Hefty steel price increases will accelerate the shift to aluminum and other light weight materials in automobiles. News that Japanese steelmakers agreed to a 65 percent hike in iron ore prices is causing alarm at large Japanese automakers. “The consumer won’t accept price increases,” Honda President Takeo Fukui says. “We may see a quicker shift to aluminum.” Analysts estimate that Japanese car makers will pay $1.9 billion more for steel in the coming year than in the past year. Research departments at the car companies accelerated efforts to light weight future vehicles even before iron ore contracts exploded. Fukui began at Honda in 1969 as an engineer.
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
As we saw on the show floor this week at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing and co-located events in Anaheim, Calif., 3D printing is contributing to distributed manufacturing and being reinvented by engineers for their own needs. Meanwhile, new fasteners are appearing for wearable consumer and medical devices and Baxter Robot has another software upgrade.
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