What are the biggest trends in product design? Someone asked me that at dinner. I gave this response: 1) lightweighting (what else could I say after the big stories this year on the Chevy Volt and Dreamliner), 2) miniaturization, and related issues concerning thermal conductivity of plastics, and 3) a move back toward styling. This came to mind because of the great new looking washers and dryers from Whirlpool and, more recently, the Nokia Classic 6500.The renewed emphasis on styling is due, in part, to the enormous success of Apple with the Mac, the iPod and iPhone. What do you think are the biggest trends?
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.
At the JEC Europe 2014 composites show in Paris, many companies showcased their carbon fiber composite products, especially for volume automotive manufacturing. Some companies touted their contributions to BMW's all-carbon composite body-in-white. Others introduced automotive products and processes.
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