Thanks for that input, bobjengr. I've done several posts from that show, as have the rest of us who went. Here are my others: igus plastic bearings http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271925 3D printing http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271813 Baxter Robot http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271846 SABIC's carbon composites for medical devices http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271732 Disease-fighting materials http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271712
Ann--I have used Penn fasteners and can "testify" they really do a great job depending upon the application. The micro-devices are ideal for the applications you mention in your post. I was very surprised at the shear and tensile some designs can tolerate. I'm really sorry I missed the show. Certainly seems like a great experience and I look forward to other posts you make relative to your visit.
The microPEM pins are so tiny you can barely see them with the naked eye, at least with my eyes unaided by glasses. The sample Penn gives out is so small and lightweight--2 super thin 1.5in diameter disks fastened together--it kept flying out of the pocket in my notebook (not a computer, an actual paper device I use to take notes on). I was also impressed by the many uses of silicone for adhesives, coatings, and other apps: it's a truly versatile material.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.