Midland, MI —Dow Plastics recently rolled out a trio of new thermoplastics. One goes with the flow in electronics and automotive parts, the second targets hot telecommunications and information-technology applications, and the third chills out in simplified refrigerator liners.
Turning up the properties. To achieve a balance of properties that often eludes blended materials, Dow has come up with an alloy that combines ABS with a thermoplastic poly-urethane (TPU). According to Jeff Gardner, vice president of Dow Engineering Plastics, these "Amplify" alloys get their toughness from ABS and their dimensional stability, chemical resistance, and high flow lengths from TPU. Tough, thin-walled enclosures for electronics will be one likely application for the new alloys. Gardner adds that Amplify will also work in bumper beams and larger power tool housings, both of which can benefit from long flow lengths and dimensional stability.
Flame fighters. To meet the growing need for handheld electronics and computer equipment, Dow has created a new materials family that brings together the company's latest ignition-resistant and high-flow technologies. This new "Emerge" family of materials includes two ignition-resistant polycarbonates that fight fire with a proprietary silicone additive rather than halogens. Both polycarbonates meet UL94 V-0 standards at a 1.0-mm wall thickness, Gardner reports. For laptop computer housings, the Emerge line-up also includes a non-halogen, ignition-resistant PC/ABS blend that satisfies V-0 at 1.6 mm and 5 V-B at 2.0 mm. And for cell-phone and other handheld parts, Emerge offers two PC/ABS blends in standard and high-flow grades.
Deep freeze. For extruded and thermoformed refrigerator liners, the company introduced a new polystyrene with improved toughness, ductility, and resistance to environmental stress cracking. According to Jeff Watkins, appliciance development leader, these enhancements let the new polystyrene—called Styron A-Tech 1170—serve in two-layer liners that eschew the barrier layer that traditionally protects the liner core from chemical blowing agents used in the appliance's insulation.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
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.