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.
Ford will be the first automaker to commercially use Alcoa's tough & fast Micromill aluminum alloy process and materials, debuting on several 2016 F-150 truck components. Alcoa will also license its Micromill process and materials technology to Danieli Group.
NIST's new five-year strategic plan for its Material Measurement Laboratory lists additive manufacturing materials development as one of the main areas it will support by developing measurements, data, techniques, and models.
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