SPE Industry Update
Oct. 22, 2014

Highlights of bioplastic material and process building blocks
By Don Rosato
The chemical industry relies heavily on traditional sources of carbon — oil, natural gas, coal and biomass. These four substances are the starting point for around 40 basic chemicals and more than 40,000 chemical products. With its low cost and low toxicity, carbon dioxide is an attractive carbon feedstock for the synthesis of polymers. A host of companies are investigating the economic potential of the catalytic synthesis of sustainable performance polymers and chemicals from CO, CO2 and epoxides.More

Breakthroughs for creating new designs with modern TPES
Plastics Engineering
The universe of thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs) usage among product end-users and custom thermoplastic processors has continued to grow steadily over the past 35 years. Today, custom processors are focusing sales efforts to raise TPE component value (and resulting profits) through new designs and new material combinations, to solve problems and improve the final components’ aesthetics and performance.More

Bio-based chemicals on the rise in US
Royal Society of Chemistry
The bio-based products and renewable chemical industry in the U.S. is growing and offers significant economic benefits, including job creation in numerous sectors, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In a report released on Oct. 7, the USDA estimates that bio-based chemicals, which are manufactured from renewable resources and are slowly beginning to replace their petroleum-derived counterparts, will constitute over 10 percent of the chemicals market by 2015.More

Bioplastics market to reach $3.94 billion in 2014
Packaging World
The bioplastics market will reach a value of $3.94 billion in 2014, according to a new report, "Bioplastics Market Forecast 2014-2024," from Visiongain. Notes the report, the global bioplastics market is a small but significant sub-sector of the plastics industry. Bioplastics are an environment-friendly material that does not occupy landfills. Moreover, plants provide a cheap and sustainable alternative to their petroleum counterparts.More

Highlights of bioplastic material and process building blocks
By Don Rosato
The chemical industry relies heavily on traditional sources of carbon — oil, natural gas, coal and biomass. These four substances are the starting point for around 40 basic chemicals and more than 40,000 chemical products. With its low cost and low toxicity, carbon dioxide is an attractive carbon feedstock for the synthesis of polymers.More

Global aerospace plastics market to hit $6.5 billion by 2018
Canadian Plastics
The global aerospace plastics market was worth U.S. $6.2 billion in 2011 and is expected to blast off to $10.5 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Transparency Market Research. Boosted by demand from plane manufacturers for ever-lighter materials, the volume of aerospace plastics consumption is expected to hit 87.8 kilo tons by 2018.More

Electrically conductive plastics look promising for batteries, solar
An emerging class of electrically conductive plastics called "radical polymers" may bring low-cost, transparent solar cells, flexible and lightweight batteries, and ultrathin antistatic coatings for consumer electronics and aircraft. Researchers have established the solid-state electrical properties of one such polymer, called PTMA.More

Plastic bag makers stand up and fight
Plastics Today
Plastic bag manufacturers were given the green light on Oct. 10 to begin collecting signatures for a referendum vote on the ban of plastic bags on the November 2016 ballot. According to The Associated Press, the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris cleared the way for the referendum to be put on the ballot provided the groups collect and submit more than 500,000 signatures by January. That means the ban would not take effect until voters weigh in on the matter.More

'Plastics U' aims to educate an industry
Plastics Engineering
The plastics industry is at a crossroads. Today's manufacturing resembles nothing of itself even ten years ago, and there is a serious threat of the talent pool falling behind the curve. Machinery and technology exist that can greatly improve productivity, but they can only be put to use if the workforce behind them has the required knowledge.More

Pyrolysis touted as billion dollar US industry
Royal Society of Chemistry
Wider deployment of pyrolysis, where non-recycled plastics are heated in the absence of oxygen to convert them into valuable fuels and feedstocks, would not only reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills but also generate billions of dollars, according to a new analysis by the American Chemistry Council. The trade group concluded that rapid development of pyrolysis technology, more commonly known as plastics-to-oil, could contribute $9 billion to the U.S. economy and spawn more than 40,000 domestic jobs.More

US demand for rigid bulk packaging to reach $7.3 billion in 2018
Powder & bulk Solids
Growth will represent an improvement from the performance of the 2008-2013 period as manufacturing output and construction activity recover further from post-recession troughs. The resurgence of these segments will fuel rebounds in the production of chemicals and plastic materials, which will support heightened demand for related rigid bulk packaging. Prospects will also benefit from trends that are increasing the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector in the U.S., including insourcing (also called reshoring or onshoring) and rising production of shale oil and gas. More

Sustainability drive bodes well for plastics' role in auto
Tightening emissions restrictions in Europe and the U.S. are set to drive increasing utilization of plastics in automobiles according to DSM Engineering Plastics President Roelof Westerbeek, as OEMS seek solutions to address emerging sustainability demands. He spoke to PlasticsToday at the company's global headquarters in Singapore, where he outlined the reasons why the polyamide resin supplier sees strong prospects for growth in demand for its offerings.More

Americans continue to recycle more plastic bottles
Greener Package
Plastic bottle recycling grew 120 million pounds in 2013, edging up 4.3 percent, to top 2.9 billion pounds for the year, according to figures released jointly by the Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers and the American Chemistry Council. The recycling rate for plastic bottles climbed 0.4 percent to 30.9 percent for the year.More

Ford edges closer to 'growing' its own car parts
Triple Pundit
Researchers at Ford Motor Co. have been working to replace petroleum-based plastic with renewable alternatives for nearly 15 years. Back in 2000, Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader for sustainable materials at Ford Research, and her team devised a chemical formula to replace petroleum-based automotive foam with foam made from soybean oil.More

Where have the maintenance and reliability professionals gone?
Without maintenance and reliability professionals, a manufacturer risks asset reliability deterioration, increased maintenance costs, and lost time. To avoid this, something must be done to counteract the shortage of maintenance professionals entering the workforce by all manufacturers. While industry professionals like Shon Isenhour and Michael Aroney are working to battle this shortage, manufacturers themselves must join in the battle. Without renewed interest, the shortage of maintenance and reliability professionals will only become more troublesome.More

P&G wants to double level of recycled resin in its packaging
Plastics News
Consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble Co. is out with expanded sustainability goals, including a desire to double the company's use of recycled resin in plastic packaging. The Cincinnati-based company issued its latest report covering a variety of goals, indicating it is guided by 12 established environmental sustainability goals that includes the use of 100 percent recycled or renewable materials for all products and packaging.More

3-D printing enables customized knee replacement surgery
A Massachusetts-based medical device company is forging new ground in knee replacement surgery. A combination of CT imaging, modeling software and 3-D printing technology is enabling ConforMIS to offer implants tailored specifically to each patient. The team at ComforMIS believes it can improve on traditional methods by steering away from generic, "off-the-shelf" implants to a more customizable solution.More

Polyurethane-based engine covers protects pedestrians
Plastics Today
People traveling on foot in traffic apparently live dangerously. According to the European Commission, about one-fifth of all traffic fatalities in Europe involve pedestrians. Apart from passenger protection, auto manufacturers therefore are also taking a closer look at pedestrian safety. The Volvo Car Corp. is a leader in the field, using a combination of Bayer MaterialScience materials to manufacture the engine covers, or hoods as the company refers to them, of its four cylinder diesel engines.More