This month marks a new phase in the evolution of Plastics Technology’s online plastics materials database.

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This month marks a new phase in the evolution of Plastics Technology’s online plastics materials database. You may not know that we were a pioneer in the field, launching our Plaspec database as a telephone dial-up subscription service in 1984, just when personal computers began appearing on everybody’s desktops. In 1997, Plaspec migrated to the World Wide Web. In 2000, Plaspec ceased being a separate venture and took up residence on Plastics Technology’s website, and for the first time it was free to all comers.

Now it gets a new name, a new look, and—most important—lots of new functionality. We’re calling it Plaspec Global, in recognition of its new scope as a result of our partnership with M-Base in Germany, developer of the software for the universally respected CAMPUS plastics database. Through this alliance, Plaspec Global offers both our own database of materials sold in North America and the worldwide CAMPUS (Computer Aided Material Preselection by Uniform Standards) database.

There’s lots more that’s new about Plaspec Global. First, I hope you like the snappy new interface. As in the past, you’ll be able to search by material type, processing type, supplier, trade name, and performance properties—physical, mechanical, thermal, electrical, and/or flammability. But now you can retrieve not just standard single-point “datasheet” properties, but also multi-point data—curves of stiffness vs. temperature, for example—and plenty of additional engineering data. Also new is access to a Plastics Tradename Database (compiled by our partner, Carl Hanser Verlag, a publisher of plastics books) and an Applications

Database—case studies of materials used in automotive, medical, packaging, etc. A new Global Text Search lets you use keywords to search the complete knowledge base—material datasheets, applications, tradenames, Plastics Technology articles, and more.There are two levels of access to Plaspec Global. You can search the entire materials and tradename databases for free, though materials searches will be limited to six parameters and you can display only single-point data on one grade at a time. For an annual fee of $99, you get expanded search functions and ability to display multi-point data curves and results on multiple materials in tabular form.

I’m just getting warmed up, but I’ll tell you all about Plaspec Global in our next issue.