Sustainability is at the top of the list of trends seen by Nypro, a large custom molder based in Clinton, MA. “Bio materials have been on our radar screen for the past seven years,” says Michael P. McGee, director of technology at Nypo. “”In the last 12 to 18 months, it has started to take off.” He also said that while there is a lot of creativity in thinking about materials made from renewable resources, there ”hasn’t been a lot of connectivity to the marketplace.” Nypro is working on its first sustainability report which will measure the company’s carbon dioxide footprint (electricity consumption) and water usage as a percentage of sales. Nypro is also working with suppliers to index levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in coatings. In a presentation at MassPlastics, he also acknowledged a lot of confusion about what sustainability really is, noting that he has counted more than 300 different definitions.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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