If you had to pick one trend that's driving the automotive/mobility market right now it would be lightweighting, and if there's one technology within lightweighting that seems poised for a big move, it's composites.
Check out these consecutive headlines this week from Stephen Moore, editor of our Automotive/Mobility Channel:
- Advanced composites manufacturing arrives in Australia's eastern seaboard
- Lightweight thermoplastic composite expansion gets green light in Korea
- Composites lighten the load in monorail trains
- Partnership targets cost, lightweight composite vehicle structures
Planes, trains, and automobiles from Australia and Korea to the U.K and Malaysia, with some stops in between. If high fuel prices have had one positive outcome, it would have to be the renewed emphasis on composites.
You'd be hard pressed to find two better voices to speak to offshoring and the true costs of molds then Harry Moser and Stephen Dehoff. Clare Goldsberry captured the viewpoints of both men from their presentations at the recent Amerimold event in Novi, MI. Long story short, the cost advantage gap between U.S. and offshore moldmakers is narrowing, and they have the data to prove it.
Attention injection molders: Think you can mold components for medical imaging equipment? If yes, you should give Finnish firm Planmed Oy (Helsinki) a ring. Medical Channel Editor Doug Smock spotlighted the company's award-winning mobile CT scanner, noting that Planmed is hoping to swap out thermoformed ABS components that were welded together, along with other parts, to injection molding once demand ramps up.
How's this for service. Doug also spoke with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, which is hoping to supply medical tubing manufacturers with custom silicone compounds and a proprietary extrusion process it has created to run them. Reported benefits: Reduced variation for consistent tubing lot to lot.
Recycling in the U.S. is a completely incoherent hodge-podge of policies and systems that not only vary wildly from state to state and city to city, but even from subdivision to subdivision. It cries out for some sort of unifying force or standard, and with the federal government not in a position to act as an arbiter of an overriding recycling dictum, non-governmental groups are hoping to fill the gap.
One such organization is called Recycling Reinvented and was highlighted this week by Packaging Channel Editor Heather Caliendo. Boasting the president and CEO of Nestle Waters North America and long-time environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on its board, this could be an outfit to watch.
Heather also spoke with consumer goods giant SC Johnson about its pending study that aims to understand behavioral changes among its customers around recycling, or as they put it: "no one has cracked the code on how to make sustainable choices the norm." Some potential influencing factors the company will look at: rewards, celebrity endorsements, and peer pressure. How's that for a quick and dirty summary of human nature?
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