The Dow Chemical Co. and Cargill formed Cargill Dow Polymers LLC to develop and market polylactic acid (PLA) polymers. The PLA polymers are derived from renewable agricultural resources, such as corn or sugar beets. They are composed of chains of latic acid, a natural food ingredient, which can be produced by converting starch into sugar, then fermenting it to yield lactic acid. Water is removed to form lactide, which is converted into the PLA resins using a solvent-free polymerization. "Polylatic acid technology has the potential to provide a new product platform to compete with hydrocarbon-based thermoplastics, such as polyethylene, polystyrene, and polypropylene," says Jim Stoppert, president of the LLC. Like polyethylene terephtalate (PET), the polymers resist grease and oil and offer a flavor and odor barrier. They also provide for heat sealability at lower temperatures than polyolefin sealant resins, according to Stoppert. Contact Dow Customer Information Group at (800) .
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
Highly regarded engineer and physicist Ransom Stephens speaks with Design News about his extensive science and engineering background, the serious yet funny study of neuroscience, and how one primes their brain for innovation.
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