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.
Dow Chemical and several other companies have launched a program in Omaha, Neb. to divert about 36 tons of plastics from landfills in its first phase, and convert it into energy used for cement production.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
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