Biobased plastics are a hot topic today because of growing concern about global warming. The company making the biggest investment to develop engineering materials is DuPont. It’s becoming apparent, however, that there is a stronger demand at the retail consumer level than at the industrial level, at least in the United States. One of the early applications for DuPont’s new bio elastomer materials (not yet commercialized) could be Active Layer, an engineered “breathable” film used in fabrics to absorb and diffuse perspiration. In a recent meeting with Design News, Thomas Oury (DuPont’s Business Manager, Flexible Solutions - Americas) said: “DuPont Active Layer is a recyclable product. And it is already getting a huge market interest because of this feature. The recent work of DuPont in bio-based materials is likely to open ways for us to develop and market a renewable resource based DuPont Active Layer. But this is a longer term perspective for DuPont Active Layer, and at this stage it is too early though to say when this will be available in the market.” Another major application for this material is surgical gowns.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.