More than 70 percent of an ABS substitute is made from starch, palm oil, and carbon dioxide. The research team used it to manufacture a vacuum cleaner cover to demonstrate its usefulness in consumer products. (Source: Siemens)
Thanks for your comments. I'm aware of the palm oil problem, which is not insignificant. I decided to report this anyway, because finding a substitute for styrene is a big deal, since it's also bad for the environment. Humans aren't the only beings that are affected by it. Since this material is still in R&D it's possible that BASF, which has a deservedly good rep in sustainability consciousness, might be looking for an alternative to palm oil.
I don't think we should have to trade off one sustainability factor against another, in this case, a styrene alternative vs using palm oil. Actually this is a three-way tradeoff, since it's a creative way to reduce and make use of CO2.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.