Ingeo Biopolymer Tops 'Smallest Carbon Footprint' List Among Commonly Used Plastics

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 24. July 2015


With many consumer product brands increasingly looking to reduce their carbon footprint, several different types of plastics recently have had  reassessments of their eco-profile—energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). In step with this market trend, there has been an update to the profile of Ingeo biopolymer from NatureWorks, Minnetonka, Minn. Called “Life Cycle Inventory and Impact Assessment Data for 2014 Ingeo Polylactide Production”, the article was also just recently peer reviewed and approved for publication in the June 2015 issue of Industrial Biotechnology by an independent panel of experts.


The eco-profile of a polymer gives information such as the total energy and raw materials consumed, and the total emissions to air, water, and soil from the cradle to the finished polymer pellet. A life cycle inventory (LCI) is an essential input to any full LCA conducted on consumer products made from that polymer.


“Our most recent eco-profile in 2010 was calculated using the methodology, the modeling software, and core database in place at the time. The same approach was used by such industry organizations as Plastic Europe since the beginning of the 1990s to calculate the eco-profiles for the fossil-based polymers. However, LCA tools and databases have progressed in the past four years, and we decided it was time to recalculate the eco-profile based on those advancements,” says NatureWorks environmental affairs manager Erwin Vink.


Overall, the publication of the new Ingeo life-cycle assessment (LCA) shows that GHGs and energy usage during its manufacture is lower than all commonly used plastics, including PP, PET, GPPS and ABS. The article documents the energy and GHG inputs and outputs of the Ingeo production systems, the revised 2014 Ingeo eco-profile, and the calculation and evaluation of a comprehensive set of environmental indicators. It also addresses topics such as land use, land-use change, and water use.


To help brand owners and researchers in the direct use of this life-cycle assessment data, NatureWorks now has available an online calculator--Environmental Benefits Calculator--providing them with a  tool for comparing the net GHG emissions and the nonrenewable energy use of products made with different plastics. The calculator provides an intuitive interface from which manufacturers and brands can input data details and receive instantaneous feedback on the environmental impact of the materials they are using.  


This revised eco-profile (the cradle-to-polymer life cycle inventory data), which is based on the latest version of Thinkstep’s GaBi LCA software and database, follows the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards and reinforces the fact that the production of Ingeo polymer emits fewer GHGs and consumes less non-renewable energy compared to other commonly used plastics.



Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.




Seminar: Get Past Tweaking to a Scientific Molding Process

21. July 2015

John Bozzelli, scientific molding guru and columnist at Plastics Technology, will be the instructor for the "At-the-Press Process Development Seminar," August 11-13, in Troy Mich. Promising to help molders "Get It Right the First Time for 24/7 Production," the seminar will concentrate on scientific molding based process optimization with at-the-press instruction.


Monitoring hydraulic and cavity pressure levels on the press, participants will define plastic variables to create a universal setup sheet, which will then allow the tool to be run on any press, accounting for barrel size, hydraulic or all-electric operation, and more.


Other topics to be addressed include:


  • Why after PPAP, DOE's & Medical Validations are bad parts still made?
  • Finding the tool/part/process problems before production begins.
  • Having an optimized 24/7 process from the initial tool trials.
  • Having the ability to replicate the tool trial parts on another machine.


Register today! (Photo taken at M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp., Brea, Calif.)

John Bozzelli scientific molding seminar

Sounds Weird, But...Plastic Roads May Actually 'Surface'

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 20. July 2015




Our infrastructure problem is not going away any time soon. So, any fresh ideas, no matter how weird they may sound are surely worth taking a look. Here’s an example from The Netherlands where the first ‘plastic road’ could become a reality within the near future.


Particularly in recent years, Dutch  engineers and designers have become increasingly recognized for their innovative and eco-friendly ideas—ranging from self-healing concrete to the first solar bike path.  Just within the last month, Dutch construction company VolkerWessels has announced that it is teaming up with the City of Rotterdam to produce a prototype for a prefabricated road consisting of 100% recycle material. If all goes as imagined, this will result in a sustainable alternative to conventional road structures which will be virtually maintenance-free, lightweight, will take a fraction of the construction time, and have a three-fold expected lifespan.


PlasticRoad  according to the ambitious company, features numerous advantages both in terms of construction and maintenance. First, plastic is much more sustainable and opens the door for a number of new innovations such as power generation, quieter road surfaces, heated roads and modular construction. Moreover, the design features a ‘hollow’ space that can be used for cables, pipes and rainwater.


The company’s says its PlasticRoad concept is in line with developments such as Cradle to Cradle and The Ocean Cleanup: the initiative to free the seas of ‘plastic soup’. Recycled plastic is made into prefabricated road parts that can be installed in one piece. The prefabricated production and the lightweight design also make the road’s construction a much simpler task. Roads can be built in weeks instead of months as the road sections fit together like tiles. It is also much easier to control the quality of the roads such as stiffness and water drainage versus traditional asphalt.


Also, because of its hollow structure, the road can simply be installed on a surface of sand or other poor soil, without the need for costly foundations. VolkerWessels also say, that it is possible to integrate other elements in the prefabrication phase including traffic loop sensors, measuring equipment, and connections for light poles.

The next step is to build it and test it in Rotterdam’s street lab to make sure it is safe in wet and slippery conditions and so on. The company is interested in hearing from potential partners.

Contacts include:

Anne Koudstaal, +316-50226418, and Simon Jorritsma,+316-52533297,


Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.




ASTM Launches New Plastic Film QA Testing Tool

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 16. July 2015


An innovative statistical qualitative assurance tool for plastic film testing has been just launched by ASTM International, W. Conshohocken, Penn., and with support from ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics.


The Proficiency Testing Program for Plastic Film Testing, is aimed at helping laboratories that want to improve and maintain a high performance when conducting a variety of ASTM test methods, ranging from tensile properties and propagation tear resistance to haze and gloss. ASTM says this program empowers participants to monitor the strengths and weaknesses of their lab capabilities, to compare their test results with other labs worldwide, and to help maintain accreditation status.


Here’s how it is set up to work. The first test cycle will be in September 2015. For each test cycle, each laboratory will receive two rolls of film, each made of different materials. These rolls will be 12 in. wide with nominal 1- or 2-mil (0.001 or 0.002-in.) gauge and will contain 50 to 75 feet of film to conduct the specified tests. Materials to be evaluated include LDPE, LLDPE and HDPE. The following parameters reflect the scope of the program:


• ASTM D882, Test Method for Tensile Properties of Thin Plastic Sheeting


• ASTM D1003, Test Method for Haze and Luminous Transmittance of Transparent Plastics


• ASTM D1004, Test Method for Tear Resistance (Graves Tear) of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting


• ASTM D1894, Test Method for Static and Kinetic Coefficients of Friction of Plastic Film and Sheeting


• ASTM D1922, Test Method for Propagation Tear Resistance of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting by Pendulum Method


• ASTM D1709, Test Method for Impact Resistance of Plastic Film by the Free-Falling Dart Method.



• ASTM D2457, Test Method for Specular Gloss of Plastic Films and Solid Plastics


• ASTM D2582, Test Method for Puncture-Propagation Tear Resistance of Plastic Film and Thin Sheeting


• ASTM D6988, Standard Guide for Determination of Thickness of Plastic Film Test Specimens


For each trial, participants will receive two sample materials, as noted above, along with interactive electronic data report forms and test instructions. Labs will conduct the ASTM specified tests of their choice that they routinely run. Upon completion of testing, each lab will electronically submit the data to the ASTM PTP Center to generate statistical summary reports. Final reports will be electronically distributed within 25 business days of the data submission deadline, containing all test results coded to maintain customer confidentiality; statistical analysis of test data; and charts plotting test results versus laboratory code.


Interested companies must register by Aug, 28, 2015 to be included in the first test trial. The prorated subscription fee for the September 2015 trial is $338. For 2016, the program will be offered in March and September with an annual subscription fee of $695.


To submit your registration forms, click here. For questions, contact Helen Bucci, ASTM International, (610) 832-9534;


Want to find or compare materials data for different resins, grades, or suppliers? Check out Plastics Technology’s Plaspec Global materials database.






Magazine Or e-Newsletter; Tablet Or Desktop; Digital Or Analog

By: Tony Deligio 15. July 2015


You’re probably over 50; you likely bought capital equipment in 2014; and you consulted a printed trade publication before doing so.


Those results culled from the 5th annual “Media Usage in Manufacturing 2015” survey conducted by Gardner Research, the market intelligence division of Plastics Technology’s publisher, Gardner Business Media Inc.


Completed in the first quarter of 2015, the survey elicited responses from a pool of 2,288 respondents composed primarily of executives, managers and engineers at companies engaged in durable goods manufacturing.


Investigating the demographic characteristics and media usage trends of today’s manufacturing technology buyer, the survey specifically examined business-to-business industrial marketing and media usage, covering topics such as: buying cycle behavior, search, mobile, media usage, social media and vendor selection.


More than 92% of the respondents, who come from the automotive, metalworking, plastics, composites and finishing markets, indicated they are directly involved in the purchase of machine, software, hardware, materials or tooling.


Segment Demographics
The respondents, like the manufacturing industry, skewed older, with only 14% aged 21 to 40, with the remaining 86% were 51-plus (65%) or 41 to 50 (21%) years old. In terms of markets served, 42% indicated they were contract manufacturers, with the top sectors including:


Automotive (42%)
Aerospace (38%)
Consumer products (30%)
Defense (30%)
Medical (29%)
Oil/gas/energy (27%)
Heavy equipment (23%)
Electronics (21%)


Among the respondents, 57% reported purchasing capital equipment in 2014, with the No. 1 research tool being the supplier’s website (77%), followed trade magazine/publication website (44%), and tradeshows (40%).


Push vs. Pull Marketing
The survey also identifies trends in push and pull media, where “push” is defined as:

Media that introduces a prospect to information and products they do not know they need.

While “pull” covers:

Media provides prospects with information they know they need but are not sure where to find it.


The goal being to, “Build brand identity early with push media…then use pull media to support that brand and harvest its benefits”.


Push media includes trade magazines and e newsletters, while push media can include trade magazines and e newsletters, as well as industry websites, tradeshows, webinars and blogs.


Key Findings
In the buying cycle, which consists of awareness, research, consideration, vendor selection, and product purchase, the survey found that:


The majority of manufacturing purchases (64%) are influenced by at least 3 people
Nearly 70% look for products or services at least once a week.


In terms of media used when manufacturing professionals are on the lookout for products and services:


Websites and trade magazines are the two most accessed and effective information resources for manufacturing professionals
Trade magazines remain the leading push media


Social media usage for business was on the rise, with 48.9% saying they use platforms like LinkedIn for work, up nearly 12% from 2014 (44%), marking four straight years of increased adoption.

LinkedIn and YouTube continue to be the most useful social media sites for manufacturing buyers
Overall perception of social media as a business tool remained flat with a below average rating of 2.64.


In terms of search:

Manufacturers are significantly more likely to select search returns featuring brands they recognize (93%) to brands they are not familiar with (31%)
When reviewing search engine returns, manufacturing professionals favor technical articles and known brands over images, ads and videos.


New Media As A Complement to Old Media


Commenting on media usage trends, Rick Kline, Jr. group publisher & vice president of Gardner Business Media noted:


Looking back over the five year survey history, it is clear that manufacturing professionals are incorporating new forms of media in their research and buy cycle. However, adoption of newer media is being used as a complement to, not as a replacement for, traditional media forms. As a result, a marketing mix integrating multiple media remains the most impactful means to reaching today’s active, evolving technology buyer as they progress from awareness to vendor selection.

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