Techno Polymer Co. of Japan has developed a new, highly functional ABS film for use in solar panels. The recently developed black-colored backing sheet consists of a special pigment blended with weather-resistant ASA resin. Compared to solar cell modules with conventional black backing sheets, conversion efficiency has been improved by approximately 2 percent, according to Techno Polymer. The company says there were no negative effects on the module after the new sheet was subjected to a 3000-hour heat and humidity aging test. The backing sheet is currently under evaluation for commercial viability by manufacturers of solar cell modules both in Japan and elsewhere.
The new film is also being pitched to enhance appearance in the interior of luxury cars, and enable multilayer printing, mainly for building-related materials.
Techno Polymer has built a new production facility in Ohio to service American automotive OEMs.
How 3D printing fits into the digital thread, and the relationship between its uses for prototyping and for manufacturing, was the subject of a talk by Proto Labs' Rich Baker at last week's Design & Manufacturing Minneapolis.
How can automakers, aerospace contractors, and other OEMs get new metal alloys that are stronger, harder, and can survive ever higher temperatures? One way is to redesign their crystalline structures at the nanoscale and microscale.
Although a lot of the excitement about 3D printing and additive manufacturing surrounds its ability to make end-products and functional prototypes, some often ignored applications are the big improvements that can come by using it for tooling, jigs, and fixtures.
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