PT Blog

Another big-time exhibition and conference recently wrapped up in Germany. Formnext 2019 (Nov. 19-22; Frankfurt, Germany) is completely dedicated to the additive manufacturing industry, and there was a ton of news and technology announced at the show. Here are some of the highlights:

Covestro exhibited for the first time at Formnext, confirming its focus on the AM market. At Formnext, Covestro introduced a new brand for its 3D printing program, called Addigy, which offers customers added value by using customized materials in industrial production. Addigy offers a flexible material toolkit for large-scale industrial 3D printing, based on polyurethane, thermoplastic polyurethane and polycarbonate. 

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The Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) released the results from the first-of-its-kind Pacific Northwest Secondary Sorting Demonstration Project (PNW Sort). The group of government and packaging providers set out with the goal of determining how a wider range of materials can be captured from the residential recycling stream. 

The project made use of a portable Secondary Material Recovery Facility (MRF) that operated for 60 days in Portland, receiving, sorting and measuring the possible recovery from two types of material streams from four MRFs located in Oregon and Washington. Titus MRF Services operated the facility and provided the equipment for the project.

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Ultimaker has released some interesting findings regarding the current state of 3D printing adoption rates, as well as a look into the future of the market. The company released its first annual 3D Printing Sentiment Index on Nov. 19. Independent research conducted by Savanta, an international research firm, details a comprehensive view of the current and future potential for 3D printing in 12 countries worldwide. The quantified index reveals the U.S., U.K., and Germany have the highest expectations for implementing additive manufacturing and capitalizing on its opportunities.

The index is a measure of market awareness and adoption; adoption levels over time; as well as overall sentiment towards the potential impact of the technology. It is based on 2,548 interviews with professionals and in-depth analysis of macro-economic factors. Five key elements were investigated: market awareness, adoption and install base, 3D printing growth indicators, perceived future impact and optimism, and technology infrastructure and ease of adoption. Overall, 67% of respondents are currently aware of the terms ‘3D printing’ and ‘additive manufacturing.’ However, something to note—only 35% have adopted the technology. While at the same time, nearly two thirds—65%—think that 3D printing will revolutionize their industry and nearly 40% say that 3D printing will bring significant operational efficiencies and cost savings to their businesses over the coming 12 months, indicating the market’s rapid evolution.

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To address the first need, Groleau started RJG Associates as a training and consulting firm in 1985. That was followed in short order in 1989 by the creation of RJG Technologies as an equipment company supplying sensors and data-acquisition systems. The two units merged into RJG Inc. in 1999 to provide molders with technology and training.

In late August, I visited RJG’s headquarters in Traverse City, Mich. on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, to acquaint myself with the training portion of the company’s business, taking part in a 3-day Systematic Molding class. My classmates numbered 13 and were diverse in age (20’s to 50’s), markets served (medical, automotive, and pipe fittings) and geographic base (Alabama, Michigan and Hungary).

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More advances continue to take place in chemical recycling. Henkel has produced Perwoll bottles using chemically recycled plastic in collaboration with packaging manufacturer Alpla—this pilot project is part of the ChemCycling project led by BASF.

“We see huge potential for chemical recycling to complement conventional mechanical recycling,” said Thorsten Leopold, head of international packaging development home care at Henkel. “Mechanical recycling is limited by the fact that not all plastic waste can be reprocessed into useable material. Thanks to chemical recycling, fossil resources can be replaced with recycled material made from plastic waste. This project is an important additional step towards creating a circular economy for plastic – on this basis we are evaluating further opportunities for integrating chemically recycled plastic in our product packaging.”

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