The UAW-Ford 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 5 will be the first restrictor-plate event for NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow. Part of an overall program of new designs and materials, the restrictor plate is aimed at cutting engine power from 750 hp to approximately 430 hp. Drivers have resisted some of the innovations which are designed to improve safety. Dow Automotive is developing new energy management foam for the Car of Tomorrow (COT) Project that’s expected to be widely used next year. It’ll be placed between the roll cage bars and door panels. The energy of the impact is managed through a series of controlled reactions within the foam. The new foam is also said to reduce weight 50 percent compared to competitive foams. Installation errors (too close to the tailpipe) led to some melting and fuming problems in early trials.
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.