A metal/polymer hybrid featuring nanotechnology aimed at extremely lightweight components was introduced at K 2007 today by DuPont Engineering Polymers and partners Morph Technologies of Toronto, Canada; Integran Technologies, of Pittsburgh, PA; and PowderMetal Technologies of Carlsbad, CA. Key to the technology is a new proprietary process called MetalFuse that applies precise amounts of nanometal to molded plastic components. Parts are said to have the stiffness of aluminum or magnesium but with better strength. Grain sizes of the metals are 1000 times smaller than conventional metals. “Nanocrystalline nickel or nickel-iron are high-performance metals that are two to three times stronger than normal steel and are also significantly harder, with better wear and friction performance,” says Gino Palumbo, president of Integran Tehcnologies. Initial development will focus on selected applications in the automotive, consumer electronics, and sporting goods markets.
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.