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.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
Daihatsu is one of the first carmakers to customize car exteriors using 3D printing's mass customization capabilities. Effect Skins -- small exterior bumper and fender panels in different colors and textures -- can be ordered for its Copen convertible.
Several new products in this group of new adhesives, coatings, and sealants are formulated to protect sensitive electronic components, or to seal components of commercial and military aircraft. Others are designed to operate in tough, messy, dirty oil & gas operations, or for rotary applications and motors.
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