When I think of pultrusion, I think of a continuous process to produce lineal shapes, such as I-beams or legs for ladders. I think of it as a reverse extrusion process because reinforced fibers are pulled through a resin and into a heated die, where the resin is polymerized. An interesting new German technology called Radius Pultrusion allows the continuous production of curved reinforced profiles from endless fibers and webbing. It was just announced that the process, developed by the Thomas Group of Bremervörde, Germany, has been nominated for the prestigious Hermes technology Award, which will be given at the Hannover Messe, which will be held later this month in Germany.The innovation enables production of endless circles and arches of any radius, for example springs. When using bidirectional reinforcement, the strict orientation of the fibers can only be provided on the level that is vertical to the deflection level. For all other areas, formable webbings, or nettings are required. Thomas says it can be used for structural components of cars, trains or aircraft. Thread rods and nuts are another possibility.
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.