There’s a cool new backlighting technology on display at the 63rd International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany. The instrument luster on BMW’s new 5-series features inverse forming technology for three-dimensional black panel film that has no distorted effects. In conventional thermoforming, thinning occurs at certain places on the film causing polarization in these areas in the form of rainbow-like distortions known as Newton’s rings. Achim Hosenfeld, vice president electronics at Johnson Controls, says: “Unlike before, the film is placed down into the forming tool. The result is a special embossed surface structure that is imprinted by the texture of the tool. This eliminates the need for an expensive anti-reflective coating and also makes the display easy to read.”
The black 3D film produces a smooth transition between the flat printed surfaces of the analog instruments and the digital information display.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Optomec's third America Makes project for metal 3D printing teams the LENS process company with GE Aviation, Lockheed, and other big aerospace names to develop guidelines for repairing high-value flight-critical Air Force components.
A self-propelled robot developed by a team of researchers headed by MIT promises to detect leaks quickly and accurately in gas pipelines, eliminating the likelihood of dangerous explosions. The robot may also be useful in water and petroleum pipe leak detection.
Aerojet Rocketdyne has built and successfully hot-fire tested an entire 3D-printed rocket engine. In other news, NASA's 3D-printed rocket engine injectors survived tests generating a record 20,000 pounds of thrust. Some performed equally well or better than welded parts.
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