Keep a close eye on your North American injection molder. At least one in four are in credit jeopardy. Average utilization rates are a mere 41 percent. Molders are getting clobbered by high resin prices, weak demand and customer demands to reduce prices an average of 3 percent per year. “I’m thinking we could lose 1,000 to 1,500 in the next five years,” said Jeff Mengel, partner, Plante & Moran at Molding 2008 today. There are some 6,000 molders in North America today, down from 7,000 seven years ago.
Airbus Defence and Space has 3D printed titanium brackets for communications satellites. The redesigned, one-piece 3D-printed brackets have better thermal resistance than conventionally manufactured parts, can be produced faster, cost 20% less, and save about 1 kg of weight per satellite.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
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