Ten companies have teamed in a $3 million project to commercialize a "pivotal" manufacturing technology. The Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) project uses computer-controlled lasers that, in hours, weld air-blown streams of metallic powders into custom parts and manufacturing molds. The technique is said to produce shapes close enough to the final product to eliminate the need for rough machining. To date, the technology has worked at Sandia National Laboratories. However, the purpose of the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is to produce an industrial tool that works automatically, robustly, and without constant supervision. In the technique, nozzles direct a stream of metal powder at a central point beneath them. Simultaneously, that point is heated by a high-powered laser beam. The laser and jets remain stationary, while the model and its substrate move to provide continually new targets on which to deposit metal. Dave Keicher, vice president of Optomec, a small Albuquerque, NM, company, plans to produce LENS as a commercial product. email@example.com.
Siemens and Georgia Institute of Technology are partnering to address limitations in the current additive manufacturing design-to-production chain in an applied research project as part of the federally backed America Makes program.
Independent science safety company Underwriters Laboratories is providing new guidance for manufacturers about how to follow the latest IEC standards for implementing safety features in programmable logic controllers.
Automakers are adding greater digital capabilities to their design and engineering activities to promote collaboration among staff and suppliers, input consumer feedback, shorten product development cycles, and meet evolving end-use needs.
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