PlasticsToday recently hit a pretty important milestone. Our Twitter account has more than 5000 followers and we're recording a steady increase in mentions and retweets.
Since 2009, traffic to news sites from social media platforms has increased by more than 50%, according to some reports. This shows a trend of more people using social media resources to find out what's happening in their areas of interest.
I personally use Twitter to follow various news, sports and entertainment publications. Many times, I find out my news via tweets and then click on the news link to read the article.
So if you haven't already (shameless plug alert), give us a follow: @PlasticsToday.
Anyway, moving on. Let's talk about what the PlasticsToday editors covered this week.
All of our editors were on top of the news about a significant acquisition - Husky has agreed to purchase the high-end medical mold manufacturer Schöttli. European Editor Karen wrote up the news so be sure to check out her story.
It's safe to say that Laird had quite a busy week. She went to Antwerp and spent about three hours at a Media Roundtable conference at Bayer MaterialScience. There, the company discussed the case for its investment in carbon dioxide-based polyurethane.
"Replacing a non-renewable oil derivative with CO2 means that "CO2 is 30% of the polyol component in polyurethane, which is two-thirds of the total material. So that's a substantial replacement," said Patrick Thomas, chairman of the board of management at Bayer MaterialScience. "By far, most goes into mattresses, which is a huge market. We're working closely with Ikea in this area. Ikea's a company that thoroughly scrutinizes its supply chain and is actively working to reduce its carbon footprint. Developments like these that can help."
Senior Editor Clare Goldsberry took a look at two different automotive surveys. Both showed that OEMs and their suppliers (Tier 1 and Tier 2) continue to see strong sales. Projections for the future, while always subject to swift change, give both groups hope that 2014 will keep pace with 2013. Still, Clare said there is some hesitancy putting a damper on the hopefulness.
"The reason that the big multinationals are feeling a bit more pessimistic is most likely due to the fact that they have a very big dog to feed, and when you're depending on the automotive industry to provide the food there's always a level of uncertainty in that scenario," she wrote.
Speaking of social media, one example of an article generating quite a bit of buzz on our Twitter account is from Medical Channel Editor Doug Smock. Doug examined how the trajectory of global chemical companies continues to shift, affecting the landscape of plastics supply along the way.
"Many big moves in plastics have already taken place: Dow's divestitures of styrenics, DSM's decisions to sell many major product lines several years ago, and GE's sale of its legacy plastics business to SABIC, for example," he wrote. "Late last week, DuPont said it "advanced its transformation to a higher growth, higher value company as its Board of Directors authorized management to execute a full separation of its Performance Chemicals segment, which includes the Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts businesses."
"I feel the need ... the need for speed." That quote from the poetic Tom Cruise in "Top Gun," loosely applies to our Automotive Channel Editor Stephen Moore's hunt for fast machines.
He believes he found the K Show's fastest robot.
"A souped-up version of Yushin Precision Equipment's HSA series servo traverse take-out robot with a cycle as fast as 0.23 seconds. The HGSA-150 robot was demonstrated removing approximately 1-g parts from a 16-cavity tool," he wrote. "When the robot debuted at K 2010, it was cycling at 0.32 seconds. Further refinements to the control software, however, have enabled to the robot to work even faster. A velocity control algorithm minimizes vibration under fast cycling, allowing precise take-out."
"Yushin realized that this top-of-the-range robot was not for all processors, hence its decision to debut a lower-cost version that is "still really fast," says Takeshi Iimura.
On the packaging front, I found a new report from PCI Films Consulting Ltd. that claimed the U.S. stand-up pouch market has seen dramatic growth over the past five years, increasing by 50% in unit volume terms to approaching 17 billion units in 2013.
Stand-up pouches are clearly here to stay. At K 2013, Dow showcased its 100% PE stand up pouch, which Diego Donoso, president of Dow's polyethylene and packaging, said is a prime example of the company working with convertors and brand owners to solve problems together.
"Our stand up pouches looks to solve the problem of recycling those type of packages by eliminating extra layers," he said. "After all, maybe simplicity is what we need."
Top 10 most-clicked PlasticsToday articles 10/28-11/01