There’ll be a hot new assembly tool on display at the Fakuma show in Germany next month. The Zahoransky Group, which has produced more than 500 multi-component molds, will be showing the first-ever Servo Cavity Positioning System (SCPS), which is a sophisticated way to make a three- or four-color part with one standard injection molding machine without using ancillary systems, such as indexing platens. In a nutshell, it means if you want to design a plastic part with four types of material, the cost just dropped, possibly substantially. You’ll need a good production run, though, because this tool is sure to be pricey.
For starters, the SCPS mold has a control system that is independent of the machine control system. Movements are controlled by precise electric motors. Indexing components rise upward (via spindle) in the moving half of the tool to various injection stations.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
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.
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