Times may be tough, but companies with strong engineering have a better chance of riding things out.
Example: A Canadian company called Camoplast, developed a dramatically different technology for making hulls for personal watercraft that is economical and creates large parts that are lighter and stronger. The company’s engineering director, Yves Carbonneau, forged ahead even though he told his concept was impossible.
Hulls for the watercraft have been made for decades by the well-known fiberglass processes using polyester in SMC. A customer told Camoplast they wanted something better. Carbonneau worked with two key suppliers-Bayer MaterialScience and KraussMaffei-to develop a polyurethane process using insertion of chopped long glass fiber at the mix head. Bayer developed a new material with far superior flow characteristics, allowing more detail in the mold. The result: a
first time capability to design-in ribs, for example. Huge breakthrough.
“Camoplast’s mission is to set a goal and take all the necessary steps to reach it, one at a time,” says Carbonneau. It took seven years of collaboration and hard work, but the new boat hull is now a reality.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
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 discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.