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As 2013 comes to a close, SPE would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of the SPE Industry Update a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Jan. 8.

Meet the Liberator: Test-firing the world's 1st fully 3-D printed gun
From May 8: "Alright. One ... two ..." Before "three" arrives, a shot reverberates across the overcast central Texas landscape. A tall, sandy blond engineer named John has just pulled a twenty-foot length of yellow string tied to a trigger, which has successfully fired the world's first entirely 3-D printed gun for the very first time, rocketing a .380 caliber bullet into a berm of dirt and prairie brush.
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Applications and advantages of β-crystalline polypropylene
SPE Plastics Research Online
From July 31: Polypropylene is a semi-crystalline polymer widely used in many applications thanks to its low cost and excellent balance of properties. The characteristics of PP depend greatly on the level of crystallinity achieved when the polymer crystallizes from the melt and on the structure and morphology of those crystals.
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    Date Event More Information
    Jan. 21-22 ANTEC® Dubai 2014 Register
    Feb. 23-26 2014 SPE International Polyolefins Conference Register
    Feb. 23-26 Plastics News Executive Forum 2014 Information
    Feb. 24-26 SPE Thermoset Conference 2014 Register
    March 12-14 GPEC ® 2014 Register
    March 25-26 Successful Plastic Part Design — The Fundamentals Revealed! Register
    April 1-2 Plastics Financial Summit 2014 Information
    April 3-4 9th European Thermoforming Conference Information
    April 28-30 ANTEC® 2014 Register
    May 6 AutoEPCON 2014 Information
    May 6-8 Plastics in Medical Devices 2014 Information
    May 31 Plastics & Polymers Innovation Awards Information
    June 1-4 Rotational Molding Conference 2014 Information


    Why 3-D printing is overhyped — I should know, I do it for a living
    From May 22: Everyone's now aware of 3-D printing — they've read about it in the papers, on blogs or seen it on TV. The mentality now seems to be that, in the future, we'll be able to download our products or make them ourselves with CAD programs, apps and 3-D scanners, then just print them out, either at home, or in localized print shops. Which, in turn, will supposedly decentralize manufacturing and bring it back to the West. But 3-D printing is severely overhyped — and Nick Allen, the founder of 3-D printing company 3-D Print UK, should know because it's what he does for a living.
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      New Metric Machining Guidelines for Syntactic Foam
    CMT Materials offers a wide selection of solid carbide tools optimized for the machining of HYTAC®­ syntactic foam plug assist materials. New metric guidelines are provided for machining feeds and speeds to provide excellent results and often eliminate the need for any plug polishing. Call 508-226-3901 or visit

    How the US oil, gas boom could shake up global order
    NBC News
    From April 3: Without fanfare, China passed the United States in December to become the world's leading importer of oil — the first time in nearly 40 years that the U.S. didn’t own that dubious distinction. A dramatic shift is occurring in how energy is being produced and consumed around the world — one that could lead to far-reaching changes in the geopolitical order. But many experts say the U.S. would be the big winner, in position to reshape its foreign policy and boost its global influence.
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    Medical device plastic material innovations to watch
    By Don Rosato
    The medical device universe encompasses a particularly imposing spectrum of constant technological innovation, including hundreds of different technologies and thousands of types of products.

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    European plastics 'set to change'
    Recycling International
    The odds for plastics recycling in Europe are slowly but surely improving, with an average of 26 percent of plastic waste recycled across the continent. "Also, we know there is already a plan to implement a landfill ban in Poland.

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    Macro Plastics unveils hybrid plastic-wood bin
    The Grower
    Macro Plastics used the Northwest Horticultural Expo to introduce the Hybrid 44 bin that combines the best attributes of wood and plastic. "This is the biggest change in bins in 20 years," said Bruce Hale, international sales manager.

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    Oxo-biodegradable plastic debate back on the agenda
    From June 26: Plastics companies have been warned that they must adopt oxo-biodegradable technology quickly if they want to retain their export markets.
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    How are your vendors doing? Tell us in the SPE Plastics Industry Resource.

    Screen Changers & Melt Pumps: 10% discount
    PSI-Polymer Systems is a leading U.S. supplier of technology-driven Screen Changers, Extrusion Gear Pumps and Static Mixers for the Polymer Extrusion, Recycling and Food Industries. 10% discount for mentioning this ad – valid through December 2013.
    EMI - New Extruded Frame Conveyors
    The new EA model is EMI's 3rd generation of aluminum conveyors – the culmination of our 20 years’ experience engineering and building extruded aluminum conveyors. MORE

    Apple's future is in plastics?
    From Jan. 23: Reports have surfaced that Apple may source a plastic casing from a U.S. electronic manufacturing service provider rather than one comprised of aluminum and glass. Apple has used a plastic polycarbonate housing in its iPhones before — the 3G and 3GS models — so such a design would not be unheard of. If Apple were to offer an iPhone model that returns to a plastic housing, that could boost demand for plastic suppliers.
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    NASA's 3-D printed rocket engine did not blow up
    New technologies take a while to reach maturity. 3-D printing has only been of real interest for a few years now, but the rate of advancement is scary-fast. True, the printers you can buy today are mostly good for printing plastic desk flair, but the future of this technology is hot — about 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit "hot." NASA recently started experimenting with a type of 3-D printing to produce a rocket engine injector, and it has worked in an early test.
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    Ultrasonic Welding Machine

    The ultrasonic welding machine Easy 3000 Series is suitable for welding operations of thermoplastic parts from medium to large size.
    Virtual Process and Mold Development

    SIGMASOFT® allows molders to develop processes and molds in the computer versus running expensive and time consuming trial and error runs in the real world.
    Market insight for the polymers industry

    ICIS provides extensive coverage and analysis of the polymers markets to give you the insight you need to strategically position your business and boost profitability.

  • Market price reports (including PP, PE, PET, PVC)
  • Price forecast reports
  • World Plastics Annual Study
  • Supply and Demand Data Service

  • Batteries get flexible: Polymers could power bendable displays
    Chemical & Engineering News
    From May 15: Imagine how versatile a rechargeable battery would be if it were lightweight and thin and could be flexed, stretched and rolled up. Or if it were long-lasting, powerful and free from the safety concerns that have plagued segments of the battery industry lately. Organic polymers endowed with unusual combinations of properties may hold the key to these kinds of advanced batteries.
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    Hanser Publications

    Premier Plastics Technology Books

    Visit us online at
    STEER: Simply The Best Value Period

    Think there's nothing new in twin screw extruder technology?

    Think Again.

    •Widest choice of metallurgy
    •Innovative Continua® spline shaft technology
    •Patented Fractional lobe kneading and mixing elements.

    The plastic 'P' that foils pesky pirates
    Plastics and Rubber Weekly
    From Sept. 18: A security business appears to have come up with a simple but effective solution to the dangerous problem of pirates boarding cargo vessels. The brainchild of husband and wife David and Teresa Stevens, the Guardian is a large curved plastic barrier that comes in sections and is placed over a ship's safety rails.
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    Omya North America

    Omya is a global producer of calcium carbonate mineral additives for the plastics industry, as well as a distributor of specialty chemicals and additives such as pigments, flame retardants, process aids, plasticizers, slip agents, glass fiber and catalysts. Omya is able to offer complete raw material solutions as well as technical service to the thermoplastics, thermosets and rubber industries. Contact us at

    Economic analysis shows 3-D printing is ready for showtime
    From July 31: It may seem like a stretch to envision a 3-D printer in every home. However, a Michigan Technological University researcher is predicting that personal manufacturing, like personal computing before it, is about to enter the mainstream in a big way.
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    Teen from Turkey turns bananas into plastic
    AFP via
    From July 3: There's nothing slippery about Elif Bilgin's idea of using banana peels as a substitute for old-school petroleum-based plastics. The 16-year-old student from Istanbul spent two years perfecting a way to make a bioplastic out of discarded banana peels that could, in turn, be used for the electrical insulation of cables.
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    Precision Solutions through Optimized Tubing

    A global leader in precision polymer extrusions and material science, Zeus excels at optimized tubing solutions including flaring, flanging, draw downs, drilling, etching and more.
    Genarex - The Future of Biopolymers
    Bylox – A plant-based biopolymer that enables cost reduction and improved performance.

  • Creates an inexpensive resin replacement
  • Very flexible with various resins
  • Produces good consistent master batch; consistent quality in molding and extrusion
  • Can offset plasticizers in adhesive formulations
  • MORE

    SPE Industry Update
    Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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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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