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.
How 3D printing fits into the digital thread, and the relationship between its uses for prototyping and for manufacturing, was the subject of a talk by Proto Labs' Rich Baker at last week's Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis.
How can automakers, aerospace contractors, and other OEMs get new metal alloys that are stronger, harder, and can survive ever higher temperatures? One way is to redesign their crystalline structures at the nanoscale and microscale.
Although a lot of the excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing surrounds its ability to make end-products and functional prototypes, some often ignored applications are the big improvements that can come by using it for tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
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