GE Plastics has come up with a way to turn post-consumer plastic waste, chiefly PET bottles, into PBT-based polymers. Not simply a recycling effort, GE spent two years developing a manufacturing process that chemically upgrades the post-consumer waste, turning it into a feedstock suitable for making PBT-based polymers. GE claims the process saves both energy and reduces CO² emissions compared to traditional PBT manufacturing. The new eco-materials come in two versions: Valox iQ is a PBT-based polymer derived from 85 percent post-consumer waste. Xenoy iQ is an alloy of polycarbonate and PBT-based polymers, the latter also derived from 85 percent post-consumer waste. The materials don't trade-off properties in return for their environmental advantages. In fact, GE developed them initially for Japanese auto component makers, among them DENSO. Potential applications include demanding uses such as automotive connectors, lighting bezels, energy absorbers and body panels. For more information on GE's PBT-based polymers, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4933-534.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.