Inventing a polymer isn’t a feat accomplished overnight. Or, in some cases, even in a decade. For GE Plastics (Pittsfield, MA; www.geplastics.com), it’s been nearly 20 years since the company last released a new family of polymers. However, patience has paid off for the firm now that a 13-year development cycle has yielded an amorphous thermoplastic polyimide that is able to withstand extremely high temperatures.
There are few characteristics more desirable in a product than flexibility. But despite industry demands for versatility, AGR Automation Ltd. (Arbroath, Angus, Scotland) noticed that assembly systems on the market were marred by restrictions and limitations. Conveyor and cam-driven applications required tedious modifications when an operator wished to change the product on the line, while a competing assembly platform tied users to an existing systems integrator, according to David Hook, North American sales manager for AGR. With the SmartPod, a self-contained modular assembly platform, AGR sought to fill this void.
A tempering and cleaning technique for silicone rubber has been developed by Nanon A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark; www.nanon.dk). The environmentally friendly process consists of a 45-min wash in liquid CO2, which helps remove the volatile residues in silicone rubber and replaces the traditional method of four hours of postcuring in a 200°C oven.