Two years ago, Boeing was in the news because fastener supplies were causing production problems for the new Dreamliner 787 aircraft.
Today, the news is much brighter for the Dreamliner and its fastener supply. Aerospace fastener manufacturer Saturn Fasteners, an operation of Acument Global Technologies, announced it has received a 2009 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. Saturn Fasteners has provided Boeing with custom assembly products for its aircraft programs since its founding in 1989. The company’s statement did not specify particular Boeing programs, such as the Dreamliner.
Another interesting assembly development comes from Greene, Tweed & Co., which makes net shape thermoplastic carbon-reinforced brackets for aircraft applications. The brackets cut weight up to 80 percent compared to the steel or aluminum brackets they replace. It is not clear which programs the new composite brackets will be used on, but the Dreamliner would certainly seem to be a candidate. Boeing is looking for ways to cut weight on the Dreamliner, which at last unoffical report was 8 percent above design weight. The extra weight results in part from extra strengthening required to solve potential delamination problems. The problem takes cash out of Boeing’s pocket because the promised range of the 787 is cut by 10-15 percent. Boeing officials have said they are taking steps to reduce weight, but no specifics have been released yet. Potentially hundreds of the brackets could be used on a single aircraft. Greene, Tweed installed one ProFusion press last year, and is installing two more this year.
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.