CHICAGO - Software is taking on a bold new dimension these days as computer terminals become fast, accurate and seemingly unlimited sources of information plastics processors need. At the National Design Engi-neering Show in Chicago, data sources came from companies as diverse as GE Plastics, Autodesk Inc., and one with the surfer name Industry.Net.
GE Plastics featured its new on-line material-selection database called GE Select. Joyce Ruppert, information programs manager, said it provides complete properties and engineering data on 500 resin grades.
Other on-line material available includes engineering assistance, recent GE news releases and corporate information such as sales and earnings reports.
The GE Plastics on-line material can be downloaded from the Internet through www.ge.com, the Pittsfield, Mass., firm said.
Industry.Net, formerly Automation News Network of Pittsburgh, used the design show to introduce its Industry.Net Online Marketplace on the Internet's Worldwide Web.
The no-cost-to-buyers system details product information from suppliers who pay for a listing. Information from a variety of suppliers is available on molding machines and equipment, secondary processing machinery and resin properties.
Autumn Jones, a communications specialist with Industry.Net, said the company has a network of at least 100,000 active buyers and specifiers. About 3,300 manufacturers promote their goods in about 250,000 files. The system also carries information on used machinery, industry news, product introductions from trade shows and job opportunities.
``In the first test month on the Web, Industry.Net Online Marketplace traffic shot up to 60,000 log-ons, many of them related to plastics,'' she said.
Industry.Net is a subsidiary of privately owned Franklin McKee Corp. of Pittsburgh.
Autodesk Inc. drew design show attention with demonstrations of its Mechanical Library, a database on a disk. The system includes information on about 25,000 materials, many of them plastics related and some 200,000 ready-made parts.
The company, perhaps best known in the plastics world for Autodesk computer-aided-design software, said its CD-ROM database will be updated every six months. Subscriptions to the materials service are $199 and the parts data costs $99.
The company said it has learned that for most designers and engineers, having access to digital information is essential before a product can be designed and reach market. There is often an information bottleneck that can disappear with ready access to data early in the design stage, the company said.