GE Plastics long-standing attack on polyvinyl chloride continues in the Chevy Volt. Flexible Noryl replaces polyvinyl chloride for environmental and weight-saving reasons. Today's cars have over a mile of wiring, which is mostly made with PVC coating. The case against PVC, says GE, is that it contains halogen and releases dioxins when burned. The Noryl coating is also smaller in diameter than the PVC, making it easier for engineers to manipulate wires in the car. The PVC producers have long maintained that PVC is safe when incinerated properly. European regulators have been the most aggressive in attacking the use of PVC.
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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