Week of 1/20 to 1/24: A peek inside a plastics facility and top 10 articles

Let me start off this blog article with a wonderful lead written by Clare Goldsberry:

"It is said that we can't know where we're going in our future until we understand where we've been in our past. History creates our present and our future, and that's certainly been true for John Currier, president of Currier Plastics Inc., a custom processor with injection and extrusion and stretch blowmolding capabilities."

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a journalist is when we're treated to a "behind-the-scenes" view. The Plant Tour series that ran in Injection Molding Magazine was one of the most popular features and for good reason: they went beyond the press release to find out what really happened at molders' facilities.

In honoring that tradition from IMM, Clare gave us a peak inside Currier Plastics. The company provides a great example of a plastics business that stayed true to its roots. Be sure to check out Clare's article.

Zero plastics to landfill by 2020. Sound impossible? Well, not in the viewpoint of PlasticsEurope. European Editor Karen Laird wrote about the association's ambitious pledge to achieve zero plastics to landfill by 2020.

"Actually, says PlasticsEurope, there is not much of a choice. The reality is, that Europe must become more resource-efficient. That means finding a better use for waste rather than simply dumping it in landfills," she wrote.

Senior Editor Norbert Sparrow writes some great headlines (along with his articles, of course). The most recent one was titled: Why 3D brain surgery is like watching Avatar. Who wouldn't want to click on that?

"You don't often hear a surgeon compare brain surgery to watching Avatar, but for surgeon Shahzada Ahmed, it's an apt comparison," Norbert wrote. "He and his team were the first medical personnel in the UK to don 3D glasses before removing a brain tumor. It was a bit like "going to the movies," Ahmed told BBC News after performing the procedure at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. "Avatar is a great movie in 2D, but it is even better in 3D," he said. Ahmed gave two thumbs up to the device used to produce the 3D images, noting, in particular, that the scope provided a "better appreciation of depth" and "better understanding of where [the instruments] are in relation to key parts of the anatomy."

Medical Editor Doug Smock took a closer look at how Google is joining forces with scientists at the University of Washington in an effort to commercialize a sensor placed in a soft contact lens that can detect glucose levels in diabetics.

"A U.S. patent was awarded a month ago for a contact lens having an integrated glucose sensor to the University of Washington through its Center for Commercialization (Seattle, WA)," Doug wrote. "Last week, one of the inventors, Brian Otis, joined a Google researcher in disclosing their joint development of the invention through Google X, a stealth R&D group that made big headlines with its project to develop glasses that can search the Internet."

I have to say, as an avid coffee drinker, every time I get coffee from somewhere other than Starbucks (because I've never had an issue with their lid) I have a fear of spilling coffee on myself. I would prefer not to become the victim of a hot coffee scald and I know many fellow coffee drinkers feel the same way.

But an Australian company hopes to reduce and/or eliminate that fear. Smart Lid Systems talked with me about their coffee lid, which is made of the standard food-grade plastic type, HIPS and they add a thermochromic masterbatch during the production process.

The key differentiator is when the Smart Lid is introduced to a hot beverage with a temperature above 48 Celsius (118 Fahrenheit), the heat changes the electron state and certain colors become visible, in the case of a hot temperature, it turns red.  

And Automotive Editor Stephen Moore wrote about an insert-molded side airbag cover mounted in the front seat of the 2013 Ford Fusion, which is apparently this is an industry first.

"Conventional Class-A side airbag modules are typically installed using a "cover and can" design," Stephen wrote. "The metal "can" and plastic "cover" housed the internal components of the side airbag: the can is located on the inner side of the seat attaching to the seat structure; the cover forms the exposed Class-A side. This "can and cover" design is reportedly more susceptible to craftsmanship fit concerns. The new design virtually eliminates this type of concern."

Top 10 most-clicked PlasticsToday articles 01/20-01/24

1.     New safety standards released for plastics machinery

2.     Young entrepreneur builds new website for molding professionals

3.     Plastics play key roles in Google X glucose eye sensor

4.     Thinfilm and Bemis extend partnership for intelligent packaging

5.     Government regulations stifle manufacturing, MAPI reports

6.     This is your cell in plastic

7.     Insert-molded side airbag cover is industry first

8.     Oyster shells provide reinforcement in non-halogenated flame-retardant compound

9.     California implements new flammability standards; Chemtura Corp. sues the state

10.   Is this the world's largest bubble wrap machine?

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