulic pumps and variable frequency drives to electric motors, so they only turn when needed.
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  • Recycling Equipment Makers to Show Technology for Sustainability
    Plastics News
    Never has recycling been more at the forefront of the world’s consciousness, and that’s certainly is the case for plastics recovery and recycling. While moms and pops and kids do their part by diverting their recyclables from the trash, and waste management companies do their part by collecting and sorting those materials, the entire recycling community is interdependent on each portion of the process.
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    New Carbon Progress from BASF and SGL
    SGL and BASF have successfully completed a joint project to enhance the cost-effectiveness of manufacturing carbon fiber/thermoplastic composites in injection procedures – specifically thermoplastic resin transfer and reaction injection molding. The resulting composite is based on a reactive polyamide system and compatible with carbon fibers. A carbon-fiber surfacing agent – or sizing – specially designed for the matrix system, as well as tailored thermoplastic reactive systems means that lightweight structural components for the automotive industry can now be manufactured quickly and easily.
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      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.

    Weak US Factory Data Suggest Softer Economic Growth
    U.S. manufacturing output fell in February for the third straight month as the production of automobiles and a range of goods tumbled, the latest indication of slower economic growth in the first quarter. Factory production slipped 0.2 percent after declining 0.3 percent in January, the Federal Reserve said on Monday.
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    Polyurethane Adhesive Can Replace Epoxies
    Engineering Materials
    Polytec PU 1000 is a single-part adhesive which cures quickly at room temperature to a flexible, electrically conductive polymer. It can replace traditional, rigid epoxies, says Intertronics, which require thermal processing. The resulting production efficiencies enable new applications where pliability and conductivity is important.
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    Results of Michigan Study into Biodegradation-Promoting Additives Evoke Incensed Response
    Plastics Today
    It was not to be expected that the results of the study performed at Michigan State University into the effect of biodegradation-promoting additives on the biodegradation of PE and PET would be greeted with any enthusiasm by the manufacturers of these additives. The Michigan researchers, who evaluated biodegradation in compost, anaerobic digestion, and soil burial environments, were singularly unimpressed by the performance of the tested additives. As they wrote: "None of the five different additives tested significantly increased biodegradation in any of these environments. Thus, no evidence was found that these additives promote and/or enhance biodegradation of PE or PET polymers."
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    Water Content by Karl Fischer

    Monitoring the water content of raw materials is crucial as it can help eliminate side reactions during production and ensure a consistent final product. You can perform measurements down to a few ppm with One Click™ Water Determination from METTLER TOLEDO.
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    Sensor for Low Pressure Applications

    Kistler’s Type 6162AA… mold cavity pressure sensor is a robust solution for low-viscosity, crosslinking molding compounds that can accurately and reliably measure pressures up to 200 bar. Available in two versions, it features an interchangeable cable and is ideal for industrial use with conventional and high-pressure RTM, LSR’s and SMC’s.

    Efficient, Profitable Recycling
    Plastics Engineering
    The plastics recycling industry continues to look for ways to improve and grow. Companies are developing more efficient processes that turn out better products, save money, or recycle specialty materials such as bio-based plastics. Education is also helping to unify the industry.
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    UC Berkeley Showcases World's 1st 3-D-Printed Cement Structure
    Global Post
    Researchers with University of California at Berkeley have unveiled the first-ever structure made solely from printed cement pieces, so as to demonstrate the capacity and versatility of 3-D printers. The research team, led by associate architecture professor Ronald Rael at Berkeley's Environmental Design (CED) College, created the small pavilion known as "Bloom" in one year, to prove that this type of technology can go a long way. The structure was built by printing 840 bricks of cement and then assembled them together.
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    Biofuels and Chemicals that Don't Cut into the Food Supply
    Emma Master's team spent the last two years studying plant cell walls, the part of the cell that gives trees and other flora their structural strength. The wall itself is built from a tight complex of sugars and polymers, and Master wants to isolate these components so they can be used to create renewable fuels, high-value chemicals, and novel bio-based materials.
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    Tigerflex Voltbuster Hoses for High Static Applications
    Kuriyama Tigerflex Voltbusterfood grade, material handling hoses; specifically designed for high static applications such as the transfer of powders, pellets and other granular materials.
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    Injectable Polymer Curbs Blood Loss by Strengthening Clots
    With uncontrolled bleeding the major cause of deaths on the battlefield, researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have developed an injectable polymer that could stem bleeding and provide extra time to get the injured to medical care. Called PolySTAT, the new polymer stems blood loss by strengthening blood clots.
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    PTFE-Modified Compounds Exhibit Wear Resistance Under High Loads
    Comprising polymers lubricated with PTFE formulation, LUVOCOM XTF series provides low coefficient of friction while preserving mechanical performance. Benefits include short running-in behavior at start-up. Minimizing deposition in tool cavities, mechanical properties result in PTFE not separating from polymer during injection molding process. Currently available versions include LUVOCOM 1105-9098/XTF and 1105-9182/XTF, which are based on PEEK (polyetheretherketone) polymer.
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    Brazilian Composites Stable in 2014
    Reinforced Plastics
    The Brazilian composites sector's revenue totaled U.S. $ 1.202 billion in 2014, down 0.1 percent compared to 2013 according to new data commissioned by the Latin American Composite Materials Association (ALMACO).
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    Polymers Designed for Protection
    Today's soldiers rely on polymers as part of their protective systems. Polymers are molecular chains that can vary from a few linked monomers to millions of chemical units. With highly tunable properties and versatile processing they have become ubiquitous in use. In the defense community polymer fibers are particularly well known, especially polyamide fibers such as Kevlar and Nomex and polyethylene fibers such as Dyneema and Spectra. By combining good ballistic protection with a minimal weight penalty these materials have become commonplace in Soldier protection systems.
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    Fast Heat's NEW CableXChecker™ Hot Runner Cable Testing System Ensures Proper Connectivity

    The CableXChecker is an easy-to-use diagnostic tool for your hot runner cables and connectors. Configurated for both heater and thermocouple and custom built to your specific wiring diagram, this must-have unit tests for continuity and identifies where shorts and miswired zones are located in ONE minute.
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    Digital Printing Launched as Alternative in Packaging
    Plastics News
    Australian packaging giant Pact Group has installed and commissioned a new digital printing platform it claims will revolutionize plastic packaging's decorations in Australia and New Zealand. Melbourne-based Pact Group Holdings Ltd. has exclusive access to the technology in Australia and New Zealand. It is licensed from Polytype Converting AG, in Fribourg, Switzerland.
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    A Bottom for US Natural Gas Producers is in Sight
    Crude oil is not the only energy commodity that has taken a beating over the last 12 months. U.S. spot natural gas prices, priced at the Henry Hub in Louisiana, closed Monday, March 9, at $2.72 per million British Thermal Units. U.S. spot natural gas is down by $2.05/MMBtu, or 43 percent, over the last 12 months. UNG, the natural gas ETF, fared even worse, declining by 46 percent over the last 12 months.
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    Toilet Seat Aims to Clear the Air
    Plastics and Rubber Weekly
    A U.S. firm has designed a polypropylene toilet seat that's equipped with a deodorizer to flush away bad odors. Called Purefresh, the new product retails for $119. Powered by two batteries, the carbon filter can neutralize smells by itself for six months or be used in tandem with scent packs with scents such as "garden waterfall," "avocado spa" and "fresh laundry," which last about a month.
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    Color and Appearance Control for Plastics

    The Datacolor 45G, 45/0 handheld spectrophotometer with class leading repeatability, provides simultaneous control of both color appearance and gloss for plastics.
    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.

    Prices Fall for PET, Nylon and PC
    Plastics News
    Lower feedstock costs have driven down North American prices for PET bottle resin, nylon 6 and 6/6 and polycarbonate since Jan. 1. Regional PET bottle resin prices fell an average of 5 cents per pound in January and are believed to have been flat in February. The January drop is shown on this week’s Plastics News resin pricing chart. Prices for the material already had fallen an average of 11 cents per pound in the last two months of 2014 as prices for oil-based feedstocks fell and carbonated soft drink demand continued to decline.
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    Small is Big When it comes to the World of Plastic Straws
    Plastics News
    A new injectable polymer developed by researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle could help strengthen blood clots and save lives. PolySTAT can be injected into the patient on site to stop bleeding before reaching a full medical team at a hospital or trauma center. In a study on rats, researchers at UW found it saved 100 percent of animals with fatal injuries to the femoral artery. In comparison, just 20 percent of rats treated with a natural protein to help blood clot survived.
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    Sensible US Action Needed for Recycling Plastics
    The Hill
    Around 80 percent of the United States population has access to some type of recycling program. These programs are widely available at our homes, businesses, and in public locations. Despite the ease of access to recycling, however, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that in 2011, less than 35 percent of U.S. households and 10 percent of businesses recycled.
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    Milliken Meets Unique Processing Challenges
    Polypropylene infused with Hyperform® HPN-600ei nucleating agent for extrusion/thermoforming applications, offers processors dramatically improved processing speeds, as well as advanced physical properties and part aesthetics. MORE

    Designed by designers and engineered for engineers, our annual Cool Parts Calendar features the visions of product developers across the nation and around the world. Request your free calendar today.

    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Innovative Approach to the Design of Profile Extrusion Dies (SPE Plastics Research Online)
    'Devastated' researcher's plastics experiment gone wrong sparked university explosion scare and evacuation (Manchester Evening News)
    Plastic Materials Offer Exciting Possibilities in Electrical Applications (By Adolfo Benedito)
    Biodegradation-Promoting Additives for Plastics Don't Work, Says Study (Plastics Today)
    6 Innovative Plastics for Cars, Lighting and Building (Design News)

    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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