Normally when you think of reduced weight and parts count, plastics injection molding comes to mind. But those two goals are achieved with an innovative process called Alcoa Vacuum Die Casting (AVDC), which uses large dies to create durable door assemblies for cars. The inner door panel for the Nissan GT-R is larger than half a square meter, but with a thickness less than 3 mm and a weight of just 5.5 kg per door. That’s a 35 percent reduction compared to conventional designs.
Reinforcing ribs can be added to boost strength, and engineers can also design specific elements, allowing parts reduction. The process uses a special alloy C446, which provides strength and is dimensionally stable. The alloy C446 shows comparable properties to AlSi9Mg without expensive heat treatment.
After closing the die, air is evacuated through the die, and molten metal is then pulled in by low pressure. The formed part is nearly pore free. The castings produced by Alcoa in Soest, Germany have an average strength of 240 Mpa and the average elongation is 15 percent.
The following vehicles use parts made with the process:
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
As we saw on the show floor this week at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing and co-located events in Anaheim, Calif., 3D printing is contributing to distributed manufacturing and being reinvented by engineers for their own needs. Meanwhile, new fasteners are appearing for wearable consumer and medical devices and Baxter Robot has another software upgrade.
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