Another major consumer package is moving from oil-based plastics to plant-based plastics. The iconic Heinz ketchup bottles will be made in part (30 percent) from sugarcane ethanol produced in Brazil. The Heinz bottle will be based on Coca-Cola’s breakthrough PlantBottle packaging.
PlantBottle packaging looks, feels and functions just like traditional PET plastic, and remains fully recyclable. It is not biodegradable. Heinz’s new technology will be the biggest change to its ketchup bottles since they were converted to plastic in 1983. Heinz will introduce PlantBottle in all 20-ounce ketchup bottles in June. Coca-Cola launched the bioplastic packaging in 2009 on brands that include Coke, Sprite, and Fresca.
An initial life-cycle analysis conducted by Imperial College London showed that the use of PlantBottle packaging provides a 12-19 percent reduction in carbon impact. In 2010 alone, the use of this breakthrough packaging eliminated the equivalent of almost 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or approximately 60,000 barrels of oil, according to Coca-Cola.
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.