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.
The 100% solar-powered airplane Solar Impulse 2 is prepping for its upcoming flight, becoming the first plane to fly around the world without using fuel. It's able to do so because of above-average performance by all of the technologies that go into it, especially materials.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
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