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.
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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