Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chennai evaluates to run its bus service on CNG

In order to reduce the emission levels and operational costs, the government-owned Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) intends to powered is bus fleet by compressed natural. Consequently, the company recently held meetings with Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) to determine the proper infrastructure to supply the fluid.

"We are keen on shifting to CNG to bring down emission levels of our buses. It would also reduce our fuel expenditure. We had elaborate discussions with IOC, but they said they were not in a position to supply CNG now,'' reported transport official to The Times of India.

IOC executives stated they are planning the construction of an LNG terminal at Ennore. "We signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation early this month to set up a Rs 3,000-crore facility,” he added.

On behalf of Petroleum Conservation Research Association, V Sivakumar explained: "Delhi government was able to control pollution there by converting diesel-operated buses into CNG-run vehicles. Though the capital expenditure to set up the infrastructure for CNG will be high, it would give 1.5 times more mileage than diesel. It will also increase the operational efficiency of the vehicle."

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thermoplastic PUR Gives ‘Midas Touch’ to Prosthetic Fingers

Partial Hand Solutions has developed prosthetic fingers using thermoplastic polyurethane (PUR) from RTP Company. ‘M-Fingers’ device from Partial Hand has been used as a prototype. The inner structure of the dexterous fingers and multi-position friction thumb is designed using RTP 2300-series glass-filled rigid thermoplastic PUR, which is over-molded with RTP 1200-series thermoplastic PUR elastomer to provide each finger with dexterity. The fingers and thumb have urethane over-molds to provide better grasp and in-molded finger nails for picking up small objects. The rigid PUR material gives strength and dimensional stability to the product. The mechanical fingers are actuated by a Spectra cable that crosses the wrist and is controlled by simple wrist flexion. M-Fingers are normally built using silicone partial hand socket with the appropriate number of fingers and finger sizes to match the sound-side hand. M-Fingers are distributed by Liberating Technologies of Holliston, MA.

LANXESS Optimistic About Tyre Market in India

LANXESS, a specialty chemicals firm, foresees increase in demand for synthetic rubber in India, a country with a long history in the production and consumption of natural rubber. Driven by the need of rapid modernization, India is currently undergoing a shift towards replacing natural with synthetic rubber in a variety of applications. As one of the world's leaders in manufacturing synthetic rubber and backed by a history of serving the Indian market for over 40 years, LANXESS is set to play an important role in this development.

One of the growth drivers for high performance rubber in India is the automotive industry. Triggered by a burgeoning middle class, demand for passenger cars and two-wheelers is rising. The automotive industry is expected to grow by about 12-14% in 2010-2012. In addition, the government has an ambitious project of expanding and strengthening the highway infrastructure of India by an estimated growth rate of 8-9%.

Increase in mobility would generate more demand for tyres. Modern radial tyres rely on high-performance synthetic rubber to achieve their superior qualities. LANXESS manufactures a wide range of rubber chemicals, high-performance rubber and technical rubber products to cater to these demands.

To be able to serve the Indian customers locally, LANXESS, the only western company manufacturing rubber chemicals in India, operates plants in Jhagadia in the state of Gujarat and, through its subsidiary Rhein Chemie, in Madurai, Tamil Nadu (polymer bound rubber chemicals are produced). In addition, LANXESS is constructing a state-of-the-art butyl rubber plant in Jurong Island, Singapore, which is scheduled to start operations in Q1 2013. The plant is designed for a capacity of 100,000 metric tons per year.

LANXESS markets a wide range of high-performance synthetic rubbers to cater to the Indian rubber industry needs, both tyre and non-tyre.

Vulkacit® (powder rubber accelerators), Vulkanox (anti-oxidants), and other rubber chemicals from LANXESS and Rhenogran® (polymer bound rubber chemicals) from Rhein Chemie are used in tyres, tyre tubes and flaps, rubber belts, rubber fuel tubes and automotive window profiles among others.

Butyl rubber is a synthetic rubber characterized by high impermeability to air. Halobutyl rubber, a specialty rubber polymer, is used in the manufacture of innerliners - the innermost layer of radial tyres for car, truck, bus and aircraft tyres.

Buna® synthetic rubbers from LANXESS see very healthy demand from the tyre industry due to their ability to take dynamic loads and resistance to heat and abrasion and are used widely by the Indian tyre industry.

Baypren®, Perbunan®, Therban® and other technical rubber products from LANXESS are used for non-tyre applications in the automotive industry like window profiles, seals, belts, hoses and various other moulded products.

With these investments in the Indian and Asian markets and the array of rubber and related products that the company offers, LANXESS is geared to participate in India's growth. As the pioneer in synthetic rubber, rubber chemicals, LANXESS is rightly equipped to cater to the demand for synthetic rubber and rubber chemicals, products and applications for the growing tyre and non-tyre industry in India.


LANXESS is one of the leading specialty chemicals companies with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,400 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 42 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.

NEC Develops Advanced Bioplastic from Plant Stems and Cashew Nut Shells

TOKYO, Japan -- NEC Corporation announced the development of a first-of-its-kind durable new biomass-based plastic (bioplastic) that is produced from non-edible plant resources. The bioplastic is created by bonding cellulose*1, a main component of plant stems, with cardanol*2, a primary component of cashew nut shells, which achieves a level of durability that is suitable for electronic equipments and boasts a high plant composition ratio of more than 70%.

The new bioplastic characteristics are as follows:

  1. Composed of non-edible plant resources: As an alternative to petroleum-based components, cellulose is the plastic's major ingredient. The cellulose, which is produced in large amounts by plants, including grass stems, etc., is modified by cardanol, an oil-like material that is extracted from cashew nut shells. Most of these stems and nut shells are abundant resources, which are often discarded byproducts of the agricultural process.

  2. High plant component ratio: The use of cellulose and cardanol, both plant resources, as the plastic's primary components produces a plastic that features a high plant component ratio of more than 70%. Current cellulose based plastics include large amounts of petroleum-based additives, which results in a low plant component ratio.

  3. High durability well suited for electronics: After enhancing its reactivity, cardanol is chemically bonded with cellulose, which produces a durable thermoplastic that is strong, heat resistant, water resistant and non-crystalline (short molding time), due to the bonded cardanol's unique molecular structure consisting of flexible and rigid parts.

Comparison to existing bioplastics: polylactic acid resin (PLA) and cellulose acetate (CA) based resin (According to studies carried out by NEC):

  • Durability (strength & malleability): Twice the strength of existing PLA. Comparable to conventional CA resin
  • Heat resistance (glass transition temperature): More than twice the resistance of PLA, approximately 1.3 times more than CA resin
  • Water resistance: Comparable to PLA, approximately 3 times more than CA resin
  • Molding time: Less than 50% of PLA. Comparable to conventional cellulose-based and petroleum-based plastics.

In recent years, bioplastics composed from plant resources gathered greater attention as an effective measure to reduce the depletion of petroleum resources and alleviate global warming. However, while current leading bioplastics, such as PLA, primarily use feed grains as a plant resource, the possibility of future food shortages has emphasized the importance of using non-edible plant resources to produce bioplastics.

Therefore, non-edible plant-based bioplastics have been developed using such resources as cellulose and castor oil. These cellulose-based bioplastics have conventionally been utilized in stationery, toys and household goods. However, these modified celluloses require large amounts of petroleum-based additives such as plasticizers, which results in bioplastics with a low plant component ratio and poor durability, including heat resistance and water resistance.

A polyamide resin derived from castor oil, a non-edible plant resource is also being used in electronic parts, however, there is an inadequate supply of this plant resource to expand its use and its characteristics are unsuitable for use in a variety of electronics.

However, NEC's newly developed bioplastic resolves each of these issues. Looking forward, the company will continue with research and development towards mass production of this bioplastic and improving its suitability for a wide range of electronic equipment within the 2013 fiscal year.

This newly developed bioplastic will be formally announced at The Chemical Society of Japan / Kanto Branch meeting at the University of Tsukuba on August 31, 2010.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunglasses made from Transparent Biosourced Polyamide

On the occasion of the last outdoor Retailer Summer exhibition in Salt Lake City (US), the French material producer Arkema and the American company Smith Optics unveiled the latest Smith Optics ‘Evolve’ sunglasses collection, which is made using an Arkema bio-renewable sourced thermoplastic i.e. Rilsan® Clear G830 Rnew. The new ‘Evolve’ collection includes 20 new sunglass frame models that are all made entirely from this Rilsan® grade that is a transparent polyamide material stemming from castor oil. In fact the Rilsan® Clear G830 Rnew grade includes 54% bio-based raw material. It provides the required characteristics for the Smith Optics sunglasses i.e. good impact resistance, high durability, good flexibility as well as lightness and optimal comfort. Moreover it offers good chemical resistance and is easily processed.

New York will have 475 new compressed natural gas buses

Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has awarded New Flyer of America Inc., a contract for the acquisition of up to 475 buses. The company is dedicated to CNG fuel systems, it first delivered CNG buses to San Diego and has delivered more than 3,500 CNG buses over the past 15 years.

These CNG buses will be operated by the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) and the MTA Bus Company (MTA Bus), the largest transit agency in North America that is responsible for public transportation in the state of New York.

The contract is for 135 40-foot CNG heavy-duty transit buses with options for up to an additional of 340 CNG buses. Since 1996, New Flyer has delivered 823 buses to the MTA. These 475 CNG buses will join the 190 pre-existing NGV’s. This figure will exceed the current fleet of diesel units running on New York City streets.

Two pilot buses will be delivered to the MTA in May 2011, with the balance of the base order delivered in the last part of 2011 and early 2012.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scotland creates new industry for whiskey-based biofuel for cars

The whiskey industry could soon have a new product that has nothing to do with giving drinkers their desired buzz, but rather provide clean fuel for vehicles.

Scientists from the Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland filed a patent on Tuesday for a new biofuel derived from the byproducts of whiskey distillation that can be used in ordinary vehicles minus the usual modification to become biofuel-ready.

The new biofuel, a result of a two-year research project by the university’s Biofuel Research Center, uses two main byproducts in the whiskey production process – pot ale, the liquid that comes from the whiskey production copper stills and draff, the spent grains – to create butanol that can be used as fuel.

Biobutanol is believed to be the next-generation biofuel, with scientists claiming they can give 30 percent more output power than ethanol. It can also be used to make other green renewable biochemicals such as acetone.

“The most likely form of distribution of the biofuel would be a blend of perhaps 5 percent or 10 percent of the biofuel with petrol or diesel, but 5 percent or 10 percent means less oil, which would make a big, big difference,” said Martin Tangney, director of the research center and leader of the project.

“The new biofuel is made from biological material which has been already generated. Theoretically it could be used entirely on its own but you would have to find a company to distribute it,” he said.

The university plans to create a spinoff company to leverage the commercial opportunity of the new biobutanol in a bid to make it available at petrol pumps.

The £4 billion ($6.2 billion) whiskey industry is one of Scotland’s biggest markets, and with 1.6 billion liters of pot ale and 187,000 metric tons of draff produced by the industry annually, there is enormous potential for biofuel to be available at petrol pumps alongside traditional fuels, the researchers said.

Lena Wilson, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s main economic, enterprise and investment agency, has pledged support for the project.

“By proactively taking innovative ideas from the laboratory to the global market place, Scotland can continue to compete at the highest level and successfully boost its economic recovery,” Ms. Wilson said. The £260,000 biofuel research project was funded under the Scottish Enterprise’s proof of concept program.

The European Union said biofuels should account for 10 percent of total fuel sales in the bloc by 2020. At the same time, the new biofuel could help Scotland achieve its own renewable energy target.

Algae biofuels start-up space triples as pilot projects get underway

The number of algae biofuels start-up companies more than tripled between 2005 and 2009, leading to a sharp rise in the number of pilot and commercial-scale facility projects, according to new research.

Before 2000, there were roughly ten companies around the world pursuing the development of algae biofuels as their sole business area or in relation to other business operations such as algae production or renewable fuels.

By 2009, the number of companies involved in the development and implementation of algae biofuels technologies had grown to more than 60 worldwide, the Algae Biofuels Production Technologies Worldwide report said.

In addition, involvement in the algae biofuels industry as a whole increased by 550 per cent between 2005 and 2007, fuelled by environmental concerns and high crude oil prices.

Robert Eckard, analyst at SBI Energy and author of the report said algae can be cultivated and harvested in support of a wide array of biofuel products.

‘In addition, algae biofuels systems hold promise to enable rapid production of high quality, high throughput biofuels systems in support of carbon emissions reductions targets, and in support of clean fuel production.

‘The US Department of Energy’s recent $24m commitment to a trio of research groups determined to bring algae biofuels to market indicates just how much potential this industry holds.’

The algae biofuels market is currently pursuing pilot and demonstration-scale algae cultivation projects and the report said these pilot schemes are expected to continue through to 2015.

To date, most development is within the US with small peripheral markets in the European Union (EU) and Asia are expected to emerge through collaborations with companies based in that country, the report said.

The US dominance is forecast to represent more than 80 per cent of the global market for open pond algae cultivation from 2010 to 2015, with the EU expected to gain a market share of 11 per cent and Asia the remaining seven per cent.

The report said through to 2015, cultivation technology sales are expected to hold most of the total algae biofuels production technologies market. Alongside this, the remaining market segments will be held by a combination of harvesting, extracting and fuels production facilities, with a total projected market value of more than 1.6bn in 2015.

With a market size of about $271m for 2010, the report said this increase is significant and underscores that this is a quickly changing and evolving industry, expected to show an annual growth rate of almost 43 per cent.

Cardia Bioplastics Compostable "Bio-film" wins Global Hygiene Products Contract

Cardia Bioplastics will supply major Chinese manufacturer Ben's Land Baby Articles Corp Ltd with a new compostable moisture barrier film ("Bio-Film") for the manufacture of a range of baby diaper/nappy and feminine hygiene products. The Australian sustainable resins and finished products supplier, Cardia Bioplastics was approached by Ben's Land to collaborate in the development of this specialist film product following demand from United States and European customers for more environmentally friendly hygiene products.

Testing confirmed that, compared to conventional plastic films, Cardia Compostable "Bio-Film" provides the required high performance moisture barrier to prevent leaking, facilitates breathability to keep skin drier, and is soft for comfort. "Bio-Film" is part of the patented Cardia Compostable resins range. These resins are manufactured from renewable resources and are certified as fully compostable to international standards, including Europe's EN 13432, the USA's ASTM D 6400, Japan's GreenPla, and Australia's AS 4736.

Cardia Bioplastics Chairman Pat Volpe said this contract reflects the continuing shift away from conventional fossil fuel based plastics by global suppliers and consumers. "Parents with babies and women are concerned about the environment, as well as product performance. They want products that offer sustainable solutions to their needs," he said.

"Achieving the right film for these personal hygiene applications was challenging. We worked closely with Ben's Land to bring this application of Cardia Compostable "Bio-Film" to market. Ben's Land will supply the new product to its main customers in the USA and European markets.

"This important product development confirms Cardia's confidence that the baby nappy and feminine hygiene categories will increasingly switch to environmentally friendly and compostable products. This contract will be the first of many for us in the personal hygiene sector and will contribute AU$1.5m to our annual sales revenue," said Pat Volpe.

Through its ongoing industry collaboration activities, Cardia Bioplastics has several other products under confidential development agreements with a number of global companies, or under its own accord.

Rensselaer Researchers Develop Coating That Safely Kills MRSA on Contact

Building on an enzyme found in nature, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanoscale coating for surgical equipment, hospital walls, and other surfaces which safely eradicates methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), the bacteria responsible for antibiotic resistant infections.

"We're building on nature," said Jonathan S. Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Director of Rensselaer's Center for Biotechnology & Interdisciplinary Studies. "Here we have a system where the surface contains an enzyme that is safe to handle, doesn't appear to lead to resistance, doesn't leach into the environment, and doesn't clog up with cell debris. The MRSA bacteria come in contact with the surface, and they're killed."

In tests, 100 percent of MRSA in solution were killed within 20 minutes of contact with a surface painted with latex paint laced with the coating.

The new coating marries carbon nanotubes with lysostaphin, a naturally occurring enzyme used by non-pathogenic strains of Staph bacteria to defend against Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA. The resulting nanotube-enzyme "conjugate" can be mixed with any number of surface finishes - in tests, it was mixed with ordinary latex house paint.

Unlike other antimicrobial coatings, it is toxic only to MRSA, does not rely on antibiotics, and does not leach chemicals into the environment or become clogged over time. It can be washed repeatedly without losing effectiveness and has a dry storage shelf life of up to six months.

The research, led by Dordick and Ravi Kane, a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer, along with collaboration from Dennis W. Metzger at Albany Medical College, and Ravi Pangule, a Chemical Engineering Graduate Student on the project, has been published in last month's edition of the journal ACS Nano, published by the American Chemical Society.

Dordick said the nanotube-enzyme coating builds on several years of previous work embedding enzymes into polymers. In previous studies, Dordick and Kane discovered that enzymes attached to carbon nanotubes were more stable and more densely packed when embedded into polymers than enzymes alone. "If we put an enzyme directly in a coating (such as paint) it will slowly pop out," Kane said. "We wanted to create a stabilizing environment, and the nanotubes allow us to do that."

Having established the basics of embedding enzymes into polymers, they turned their attention to practical applications. "We asked ourselves - were there examples in nature where enzymes can be exploited that have activity against bacteria?" Dordick said. The answer was yes and the team quickly focused on lysostaphin, an enzyme secreted by non-pathogenic Staph strains, harmless to humans and other organisms, capable of killing Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA, and commercially available. "It's very effective. If you put a tiny amount of lysostaphin in a solution with Staphylococcus aureus, you'll see the bacteria die almost immediately," Kane said.

Lysostaphin works by first attaching itself to the bacterial cell wall and then slicing open the cell wall (the enzyme's name derives from the Greek "lysis" meaning "to loosen or release"). "Lysostaphin is exceptionally selective," Dordick said. "It doesn't work against other bacteria and it is not toxic to human cells." The enzyme is attached to the carbon nanotube with a short flexible polymer link, which improves its ability to reach the MRSA bacteria, said Kane. "The more the lysostaphin is able to move around, the more it is able to function." Dordick said.

They successfully tested the resulting nanotube-enzyme conjugate at Albany Medical College, where Metzger maintains strains of MRSA. "At the end of the day we have a very selective agent that can be used in a wide range of environments - paints, coating, medical instruments, door knobs, surgical masks - and it's active and it's stable," Kane said. "It's ready to use when you're ready to use it."

The nanotube-enzyme approach is likely to prove superior to previous attempts at antimicrobial agents, which fall into two categories: coatings that release biocides, or coatings that "spear" bacteria. Coatings that release biocides - which work in a manner similar to marine anti-fouling paint - pose harmful side-effects and lose effectiveness over time as their active ingredient leaches into the environment. Coatings that spear bacteria - using amphipatic polycations and antimicrobial peptides - tend to clog, also losing effectiveness. The nanotube-lysostaphin coating does neither, said Dordick. "We spent quite a bit of time demonstrating that the enzyme did not come out of the paint during the antibacterial experiments. Indeed, it was surprising that the enzyme worked as well as it did while remaining embedded near the surface of the paint," Dordick said.

The enzyme's slicing or "lytic" action also means that bacterial cell contents disperse, or can be removed by rinsing or washing the surface. Kane also said MRSA are unlikely to develop resistance to a naturally occurring enzyme. "Lysostaphin has evolved over hundreds of millions of years to be very difficult for Staphylococcus aureus to resist," Kane said. "It's an interesting mechanism that these enzymes use that we take advantage of."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"DuPont's market-driven innovation is helping to enable a more sustainable future for urban societies,"

DuPont Apollo thin-film photovoltaic modules
  • are used for commercial rooftop and large-scale applications. The solar modules can generate more wattage output under diffuse lighting conditions and consume only about 1/200 the silicon of traditional crystalline silicon solar cells, resulting in shorter energy payback times.

  • DuPont™ Tyvek® Weatherization Systems are part of a system created to seal buildings from the inside and out. Tyvek® is an ENERY STAR partner that helps enhance the energy efficiency, indoor air quality and overall comfort of a home or commercial building. Tyvek®, which combines properties of paper, film and fabric, also is an ideal choice for reusable bags by environmentally conscious customers.

  • DuPont™ Energain® decreases the amount of energy used in a building by controlling temperature levels and thus reducing the need for cooling and heating. The result is major cost savings and reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

  • DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymers are made partially with agricultural feedstocks instead of petrochemicals, thus reducing dependence on oil. In addition to fibers and fabrics, Sorona® can be used in films, filaments, engineering resins and other applications. Sorona® contains 37% renewably sourced ingredients by weight.

  • DuPont™ Corian® solid surfaces, made from natural minerals and high-performance acrylic, are non-porous, helping to resist stains and growth of bacteria. Available in more than 100 colors and all fulfilling the U.S. National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Standard 51, Corian® is safe for food contact.

  • DuPont™ SentryGlas® ionoplast interlayers help create lighter, safer, more structural glass that can stand up to greater loads and higher threat levels.

  • DuPont™ Teflon® FEP anti-flammable cable provides excellent fire resistance characteristics without producing toxic smoke in the event of fire, thus gaining valuable time for evacuation of personnel. In addition, it can be recycled.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

PU Skateboard Wheels In Line with Nature

Deltron’s manufacturing subsidiary Elasco, Inc., which manufactures engineered plastics and polyurethanes, has prepared eco-friendly skateboard wheels for Sector 9, a manufacturer of skateboards and apparels. Elasco formulated and manufactured Biothane brand polyurethane wheels made with soybean-based polyols, which delivers similar performance as petroleum-based polyurethane. Polyols are produced from pressed soybeans with isocyanate and other ingredients to create new polymers. Soy-based polyol resins are claimed to reduce carbon emissions from the manufacturing process by 36%, require less energy to produce, and are free of volatile organic compounds.

Elasco provides complete design and manufacturing services, including prototype work, mold and tooling design, manufacturing, custom casting, plastic injection molding and proprietary polymer mixing.

Sterile Knob Covers Molded of Radel® PPSU Deliver Exceptional Sterilizability and Toughness

Prescott's Manufacturing Inc.'s new line of sterile knob covers for surgical microscopes are made of Radel® R-5100 polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) resin from Solvay Advanced Polymers, LLC, for exceptional autoclavability and toughness. The high-performance thermoplastic also delivers more efficient and faster processing than the incumbent thermoset material.

The knob covers are extensions of the microscope handle and are used to manipulate the microscope during surgery. The reusable covers come in repeated contact with medical personnel and must be sterilized after each procedure. Radel PPSU resin withstands repeated autoclaving - up to 1,000 cycles - while maintaining its toughness and impact resistance.

"We evaluated a range of resins and found that Radel PPSU was superior in terms of autoclavability," said Philip Schloesser, Engineer for Prescott's Manufacturing.

By tapping into its expertise in injection molding, Prescott's hoped to gain improved manufacturing efficiencies. Injection molded Radel PPSU provides greater productivity than competitive thermosets, boasting a 20-sec cycle time. The PPSU resin also offers good processing stability, low shrinkage, and a tight-tolerance fit to closely match the mating component. Another key feature is the material's high-quality feel and surface appearance which lends the part a more premium look.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Origami Lamp

A student at Germany’s Offenbach University of Art and Design, Alice Gruhle, has designed an innovative lamp, namely “Polymorph” lamp by taking its inspiration from origami and Lego™ concept. This “Polymorph” lamp, that can be easily adapted into different sculptural shapes, is formed from diamond-shaped modules made from 6mm-thick polypropylene (PP) sheets by using an injection molding process. Then the injected molded PP modules are linked together in order to allow folds at the joint. The first lamp prototype has been created with 150 modules, creating a cocoon-like hanging lamp. This innovative lamp concept has already won a competition at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach. It has also been featured in several German design magazines and has been showcased at the latest Euromold exhibition.

S+S Sorting Systems Enable High-quality Plastics from Waste Electrical Equipment

All over Europe, electrical and electronic scrap is the waste stream showing the highest growth rates. Since electronic equipment contains the most varied kinds of materials, the recycling of such waste involves high demands with respect to separation and sorting processes. The German plant manufacturer MeWa builds state-of-the-art recycling plants for large international waste management companies.

In the United Kingdom MeWa realised a plant where old refrigerators, computers, vacuum cleaners, Hi-Fi systems, and other kinds of electrical waste are processed on two separate lines. For the recycling of high-quality plastics such as ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) or PC (polycarbonate) and of printed circuit boards MeWa uses three VARISORT N sorting systems made by S+S. "The decision to use E-Schrott Elektronic Waste S+S systems was based on the high output quality of these VARISORT systems. Only absolutely pure fractions can be sold at a good price in today's difficult times", explains Peter Mayer, Sales Manager - sorting technology at S+S Separation and Sorting Technology.

Innovative technology for outstanding value creation:

Polymer separators of type VARISORT N are based on near-infrared technology. At the MeWa facility these systems in fully automatic operation separate plastic types from precrushed electrical waste. Optimally scattered on a fast-running conveyor belt this waste reaches the detection area of the near-infrared detector which determines and locates the plastic types of the passing pieces.

The electronic evaluation unit determines the exact position of the unwanted types, and with accurate timing and positioning activates the corresponding nozzles of the air-blast unit. The user can freely select which types of polymers should be separated. In one VARISORT sorting system the near-infrared sensor is combined with a color sensor. With this multi-sensor system design the color of the particle and its plastic type can be combined as sorting criteria, which results in an even higher separation accuracy for the pcb-fraction.

Recycling materials are economically efficient and environmentally friendly:

VARISORT N polymer separators are characterised by highest throughput capacities. Sorting is performed at a speed of up to 3m/sec. Air-blast valves that have been specifically developed for this application keep the loss of good material at an absolute minimum. In the recycling of electrical waste VARISORT N separators are an economically efficient solution for the reclaiming of high-quality plastic fractions and of the pcb-fraction.

The resulting pure plastics can be profitably returned to the production cycle again, and valuable (precious) metals can subsequently be reclaimed from the separated printed circuit boards.

Flexible and future-proof solutions provided by S+S:

Says Peter Mayer: "Recycling companies that produce clean, economically-priced material have the biggest competitive advantage. Because of their outstanding flexibility VARISORT sorting systems are ideal for the sorting of electrical waste. No matter what type of electrical waste should be sorted in the current job, a VARISORT will always optimally perform the sorting task by employing different kinds of sensors. Since the markets for recycled materials are rapidly changing especially in the field of electrical waste, and since quality requirements for recycled materials are high, and recycled material has to compete with the price of new materials, the VARISORT sorting system with its flexibility is a future-proof investment here because the employed technologies are highly sophisticated and the systems provide high-purity material fractions."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fraunhofer's Plastics Laser Welding Machine Helps Achieve Invisible Weld Seams

At this year's plastics trade show in Düsseldorf (October 27 to November 3, 2010) the Fraunhofer ILT is presenting the TransTWIST laser-based plastics welding machine at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft stand (E91) in Hall 3. In live demonstrations the researchers will show how two transparent joining partners made of plastic can be lap-welded using laser radiation. In conventional laser welding a suitable radiation absorber is normally applied to the underlying joining partner. This is time consuming and costly. Furthermore, the appearance of the component or weld is affected by the color of the radiation absorber.

In order to be able to weld transparent plastics without any seam marks, the researchers at the Fraunhofer ILT have developed a laser machine for welding plastics. In a lap joint configuration transparent polymers are welded without the addition of infrared absorbers. This eliminates the need for elaborate pretreatment, saving process time and costs, and represents a breakthrough in plastics laser welding. TransTWIST produces high-quality welds that meet all the usual requirements in terms of being free from weld marks and restricting the zone influenced by heat. TransTWIST shows a great potential for use in biomedical field, especially microfluidics, packaging industry and in design applications.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Deep-Freeze Packaging made from Renewable Resources

The German company Dettmer Verpackunger, i.e. DeLo, which is specialized in flexible packaging systems, has designed an innovative deep-freeze packaging for frozen potato products that is entirely made from a copolyester material stemming from renewable resources. The company has in fact chosen the Bio-Flex™ F2110 grade from the German material producer FKuR to produce the new packaging. This material is a blend based on poly(acid lactic) and does not contain any starch or starch derivatives. It provides the high mechanical properties required for deep-frozen applications such as high impact resistance and dart drop strength at low temperature. Furthermore it complies with the EN 13432 standard. This new deep-freeze bio-based packaging has been chosen by the American company Mc Cain for its “Bio Harvest” products line.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

MIT Study Recognises Importance of Natural Gas as Bridge to Future

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has completed a two year study which examined the scale of U.S. natural gas reserves and the potential of this fuel to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Undertaken by the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), the study concluded that natural gas will play a leading role in reducing GHG emissions over the next several decades.

The findings, summarized in an 83-page report, were presented to lawmakers and senior administration officials in Washington.

“Much has been said about natural gas as a bridge to a low-carbon future, with little underlying analysis to back up this contention. The analysis in this study provides the confirmation — natural gas truly is a bridge to a low-carbon future,” said MITEI Director Ernest J. Moniz in introducing the report.

The study found that there are significant global supplies of conventional gas. How much of this gas gets produced and used, and the extent of its impact on greenhouse gas reductions, depends critically on some key political and regulatory decisions.

Some of the study’s key findings:

  • The United States has a significant natural gas resource base, enough to equal about 92 years’ worth at present domestic consumption rates. Much of this is from unconventional sources, including gas shales. While there is substantial uncertainty surrounding the producibility of this gas, there is a significant amount of shale gas that can be affordably produced.
  • Globally, baseline estimates show that recoverable gas resources probably amount to 16,200 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) — enough to last over 160 years at current global consumption rates. Further, this global resource figure, excluding the U.S. and Canada, does not include any unconventional gas resources, which are largely uncharacterized in the rest of the world.
  • In order to bring about the kind of significant expansion in the use of natural gas identified in this study, substantial additions to the existing processing, delivery and storage facilities will be required in order to handle greater amounts and the changing patterns of distribution (such as the delivery of gas from newly developed sources in the Midwest and Northeast).
  • Environmental issues associated with producing unconventional gas resources are manageable but challenging.

In the transportation sector, the study found a somewhat smaller role for natural gas. The use of compressed or liquefied natural gas as a fuel for vehicles could help to displace oil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but to a limited extent because of the high cost of converting vehicles to use these fuels. By contrast, making methanol, a liquid fuel, out of natural gas requires much less up-front conversion cost and could have an impact on oil usage and thus improve energy security, but would not reduce greenhouse gases.

From the report comes one recommendation directed toward the transportation sector: remove policy and regulatory barriers to natural gas as a transportation fuel.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ceramic/Plastic Component for LED

The German ceramics materials specialist OxiMaTec GmbH has been the winner of the 2009 EuroMold Gold Award fort its innovative ceramic/plastic composite-based components that have been designed for automotive light-emitting diode (LED) headlamp housing. These components, which are produced by Graveurbetrieb Leonhardt, a specialist in ceramics pressing, sintering, machining and injection molding, have a hybrid structure based on a high-heat ceramic functional part overmolded with a thermoplastic material. As a result the new headlamp housing exhibit high temperature resistance and allows eliminating wear problems. The ceramic takes care of heat dissipation while the thermoplastic provides elasticity and impact resistance.