What's Out There, What's Coming and Trying to Know What You Don't
Leading companies do three things consistently when it comes to technology.
- They are knowledgeable about (and often already using) the best solutions currently available;
- They keep tabs on emerging technologies within their own space;
- They work to be aware of the very latest developments, often in industries tangential to their own, that have the potential for future impact in their sector.
That final skill can be the most difficult to master, owing to time constraints of tracking sectors outside your own and the challenge of perceiving how the advances, even in a lab setting, of other industries might come home to roost in your market.
At Plastics Technology—with our magazine, website, newsletters, webinars and conferences—we aim to be your eyes and ears on that final horizon, sharing voices from places that might reside outside the normal areas you track for business answers.
For injection molders, the Molding 2017 Conference & Exhibit (only weeks away now; April 4-6; Charlotte) will offer a variety of speakers, some from companies you know, others from startups that you may not, who will be presenting on cutting-edge technologies that could very well reshape injection molding.
Predicting Predictive’s Future
As an example of advances in other spaces impacting plastics: the cloud computing that makes your photos available from anywhere with a web connection, and the sensors built into the watch that tracks your steps or sleep have recently conjoined within the plastics space to make possible the so-called “machine wearables” promoted by Prophecy Sensorlytics. That company will be updating the latest advances with that technology, which started with predictive/prescriptive maintenance and lately is moving into the quality/consistency of your plant’s power supply.
Liquid Metal Molding
For most attendees of our event, injection molding means melting and shooting plastics. At Molding 2017, Liquidmetal Technologies will discuss its bid to make the molding of metals as familiar to those molders as running polypropylene. Over lunch on Tuesday, April 4, Liquidmetal’s Paul Hauck will discuss advances in the injection molding of metals, touching on the powder/binder/sinter past and what could be its low-viscosity net-shape-parts future (read more about the company's metallic glasses and the former NASA discovery).
Beyond shooting plastics, the conventional injection molding press is perceived as a massive machine, at times requiring reinforced flooring. What if it could measure 43 inches in length and weigh in at 250 lb, letting you replace reinforced concrete with a wooden table? Kubi Kara and Burak Cevik founded their company, APSX, LLC, on the promise of just such a tabletop all-electric injection machine, and they will discuss it at the conference.
A New Manufacturing Model
Beyond the size of the injection molding machine and the material it is running, there are speakers at Molding that challenge the very business model of the industry. Proto Labs’ Jeff Schipper will offer a presentation entitled “Leveraging Digital Manufacturing to Accelerate Time to Market and Reduce Risks.”
Keeping Up With Mobility
In terms of markets on the move, literally, automotive represents a sector facing massive upheaval. How much? Look no further than the name itself, as automotive is more accurately rolled into a segment increasingly called “Advanced Mobility.” On that front, looking at everything from connectivity to driver assistance to electric vehicles, PolyOne’s Brad Tremblath will offer a presentation on, “Materials That Matter for Advanced Mobility.”
You can’t predict the future, but you can help shape it by keeping abreast on what’s around the corner. Join us in Charlotte the first week in April to keep your company on technology’s leading edge.