Declining sales of stainless steel kitchen appliances are triggering a freefall in nickel prices. Tags have dropped 30 per cent this year, and some traders say prices will drop another 25 per cent by the end of the year. That’s despite announcements of several mine closings: Xstrata in the Dominican Republic. BHP Billion, and Industrial Metallurgical Holding. Nickel producers are getting hit with a double whammy of lower prices and higher costs for sulfuric acid, which is used to extract nickel ores. Refrigerator sales are off 9 per cent this year and electric ovens are off 14 percent.
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.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.