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The week that was, highlights and the top 10 articles for 4/28-5/4

Whether you call it insourcing or reshoring, the flow of manufacturing work, and its associated jobs and business, no longer seems unidirectional running from west to east.

Whether you call it insourcing or reshoring, the flow of manufacturing work, and its associated jobs and business, no longer seems unidirectional running from west to east. PlasticsToday's Glenn Beall and Clare Goldsberry weighed in on the matter in two articles that are definitely worth your time, with Glenn highlighting the somewhat Quixotic quest of Harry Moser, which has brought him all the way to the White House, while Clare highlighted a series of studies and surveys on the topic, as well as some real-live examples of big companies keeping work in the western hemisphere.

Could the race to create a biobased PET be getting another entrant? Heather Caliendo highlighted the research of a team of chemical engineers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Delaware who successfully created paraxylene from biomass. Creating a chemical in a lab doesn't always immediately translate into commercial feasibility but in this case, the 75% yield and the fact that this process is entirely thermochemical and does not require fermentation, makes it one to watch. Elsewhere, Heather spoke with BASF about its acquisition of a Brazilian polyamide plant. The company has been active in the South American country for 100 years, but this marks its first plastics production plant in the country. On a lighter note, Amare Stoudemire made himself an unlikely poster child for the safety benefits of plastics over glass.

Polycarbonate has its issues these days, but not in China. Stephen Moore offered a report from Chinaplas including Makrolon maker Bayer MaterialScience, which announced it was relocating its global PC business to Shanghai. The company is working with Engel on PC's holy grail: automotive glazing. Stephen also highlighted the ultimate in lightweighting: an epoxy carbon cockpit chassis that weighs in at a feathery 80 kg. A concept car, yes, but an amazing achievement nonetheless, and today's concept has a way of becoming tomorrow's commercial reality.

Almost 300,000 hip replacements are undertaken every year in the U.S. alone, making recent concern about metal on metal joint degradation, a very big deal. That fact wasn't lost on the Fraunhofer Institute, which is working on a carbon-fiber reinforced PEEK implant highlighted by Doug Smock. Doug also covered DSM's $360-million acquisition of biomaterials maker Kensey Nash, a wager on the bright future of biomaterials and regenerative medicine. Finally, Doug's coverage of hospital pushback against PVC continues to be exhaustive. In his newest blog, he asks, if not PVC then what for things like tubing and bags?

Finally, if you thought the Great Recession was bad...George Spilka, founder and principal at investment bank and M&A consulting firm, Spilka and Associates, has a sobering take on the myriad pitfalls that lie in wait for the global economy in the years to come. See his advice, particularly if you're considering selling your business, here.

Also, watch our webinar space for the posting of Mike Sepe's latest Injection Molding Expert series, this time on material selection. From the basics of thermoplastic vs. thermoset and amorphous vs. crystalline, Mike moved into the nitty gritty of why parts fail in the field and how you can save time and money by being more proactive in resin selection. A free material selection master class worth your time.

Most clicked articles, April 30-May 4

  1. By Design: Reshoring
  2. Rhodia positions its PA6.10 as a substitute for PA-12
  3. Faurecia acquires Ford's former Saline plant, announces new JV
  4. Milacron deal final; ex-Berry boss Boots named chairman of board
  5. Evonik offers substitutes for polyamide 12
  6. Out-of-autoclave chassis weighs in at 80 kg
  7. PEEK hip socket targets metal failures
  8. TPE is as hard as it gets
  9. Amcor and Sacmi commercialize new technology for production of rigid pharmaceutical containers
  10. Green Matter: Bio-based plastics stand up to sustainability scrutiny
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