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Design Insights: The Word on Plastics; More Innovation: the Product Blitz!; D&M West: Live in Anaheim!

May 21, 2021
A review of the day’s top trending stories from Machine Design editors.

The Word on Plastics

Remember the oft-quoted scene in the 1967 movie “The Graduate,” where a young Ben Braddock was pointed to his future by his father’s well-meaning friend? “One word. Are you listening? Plastics.”

For all of its utility, plastics remains a vexing and voluminous problem at the other end of the product lifecycle. As a recent Machine Design article notes, more than 12 million tons of plastics finds its way into the world’s oceans each year. The danger to the ecosystem is one thing, but the sheer waste of materials is quite another.

It is the second issue which design engineers must wrestle with, and artificial intelligence, as the article notes, is an ally in reducing the need for plastics at the product creation stage, thus reducing the wasted volume at the end.

There are ancillary benefits to using less plastic, such as reduced shipping costs which will reduce fuel and transportation costs. The seemingly permanent nature of so much of our plastic is quite another issue, but so is the efficient and safe transportation of goods and materials. It may be left to the next generation of graduates to solve this issue, but engineers using AI today are getting a start on the issue.

More Innovation: the Product Blitz!

The 2021 IDEA! Awards entry deadline is July 9, but readers who can’t wait to see the latest in product innovations can review this week’s Machine Design Product Blitz. Our regular look at new products targeted to help design engineers, Product Blitz offers the latest advancements in a wide variety of areas. To submit your new product, send an email to [email protected]. To enter the 2021 IDEA! Awards, go to this link.

D&M West: Live in Anaheim!

One of the first events that will return to a live trade show format will be D&M West on Aug. 10-12 in Anaheim. Design and manufacturing engineers, directors and executives from thousands of companies will be walking the D&M West show floor, attending the conference and looking for inspiration. Machine Design is a media partner for this event. For more information and to register, go to

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