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.
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.
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
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