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Fast-moving material advances in wind energy
By Don Rosato
The vast majority of the total tonnage used in wind turbine blade manufacturing is glass fiber and thermoset resins, primarily epoxy and vinyl ester. Let's take a look at new wind energy resin and fiber material advances. The increasing size of wind turbine blades poses a big challenge to designers and engineers to design lightweight structures that meet the requirements in terms of stiffness and, predominantly, fatigue.
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Industry Pulse: What is the most important advanced material trend in wind energy?

Last week's survey: Which is the most common reason for machinery lubricant failure?


Mechanical performance of hybrid nanocomposites obtained by reactive blending
SPE Plastics Research Online
Polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes exhibiting a specific cage structure have attracted increasing attention as components of nanomaterials due to their truly hybrid inorganic–organic architecture. Due to the variety of organic substituents, POSS derivatives can be incorporated effectively into polymers by copolymerization, grafting, or even blending. Blending techniques seem the most attractive because they are simple and inexpensive.
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    Meet the Liberator: Test-firing the world's 1st fully 3-D printed gun
    VideoBrief"Alright. One ... two ..." Before "three" arrives, a shot reverberates across the overcast central Texas landscape. A tall, sandy blond engineer named John has just pulled a twenty-foot length of yellow string tied to a trigger, which has successfully fired the world's first entirely 3-D printed gun for the very first time, rocketing a .380 caliber bullet into a berm of dirt and prairie brush.
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    Companies hire less, manufacturing growth slows in April
    The slowdown was primarily due to the effect of tighter fiscal policy through a combination of an increase in payroll taxes at the start of the year and the $85 billion government spending cuts that took effect across the board in March, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, which jointly develops the ADP report.

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    How 'Made in the USA' is making a comeback
    The U.S. economy continues to struggle, and the weak March jobs report — just 88,000 positions were added — briefly spooked the market. But step back and you'll see a bright spot, perhaps the best economic news the U.S. has witnessed since the rise of Silicon Valley: Made in the USA is making a comeback.

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    Has co-injection molding come of age?
    Plastics Today
    Co-injection can improve environmental sustainability and reduce costs by making it possible to include recycled or reground resin; technical grades of resin with material properties to improve part characteristics such as sound deadening or cold weather impact strength; or more economical material in the core with another material molded over the core material for aesthetics.

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    Chinese protest plans for industrial plants
    The Wall Street Journal
    Tension is bubbling in two western Chinese cities as opposition grows against planned industrial facilities. Growing environmental activism among urban Chinese has emerged as a concern for senior Chinese leaders, and a headache for state oil executives who need to develop greater oil and gas infrastructure to produce a range of products from gasoline for growing numbers of Chinese cars to plastics and chemicals needed for the textiles industry.
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    Top packaging companies combine to form Exopack Holdings
    Canadian Plastics
    Five leading packaging companies in North America and Europe are combining to operate as one global leader under the banner of Exopack Holdings Sarl. The new company, headquartered in Luxembourg, will have 63 plants, 8,650 employees and aggregate revenues of more than $2.5 billion, making it the sixth-largest plastics packaging company in the world.
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    Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword PACKAGING.

    Major glass fiber price hikes loom
    Plastics Today
    A five-year slump in glass fiber pricing may soon be coming to an end. The industry built up global capacity just in advance of the Great Recession that began in 2008. As a result, prices dropped and have failed to match gains made in thermoset resins or competing materials such as steel and aluminum. As a result, capacity utilization will rise to the point where there may be supply-demand tension if growth continues as expected.
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    Arizona getting new trash-to-energy plant would turn plastic into gas
    The city of Glendale, Ariz., could be one of the first in the U.S. to get a next-gen plant that gasifies trash and turns it into electricity. When fully built, the factory is supposed to be able to gasify 180,000 tons of garbage per year, produce 350 tons of gas per day, and create 15 MW of electricity. This type of factory planned for Glendale gasifies many types of waste, including plastics.
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    A photographer finds order and chaos in disassembled gadgets
    Fast Co.Design
    Todd McLellan questions the practice of replacing our old gadgets when they're broken, training his camera on our disposable tech culture through his photographs of torn-apart design classics. He's especially drawn to older pieces of technology, whose simple constructions make them easier to fix when broken. These stunning photographs show the complexity of older gadgets.
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    Is US manufacturing making a comeback — or is it just hype?
    The Washington Post
    U.S. firms that have long operated abroad are announcing that they're shifting some manufacturing operations back to the United States. And economists are now debating whether these stories are a blip — or whether they signal the beginning of a major renaissances for American manufacturing. It's easy to be skeptical. So far, the effect on jobs has been modest. Yet the optimists counter that the logic of a manufacturing comeback remains compelling.
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    Looking to share your plastics expertise?
    In an effort to enhance the overall content of the SPE Industry Update, we'd like to include peer-written articles in future editions. As a member of SPE, your knowledge of the industry lends itself to unprecedented expertise. And we're hoping you'll share this expertise with your peers through well-written commentary. Because of the digital format, there's no word or graphical limit and our group of talented editors can help with final edits. If you're interested in participating, please contact Ronnie Richard to discuss logistics.
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    A mold change in less than 10 minutes...

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    Resin casting: Going from CAD to engineering-grade plastic parts
    Make Magazine
    Plastics are not just ubiquitous, but extremely versatile: some of them are incredibly stretchy, while some are hard as nails; some are crystal clear, and others come in all colors of the rainbow; some can survive extreme temperatures, and yet others can stop a bullet mid-flight. When you think about all this, it's hard to believe that even for hobbyists well-accustomed to 3-D manufacturing, engineering-grade plastics are still taboo.
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    Fire injures 14 at Formosa Plastics plant in Texas
    Plastics News
    VideoBriefA fire that injured 14 at a Formosa Plastics plant in Texas is featured in this Material Insights video. Also, Plastics News reports a big drop in North American PP prices, as well as news that compounding leader A. Schulman has opened its first plant in India.
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    3-D printed 'bionic' ear combines cartilage with an antenna
    The Verge
    A strange combination of tissue and electronics could help us repair — or someday even replace — human ears. Researchers led by Michael McAlpine, an assistant engineering professor at Princeton, have created a prototype artificial ear from an antenna and 3-D printed cells.
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    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        9 materials that will change the future of manufacturing (Scientific American)
    The 1st plastic 3-D printed gun will be available to download in '2 weeks' (ExtremeTech)
    Anisotropic mechanical behavior of polymeric foams (SPE Plastics Research Online)
    Longtime plastics veteran touts continuous pressure forming process (Plastics News)
    Self-assembling furniture that could make Ikea obsolete (Fast Co.Design)

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

    Rethinking manufacturing in America
    Automation World
    It was all a part of the plan. We were a manufacturing powerhouse, sure, but it was our destiny to move past such mundane realities. "We could spend less time worrying about manufacturing, and that was a good thing," said Ron Bloom, vice chairman of U.S. investment banking at Lazard. For some 30 years, the decline in manufacturing in the United States was not only economically driven, but also politically supported. "But in the past few years, there's been a pretty fundamental rethink," Bloom noted.
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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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