Rising demand and a nickel miners’ strike are combining to boost costs for stainless steel for design engineers. There is no indication, however, that supply conditions will deteriorate anytime soon to the level seen in 2007 when design engineers were forced to seek substitutes.
Nickel prices were up 46 percent in April, and have risen a bit since. A strike at Vale’s Sudbury operations in Ontario has cut operations to 50 percent of capacity. The strike only reduces global capacity by 5 percent, but rising demand makes it a factor.
Recovery in the stainless steel market began in the second half of 2009. The International Stainless Steel Forum (ISSF) in Brussels is predicting an 11 to 12 percent increase in stainless steel production this year.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
This year's Dupont-sponsored WardsAuto survey of automotive designers and other engineers shows lightweighting dominates the discussion. But which materials will help them meet the 2025 CAFE standards are not entirely clear.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
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