Create a free account to continue

MM: Turning Paper Waste Into Plastic; Snake Robot Improves Maintenance

In this Manufacturing Minute episode, turning paper waste into plastic and a creepy robotic snake.


Using Paper Industry Waste To Make Plastic

A recent study suggests that paper industry byproducts long discarded as waste could in fact be used to help manufacture new plastics.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland examined the potential industrial applications for sludge and fly ash generated by paper and board production as part of the European Union's REFFIBRE project.

Laboratory tests showed that those materials could replace up to half of the oil-based polypropylene ordinarily used to make injection-molded plastic composites.

As part of the study, Finnish plastics companies Plastec and Wiitta utilized paper waste for 30 percent of the raw material for new floor tiles and storage containers, and future applications could include pallets and crates.

Researchers noted that the percentage of paper byproduct used in the material affected its strength, heat resistance and appearance.

But in addition to reducing the environmental impact of the paper industry, the processes could eventually curb the plastics industry's need for oil and reduce the overall cost to produce composites.


Is this a practical solution for making more environmentally-friendly plastic? Could this technology help lift the domestic paper industry? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

The Creepiest Snake-Like Robot

With the manufacturing industry becoming increasingly inundated with the latest and greatest tech, it’s safe to say that the robotics industry is currently having a moment. Now, perhaps more than ever, industry leaders are looking to make major operational productivity upgrades, thus creating demand for more innovative robot helpers.

In fact, General Electric Ventures recently invested in a company called Sarcos Robotics, who develop robots to perform tasks that are too difficult or dangerous for humans. And there’s one particular robot creation from Sarcos that’s caught our attention.

Called the Guardian S Snake Robot, this rugged 4-foot-long robot looks, per the name, like a snake. While decidedly creepy in motion, the 10-pound snake robot is remotely operated and designed for use in unpredictable or unstructured environments. For instance, the Guardian S snake robot can twist and crawl inside steam pipes that need inspecting in either an oil storage tank or even a nuclear power plant. Once inside, the snake can scan the inside of the pipes with a camera and audio and infrared sensors, which will then wirelessly transmit the information to the operations crew.

And although this creepy, crawly snake robot is just one example of how the robotics market is innovating, it certainly won’t be the last.


What do you think about this snake-like robot? What other environments can you imagine would benefit from a robot like the Guardian S Snake?

Tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews or comment in the section below.

More in Industry 4.0