Announcements of new polymers are infrequent, with most of the action coming in additive systems that enhance performance or processability. DSM Engineering Plastics says it has developed a “breakthrough” polymer called PA4T, a specialized nylon aimed at electronics miniaturization. Specific attributes include excellent dimensional stability, compatibility with lead free soldering, high stiffness and mechanical strength at elevated temperatures, high melting point, and excellent flow and processing window. Potential applications include memory card connectors, CPU sockets, and air/fuel and power train components. A market development plant in the Netherlands will open early next year.
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.