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.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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