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.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
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