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.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.