Forty-five percent of serious plastics product failures result from inappropriate materials selection, said Melissa Kurtz, senior materials scientist at Stork Technimet Inc. in a lively discussion on failure analysis at the annual technical conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers in Milwaukee, WI. “This is especially true in applications involving chemical attack and environmental stress cracking,” she said. In one example she cited a phthalic-based plasticizer used in a rubber seal caused environmental stress cracking of polyetherimide in a medical device. In a panel discussion, a General Motors engineer asked for tips on how to determine if excessive use of captive regrind could be causing a part failure. Experts suggested testing melt index of material before molding to determine if the molecular weight was out of range.
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.