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.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
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.