A North American manufacturer will be one of the show stoppers at next month’s Fakuma injection molding fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Trexel of Woburn, MA, will show how long-fiber reinforced plastics can be used in its microcellular foam process called MuCell. The MuCell process produces lower cost engineering parts with high quality and exceptional dimensional stability in applications where foaming has not historically been deployed. The long fiber technology from Ticona works well for large and complex parts. New parts use an advanced screw design developed jointly by Trexel and Ticona. Hartmut Traut, business director - Europe of Trexel, said several benefits result. “These include potential weight savings of 10 percent, and a 10 to 20 percent cycle time reduction. In addition, customers can get these benefits along with reduced warpage compared to solid injection molding and prior iterations of the MuCell process,” says Traut. One advanced American user of MuCell is fastener maker Soutcho, which uses injection molding machines sized from 55 to 350 tons in clamping force to make MuCell parts.
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.
Researchers at MIT's d'Arbeloff Laboratory are developing shoulder- and hip-mounted robotic arms to help workers in aircraft manufacturing perform difficult or complex assembly tasks that would normally require two people.
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