The next generation of North American-built diesel engines, scheduled for introduction during the 2009 to 2011 timeframe, is a bright spot for an otherwise weak powder metal industry. New PM applications include cam gear drives, idler gears, timing system sprockets, and fuel injector gears. Powder-forged connecting rods and PM bearing caps are currently being tested and the outlook is good. General Motors put $69 million into its DMAX diesel engine plant in Moraine, OH to manufacture a new Duramax 6.6-liter V-8 turbo diesel engine that will meet 2010 emissions standards. DMAX Limited is a joint venture between GM and Isuzu Motors Limited and was established as a diesel engine company in 1998. About half of new cars in Europe feature diesel engines, which are more energy efficient than cars with spark ignition systems.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.