What price premium will you pay for bioplastics? In general, look for a premium of 20 to 30 percent above what you now pay for a comparable material. That’s an artificial figure, but it’s what OEMs think customers will pay for the environmental friendliness plus the enhanced properties some of these grades will have.I say artificial, because seemingly like all things that overcome our “energy” or “global warming” crisis (pick your decade) costs will be very high until there is economy of scale. And economy of scale for plastics is huge. American OEMs that have been leaders in this field, such as John Deere, have not pursued bio materials for economic reasons. They pursued them for political reasons. Deere, for example, wanted to support its farmer-customers, particularly in the soybean area, where grants were available.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
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.
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.