Pulp and paper waste is the big new headliner as a feedstock for bioplastics. Corn was the big early play, but that has changed. The latest news: CSM subsidiary Purac said it has signed a contract to participate in a consortium that will develop a process to produce feedstock from cellulosic waste derived from the pulp and paper industry for the production of lactic acid. The other partners in the program are Crown Van Gelder N.V., a paper-producing company, and Bumaga B.V., a development center in the paper and board industry. The project is partly funded by the Dutch Ministries of Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The Dutch government has been a major supporter of bioplastics, and one of the other major players is DSM.
Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
Structural engineers have developed a design method for 3D printing structural steel elements to be used in construction projects. Complex, individually designed pieces can be created far more efficiently, and costs and waste will be reduced.
Some of the latest nautical robots take a variety of forms. They can look like small boats, tiny four-wheeled vehicles, or realistic fish. One design from Sandia Labs will be able to transform itself from a swimming robot to one that flies through the air or uses wheels on land.
MadeSolid is offering a 3D-printable casting resin for making small metal parts for things like jewelry. It costs a lot less than previous alternatives and can be used with multiple consumer-grade printers -- an industry first.
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