A brand new lightweight material for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was announced this morning at K 2007, the giant plastics fair in Düsseldorf. BASF will produce a new ultra light foam for the interior of the groundbreaking aircraft. The new foam is 30 per cent lighter than films that had been used for sound and thermal insulation. Pieces cut from the elastic membrane resin foam can be installed with ease in cabin walls because of its open cell network structure. “We investigated several material combinations, and our testing determined that a laminate containing Basotect, the new material, was the most weight-efficient solution to reduce the interior noise in the forward fuselage,” said Randall Smith, Interiors Design Engineer at Boeing.
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.
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