Domestic die casting shipments will increase next year after two years of declines, forecasts the new State of the Industry report from the North American Die Casting Association (NADCA). An uptick in automotive use has triggered a rise in magnesium die casting shipments. Another 3% improvement is expected this year with a 4% gain in 2008. Aluminum and zinc are not faring as well. A 1.2% drop in aluminum shipments is forecast for 2007 before a 1.5% increase will be seen in 2008, with similar results for zinc. New technical developments are on the horizon. Keep an eye on the print pages of Design News.
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.