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Evonik Extends Support Of Deep Sea Exploration

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 12. August 2015

 

I don’t mean this in a flippant way, but here is a nifty ‘non-polluting’ example of plastic in our oceans that is enabling the scientific exploration of our deepest seas

 

A Plexiglas acrylic observation dome developed by Evonik Industries AG has been playing a key role in manned exploratory journeys to the depths of the ocean. In fact, the company recently announced that it will prolong its support of the non-profit Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation for an additional two years; begun in 2013, the cooperation between the specialty chemicals company and the Azores-based foundation has been extended until 2018.

 

This foundation operates Lula1000, what is reportedly one of the few manned submersibles in the world that can descend to a depth of 3280 feet to carry out research work. The centerpiece of this submarine is the Plexiglas observation dome. Evonik used a special process to manufacture and shape the 4.59-ft-diameter viewing dome, which both surpasses glass in its robustness and also boasts superior optical qualities.

 

According to Evonik, the innovative process it developed is in demand among producers of deep sea submersibles. For example,  now equipped with a Plexiglas observation dome is the manned submarine Jago, owned by GEOMAR, the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. Also, American submarine producer Triton now installs Plexiglas spheres. These spheres are constructed from two hemispheres that are joined—virtually invisible to the eye—by a special adhesive also developed by Evonik.

 

Back to Lula1000. The Rebikoff-Niggeler Foundation also cooperates with Cologne University, the University of the Azores, and the German Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund. It is also currently working on a BBC scientific television series about the oceans and the deep sea, which will also be screened in Germany, Austria, and the U.S.

 

Over the past few years, Kirsten and Joachim Jakobsen, the German couple who are behind the Foundation, have made hundreds of hours of high-resolution films and collected numerous samples from the deep sea around the Azores Islands of Faial and Pico. On many occasions, they have been able to document species that were completely unknown or for which little information was previously available. Their discoveries include the only known living coral reef in the Azores and a more than 500-yr old Neopycnodonte zibrowii deep sea oyster, which is regarded as the oldest living animal in the world.

 

Now, the duo is passionately pursuing the main aim of their project: to film a giant squid in its natural environment. Special lighting systems and a feed syringe have been installed on Lula1000 to entice the largely unknown giant of the deep sea.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Lions QB Practice Jerseys Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles

By: Heather Caliendo 11. August 2015

 

During the preseason scrimmage on August 8, the Detroit Lions quarterbacks had a different look— a very green one. In a cool blend of sports and plastics recycling, the quarterbacks wore practice jerseys made from recycled plastic bottles. These green jerseys are part of a sustainability partnership the team has with Unifi’s Repreve brand. In fact, the Detroit Lions are the only team in the NFL with quarterback practice jerseys made from recycled plastic bottles. Unifi transforms plastic bottles into Repreve recycled fibers that are used by brands such as Ford, Haggar, Polartec, Quiksilver and Volcom. (For more info about Unifi, check out my recent story: AMUT And Bulk Handling Systems To Provide Equipment For Unifi Recycling Plant).

 

Last year, the Lions partnered with Repreve on a campaign to encourage fans to toss their bottles into recycling bins instead of trash cans. The partnership included 500 new recycling bins throughout Ford Field and the Lions challenged their fans to achieve a 100% recycling rate. Repreve, the Lions and their fans recycled nearly 60,000 bottles last year. For a game in December, the team gave out 65,000 towels that were made from 195,000 bottles.

 

Here’s a video that highlights the initiative:

 

 

“We are very excited to have Repreve back for another year of a great sustainable partnership,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “We look forward to the continuation of this aggressive recycling effort and showcasing Repreve-based products created from recycled plastic bottles to our fans.” During the Oct. 25 game against the Minnesota Vikings, Repreve will host a “Make the Smart Throw” challenge during game day where one lucky fan will get the chance to win up to $50,000 for completing a series of difficult throws on the field.

 

“This continued partnership with the Lions provides us a unique platform to educate fans on the importance of recycling and sustainability,” said Roger Berrier, president and chief operating officer of Unifi.  “Compared to other countries, the United States recycles significantly fewer plastic materials, with less than 32 percent being recycled. Together with the Lions, we can show fans that through the simple act of recycling, they can play a role in transforming plastic bottles into great consumer products.”

 

To further educate consumers on the cool products that can be made from recycled bottles, Repreve will launch a national recycling tour later this year. The tour will make stops across the U.S., including Ford Field, giving consumers a chance to recycle their plastic bottles in exchange for Repreve-based products.

 

Don’t know what kind of season the Lions will have, however, other teams could definitely draw some ideas from its sustainability playbook.

Custom Packaging Company Launches Alternative to Foam Clamshell

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 11. August 2015

 

Earlier this month, an alternative to foam clamshell takeout packaging was launched by St. Louis-based Anchor Packaging, an over 50-yr old consumer plastics packaging company.

 

The company prides itself in its custom development process which includes some “unique’ technologies such as: internal antifog where needed; crystal clarity not normally found in PP formulations; unusual material blends and post-consumer content; proprietary tool designs; and the ability to produce uniform sealing surfaces for high-speed applications.

 

Calling it the “ultimate replacement for clamshells…and a truly affordable upgrade to foam”, the company says this latest addition to its product line of Culinary Squares bases and lids offers increased value to the operator looking for ways to improve their image while controlling costs.

 

The new product offers the same inside food space as a 9in. by 9 in. foam clamshell. But Anchor says this line was designed to maximize performance, with its durable, cut-resistant bases and the food visibility provided by the clear lids, providing an optimal combination of an upscale presentation at a value price.

 

So, here’s a description of the new packaging. Made from crystal clear PP with the company’s integral Clear Guard anti-fog technology is the new, deeper dome lid—now added to Anchor’s  existing single and three-compartment, vented lids. Meanwhile, the matching 8.5 in. square, black PP bases, available in single and three-compartment designs, accept all three lids designed with secure, leak-resistant closures to preserve the food and avoid messy spills.

 

These packages reportedly withstand temperatures to 230F in warming units, under heat lamps, or in the microwave—eliminating the need to re-plate chilled, prepared foods when reheated in the microwave. Bases and lids are dishwasher safe for reusability and are recyclable curbside. Anchor also notes that all of its containers utilize natural mineral additives that reduce the use of petroleum-based resin by 40%.

 

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

 

Passing of a True Pioneer in Plastics

By: Tony Deligio 11. August 2015

I pretty much knew I was missing my flight when I turned my rental car out of Blackwell Plastics’ factory in Houston’s Third Ward that late afternoon in February 2010, but after such a great tour, I really didn’t care. 

 

My host that day was L.D. Blackwell, whose enthusiasm for plastics, after 71 years working in it, and life, with 85 years under his belt, was infectious. My other guide, Jeff Applegate, who was then president of Blackwell but has since left the company, knew my schedule and had been gently nudging L.D. to wrap up his tour but to no avail. I learned today that L.D. passed away on August 9 at the age of 89.

 

Over the decades, many part designs crossed over L.D.’s desk, with many of those coming from would-be inventors hoping the new, emerging material class of plastics could help make their napkin-sketch doodle a mass-produced reality. All those parts and products had a story, and L.D. shared many of them with me that day, retelling the development of everything from the first weed eater to an innovative wine opener (one of which I still have) and even components on the first heart bypass pump (the University of Houston medical center’s sprawling campus is just minutes from Blackwell).

 

The inventor that jumpstarted it all for L.D. was his father, L.A. Blackwell, whose concept of a slip cork insert for fishing became the father and son team’s first product, with L.D. deciding early on to switch it from wood to plastic while he was still a teenager. The only interruption in his plastics manufacturing career—a two year stint in the Air Force during World War II.

 

I wound up meeting L.D. and learning Blackwell’s story almost by accident. Attending the Society of Plastics Engineers annual Polyolefin Conference in Houston that year, I struck up a conversation with Applegate over lunch, who convinced me to take an afternoon to visit Blackwell, largely on the basis of his description of L.D.

 

I pulled into the rental car return at George Bush Intercontinental Airport around the time my plane backed away from its gate, thinking less about my missed flight and more about the incredible history just shared with me. Despite the extra night in Houston, I’m grateful I got the chance to tell L.D.’s story and know he will be missed in plastics and the Houston community (pictured below, L.D. in he and his father's shop, photo courtesy Blackwell Plastics.) 

L.D. Blackwell

Involved in Extrusion? We've Got You Covered With New Conference

By: James Callari 11. August 2015

 

If your company is involved in extrusion—be it film, sheet, pipe, profile, tubing, or compounding, or some combination thereof—The Extrusion 2015 Conference is for you. Developed by Plastics Technology Magazine, more than 60 presenters at this inaugural event will give you unprecedented access to new technology, tips and techniques, and best practices aimed at helping you boost efficiencies at your operation.

 

There will also be an opportunity to network not only with presenters, but with the more than 30 suppliers to the extrusion processing market who are exhibiting at this event.

 

Here are some quick links to provide you with more information about this event:

 

  • Click here to download a PDF of the complete agenda listing all the speakers, topics, and time slots. Note that the mornings of each day are devoted to general extrusion topics; while the afternoons will feature three concurrent breakout sessions.

 

  • Click here for information on pricing details. Register before Oct. 2 and receive a $100 discount. Take note of special pricing for companies sending three or more people.

 

 

  • And don’t forget to register at the hotel. Rooms are filling up fast. We’ve negotiated a special rate with the conference hotel: The Omni Charlotte. Click here to begin that process.

 

We look forward to having you join us at The Extrusion 2015 Conference…the one and only conference you’ll need to attend this year.




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