There are many signs of a dramatic improvement in business at K2010, a plastics trade fair under way this week in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Victrex of Lancashire, United Kingdom, reported a 56 percent boost in shipments in its fiscal year ending Sept. 30 compared to the previous fiscal year. “Business has come back just as fast as it declined in 2008-2009,” said Andrew Storm, commercial director of Victrex Polymer Solutions. Victrex shipped 2,600 tons in the 2008 fiscal year, 1,600 tons in 2009, and 2,500 tons in 2010. He says the improvement in shipments derive largely from the improving economy. Engel, a major producer of injection molding machines, reported that machines sales are 60 percent above last year’s level.
Exports of plastics products from the United States increased 33 percent in the first seven months of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. “In the first two quarters of 2010, we are almost back to 2008 levels,” said William R. Carteaux, CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry, at a press conference at the show.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
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