Consider laser welding for applications using electronic components. Other joining methods can shake embedded components, causing damage. Lasers shine through a transmissive material on top, often natural, into an opaque black material that heats up and melts the natural. The bottom piece often contains carbon black to create opacity that absorbs the laser beam. When two black parts are required, a laser-transmissive black dye is used for the top piece. A new glass-filled nylon compound is designed specifically for laser welding. Luvotech J-3/15/LW BK from Techmer Lehvoss LLC, Clinton, Tenn. is a 15% glass-filled nylon 6. Laser welding requires a pair of materials, one transparent to laser energy and the other laser-absorbing. The first commercial application is a black automotive under-hood part. Techmer is also developing laser-weldable PBT.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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