There’s a “real horse race” at General Motors between new magnesium alloys and carbon-fiber reinforced plastics for use in load-bearing structural applications of future car platforms. That comment was made in an exclusive Design News interview today with Mark Verbrugge, the director of GM’s materials and process lab. For the moment, magnesium is leading because of the successful use of a new Norsk Hydro magnesium alloy in the engine cradle of the Corvette Z06, The cradle provides a 35 percent weight savings over the previous aluminum structure. “There are only about 10 pounds of magnesium in a car now,” says Verbrugge. “There’s a lot of bandwidth there for magnesium to go after.”
Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
Arevo Labs' end-production 3D printing technology for carbon composites includes a high-temperature, filament fusion printer head design and firmware for use with the company's new carbon fiber and nanotube reinforced high-temperature matrix polymers like PEEK.
Stratasys will buy Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies and combine them with its RedEye service business. The plan takes aim at end-production manufacturing and will create one of the biggest commercial 3D printing and AM service bureaus.
The International Federation of Robotics reports that global sales of industrial robots decreased by 4% in 2012 over 2011. The biggest hit was electrical/electronics manufacturing, down by 13%; but by region, the Amerficas did well.
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