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.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.