PT Blog

A recent paper in the journal ACS Applied Nano Materials prepared by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)—Nanoparticle Manufacturing—Heterogeneity Through Processes to Products—is the culmination of a study initiated by a workshop organized by NIST that focused on the fundamental challenge of reducing or mitigating heterogeneity, the inadvertent variations in nanoparticle size, shape and other characteristics that occur during their manufacturing.

The authors point out that today’s engineered nanoparticles are integral components in everything from the quantum dot nanocrystals coloring the brilliant displays of state-of-the-art televisions and nanocomposites, to the miniscule bits of silver helping bandages protect against infection. However, commercial ventures that look to profit from these tiny building blocks face quality control issues that, if not addressed, can reduce efficiency, increase production costs and limit commercial impact of the products that incorporate them.

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As reported last month, LyondellBasell completed the acquisition of A. Schulman, forming the Advanced Polymer Solutions compounding business segment, which essentially doubled the size of the company’s previous platform. This month, I had the chance to speak with Jim Guilfoyle who is now heading the new business regarding its direction and growth opportunities.

Guilfoyle’s career has been with LyondellBasell and its predecessor companies, starting as a chemical engineer prior to managerial and technical positions. Before his new appointment as executive VP Advanced Polymer Solutions and Global Supply Chain, he served as senior VP for the company’s global supply chain and intermediates and derivatives.

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11. September 2018

Plastics Go To Washington

September 11-12, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), American Chemistry Council (ACC), American Mold Builders Association (AMBA), Manufacturers Association for Plastic Processors (MAPP), and Plastic Pipe Institute (PPI) will host the Plastics Industry Fly-In.

According to PLASTICS, this year’s Fly-In attendees will hold a record number of meetings with elected officials and their staff on the Hill. These meetings will push policies that support U.S. plastics, an industry that employs nearly one million people and generates $418 billion for the U.S. economy each year. PLASTICS said featured issues for the 2018 Fly In include:

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Earlier this year, Plastics Technology reported that U.S. Military researchers are evaluating using recycled PET for 3D printing parts. They determined that PET filaments, produced by recycling, were just as strong and flexible as commercially available filaments for 3D printers. In tests, the team used recycled PET filaments to print a vehicle radio bracket, a long-lead-time military part. This process required about 10 water bottles and took about two hours to complete.

Now scientists reveal they have found a way to fabricate many of the parts within hours under combat conditions using not just water bottles, but cardboard and other recyclable materials found on base as starting materials for 3D printing. They say this ‘game-changing’ advance could improve operational readiness, reduce dependence on outside supply chains and enhance safety.

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For many injection molders, mold cooling is plagued with unknowns—namely, what are the coolant flow and temperature in each individual cooling channel in multicavity molds. “It was the missing piece of the puzzle,” says the engineering manager at a major U.S. medical molder. Now, this molder has found that missing piece, thanks to electronic flow monitoring with the Flowcon Plus system from Wittmann Battenfeld, Torrington, Conn. The result has been dramatic reductions in time for validating the cooling portion of the injection molding process and for troubleshooting problems when they occur, as well as cost and time savings from reductions in mold damage that can be caused by coolant flow disruptions inside the mold channels.

I recently visited that molder (which does not want to be identified) and got a first-hand explanation of how increased visibility of coolant flow inside the mold offers multiple benefits.

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