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.
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
As we saw on the show floor this week at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing and co-located events in Anaheim, Calif., 3D printing is contributing to distributed manufacturing and being reinvented by engineers for their own needs. Meanwhile, new fasteners are appearing for wearable consumer and medical devices and Baxter Robot has another software upgrade.
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