One of the hot new ideas in material’s joining is use of atmospheric plasma. Plastics, metals, glass or textiles are cleaned, activated or coated with Openair Jet-Technology, replacing adhesives or mechanical approaches. It’s Physics 101: apply energy and the state of matter changes. Solid turns into liquid, and the liquid becomes gas. If more energy is applied to the gas, electrons leave their atomic shells, putting the gas into the plasma state. Plasma is generated by an intense pulsed arc discharge from a jet that can operate as part of an in-line manufacturing system. The working gas typically is dry compressed air. The breakup of atomic bombs allows cleaning and joining of dissimilar materials.
Developed by Plasmatreat, the first breakthough came in 1995 with the pretreatment of headlight housings, and applications now includes windshields, engine control housings, displays or sensors and the bonding of body components.
Look for the process to become more widely used in multicomponent injection molding processes, which previously had to avoid use of low-priced polypropylene. PP doesn’t adhere well to TPU when treated with plasma. As a result, alloys of polycarbonate and ABS are often used, The PP-TPU system is a result of a collaboration between Plasmatreat, Krass-Maffei, the University of Erlangen-Nŭrnberg, and Neue Materialien Fŭrth.
Read a report of a new technology demonstration at the upcoming Fakuma show in Germany.
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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