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Teachable moments on 3D printing, bioresorbable polymers, and more await at PLASTEC West

Industry experts, researchers, and scientists will lead an array of two-hour sessions dedicated to R&D, design, manufacturing, automation, packaging, and medical device issues in the new LearningLabs at the co-located PLASTEC West and MD&M West events next month.

Industry experts, researchers, and scientists will lead an array of two-hour sessions dedicated to R&D, design, manufacturing, automation, packaging, and medical device issues in the new LearningLabs at the co-located PLASTEC West and MD&M West events next month. The sessions will cover breakthrough technologies such as 3D printing and bioresorbable polymers in an interactive setting that fosters peer-to-peer engagement and idea sharing. Dozens of LearningLab sessions are scheduled during the three-day event, which runs from Feb. 11 to 13 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA. Some of the highlights are listed below. For more information, go to the LearningLabs page on the PLASTEC West website, or download a free comprehensive brochure by clicking here (registration required).

Two sessions will explore the many facets of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. 3D Printing Strategies (Feb. 11, 9 to 11 AM) will showcase recent developments that are reshaping everything from injection molding to medical device design. Speakers from 3D printing powerhouse Stratasys will discuss new developments in multimaterial printing, how to evaluate the cost effectiveness of 3D printing in various business environments, and how the technology is transforming the medical manufacturing landscape.

Advanced Applications of 3D Printing (Feb. 12, 11 AM to 1 PM) brings together speakers from Siemens PLM Software, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, and Autodesk to discuss new materials and their potential to alter conventional design and manufacturing practices, the role of additive manufacturing in the transition to nanomanufacturing, and how to make the most of current CAD technology in this brave new world.

At the Injection Molding: Waste and Cost Reduction session (Feb. 11, 3 to 5 PM), Michael Noggle, President, Engineered Solutions, will explore how energy-efficient machines and processes can boost a company's bottom line in a competitive environment and suggest ways to improve overall operational performance. Paul Boettger, Owner, Technoject Machinery, will explore new methods for achieving energy savings when using hot runner systems. Topics addressed by Boettger will include insulation technologies and how the use of small nozzles can reduce mold size and operating costs.


The SWOT model has been a useful tool for quality control, but it has been made redundant by the SWEATT model, says Russ Robertson, Vice President, Quality and Regulatory Affairs, GE Healthcare. He will elucidate during a LearningLabs session titled, Tools to Enhance Quality Control Systems (Feb. 11, 3 to 5 PM). His presentation will explain why it is vital to adopt fundamental new ways of thinking about quality control, from redefining the term to transforming a company's quality culture. In the process, he will reveal the words behind the SWEATT acronym.

Biomimicry—finding inspiration in the natural world to drive innovation—is leading to technological breakthroughs in a range of industries, from chemicals and construction to healthcare. Karen Frasier-Scott, Biomimicry Professor, University of Houston, will lead An Unconventional Approach to Design: Challenging Your Creativity with Biomimcry (Feb. 12, 3 to 5 PM), featuring an introduction to the concept followed by an interactive exercise designed to allow attendees to explore how this approach could be applied to their professional lives.

At the New Capabilities of Bioresorbable Polymers session (Feb. 12, 9 to 11 AM), scientists SuPing Lyu from Medtronic and Kurt Breitenkamp of Exponent Inc. will discuss various aspects of this game-changing technology. Lyu will explore ways to increase the strength of bioresorbable polymers by means of processing technologies, notably by toughening and reinforcing polylactic acid. Breitenkamp turns his attention to tailoring polymer properties and their degradation characteristics to achieve desired device functionality. Recent advances in biomaterials and testing protocols will be reviewed.


There is much more, and all of the LearningLabs sessions are outlined in a brochure that can be downloaded free of charge (registration required).

Norbert Sparrow

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