Assembly technology is one of the hugely overlooked areas of component design. It’s often a last-minute thought, adding additional complexity and expense to a design. Consider assembly strategy early in the design process. You’d be amazed at the new technology, and amount of engineering, that is taking place in mechanical fastening. One example is in the hinge area. Applications have expanded to include many devices that provide tilt and swivel action, movable mounting arms for things like lights, cameras, and displays, as well as a lot of high tech mechanisms that would be a stretch to call hinges. I picked that up from a blog written by. Jim Ford, Southco’s Product Manager for Hinges and Positioning Technology, who has worked on “hinge” solutions for nearly two decades. Check out his blog. It’s a good read.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.