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The week that was; Top 10 articles and highlights at PlasticsToday for Jan. 7-11

"The urban car of the future is a small car, but not necessarily electric." That's the somewhat counterintuitive conclusion reached by Nicolas Meilhan, a Paris-based senior consultant at Frost & Sullivan. Meilhan expounded on the unique transportation requirements of a large urban metropolis like Paris with Automotive Channel Editor Stephen Moore.

. One key takeaway: cars, much like their drivers, are getting heavier and heavier, negating any potential sustainability gains from alternative drive systems:

10 years ago the average weight of a French car was just 758 kg. This has ballooned to the current 1266 kg, or as much as 10 kg per year for the last 50 years. The main factor behind this increase in weight is passive safety. 300 kg of primarily steel has been added to the typical vehicle to meet Euro NCAP safety requirements. Car dimensions have also increased, as have comfort options, further adding to weight.

A must read for those concerned with the future of cars, electric or otherwise.

Every February representatives of the medical device and diagnostic community, many of whom trade in plastics, head to Anaheim for MD&M West and the slate of combined shows, including Plastec West. Count Medical Channel Editor Doug Smock among those bound for southern California. Before he arrives at the Anaheim Convention Center, Doug has begun to preview plastics-related technologies at the event. Over two articles, Doug looks at environmentally preferable plastics, silicones, and micromolding, as well as the rise of mega molders, in-home care, implants, antimicrobials, and more. Doug already checked in with Arburg and Engel regarding their Plastec plans.

How will a skilled worker shortage, shifting consumer age demographic, social media, and machinery efficiency impact the packaging industry? Packaging Channel Editor Heather Caliendo has the scoop, building off a report from Pack Expo organizer PMMI that used a focus group of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) executives to ferret out the future. Steve Trapp, president of custom injection molder Venture Plastics, commented to Heather on the emerging importance of new social media streams for an old-line manufacturer:

"We have actually received leads off of our Facebook page. That made us stop and pay more attention to those mediums."

Elsewhere, Heather spoke with Steve Wirrig, formerly a managing director at Rexam and now head of the new spinoff company, KubeTech. As the name implies, the company counts itself among the relatively few shops that produce spinning cube molds. Heather also spoke with Starlinger, Erema, and Gneuss about the rise of PET recycling in places like Uzbekistan, Brazil, and Europe.

Advances in composites technology have in large part been focused on the transportation market, but the combination of high strength and low weight have benefits beyond the road, extending to the ski slopes. Green Matter Editor Karen Laird highlighted the work of the University of Sheffield's AMRC Composite Centre to investigate paths to greener composites for electric vehicles. After some success using fibers from flax and bamboo, plus an epoxy resin derived from cashew nut husks, to fabricate a fairing panel for a truck, the researchers decided to apply the technology to something else; namely a snowboard. Thus the SUSC-Snowboard Using Sustainable Composites-was born. Karen runs through other eco advances in ski and snowboarding equipment.

Top 10 most-clicked articles for Jan. 7-11

  1. Production monitoring + process monitoring = 100% transparency for Tech Group
  2. Designing for reshoring: Can DFM and DFA bring it home?
  3. KubeTech Custom Molding CEO talks growth plans
  4. 2012 and the year that was: Morning in America's plastics industry?
  5. Names in the news: SPI, Berry Plastics, Davis-Standard, Conair, Dickten Masch, Pregis, Emerald Kalama
  6. PETRA responds to Concord plastic bottle ban
  7. Tech Mold develops in-mold serviceability to improve production efficiencies
  8. Moldmakers can provide greater 'value engineering' using mold filling software: but will they?
  9. Rebooted Sterling eyes potential for reshoring
  10. Arburg unveils all-stainless unit at PLASTEC West
TAGS: Business
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