SPE Industry Update
Nov. 27, 2013

Greenbuild offers a glimpse of emerging green building trends
By Don Rosato
The U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the USGBC put on quite a show for attendees in Philadelphia. Year after year, Greenbuild proves to be the place to learn about the changes in the rapidly evolving green building industry, and this year Greenbuild was the first place to learn about LEED v4, the latest in LEED standards. Let's examine some of the emerging trends and products from the three-day conference.More

Replacing platinum in a dye-sensitized solar cell
SPE Plastics Research Online
Solar cells are a widely used clean energy source. Recently, the high efficiency and low cost of dye-sensitized solar cells have attracted much attention. Platinum is commonly employed as the DSSC counter electrode (an auxiliary electrode connected to the electrolyte that permits an applied current), but although it is effective, it is also expensive. To reduce costs, platinum can be replaced by a conducting polymer.More

Honeywell reduces 'nuisance' alarms that can lead to billion-dollar losses in the process industries
Plastic Engineering
Process plants and pipelines generate thousands of alarms from their automation systems every day — many of which are not serious. Control room operators must then quickly distinguish between routine process alarms and critical alarms that warn of operating problems or safety issues.More

Avoiding sinkholes in molded plastic parts
Canadian Manufacturing
We’ve seen a lot of news about sinkholes lately; natural erosion, mining, aquifer depletion or similar activities remove the substrate and leave an unsupported surface that eventually collapses. A similar thing can happen on a smaller scale to molded plastic parts resulting in sink, which at best is unsightly and at worst can affect function. In most cases of sink, the outside of the part cools and forms a skin while resin in the interior is still liquid; then, as the inside cools and shrinks, the surface is drawn inward. In the worst cases the surface can actually break, leaving a hole.More

Greenbuild offers a glimpse of emerging green building trends
By Don Rosato
The U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the USGBC put on quite a show for attendees in Philadelphia.More

Work aims to end petroleum-based plastics
Centre Daily Times
The days of plastic derived from oil may be coming to an end, thanks to work by an international team including Penn State researchers.More

Building 'Optimus Prime' with light-sensitive polymers
For well over a decade, scientists have known about a class of polymers that would react to and move toward light with no other power source.More

'Static' plastics sector to progress in 2014
Recycling International
The European thermoplastics market currently amounts to a 'static' 36.5 million tonnes — still roughly 4 million tons short of the peak of 2007, according to a new report by research firm Applied Market Information.More

Automotive survey shows push toward global markets
Plastics Today
With the strong recovery in the automotive industry for the Detroit Three, the U.S. OEMs are growing their footprints in global markets such as Brazil, Russia and China. According to IHS Consulting, 80 million light vehicles were sold globally in 2012; by 2020, that number will grow to 108 million, with about two-thirds of those to be in emerging markets, reported Dykema Automotive Institute in its 2013 report: The Drive Toward Globalization.More

Fracking boom is fueling a plastics boom
Chemical and plastics companies use natural gas as a raw material, and now they can get it cheaply in the U.S. As Living on Earth reports, "The fracking boom has led to renaissance for the chemical industry, particularly for plastics makers in Louisiana, where the plants are major employers."More

Non-auto applications lead demand surge for carbon fiber
Carbon fibers have gained an immense importance in a range of applications in industrial sectors. According to the report, the global market for carbon fibers and carbon fiber composites is mainly driven by the wind energy, aerospace and defense and sports and leisure sectors which are estimated to consume 11.3k MTs, 9.4k MTs and 8.3k MTs by the year 2013.More

Engineering students develop revolutionary prosthetics technologies using advanced plastics
Power Engineering
Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products is proud to introduce NONSPEC, a talented group of engineering students from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, who are developing breakthrough prosthetics technologies aimed at making arm and hand devices. These students just may revolutionize the prosthetics industry by utilizing medical grade plastics to take the place of heavier and more expensive metal components for the skeletal portion of the prosthesis.More

Wohlers reports growing use of 3-D printing for final part production
Plastics Today
Will 3-D printing technology prove to be a disruptive technology to injection molding? According to Wohlers Report 2013, produced and published by Wohlers Associates, final part production using 3-D printing rose to 28.3 percent of the $2.2 billion spent last year on 3-D printing products and services worldwide, continuing to follow a decade-long growth trend. That is compared to 2003, when end-use parts represented only 3.9 percent of revenues. More

UK manufacturing growth at its highest since 1995
Plastics and Rubber Weekly
The level of growth in U.K. manufacturing output in the three months to November was the highest since 1995, according to the Confederation of British Industry. Recovery in U.K. manufacturing was "accelerating," the business leaders' organization said, its survey of nearly 350 manufacturing companies finding total order books relative to what it called "normal levels" at their strongest since March 1995.More

Polystyrene prices on 3-month roller coaster
Plastics News
North American polystyrene resin prices have moved up a net of 4 cents per pound since Sept. 1. Prices surged 3 cents in both September and October before falling 2 cents in November. The moves were tied in to changes in price for benzene feedstock. Prices for that material were near $4.20 per gallon in August before climbing to around $4.40 in both September and October. They then slid to $4.10 in November.More

Stanford scientists publish theory, formula to improve 'plastic' semiconductors
Stanford Engineering
Anyone who's stuffed a smart phone in their back pocket would appreciate the convenience of electronic devices that could bend. Flexible electronics could spawn new products: clothing wired to cool or heat, reading tablets that could fold like newspaper, and so on. More

Bayer plastics chief sees positive price development
Germany's Bayer sees business environment for its plastics business improving thanks to more favorable raw material prices and a pickup in demand, the head of its MaterialScience division said.More