Secondary finishing is dramatically reduced in an interesting new injection molding process out of Germany called “DirectSkinning”.
The new technology combines injection molding of thermoplastics with the reaction injection molding (RIM) process used for polyurethane processing. A coated component is produced directly on an injection-molding machine in a single mold in a process that can be compared to multi-component injection molding. After a thermoplastic substrate such as ABS is molded, the polyurethane system is injected into the closed mold via a polyurethane mixing head, coating the thermoplastic. “When a rotary table or swivel platen mold is used, the two production steps can be performed in parallel, for example, thus ensuring short cycle times and high productivity,” says Andreas Bürkle, who is in charge of a DirectSkinning project at fischer automotive in Horb, Germany.
The thickness and color of the polyurethane layer can be varied over a broad range. A separate coating system is eliminated, reducing investment cost and saving space. Transportation and interim storage of the injection moldings are eliminated. The polyurethane coating provides a soft feel for automotive interior parts, and also provides a cosmetic surface, such as a leather grain appearance. Scratch resistance is also improved.
It was recently announced by the developer of the technology, Bayer MaterialScience, that DirectSkinning is now being used for a production model in a component that seals off a drawer located on the dashboard of the BMW 5 Gran Turismo.
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.