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.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have published two physics-based models for the selective laser melting (SLM) metals additive manufacturing process, so engineers can understand how it works at the powder and scales, and develop better parts with less trial and error.
Materials and assembly methods on exhibit at next week's MD&M West and other co-located shows will include some materials you should see, as well as several new and improved processes. Here's a sampling of what you can expect.
The Food & Drug Administration has approved a 3D-printed, titanium, cranial/craniofacial patient-specific plate implant for use in the US. The implant is 3D printed using Arcam's electron beam melting (EBM) process.
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