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.
Some of the biggest self-assembled building blocks and structures made from engineered DNA have been developed by researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute. The largest, a hexagonal prism, is one-tenth the size of an average bacterium.
Arevo Labs' end-production 3D printing technology for carbon composites includes a high-temperature, filament fusion printer head design and firmware for use with the company's new carbon fiber and nanotube reinforced high-temperature matrix polymers like PEEK.
Stratasys will buy Solid Concepts and Harvest Technologies and combine them with its RedEye service business. The plan takes aim at end-production manufacturing and will create one of the biggest commercial 3D printing and AM service bureaus.
The International Federation of Robotics reports that global sales of industrial robots decreased by 4% in 2012 over 2011. The biggest hit was electrical/electronics manufacturing, down by 13%; but by region, the Amerficas did well.
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