New EURO-5 exhaust gas standards, which will take effect in 2008, will push several automotive plastics applications toward high-end materials. “Alternative fuels, concentrated blow-by gases in mechanical separators as well as ammonia solution used for treating exhaust gases have a highly aggressive effect on seals and molded pars,” comments Klaus Bender, DuPont’s automotive market development manager. DuPont is developing HTN polyphthalamide (PPA) grades for specific applications that will meet the tougher requirements. Also under development are extrudable nylon 66 grades with improved thermal performance.
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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