Additives are an area where design engineers could focus a little more time and attention. When added to plastic resins, these chemicals impart a needed property and they also change the mechanical characteristics of the compound. There are also new technologies emerging that can save time and money. One I saw recently comes from Carolina Color of Salisbury, NC. A new process creates so-called “super concentrates”. “G2 has overcome processing challenges with a proven ability to provide exceptionally effective dispersion and distribution in both large and small parts,” says President Matt Barr. The new G2 product line is claimed to save up to 30 per cent in color cost and allow processing at lower temperatures, which can save up to 10 percent in cycle time. Part thickness can even be reduced because of improved physical properties. That also means reduced cycle time and clamping force. It’s worth a look.
How 3D printing fits into the digital thread, and the relationship between its uses for prototyping and for manufacturing, was the subject of a talk by Proto Labs' Rich Baker at last week's Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis.
How can automakers, aerospace contractors, and other OEMs get new metal alloys that are stronger, harder, and can survive ever higher temperatures? One way is to redesign their crystalline structures at the nanoscale and microscale.
Although a lot of the excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing surrounds its ability to make end-products and functional prototypes, some often ignored applications are the big improvements that can come by using it for tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
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