"Vinyl Saves Lives" Booth And Demo At NPE2015

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 25. January 2015

A special booth at NPE2015 to be featured by SPI and its Flexible Vinyl Alliance (VFA) affiliate is designed to demonstrate how plastics, and specifically PVC, ‘save lives’.


Appearing at the lobby of the South Hall of the Orange County Convention Center, the booth’s showcased items will include an actual portable medical isolation containment unit similar to those used in Africa and elsewhere to isolate patients and protect medical personnel and the populace from the spread of infectious diseases and contain pandemics such as Ebola and SARS. Also on display will be Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as garments, masks and shoe covers.


Support for the booth comes from leading soft vinyl producers and manufacturers of specialized medical products and systems, as well as organizations using these materials in affected regions of Africa and other places. The Flexible Vinyl Alliance, SPI’s Flexible Vinyl Products Div., The Vinyl Institute (VI), and the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) among others, will be represented in the booth. Also expected to be part of the presentation is a wide range of other medical products and healthcare groups.


VFA is responsible for the planning and promotion of the project. Says VFA’s executive director Kevin Ott, “While some of the best-known, but often unrecognized uses of PVC include wire and cable jacketing, medical tubing, blood bags, roofing, flooring and wall coverings, the material is suitable for an almost limitless range of products offering superior and proven performance characteristics, particularly in healthcare settings, that are essential to patient safety and survival, as we deal with pandemic containment and protecting the general population. Lacking a vaccine for Ebola at this time, PVC plays an essential role as a barrier material between the health care worker and the fluids that are known to spread the virus.”


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



BPA Gets European Authority's 'Green Light' Following FDA Ruling

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 25. January 2015

Last week, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) ruled that Bisphenpol A (BPA), used in a wide array of applications from the lining of cans to plastic packaging, poses no threat to human health. This action follows the U.S. FDA’s confirmation in December that BPA is safe as currently used.


            Dr. Joseph Perrone, chief scientific officer of the Center for Accountability in Science, who has written extensively about BPA’s safety, points out that many of the studies linking BPA to various health ailments are significantly flawed. One such study, published by the prestigious American Heart Association, claimed that drinking from cans—and thereby ingesting Bisphenol A used in the lining, could raise your blood pressure and increase your risk for heart disease. The actual data, however, does not support the author’s sweeping conclusions. When one looks at the data, participants’ blood pressure didn’t actually rise after drinking from a can. Here’s how it went:


In this small study--only 70 participants, all over age 60, participants were given either two cans of soy milk, one can and one glass bottle of soy milk, or two glass bottles of soy milk. Blood pressure was measured both before and after consumption, and levels of BPA were measured after consumption.


Across-the-board, blood pressure decreased after drinking soy milk. It decreased by nearly identical margin when participants drank two bottles of soy milk or one can and one bottle of soy milk—despite much higher levels of BPA after drinking a can. After drinking two cans, blood pressure still decreased, but by a slightly lower amount. According to Perrone, at most, one could say that this small study found that drinking soy milk out of a can might temporarily lower your blood pressure slightly less than drinking it out of a glass bottle. It certainly does not show that drinking any beverage from a can might increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.  


Nominations For SPE's 'Plastics For Life' Global Parts Competition Extended

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 22. January 2015

SPE announced this week that it is extending the nomination deadline for its second-annual Plastics For Life global parts competition. Winners in four feature-based categories—Protecting Life (preservation, safety, containment, protection); Quality of Life (preservation, safety, containment, protection); Improving Life (education, energy, opportunity, health); and Sustaining Life (environmental, conservation, sustainability, recycling, reduction)—plus People’s Choice and Grand Awards, will be announced at a special press conference on Wednesday, March 25, on the third day of SPE’s ANTEC 2015, held in conjunction with SPI’s NPE2015 in Orlando, Fla., that week.


According to SPE, because eligible parts must previously have won a category or a competition at an SPE TOPCON (topical conference) or Minicon (mini-conference) held during the last 12 months, extending the deadline from January 30 to February 13 allows teams of winning parts from SPE conferences that fall early in 2015 to enter this year’s competition rather than wait until 2016.


While the judges will preview nomination online in February, final balloting will take place on Monday, March 23, giving the judges the opportunity to see and touch physical parts during a walkthrough on the first day of ANTEC 2015. Says Jon Ratziaff, technical services manager at Chevron Phillips Chemical, who created the parts competition during his term as 2013-2014 SPE president, “As our competition enters its second year, interest is building and we’ve been asked to make a few rule changes that would enable us to pick up extra nominations. Since one of our goals for this competition is to highlight the incredible versatility of plastic materials in numerous markets and show how plastics truly enhance life on the planet, there was no question that we needed to be flexible. Hopefully the teams that are already at work on their forms will appreciate that they just got a two-week extension.”


Here’s a look at the 2014 Plastics For Life global parts competition winners:

•  Protecting Life Category: Carbon Fiber X-brace on 2013 SRT Viper supercar nominated by Plasan Carbon Composites (nomination previously won the 2013 SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition Body Exterior and People’s Choice awards).



Quality of Life/Improving Life Categories: Bright Pack Packaging nominated by Plastics Technologies, Inc., (nomination previously own the 2013 SPE Blow Molding ABC Conference competition).



Sustaining Life/Grand Award Categories: Door Assembly on Renault Twizy electric vehicle nominated by Walter Pack (nomination previously won the SPE European Thermoforming competition).






Italian Technology Institute Develops Bioplastics From Agro-Waste

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 21. January 2015

Researchers at the Smart Materials, Nanophysics department of the Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia have succeeded in producing bioplastics through the direct transformation of edible vegetable waste. Coordinated by tenured scientist Athanassia Athanassiou, the team used industrially processed edible vegetable and cereal waste. Model bioplastic systems were synthesized from wastes of parsley and spinach stems, rice hulls, and cocoa pod husks by digesting in trifluoroacetic acide (TFA), casting, and evaporation.


According to researcher Ilker Bayer, many other elements present in these plants are carried over into the bioplastics rendering them with many exceptional thermo-physical properties. In a recent article that appeared in the American Chemical Society’ Macromolecules publication, the team showed that due to their broad compatibility with cellulose, amorphous cellulose can be naturally plasticized with these bioplastics by simply mixing during processing. 


Comparison of the mechanical properties of films made with these waste bioplastics with various petroleum based synthetic polymers, including PP, PE, PET, TPU, as well as starch-polymer blends, and biopolyesters such as polycarpolactoness and polylactic acids (PLA), show these unusual bioplastics to fill the performance gap between synthetic plastics and conventional biopolymers. For example, amorphous pure cellulose films display high ultimate tensile strength (UTS) at high Young’s modulus comparable to PET, whereas parsley, spinach and rice bioplastic films cluster close to elastomers and LDPE thermoplastic.


Bioplastics from cocoa pod husk can be compared with HDPE and PP. It is also possible to produce bioplastics designed to close the gap between PET and PP, the researchers say. For instance, a blend of microcrystalline cellulose with spinach (10 wt%) would yield a property that directly falls in the middle of this gap. This proves that a wide range of mechanical properties can be designed by simply blending these vegetable waste bioplastics that many times cannot be achieved by solution or thermoform blending of conventional polymers due to incompatibility issues. 


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


PolyOne Releases Four Color Palettes For 2016

By: Lilli Manolis Sherman 21. January 2015

PolyOne has just released InVisio Color Inspiration 2016, a collection of what it deems to be four influential and emerging color palletes. The company developed these colorant collections by drawing on global trends and expertise in color research and is targeting them to brands and designers to inspire future creative decision-making. Color Inspiration 2016 is one of the elements from the company’s InVisio Color and Design Services, which leverages comprehensive color and materials resources to drive innovation in plastic product development.


Says Fernando Sanchez, global marketing director for PolyOne Global Color and Additives, “Whether designers are developing a new color range or adapting existing colors to accommodate a new phase in their product’s lifecycle, these innovators can work with InVisio services throughout the design development process to bring their vision to life.” PolyOne says its new collection includes the following four color stories.


Power Play echoes the erosion of convention. A blend of bold saturated colors work together to tell the story of this new ear of empowerment. Pink is reclaimed as a symbol of strength for both men and women, championed for its versatility and positive connotations.



• Basic Instinct places emphasis on the constant and accelerating pace of change on our planet. As we evolve to cope with these changes, we look at the way life forms on earth managing the extremes in their environment—often with primitive elegance. Unique survival characteristics such as bioluminescent become a major inspiration, combined with unexpectedly colorful camouflage and fluorescent pigments that feature high impact hues found under the sea.



• Brain Reign embraces a palette of cerebral hues that are engaged and plugged in. Electric blue channels the energy of synaptic exchange, while vibrant orange generates feelings of optimism and encourages positive consumer behavior. Super-charges highlighter yellow is softened with transparency, and subtle notes of pale grey and blush offset and humanizes this Technicolor surge.



• Divergent Desires deals with the paradox of connected disconnectedness by exploring the convergence of technology and nature in unexpected and often ironic ways to reconcile these divergent desires. Products embrace natural materials and color applications while utilizing sophisticate technological innovation. Colors are expressed with multidimensional finishes that showcase polymer creativity with an elemental edge. 



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