Here are my remaining picks, six through 10, for the best new technologies I saw at K2013 held last month in Düsseldorf, Germany. –Doug Smock
6. Driven by Asian demand, Solvay Specialty Polymers developed an all-new bioplastic for consumer electronics applications based on castor oil and its high-end amorphous polyphthalamide (PPA) chemistry.
7. There were several demonstrations of advancements of the in-mold labeling process at K2013. My favorites were at the Wittmann Battenfeld (combined with foaming on a hockey stick) and Ferromatik Milacron (all-electric press making food lids in a speedy cycle) stands.
8. Trexel showed new process capabilities for its fast-expanding physical foaming technology. One part shown was blow molded, while another showed surface finish improvement using hot/cool molds.
9. The big machine builders are moving fast to adapt to the trend toward high-strength l automotive composites with upgraded resin transfer molding (RTM) machinery. KraussMaffei had a world premiere of a production cell producing carbon fiber-reinforced (CFRP) components with a polyurethane (PUR) matrix for a sports car. Engel showed a v-duo 700 vertical machine making composite parts.
10. Purac showed interesting new capabilities in the electronics and automotive markets for its high-end PLA bioplastics. While many producers of renewably sourced plastics focus on the lowest of low end applications—degradable shopping bags—Purac is carving out a much tougher niche.