A start-up company in New York has developed a new vibration-proof fastening system that offers interesting opportunities for plastics molding. The company, called Permanent Technologies, uses a patented system in which the nut has one or more tines that work in conjunction with longitudinal bolt thread channels to prevent counter rotation and loosening. Months-long testing on U.S. Navy Hovercrafts proved the concept. Engineers are often loathe to try new designs, but this is worth a look—particularly if you’re experiencing failures due to vibration. Some cool design ideas are possible. Take a pump assembly for example. Permanent Technologies can produce a cut-out underneath the pump cover and put a hexagon-shaped tine in the hole located in the body of the assembly. Then put the cover on and put a bolt through the cover. The bolt would then click through the tines just as if they were on top of a nut. You get vibration-proof blind hole fastening. And that translates well into injection molding, where undercuts can be mass produced at high speeds with tool action.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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