Assembly issues continue to slow delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which is now almost three years behind schedule. Workers at Italian subcontractor Alenia apparently incorrectly installed fasteners where the horizontal stabilizer attaches to the fuselage on some aircraft. Boeing employees in Seattle are now correcting the problem.
“This is not a design issue or a flight-test finding,” says Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “This is a straightforward workmanship issue with the installation of a couple of shims and some associated fasteners.”
One wonders if it really was worth outsourcing all the fabrication for this project. Is the Italian subcontractor being backcharged for the repair work? How many more defects will be allowed from a subcontractor before finding a new source for that particular assembly?
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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