The economy may be weak, but not the entrepreneurial spirit. A major new nylon producer emerged at the National Plastics Exposition this week in Chicago. The new producer is Invista, a company that was formed more than five years ago from assets spun off from DuPont. Based in Wichita, KS, Invista is one of the world’s largest producers of polymers and fibers, primarily for apparel and carpeting and other applications. Brands include Stainmaster carpet and Lycra apparel, both once iconic names in the DuPont portfolio. The assets were purchased by Koch Industries as DuPont repositioned into other markets-a strategy still unwinding for many chemicals companies.
Invista has been selling polyester resins, including PBT-type polyester for engineering applications. Koch had signed a five year non-compete for nylon resins. That agreement has now expired, and Invista enters the market with a lot of nylon-producing firepower. “We’re taking a more focused approach by creating a simplified portfolio of products, each with the ability to perform in numerous applications,” said Kurt Burmeister, executive vice president on Invista’s engineering polymers business. “The benefits are economics of scale and customer flexibility, due to less complex operational systems and reduce inventory requirements.” Burmeister told Design News that Invista will sell a variety of compounded nylon products using an array of toll compounders operating as contract manufacturers. Emphasis will be on nylon 6,6.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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