PT Blog

In 2017, Plastics Technology’s twitter feed—@plastechmag—churned out more than 800 tweets, reporting from events all around the world and sharing stories, pictures and videos from our site and magazine. Check out this month-by-month breakdown of our Top Tweets in 2017, as we strived to stay top on top of all things #Plastics.

December 2017

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Plastics Technology’s YouTube Channel generated more than 14,000 views of its videos in 2017, with viewers clocking in a total watch time of 16,325 minutes. Here are the 10 most popular videos we published in 2017. (If you subscribe here, you can be updated when we create a new video).  

No. 1—Universal Robots Debuts a “7th Axis” Cobot

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It was finals weeks at UMass Lowell’s Plastics Engineering program, but Robert Malloy, former department chair and now a professor emeritus, and David Kazmer, current department chair, graciously gave me some time to talk plastics training and education.  

The full report will be in a forthcoming article, with insights from Kazmer and Malloy into the past, present and future of America’s longest running plastics engineering program. Founded in 1954, the plastics engineering department offers one of only four ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology) accredited programs in the U.S., joining University of Wisconsin Stout, Penn State Behrend and Pittsburg State University *. UMass Lowell boasts more than 3000 graduates working in the plastics industry.

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It may seem early to most of you, but we editors here at Plastics Technology are already hard at work preparing for NPE2018, the giant plastics show coming up May 7-11 in Orlando, Fla. In doing even the most preliminary research on what exhibitors plan to display, one thing seems certain: The biggest splash at NPE will come from the wave of technological innovation and futuristic enthusiasm known variously as Industry 4.0 or the Smart Factory or the Internet of Things.

That wave has charged across the ocean from Europe, where new protocols for machine-to-machine and machine-to-central-computer communications are being developed under the leadership of the German machinery association, or VDMA.

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This is my fifth and final in a series of blogs on the 2017 SPE Automotive Innovation Awards contest, which, beyond the winning parts, once again yielded some very interesting finalists in all nine categories. Take a look at some interesting applications—including some firsts, from the Process Assembly, Safety and Environmental categories.

● Integrated Sliding Armrest and Hinge Assembly: Appearing on the 2017 For Ecosport crossover SUV, this application provides additional console stowage volume with a lid held open to any position (like a large laptop screen) via a single injection molded bin and lid inner using a torque insert to create a hinge for the armrest.

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