Brace for higher prices for industrial materials in coming months. Rising prices are triggering inventory building, creating the strongest demand for steel, nonferrous metals, and plastics in more than two years. Prices for flat-rolled carbon steel, the bellwether grade, have jumped six times since November, for total actual increases in the 20-to-30 percent range. Cash prices on the London Metal Exchange for nickel, a key stainless steel ingredient, have risen 15 percent since early January. Whirlpool announced this week that it will raise prices because of rising steel, plastics and paint costs. Value engineering efforts are sure to intensify as a way to fight higher materials’ costs.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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