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.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
Daihatsu is one of the first carmakers to customize car exteriors using 3D printing's mass customization capabilities. Effect Skins -- small exterior bumper and fender panels in different colors and textures -- can be ordered for its Copen convertible.
Several new products in this group of new adhesives, coatings, and sealants are formulated to protect sensitive electronic components, or to seal components of commercial and military aircraft. Others are designed to operate in tough, messy, dirty oil & gas operations, or for rotary applications and motors.
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