Ford has emerged as a leader in green technologies, particularly in the use of soybeans to produce foam for car seats. Our sister publication Modern Plastics Worldwide reports that Ford now plans to use recycled utility waste as a functional plastics filler. An English company called Rocktron produces glass spheres from fly ash waste from coal-fired power plants. The new compounds may be used to produce parts throughout the car, even under the hood. The hollow alumino-silicate spheres are said to provide a superior hardness and density compared to talc filler and are also described as less expensive than glass spheres made from virgin raw materials.
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.