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.
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
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