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.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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