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The week that was: Highlights and the top 10 articles for June 11-15

Eastman Chemical's Tritan copolyester has been a blockbuster material since its launch at K 2007, winning new applications on the merits of its unique properties and performance characteristics, and often doing so at the expense of polycarbonate, which faced public and retail backlash over concerns around bisphenol A.

Eastman Chemical's Tritan copolyester has been a blockbuster material since its launch at K 2007, winning new applications on the merits of its unique properties and performance characteristics, and often doing so at the expense of polycarbonate, which faced public and retail backlash over concerns around bisphenol A. So when Plastipure intimated that the copolyester could promote the same kind of estrogenic activity (EA) that prompted PC's downfall in applications like baby bottles, Eastman saw grounds for legal action. The suit was filed in January but escaped public scrutiny until Heather Caliendo's story on the matter, with comment from Plastipure and Eastman.

Want to find microbes capable of eating expanded polystyrene? Why not plant some in the ground. That novel approach was also reported on by Heather who wrote about a group of University of Leicester students participating in the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition (iGEM). The iGEM competition bids students to build genetically modified microorganism that can do something useful.

For a quick look at just how diverse the applications that can now be served by bioplastics check out Karen Laird's Green Matter blog. From playhouses to the high-fashion runway, materials that were formerly pigeon-holed into single-use packaging have certainly come a long way. Karen also highlighted a truly novel material that its inventor stresses is "wood-and nothing but wood." Compounders and automotive OEMs and suppliers are very interested. You should be too, a must read.

A must read as well, Clare Goldsberry's three-part series on advances in simulation software and what it could mean for molders and moldmakers who adopt it, as well as what it already means to some of the shops that have. Forget using the software to decide gate locations, how about using it to set up a robust process before steel's even been cut.  Speaking of setting up a process, Robert Gattshall, who's set up more than a few in his time in molding, says you should start thinking about how you'll mold a job at RFQ.

Anecdotally, there is certainly plenty of talk about reshoring, but finding documented cases can be harder. Doug Smock did just that this week in his article on a reshored medical device back from China that's brimming with some pretty slick material technology. All the plastic had to do in this instance was provide radiation shielding for a portable dental X-ray device, looking to replace wall-mounted units housed in special rooms where technicians must stand behind shielded walls. Maybe you'll see the Aribex NOMAD in a dentist's office near you. In his blog, Doug tackled some of the negative, and often misinformed mainstream media coverage of plastics. Doug's verdict on the article: "scaremongering". Amen, the topic can be technical but so often so many elements of these stories are so wrong it's a disservice to journalism in general.

In today's lightweighting obsessed times, news of a technology that could cut the weight of interior and exterior trim parts by between 30% and 50% definitely grabs people's attention, hence the interest in Stephen Moore's coverage of the Mecaplast technology that promises good surface finish and retention of mechanical properties. Stephen also looked at U.S. Dept. of Energy sponsorship of various materials research projects, hitting the highlights for plastics, as well as metals. Cars will remain on a diet, with plastic remaining prominent on the menu.

Finally, to all the dads out there, have a happy Father's Day this Sunday.

Top 10 Most-clicked stories for June 4-11, 2012

  1. Novel injection molding process from Mecaplast could cut car part weights in half
  2. Inventor's reimagined injection molding machine finds its niche
  3. Medical Musings: Are plastics poison?
  4. Virtual injection molding part I : Simulation offers more than flow analysis
  5. UK students plant plastic to reduce waste
  6. Portable x-ray producer reshores molding as output surges
  7. Röchling establishes U.S. base for major growth in medical molding
  8. Early moldmaking entrepreneur dies at 89
  9. New high-temperature polyamides for severe usage conditions
  10. DOE sponsors plastic, carbon fiber research
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