Cellulose is the hot new feedstock for bioplastics.. The latest announcement comes from Mazda Motor Corp. which today launched a project with Hiroshima University to develop a plastic made from plant waste or wood, Mazda, Toyota and other Japanese auto OEMs had previously pioneered application of bioplastics made from corn. The new thrust away from corn is driven by growing shortfalls, and rising prices, for corn because of booming demand from ethanol. The goal of the project is to develop a polypropylene that has sufficient heat resistance, strength and durability to be used in vehicle bumpers and instrument panels.
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.