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.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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