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?
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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