3D Printing Breakthrough for Syntactic Foam

Syntactic foam is a mixture of microscopic hollow glass or ceramic spheres in plastic resin or epoxy. It is widely used in submarines and because it has a high level of strength and buoyancy.

A group of scientist at NYU Tandon School of Engineering have found a way to 3D print components made of syntactic foam. This is a game changer for the deep sea exploration community because it allows them a way to 3D print complex shapes that are capable of surviving pressures at great depth.

Currently, syntactic foam parts are made by injection molding and the parts must be joined by adhesives. This can cause weak points in the design. 3D printing can eliminate the use of adhesives making the parts stronger. The researchers developed filaments of high-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE), a material used to manufacture industrial-grade components, and microspheres made of recycled fly ash.

The difficult part was finding a way to mix the large abount of microspheres without crushing them. The process required the team to minimize crushing of the fragile hollow particles during mixing with the HDPE resin so that the resulting filament could have low density.

Now, the focus is on optimizing the material for various applications like underwater vehicles capable of functioning at specific depths.

Plastic Fuel Filler Pipes Have Advantages Over Metal

Plastic fuel filler pipes, the pipe that leads from the gas pump nozzle to your car’s fuel tank, have an advantage over metal ones. According to a Ford Motor Co. executive, they are always looking forward to how they can increase plastic contact in their vehicles.

The pipes can be made by 3D blow molding and are 40% lighter than metal, cost less and are less susceptible to corrosion. From a design standpoint, they are also more flexible and simplistic, making them easier to attach to fuel tanks.

In the US, there has been some pushback due to safety concerns but Europe and Japan have already made the switch. Cars produced in those regions can have plastic fuel pipes but cars made in the USA cannot.

Ford is currently doing a competitive study to see how plastic and metal perform. The side by side analysis should reveal some answers about safety and durability.

Michelin Introduces an Airless Golf Cart Tire

Photo Credit: http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20170126/NEWS/170129921/michelin-introduces-airless-golf-cart-tire

Photo Credit: http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20170126/NEWS/170129921/michelin-introduces-airless-golf-cart-tire

Michelin announced a polyurethane tire that is best for industrial, construction or rugged surface conditions! The tire is called the X Tweel Turf and works on both gas and electric golf carts.

No need to worry about down time or maintenance with golf carts. The X Tweel Turf has a 4-bolt patter and is constructed with high strength polyurethane spokes that act as a “suspension”. It also boasts longer wear and better traction. According to Michelin, the tire can support up to 705 lbs and a max speed of 25mph.

McCormick & Co. Changing from Metal to Plastic


Photo Credit: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-mccormick-pepper-tins-20170329-story.html

McCormick & Co. the popular spices and seasoning company is switching from the well known metal pepper cans to a more environmentally friendly plastic container.

According to the company, the switch to plastic will reduce carbon emissions by 16%. The new packaging will be made of a Bisphenol A-free plastic that is recyclable. They are currently finalizing the package art for the new environmentally friendly containers.


UrthPact LLC & Preserve Team up for the Environment!

Fellow Massachusetts injection molder UrthPact LLC has teamed up with plastics recycling company Preserve to create a new line of environmentally friendly, single-use, cutlery!

The Earth friendly utensils are being used at in-store cafes at a major organic grocery store chain. They have not released the name of their partner but promises that it will be recognizable.

A pilot project, designed to test the effectiveness of the cutlery’s dispensers, will include six stores in the Northeast. A full roll-out of the program, not dependent on the pilot, is set for some 400 locations on March 1. In this new program, UrthPath will manufacture cutlery — forks, knives, teaspoons and soup spoons — from recycled polypropylene for use in the cafes. Customers will then be able to deposit the Preserve branded and distributed cutlery into on-site collection containers. Preserve will then see that the used cutlery is recycled again into new products.

Great for the environment and for the world! A big thumbs up from us!

adidas Uses Recycled Plastic from the Ocean to Make New Gear

adidas recently released a pair of running shoes and soccer jerseys that are made with recycled plastic from the ocean! The recycled material comes from a company, Parley for the Oceans, that runs a clean up operation and looks for corporate partners to find a use for the plastic. Parley for the Oceans estimates that at least 11 million bottles will be collected and reused.

Plastic bottles that were found off the coast of the Maldives have been recycled and used to make 7000 pairs of adidas UltraBOOST running shoes.

Additionally, soccer jerseys worn by Real Madrid are the first to be made completely from materials found in the ocean.

adidas and Parley for the Oceans first announced their partnership in April of 2015. This lead adidas to remove all plastic shopping bags from their company stores. This is a great step in the right direction and adidas hopes to lead by example as other corporate companies follow suit.


Injection Molded Tap Handles!

You may have noticed the trend in craft beers that are taking over the US. More and more bars are stocked with local breweries and to make themselves stand out, they need to have attract tap handles. I’m not sure if this is true for most people but I’ve definitely decided to try a new beer because the tap handle looks really cool.

Tap handles are traditionally carved from wood but many are starting to used injection molded plastic or urethane molding to make custom taps that can be painted or decorated with stickers to make them really stand out.

According the the Brewers Association, The number of barrels of craft beer made in the U.S. has climbed from 4 billion barrels in 2005 to more than 19 billion barrels in 2015. That means a lot more beer taps need to be made as well!

Plastic at the Olympics!

A Brazilian plastic supplier made plastic stadium seating for more 3 of the new stadiums in Rio. Oakley is making custom sunglasses for athletes. Check out the link below to see the video!


CARE Recycler of the Year

Aquafil USA Inc. has been named CARE Recycler of the Year but the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). CARE encourages the reuse of raw materials from recycled carpet. Aquafil won the award because of their econyl system that turns old carpets and abandoned fishing nets into nylon 6 fibers.

Since 2002, CARE has diverted more than 4 billion pounds of carpet from landfills in the United States.