Look for extensive use of ceramics and new woven polymer materials in the armored vehicle that will replace the US Army’s Humvee. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle will come in three types that will haul cargo and perform reconnaissance missions. The target weight is 20,000 pounds, about half the weight of currently used armored vehicles. That’s only three to four times the weight of pickup trucks. Under consideration will be use of composite systems such as aramid-fiber reinforced materials (Kevlar), ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) composites, and S-2 glass armor systems, which are also used in the Boeing Dreamliner. Capacities of all three are being rapidly expanded in anticipation of higher demand for military and other types of applications. Manufacturers of all three materials are dramatically expanding capacity right now to meet soaring demand.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.