K 2010–a plastics trade fair– opened today in Dusseldorf Germany. Based on the amount of green clothing worn throughout the show, visitors may think they are in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day. Green ties and shirts are very fashionable at this year’s giant K Fair. It seems almost every supplier here wants to show they are committed to “green” plastics technology.
Even Sabic, the giant Saudi Arabian petrochemicals company, announced at an opening press conference that it has begun a major sustainability initiative that may even include an expanded role for plastics made from renewable resources. Mohamed Al-Mady, CEO of SABIC, said the company has begun collaborations with universities to explore potential renewably sourced feedstocks. One project is expected to focus on algae at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), a new technical university in Saudi Arabia. In another interesting development, officers at Sabic Innovative Polymers, which is based in Pittsfield, MA, say they are now verifying weight-saving and environmental claims with a third-party auditor called Green Order, which is based in New York City.
For example, Sabic has a new design for an all-plastic steering wheel on its stand (an industry first), which appears to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent compared to a wheel made with diecast magnesium, according to a Sabic official. That number will be tested and verified by Green Order. ”We are going to verify the environmental benefits of products in one of two ways,” Robert McKay, newly named sustainability manager at Sabic Innovative Plastics, said in an interview with Design News at K 2010. “Either they meet one or more widely recognized sustainability standards or their environmental benefits relative to incumbent technologies will be verified under the company’s new Sustainable Product Scorecard.”
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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