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.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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