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3-D Printing Outpaces the FDA
By Alan Kelsky
The watchdog in the United States for medical devices is the esteemed government agency known as the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA, however, is flummoxed about how to handle 3-D printing of medical devices. It's not that the FDA has lost its smarts, it's just that the 3-D printing technology has spread so quickly, they are behind the curve. In late 2013, the FDA announced that it planned to publish approved guidance for this new technology by 2015. At this point, it seems unlikely that the agency will make its self-imposed deadline.
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Real-Time Measurement of Local Permeability During Resin Transfer Molding
SPE Plastics Research Online
Resin transfer molding (RTM) is a popular manufacturing technique for producing composite materials whereby thermosetting resin is injected into a mold to impregnate the fiber preform. In RTM processes, permeability of fiber reinforcements is a critical property that affects the filling behavior of resin. In general, this parameter is nonuniform across the preform owing to fiber deformation and mold misfit. Consequently, real-time measurement of local permeability during RTM is crucial for both product quality control and numerical process simulation.
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Modeling Multilayer Film Co-Extrusion
SPE Plastics Research Online
When two or more separately extruded polymer melt streams come together to form a single stratified structure with multiple layers, the resulting multilayer polymer film can combine the properties of different polymers into a single structure with improved features. During co-extrusion, the different melt layers must remain distinct but well bonded (or compatible) when in contact. For this, many factors must be considered, including the co-extrusion hardware and the flow properties of the polymer melts involved.
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    Date Event More Information
    February 22-25 2015 SPE International Polyolefins Conference Information
    February 23-25 SPE ACE Conference 2015 Information
    March 23-25 ANTEC Orlando at NPE2015 Information
    May 5 Auto EPCON 2015 Information
    May 14 Extrusion Minitech Information


    Advancing Plastic Thermoforming Technologies — Let's Shape Up
    By Don Rosato, Aldo Crugnola and Nick Schott
    The thermoforming process typically consists of heating thermoplastic sheet, film or profile to its softening point and then forcing the hot, flexible material against the contours of a mold in three ways: pneumatic means, mechanical means, or a combination of pneumatic and mechanical means. Recent advances in thermoforming have come in both software and machinery. For example, injection molders are not the only plastic processors that can benefit from process simulation software.
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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.

    The 1st Entirely Plant-Based Plastic Milk Carton is Now on Shelves
    In January, anyone in Finland who buys a lactose-free skimmed milk drink called Eila at the supermarket will be buying the world's first carton made entirely out of plant-based plastics — right down to the cap. Tetra Pak, the packaging giant that produced the carton, is very proud of it. The company calls it "the world's first fully renewable carton package," and the key word here is renewable: The raw materials — the source — of the plastic in the carton came from plant-based sources, rather than petroleum-based ones.
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    BPA Plastics Chemical Poses No Health Risk, says European Watchdog
    The chemical bisphenol A, used to stiffen some plastic food containers, poses no health risk to consumers of any age, including unborn children, at current levels of exposure, Europe's food safety watchdog recently said. Some studies have suggested possible links to everything from cancer to heart disease to infertility to kidney and liver problems, prompting European Food Safety Authority to re-evaluate the potential risks of BPA.
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    You Want a Raise?
    Plastics Engineering
    In the midst of this renaissance of American manufacturing, plastic companies will have engineers, quality experts, sales personnel, and tech-savvy workers at the top of their hiring list in 2015. And the number of jobs will exceed the number of people who can step in and perform immediately. So if you’re in one of those professions, that’s good news, right? It's a matter of supply and demand — and a great time for a pay raise!
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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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    Exchangeable Cables for Easy Maintenance

    For sensors with front diameters of 1mm and 2.5mm – damaged sensor cables can now be replaced quickly and easily. Kistler is your reliable partner for zero-defect production and 100 % quality, with four decades of proven technology and application experience.

    Ford's GT Supercar Goes for Carbon Fiber
    Plastics & Rubber Weekly Magazine
    At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker debuted its newest GT supercar, a vehicle that will come complete with a carbon fiber passenger cell and structural carbon fiber body panels. Ford also announced a new development project with Dow Chemical's DowAksa joint venture to develop lower cost, high-volume carbon fiber composites to meet the growing needs for lightweight materials in the auto industry for the future.
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    Top Talent Trends of 2015 Taking Shape
    Plastics News
    What will be the top talent trends in the plastics workplace in 2015? Plastics director with Direct Recruiters, Inc., sees a number of talent trends taking shape now and evolving over the next year. Companies are realizing that they need to incorporate a variety of talent acquisition and retention strategies to stay competitive.
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    Plastics Help Create Net-Zero Energy Home
    Plastics News
    The New American Home — a working lab of best construction practices since 1984 — has reached its greenest goal yet with plastic pushing the envelope to achieve net-zero energy. "We finally hit it. This home will produce more electricity than it needs to operate," Drew Smith, chief operating officer of Two Trails Inc., in Sarasota, Florida, said of the showcase home of the International Builders Show.
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    A Look at Plastic Film Recycling
    Plastics Engineering
    In 1996, the American Plastics Council (the predecessor to today's Plastics Division of the American Chemistry Council) commissioned a whitepaper on plastic film. In its paper, the environmental consulting firm Headley Pratt noted that, compared to alternatives, commonly used plastic film typically: Uses much less material to package products; takes less energy to produce; takes up less space in shipment, storage, and at retail; and reduces environmental impacts of transportation.
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    Hierarchically Porous Polymers with Fast Absorption
    A research team at KAIST has developed a method to form micropores of less than 2 nanometers within porous polymers where 10 nanometers long mesopores connect like a net. The advantage of the porous polymers is fast absorption of molecules. Porous polymers with micropores of less than 2 nanometers, like a zeolite, have a large surface area. They are used as a means to store hydrogen-based molecules or as a catalytic support that can be used as a surface to convert a material into a desired form.
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    BPF Talks Tough on Possible Levy Exemption for Biodegradable Bags
    Plastics & Rubber Weekly Magazine
    The British Plastics Federation is ramping up the pressure on the government over concerns that ministers might look to exempt biodegradable plastic bags from the single-use bag levy in England. Any exemption from the levy, which is due to be debated shortly by MPs and Peers and come into force in England in October, would be contrary to the recommendations of the government's own Environmental Audit Committee, the BPF said. It would also be opposed by "virtually all organizations within the U.K. plastics sector," according to Roger Baynham, chairman of the trade body’s recycling group.
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    100 Prototype Autonomous Cars Being Built for Google
    European Plastics News
    The fate of Google's self-driving car rests in the hands of Roush Industries and other Detroit, U.S. area suppliers. Roush, an engineering and specialty manufacturing company known for its custom Ford Mustang models, will assemble a test fleet of 100 Google prototypes in 2015. The company also has its own in-house plastics operations.
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    Chinese Doctors Build 3-D Printed Model to Repair a Shattered Shoulder
    Chinese doctors and technicians have used 3-D printing to treat an injury referred to as "floating shoulder," a condition so dangerous to a patient that it often results in death. An 18-year-old male patient badly injured his shoulder in a traffic accident. An anteroposterior X-ray was performed and the patient was diagnosed with acromial fracture, scapular fracture, and displaced clavicle by the emergency doctor. Based on the patient’s CT data, the fracture model was built with a digital orthopedic workstation called Mimics from Materialise.
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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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    Scientists Use Diaper Polymers to Swell Microscope Specimens
    Discover Magazine
    A team led by MIT's Edward Boyden has found a way to expand biological tissue to several times its original size – giving researchers a more detailed look than ever at microscopic structures within the body. And as silly as it sounds, the substance they've used for this upsizing is the same polymer that makes baby diapers swell up when they get wet.
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    Multimodal Polymer Fibers Implanted in the Brain Stimulate and Record Neural Behavior
    Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created complex multimodal polymer fibers that have the ability to deliver drugs and optical signals into the brain, directly. These fibers also enable continuous monitoring of the effect of numerous inputs thorough simultaneous electrical readouts. Further, these fibers can be produced with thickness less than that of a hair's width.
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    Sales Up, Worries Down for Confident US Manufacturers
    Manufacturing executives like what they are seeing on their balance sheets, are increasingly confident about the U.S. economy and plan to do more hiring and operational spending in the year ahead, a new survey from PwC US reports. In its Q4 2014 Manufacturing Barometer, PwC found that 68 percent of senior manufacturing executives were optimistic about the U.S. economy, up from 57 percent in the third quarter. Optimism about the global economy also improved, to 38 percent from 30 percent in the last quarter.
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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.
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    Nanotechnology Changes Behavior of Materials
    One of the reasons solar cells are not used more widely is cost — the materials used to make them most efficient are expensive. Engineers are exploring ways to print solar cells from inks, but the devices don't work as well. Elijah Thimsen, Ph.D., assistant professor of energy, environmental & chemical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis, and a team of engineers at the University of Minnesota have developed a technique to increase the performance and electrical conductivity of thin films that make up these materials using nanotechnology.
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    Unilever Leverages 3-D Printing to Slash Injection Molding Lead Times
    Stratasys Ltd. has and the Italian division Unilever have announced that they've cut lead times for prototype parts by 40 percent since introducing Stratasys' PolyJet 3-D printing technology into its manufacturing process. Utilizing 3-D printed injection molding tools, the company is now able to produce prototype parts in the final material for functional and consumer tests significantly faster than traditional tooling methods.
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    Milliken Enhances Clarity and Aesthetics
    Milliken’s Millad® NX 8000 clarifying agent provides glass-like clarity and bright appearance for Ultra Clear polypropylene MORE

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

        Medical Plastic Material and Process Innovations to Watch (By Don Rosato)
    Turns Out, Even BPA-Free Products Could Be Harmful (Yahoo Health)
    Hong Kong Researcher Speeds Up 'Cracking' of Waste Plastics (Plastics News)
    Biodegradable Porous Structures Derived from Multiphase Polymer Blends (SPE Plastics Research Online)
    Engineers Develop Plasma-Based Coating that Makes Plastics Less Permeable (Food Processing & Packaging)

    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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