Examples of new materials applications for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner continue to come to light. Amphenol, a large manufacturer of interconnect products, developed a high performance wiring, cable, and hydraulic tubing clamp to replace and outperform traditional P-clamps and Saddle clamps. It also wanted to reduce weight, one of the major goals of the composite-bodied Dreamliner.
Amphenol engineers designed a clamp molded from polyetheretherketone (PEEK) polymer and overmolded with a silicone rubber cushion. By using VICTREX PEEK polymer, Amphenol was able to develop a lighter and stronger clamp - one that, unlike metal, is completely non-corrosive and non-conductive for use throughout the aircraft.
Amphenol uses a proprietary silicone over-molding process to produce the high performance clamps, which are also used in a wide range of shipboard, industrial and railway applications. The advantage of Amphenol’s overmold process is that it bonds the silicone rubber cushion to the plastic in the tool. There’s another assembly aspect to the new Amphenol design: the high performance clamps are equipped with a locking feature that makes installation quick and easy. “A “lock-open” feature keeps the clamp open and a second “lock-closed” feature keeps the clamp closed.
Available in single leg (P-clamp) and double leg (Omega) configurations, the new high performance clamps are available in 36 sizes, allowing them to meet most wire bundle and application-specific load requirements. They are also compatible with tubing up to 2-inches in diameter.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
At the JEC Europe 2015 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials, software, and process equipment showed off their latest innovations. This year's show saw some announcements related to automotive applications, but many of the improvements came in the world of aerospace.
The DuPont-sponsored Plastics Industry Trends survey shows engineers want improved performance in a broad range of plastics and better recycling technology. These concerns top even processing enhancements that improve productivity.
Plastics leader SABIC recently announced a global initiative to help its customers take advantage of additive manufacturing (AM) and also advance 3D printing (3DP) technologies in several application areas. The company's plans go way beyond materials, and also include design, processing, and part performance.
A theme that was reflected in several ways at NPE 2015 was the use of 3D printing to assist in, or improve on, injection molding, as well as improvements in 3D printing materials and processes that are making better functional prototypes and end-use parts.
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