Archer Daniels Midland Co. quietly announced in August the commercialization of a potential bio replacement for bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate called isosorbide. Polycarbonate has been phased out of some baby bottles and other applications because of concern about the potential health effects associated with BPA.
Isosorbide is made from corn and joins ADM’s Evolution Chemicals line of biobased industrial ingredients that are derived from renewable resources like corn and soy. The Evolution line includes propylene glycol, glycerin, industrial ethanol and ethylene glycol.
ADM offers isosorbide in both a technical grade (97 percent pure) and a polymer grade (99 percent pure). ADM is a JV partner in Telles, a major bioplastics player in the United States.
The largest American-based producer of polycarbonate is Sabic Innovative Plastics in Pittsfield MA. In response to a question from Design News about the potential use of isosorbide, a Sabic IP spokesperson said: “SABIC Innovative Plastics’ policy is not to discuss future technology consideration/plans for competitive reasons.”
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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