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:
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.