SPE Industry Update
Mar. 27, 2013

Automotive lightweighting process technologies to watch
By Don Rosato
Advanced automotive weight-saving process technologies over the last few years have included MuCell with core back expansion foam molding, the injection molding part weight cutting "Plume" process for interior and exterior trim, steel-plastic hybrid injection molded composites, and natural fiber thermoset composite compression molding. Currently two process technologies are advancing rapidly, namely, automated tape-laying and direct sheet molding compound. Increasingly, the weight of various components in motor vehicles is being reduced through replacement of metal materials by fiber-reinforced plastics.More

Enhancing polyamide properties with alumina whiskers
SPE Plastics Research Online
Aliphatic polyamides such as polyamide 12 (PA12) demonstrate excellent mechanical performance, and as a result, are widely used in engineering applications. Good thermal stability and fire resistance are priorities in many high-demand polyamide applications, and adding 'alumina whiskers' is an attractive way to enhance polyamide properties.More

Aduro CEO talks development of plastics from biomaterials
The A to Z of Materials
Darreen Harpur, the acting CEO at Aduro Biopolymers, took the time to talk with AZoM about the development of plastics from biomaterials. Harpur discusses Aduro's development of novatein, a bioplastic in later stage development that will be price competitive with petrochemical plastics.More

Automotive lightweighting with alternative materials
Material substitution replacing heavier iron and steel with weight-saving advanced composites and other plastics, aluminum, magnesium and advanced high-strength steel is essential for boosting vehicle fuel economy.More

Biocompatible plastics and their importance in the medical device industry
Despite their ease of use, plastics can bring the risk of health and environmental hazards that can undermine all medical efforts unless treated minutely at first. Hence, the need for biocompatibility which can reduce these risks and enable us to fully derive the benefits.More

Welcome to the 'jobless' US manufacturing boom
The Fiscal Times
VideoBrief Recently, Chris Budnick, the CEO of Vanguard Plastics in Southington, Conn., needed a new employee for his 30-person factory to help with the 24-hour schedule. He could have done what managers and CEOs have done for decades: post a job ad, sort through hundreds of resumes, interview dozens of potential candidates, conduct second or third interviews and pay for background checks, then offer a wage of $9-$15 an hour and health benefits, a profit-sharing program and more. Instead, Budnick hired someone else — or something else. His name is Baxter, a humanoid robot from Rethink Robotics.More

Paint-on plastic electronics to bring down cost
Discovery News
A team of University of Michigan engineers have developed a new technique for aligning the molecules of semiconducting polymers — the keystone of computer processors, LED displays and solar cells — into charge-carrying freeways. When brushed like paint over a surface with a silicon blade, the molecules in the solution lined up in the direction of the stroke. This helped form high-performance networks, ultimately contributing to a plastic film that was both thin and conductive.More

Report: US rigid plastics recycling to reach 934 million pounds for 2013
Waste Management World
New reports on behalf of the American Chemistry Council have revealed that the recycling of rigid plastics, excluding bottles, increased by 13 percent in 2011 to reach at least 934 million pounds. The number of U.S. consumers with local access to recycling all nonbottle rigid plastics increased from 40 percent to 57 percent between 2011 and 2012.More

Manufacturing industry's energy use trends downward
Houston Business Journal
The U.S. Energy Information Administration released findings that from 2002 to 2010 energy consumption in the manufacturing sector decreased by 17 percent. Although the recession may have had something to do with this, the EIA found that manufacturing output only decreased by 3 percent during the same time period. So overall, energy use declined.More

Rumors hint at 'budget' plastic iPhone
Plastics & Recycling Weekly
Rumors about a budget plastic iPhone have been spreading since January when Apple advertised for a manufacturing design engineer with knowledge of advanced plastic tooling and processes. Industry insiders predict that the entry-level device will be launched midway through 2013 and will feature a lower resolution screen than the current generation phones and also cheaper electronics components.More

Consultant warns of plastics slowdown in Mexico
Plastics News
January retail figures published by the Mexican government's statistics institute show practically zero growth in the sale of food, drink and other domestic items that heavily use plastics. In an open letter to members of the industry, industry consultant Eduardo de la Tijera Coeta writes that the figures indicate the Mexican economy is slowing down and that plastics consumption in Mexico this year may contract.More

6-meter tall KamerMaker to 3-D print Amsterdam house by year's end
It is surely now but a matter of time before we are reporting on the completion of the first 3-D printed house, or at least something purported to be such a thing. Amsterdam-based DUS Architects is the latest company to show its hand, and has developed its own 3-D printer, the 6-meter tall KamerMaker — literally, RoomMaker — with the intention of 3-D printing a house before the end of the year.More

Plastic fantastic: A green solution for the industry
The Telegraph
Invicta has tallied up a number of world firsts over the years, including the first comic relief red noses, fake pearls — "because people couldn't afford expensive jewelry after the war" — and the plastic ruler. The company's most recent innovation, the first-ever food-safe products made from 100 percent recycled plastic, could be its most impressive and important breakthrough yet. However, it emerged as much from necessity as from any ingrained inventive zeal.More

Manufacturers keep a close eye on energy amendments in Senate budget
The Senate is holding votes on a series of amendments to the chamber's first budget in four years. Several of the amendments on the floor address energy issues. Manufacturers use one-third of the energy consumed in the United States which makes access to affordable energy essential. Regulations and other policies which drive up costs are extremely concerning for manufacturers.More

Can mushrooms be the new plastic?
Collective Evolution
VideoBrief Eden Bayer co-founded a company called MycoBond. Recognizing the serious impact that styrofoam was having on humans and our environment, they decided to eliminate the need for the material by creating a 100 percent biodegradable and natural material from mushrooms. More

5 ways to boost quality in manufacturing operations
What should be a great time for global manufacturers has proven to be anything but. Production problems have caused trouble for many of the world's largest and most successful companies. Ensuring unimpeachable quality is the most important job a line manager has, so here are five ideas for producing at the highest levels.More

Hierarchical modeling of polymer dynamics
Science Omega
Although polymeric liquids like molten plastics or DNA solutions are very different from simple liquids, they are remarkably similar to each other in certain ways. This gives hope to theoretical physicists that entangled polymers can be described by a universal theory or equation, which will answer all of our practical needs.More

Foster, UConn partner to advance extrusion, molding of pharmaceuticals
Plastics Today
Foster has been awarded a Manufacturer's Technical Assistance Program grant from the University of Connecticut for development of processes to improve manufacturability and absorption of poorly water-soluble drugs in the body. Foster and the UConn will collaborate to develop continuous injection molding of the tablets from the drug/polymer matrix form, eliminating the powder grinding process.More