Dutch chemicals’ innovator Avantium will announce later this year a joint application development partner in a specific polyamide (nylon) area. Avantium is now in the second year of a joint development effort with NatureWorks for polyester materials. “The focus (with NatureWorks) is on bottle (PET replacement and possibly new applications), film and fiber,” says Gert-Jan Gruter, chief technology officer for Avantium.
Avantium is currently building a pilot plant for its YXY chemical process which will start up early next year. “From there we want to go as fast as possible to a demo plant for pre-marketing material (1000 ton– 2013) and to commercial production (30000 ton — 2015-16),” adds Gruter. .
The output of the YXY process are furanics, which are chemicals that are formed when you take carbohydrates and remove the water. Avantium says it has developed a patented chemical catalytic process technology to convert biomass directly into furanics.
Avantium expects to initiate other polymer and plasticizer development collaborations later this year.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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