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?
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
The company that brought you 3D-printed eyeglasses has launched both an improved clear polymer material for 3D printing optical components and a high-speed, precision, 3D-printing process for making small- and medium-sized batches in a few days.
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