There’s a major new producer of engineering materials in the United States: PolyOne Corp., which until very recently has been better known for its commodity businesses, including the now divested vinyl resins. PolyOne very recently acquired GLS, making it one of the largest elastomer producers in the US. Specialty materials now represent 60 percent of the PolyOne product line, a doubling. “We anticipate continued expansion including greater market development resources to accelerate growth with key Asian OEMs,” commented CEO Stephen D. Newlin in a Feb 22 meeting with analysts. . “We will also leverage our recently established technical service center in North China.”
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.