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The week that was: Highlights and the top 10 articles for Oct. 29-Nov. 2

It's hard to find market segments anywhere with projected growth rates of 80%, but that's exactly the gaudy forecast given to passenger vehicles with turbocharged engines over the next five years. Where there's growth, there's opportunity, according to Automotive/mobility Channel Editor Stephen Moore, who highlighted a growing under-the-hood role for plastics in light of the turbo take off.

over the next five years. Where there's growth, there's opportunity, according to Automotive/mobility Channel Editor Stephen Moore, who highlighted a growing under-the-hood role for plastics in light of the turbo take off. For its part, Solvay Advanced Polymers is promoting high-heat (HH) grades of polyphthalamide (PPA).

The addition of 12 injection molding machines over the next 24 months marks strong growth by any standard. That's exactly the plan put in place by Advanced Molding Technologies (AMT) which is also expanding its Minneapolis factory from 35,000 sq ft to just under 50,000 sq ft, according to Medical Channel Editor Doug Smock.  Elsewhere in the medical market, could an antimicrobial infused PVC be the right material to take on "Superbugs", including MRSA? French firm Hexis Health thinks so, with the product inhibiting growth of E.coli, staphylococcus aureus, and MRSA, by more than 90%. Doug also looked at the latest vinyl advocacy group, this one based in Europe and called PVCMed Alliance, which was formed to counter the environmental backlash buffeting, PVC. The fight, given the group's stated tactics, could be a difficult one, according to Doug, noting in his Medical Musings blog that instead of studying the safety of some of the newer alternative plasticizers, PVCMed Alliance seems intent on digging in to protect the DEHP.

If the group's approach is to promote the safety of DEHP-plasticized PVC, that's going to be a tough battle, in my opinion. It's hard to find anyone other than public relations people that will stand up and say face-to-face that DEHP-plasticized PVC is proven to be completely safe for use.

Pack Expo dominated the plastics packaging world this week, and PlasticsToday Packaging Channel Editor Heather Caliendo was in Chicago covering all the developments. See what Dow Chemical, Berry Plastics, Rollprint, and others were talking about in McCormick Place, and "feel the energy" as one company representative beseeched Heather.

Three years after the initiative was launched by the VDMA German Engineering Federation (VDMA), that group's plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers association has signed on to the Blue Competence energy efficiency initiative. Green Matter and Europe Editor Karen Laird was on hand for the announcement during Fakuma, and reported on the sustainability statements of executives at KraussMaffei, Reifenhäuser, Engel, and Arburg. So why sign on now and not back in 2009? Well, as one executive told Karen:

When you're in the red, you can't do green.

Could digital technology open up opportunities for contour printing to be a viable alternative for thermoformed retail packaging? Todd Shepherd, president of Shepherd Thermoforming, thinks so, and he detailed his company's work to bring the technology "to the next level" with Clare Goldsberry. The background of the development is a tale of on again/off again research, but according to Shepherd, in the end the multi-year project paid off.

We feel that this project was well worth the cost and the effort to develop. It's for the future of our business and for the thermoforming industry as well, and it will open up some doors for the packaging market.

Finally, I for one, will be quite glad to see Election 2012 come to a close next week. My home state of Colorado is unfortunately among the handful of states tagged with the s-word..."swing." That means when I open my mailbox, it's chock full of glossy election flyers; when I turn on the TV, entire commercial breaks are filled with "I'm [First Name Last Name] and I approve this message"; and when I answer my phone, it's either an automated pollster, recorded message, or live person, who, after a delay, launches into a script deriding one side or the other as the end of our Republic. Today I was robocalled by Clint Eastwood and Mike Huckabee, but by next Wednesday, I'm hopeful my phone will be much quieter, my mailbox less full, and my commercial breaks will be back to promoting sitcoms and auto dealerships.

My fellow Coloradoan, Abby Evans, summed up my feelings pretty well earlier this week in the video below.

Most-clicked articles, Oct. 29-Nov. 2

  1. After IPO, Berry Plastics focuses on innovation
  2. Saved by the bottle: UK Coca-Cola provides update about London 2012 recycling initiative
  3. From shrink sleeve film to lap-sealable matte film, ExxonMobil launches several products at Pack Expo
  4. Automated labeling, quality control, and mold tracking nets Plastikos an award
  5. Learn the newest technologies to make undercuts and threaded parts
  6. Overmolding collaboration creates unique water-testing tool
  7. Pack Expo 2012: Dow touts collaboration efforts; launches new products
  8. Shepherd Thermoforming develops system for contour-package printing
  9. Honda and Fraunhofer headline automotive lightweighting conference
  10. Rollprint showcases color-changing sealant technology; talks cleanroom certification

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