Cash prices for nickel have risen sharply this year on the London Metal Exchange, triggering some concerns of a possible shortage this year. Prices have skyrocketed from a low of around $18,000 per metric ton earlier this year to a recent closing of $26,400.
It was exactly three years ago that high nickel prices were forcing design engineers to examine substitutes for stainless steel, a major consumer of nickel. In 2007, cash nickel prices peaked around $54,000 per metric ton and then plunged.
Akira Nozaki, general manager at the nickel sales and raw material division of Sumitomo Metal Mining Co, said in an interview with Bloomberg reporters that world demand will probably exceed supply by 36,000 metric tons this year.
Sumitomo Metal Mining, however, has a vested interest in predicting higher nickel prices. Other experts point to very high nickel stockpiles and emerging nickel-producing capacity in New Caledonia, the Philippines and Madagascar.
The wildcard is demand, particularly in China, which meanwhile, is also substantially increasing its own nickel production.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
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 radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.