There’s a major new producer of engineering materials in the United States: PolyOne Corp., which until very recently has been better known for its commodity businesses, including the now divested vinyl resins. PolyOne very recently acquired GLS, making it one of the largest elastomer producers in the US. Specialty materials now represent 60 percent of the PolyOne product line, a doubling. “We anticipate continued expansion including greater market development resources to accelerate growth with key Asian OEMs,” commented CEO Stephen D. Newlin in a Feb 22 meeting with analysts. . “We will also leverage our recently established technical service center in North China.”
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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