Design engineers are fuming mad about the lack of decent options for cadmium as a plating material. A couple made comments in a recent study conducted by the Reed Business Information Research Department for Design News. “We need an environmentally friendly replacement with decent cost and performance,” says an engineer who designs equipment for in house use. ”These days, cadmium is effectively banned for environmental reasons, but none of the possible replacements meet all the performance requirements.” Cadmium has been widely used as a plating material because it offers good corrosion resistance, cathodic protection of steel, galvanic compatibility with aluminum, as well as excellent lubricity. Cadmium can be dyed to many colors and can be used as a final finish or a paint base. Inhalation of cadmium-containing fumes can result in chemical pneumonitis, pulmonary edema, and death. Human exposures to environmental cadmium are primarily the result of the burning of fossil fuels and municipal wastes It’s one of six substances banned by the European Union’s Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.
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Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
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