As readers of this blog know, I am a staunch opponent of a federal bailout of the US automotive industry. And I’m sticking to my guns despite a flood of hate mail and comments. I do, however, feel there are steps that could be taken to help make US automakers more viable:
1) Get rid of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations enacted by Congress in 1975. The goal of CAFE has been to improve fuel economy of all vehicles manufactured in the United States. So in order to sell profit-making SUVs and light trucks, GM, Ford and Chrysler had to make small cars in US plants staffed by members of the United Auto workers. There’s no way those cars could economically compete with small cars made by Japanese transplants in the South. US automakers should have the freedom to make those cars wherever they want.
2) Use a higher federal gas tax to create an incentive for consumers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles.
3) Use federal money to underwrite a massive campaign to develop electric and other fuel-efficient vehicles. There’s plenty of precedent here from defense and other projects. Maybe hydrogen could be in the mix. Green light pebble-bed nuclear plants to produce hydrogen.
I’m sure there are other constructive ideas that make sense. But we don’t want Congressional nitwits like Stephen Lynch, a Democrat from Massachusetts (sadly, my congressman) lecturing the auto CEOs on how to run their business.
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
As we saw on the show floor this week at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing and co-located events in Anaheim, Calif., 3D printing is contributing to distributed manufacturing and being reinvented by engineers for their own needs. Meanwhile, new fasteners are appearing for wearable consumer and medical devices and Baxter Robot has another software upgrade.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.