GE Plastics yesterday introduced a one pellet solution aimed at overcoming blending problems with long-glass fiber compounds used for structural components. Previously it was necessary for processors to blend two pellet types, an approach that often lead to blotchy color and other quality issues. It was a problem related to the difficulty in fully blending materials with the long glass fibers. The Verton XC is available in nylon base resins, while XFR comes in PC/ABS materials. A brand new grade called Verton XW is based on weatherable ASA material. It's the first time long glass fiber is available in ASA, opening up opportunities for structural parts requiring weatherability. GE Plastics also announced several other developments, including a package of nonhalogen flame retardant grades at its LNP compounding arm in Exton, PA. The 800-pound elephant in the room was the acquisition of GE Plastics by SABIC, which is on schedule to close in the early fall. The press conference had been in the works for a few months, and SABIC was not on the agenda.One early sign of a positive impact from SABIC is a report that GE Plastics may have some presence at K 2007, an event it missed in 2004 as it sought to improve its financial performance.
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
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