The giant K Fair, held every three years in Germany, is a great place to take the pulse of plastics technology. This year, for the first time, there will be a strong showing of plastics made from renewable resources.
One example is a Novamont-led project called ReBioFoam, which is developing a new flexible and eco-sustainable process with a low-energy impact for the production of expanded biodegradable packaging containing renewable raw materials. Biopolymers will be expanded using microwave technology in specially designed molding presses with innovative coatings. The process uses the water naturally present in the materials as expansion agents.
Can’t make it to K Fair? No problem. Keep an eye on the Engineering Materials blog and the news pages of www.designews.com Oct. 27 through Nov. 3 as I’ll be roaming the 19 halls in Düsseldorf looking for insights for design engineers. You can also follow me @plasticsblogger on Twitter.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
Daihatsu is one of the first carmakers to customize car exteriors using 3D printing's mass customization capabilities. Effect Skins -- small exterior bumper and fender panels in different colors and textures -- can be ordered for its Copen convertible.
Several new products in this group of new adhesives, coatings, and sealants are formulated to protect sensitive electronic components, or to seal components of commercial and military aircraft. Others are designed to operate in tough, messy, dirty oil & gas operations, or for rotary applications and motors.
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