Interested in mechatronics? There are some very cool examples coming out of Germany using a plastics process called “outsert” molding. In outsert molding, plastic pieces are molded into a frame of metal or some other material. Two examples are new infusion pumps made by medical device OEM B. Braun of Germany. The process begins with the creation of a frame for the pump that consists of a chassis, bolt, flap and pump chassis. High-performance plastic parts are molded onto the plate in a one-shot process. The biggest advantages are part reduction (up to two-thirds) and elimination of secondary operations. The Braun parts are made at the TB&C Outsert Center in Herborn, Germany. TB&C’s use of outsert techniques dates to 1985 when its parent, Phillips Metallwaren, was forced by Asian customers to dramatically reduce costs on car auto tape drives. TB&C says reject levels with the process are low at 25 ppm. Electromechanical structures are molded by TB&C for large roof systems, automated teller machines as well as mediacl devices with microtransmission.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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