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Week of 1/27 to 1/31: Diabetes and medical plastics and top 10 articles

This week, Medical Editor Doug Smock took a closer look at how diabetes is now a focus for medical device development. It's a story that not only generated a high amount of clicks, but a nice amount of interest in our social media outlets as well. For good reason, it's estimated that diabetes now affects "one of 19 people and is spawning significant research into new methods of treatment," Doug wrote.

Heather Caliendo

January 31, 2014

4 Min Read
Week of 1/27 to 1/31: Diabetes and medical plastics and top 10 articles

"In the past year, about 500 U.S. patents have been issued that list the word diabetes in the abstract. Many are devices that entail use of medical plastics, some in novel ways as shown in the Google contact lens that detects sugar levels through tears. Specific plastics mentioned in the device's patent include polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET)."

Even though while I'm writing this all of Denver's attention is on the Super Bowl (go Broncos!), I can't ignore the amount of commercials advertising the next big sporting event - the upcoming Winter Olympics, Sochi 2014. As you know plastics has quite the involvement in the Olympic games. Senior Editor Norbert Sparrow took a closer look at how 3D printing is making its mark at the Sochi Paralympics.

Norbert wrote about how German athlete Martin Fleig with spina bifida will bring a custom-designed sit ski developed specifically for his anatomy by the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM (Freiburg, Germany) and industrial and research partners working within the Snowstorm project.

"Sit skis typically have a seat mounted on at least one of the skis. Snowstorm was established to design, develop, and manufacture custom sit skis for disabled athletes in a cost-efficient manner," Norbert wrote. "Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, plays a central role. Fleig volunteered to have the group design equipment suited to his specific needs."

Anytime Berry Plastics makes a move, the packaging industry watches with interest. I recently talked with a spokesperson for Berry Plastics about the company's acquisition of Qingdao P&B Co., Ltd. (P&B), a Chinese-based rigid plastic packaging provider. While I always viewed Berry as very North American-focused, it was interesting to learn about the company's stragetic goal to expand globally.

The spokesperson said that the company's international expansion initiatives will allow the company to serve its customers' needs on a global basis and establish relationships with new customers that may be specific to that geographic region.

"Going forward, Berry Plastics will continue to evaluate potential acquisitions in geographic regions where there has been historical economic growth and where there are predictions for continued economic growth, so that the company can best meet the global needs of its customers."

The reactions of the State of the Union address are typically a mixed bag. But apparently, Manufacturing Association leaders were generally unimpressed with President Obama's State of the Union address given on Tuesday, Jan. 28, according to an article written by Senior Editor Clare Goldsberry.

"Scott Paul, the outspoken president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM), based in Washington, D.C., released a statement following the address: "This is the third consecutive State of the Union in which there has been a strong rhetorical focus on manufacturing, and that's welcome. But the progress, despite the rosy picture painted by the President has been painfully flow. And in some cases such as the trade deficit with China, we've seen backsliding," Clare wrote.

"The President in many ways absolved past public policies as a reason why there is more economic insecurity and a decline in good, middle-class jobs. He shouldn't have," he said.

Is bioplastics becoming mainstream? That's according to a new study that European Editor Karen Laird covered.

"According to Lucintel, a leading global management consulting and market research firm, the global bioplastics industry will realize good growth over the next five years, reaching an estimated $7.02 billion by 2018. Growth-wise, the starch-based bioplastics market is expected to be the leader in all segments. Europe and North America are expected to remain hot destinations for research and development; they will also continue to be important as sales markets," Karen wrote. 

And Automotive Editor Stephen Moore wrote about the first single-piece energy absorber to meet both Part 581 bumper damageability and GTR lower leg impact requirements for pedestrian safety has been developed by Ford Motor Co.

"The energy absorber is comprised of 21 crushable lobes, each about 3 inches deep, that fill the space between the bumper beam and bumper fascia, spanning the width of bumper beam (about 50 inches). The part weighs about 2.5 lbs. It is molded on a 2000-tonne injection press with a cycle time of 72 seconds."

Top 10 most-clicked PlasticsToday articles 01/27-01/31

1.              Reshoring: Let's stick to the facts please

2.              Friday Funnies: Plastic is good food

3.              Ultrasonic micro molding now a reality

4.              Diverse processor Currier Plastics grows from its history, creates sustainable future

5.              Diabetes is growing focus of medical device development

6.              Aerospace thermoplastic composites program flying high

7.              Heat sensitive coffee lids provide red warning

8.              Berry Plastics talks growth outside of the U.S.

9.              Manufacturing association leaders unimpressed by President Obama's State of the Union address

10.          Compact dryers developed for miniature-part molding operations

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