Look for interesting new technologies to emerge from a recent partnership between Solvay Solexis, Thorofare, NJ and Parkinson, Woonsocket, RI, to produce the first biaxially oriented polyvinylidene fluoride (PVdF) film. The first film was produced in Parkinson’s Marshall & Williams extrusion and orientation lab for a confidential customer. Changes in process settings and hardware accommodated the resin’s narrow processing window. The test was run on a 16-micron finished film. Biax PVdF film has unique properties, including abrasion and corrosion resistance that suit it to harsh applications, such as capacitors.One of the markets could be bilayer films used in lithium-ion batteries. Another could be very lightweight aircraft, such as the Solar Impulse under development in Switzerland. A laminated PVdF film is used for the underside of a 60-meter wing spar made of honeycomb-carbon fibers. An encapsulated photovoltaic system is on top.
According to a new report from BCC Research, PVdF films will grow at a 22 percent annual rate globally through 2015.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
Design engineers play a big role in selecting both suppliers and materials for their designs. Our most recent Design News Materials Survey says they continue to be highly involved, in some ways even more than the last time we asked to peek inside their cubicles.
Daihatsu is one of the first carmakers to customize car exteriors using 3D printing's mass customization capabilities. Effect Skins -- small exterior bumper and fender panels in different colors and textures -- can be ordered for its Copen convertible.
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