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Economic and social forces drive wind energy trends
By Don Rosato
Oil and natural gas prices are key wind energy drivers. Among the various sources of alternative energy, wind has a higher rate of return and is attracting new "players" into the energy sector. Wind energy designs increasingly depend on plastic materials. Plastic parts and components are extensively used in all major sectors of wind energy generation. The wind turbine industry has become one of the world's largest markets for plastic composites.
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Industry Pulse: What is the most important driver in wind energy development?

Last week's survey: What are key emerging application developments in automotive lightweighting?


Susceptibility of plastified starch to biodegradation
SPE Plastics Research Online
The production of thermoplastic starches has expanded considerably in recent years because these materials can be used as biodegradable substitutes for disposable plastics. Such bioplastics are compostable and can, therefore, considerably reduce the landfill burden of the plastics industry. In their manufacture, starch is extruded with highly viscous plasticizers — such as glycerol — to produce amorphous, transparent and remeltable plastic masses.
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Date Event More Information
April 30 SPE AutoEPCON Register
May 13-15 Plastics in Medical Devices 2013 Register
June 4-5 Workforce Solutions West 2013 Register
July 4-5 SPE Eurotec 2013
Sept. 9-12 SPE Thermoforming 2013 Conference Information
Sept. 11-13 SPE ACCE Register
Sept. 17-18 Plastics Caps & Closures 2013 Register
Oct. 6-9 SPE Auto TPO Register
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Nov. 6 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards Gala Information
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Infographic: Why manufacturing will be hot again
3-D printing and low-cost computer-aided design will spark a revolution in manufacturing as entrepreneurs become able not just to manufacture products in the U.S. but in their homes and workshops.

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India prepares to introduce plastic banknotes
Deutsche Welle
India has decided to trial the use of plastic notes across five of the country's cities. It is part of a move, experts say, aimed at reducing costs, increasing the life of notes and combating counterfeit currency.

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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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High-tech medical plastics will help Boston Marathon victims
Plastics Today
As swarms of police staged a door-to-door manhunt in Watertown, Mass., doctors at nearby hospitals in Boston continued working on at least 40 victims of the Patriots Day Boston Marathon bombing still in serious or critical condition. Surgeons say they are using plastics technology developed to save and improve lives of soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan in the past 10 years.
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Can manufacturing be reborn in the USA?
In These Times
In the short period since American multinationals departed en masse for China, the headwinds facing global manufacturers have changed significantly. China's once-rock-bottom labor costs have risen as factory wages in coastal areas climb and the national currency slowly appreciates in value. Conversely, the U.S. offers several overlooked advantages. One is an edge in automation, robotics and other productivity tools that reduce direct labor expenses, undercutting the overseas advantage of cheap labor.
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Report: Biodegradable plastics demand growing 15 percent annually
Plastics News
Consumer pressure and legislation such as plastic bag bans and global warming initiatives will increase demand for biodegradable plastics, according to a new report. Food packaging and food-service products will drive demand for biodegradable polymers, with demand rising to double-digit levels in North America and Europe, according to Houston-based HIS Chemical. Foam packaging and compostable bags will be the top products, in terms of volume.
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Large Selection of Sprue Grippers

EMI offers a large in stock selection of sprue grippers for end effectors and end-of-arm tooling with models from Senvex, >ASS<, Harmo, Gimatic and more.
Engineered Thermoplastic Composites

Complēt® is a "complete" product portfolio of thermoplastic composite materials, where the customers' requirements define the pellet composition. For thermoplastic polymers and continuous reinforcing fibers, Complēt offers the total LFT portfolio.

PE film grades prices rise in North America
Plastics News
VideoBrief A price increase on film grades of North American polyethylene resin is featured in this "Material Insights" video. Prices on those grades rose an average of 4 cents in March, after prices on non-film grades had seen a similar increase in February. Prices now are up an average of 9 cents per pound in 2013. Regional PE makers are pushing an additional 4-cent hike for April.
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Is Samsung using a flexible plastic screen on the Galaxy Note 3?
Android Authority
Samsung is getting closer to commercializing the first devices featuring a plastic-based flexible display. According to a report from the OLED Association, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 will be on show at the IFA 2013 Berlin show in September, and its plastic screen could be one of the phone's most talked features.
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  • Study: China manufacturing costs rising to US level
    VideoBriefWalk onto the shop floor at Prince Industries in Shanghai, China and it looks like most other manufacturing plants in this country. It's busy running two shifts, cranking out components that will be shipped to major manufacturers like Caterpillar, Siemens and Honeywell. But change is in the air. The cost of manufacturing in China is going up and rising quickly.
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    Judge removes BPA from California's harmful chemicals list
    Plastics News
    The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment had quietly announced its decision to include the controversial polycarbonate component on the so-called Proposition 65 list on April 11. But ACC asked the courts to freeze the listing until after a decision in its pending lawsuit, filed against OEHHA in Sacramento County Superior Court on March 15.
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    Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword BPA.

    These composites are reinforced with chicken feathers
    Eastern BioPlastics manufactures and distributes composites reinforced with fibers extracted from the feathers of chickens and other poultry. In an effort to create an affordable, functional and sustainable bioplastic alternative, Eastern BioPlastics has engineered a custom, patented process to utilize feathers as a plastic additive.
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    What's the right path for manufacturing? Technology and talent
    Any effective manufacturing strategy has to include a robust "tech and talent" initiative, which would include a fully funded NNMI, a new system of "manufacturing universities" that promote training and applied research, stronger tax incentives for companies to invest in R&D, workforce training and new machinery and equipment.
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    A mold change in less than 10 minutes...

    With EASchangesystems magnetic clamping system this is done every day on hundreds of injection moulding machines around the world. The big advantage of quick magnetic clamping systems is that there is no need anymore for standardization of the mold back plate. Round, square, any shape of molds are quickly and safe clamped on the machine. Electric power is only required when magnetizing and demagnetizing the system and this mean no mold drop if there is a power failure.
    New Ultratough XTL Syntactic Foam

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    An advance in the viability of bioplastics?
    Packaging Europe
    The U.K.'s Technology Strategy Board recently awarded a grant to a consortium led by Biome Technologies to investigate a bio-based alternative for the oil-derived organic chemicals used in the manufacturer of bio-based plastics. Tim Sykes interviews Biome's CEO Paul Mines to get the inside story.
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    Manufacturing companies still suffering from Europe's business slowdown
    The never-ending debt crisis in Europe continues to be a drag on earnings for manufacturing companies, from General Electric to Honeywell. Some of them have divisions that helped offset the European slowdown, and sales in emerging markets also helped. But the poor revenue in the industrial sector is not good news for them, or for Europe.
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    A Connecticut company is providing plastics for the Modern world
    Shelton Herald
    A Shelton, Conn., company supplies plastic products for everything from Disney World displays to human medical implants, and oil rigs to aircraft parts. Bing Carbone, Modern Plastics president and a Huntington resident, said the company sells engineering-grade plastic in sheet, rod, tube and film form and also produces many custom-made plastic items. The medical-grade plastics division was started a decade ago and sells materials for medical devices, instrumentation and human implants.
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    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Improving the performance of maleic anhydride grafted polypropylene composites (SPE Plastics Research Online)
    Is there a manufacturing renaissance or not? (IndustryWeek)
    Mechanisms in post-condensation polymerization in the solid state (MultiBriefs)
    Cheap, abundant waste sulfur made into new polymer for plastics, batteries (Daily Tech)
    New Balance testing 3-D printing to create custom-fit footwear (The Boston Globe)

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

    Now SkyMall is selling a 3-D printer
    Everyone's favorite way to pass the 15 minutes between when you're told to turn off your electronic devices and when you're allowed to turn them back on, the venerable seat-back catalog is now selling the $1,300 Cube 3-D Printer, which is capable of printing out plastic objects up to 5.5 inches in size. According to SkyMall, you can choose from 16 different plastic colors and "an average smartphone case takes about two hours to print."
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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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