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.
As the 3D printing and overall additive manufacturing ecosystem grows, standards and guidelines from standards bodies and government organizations are increasing. Multiple players with multiple needs are also driving the role of 3DP and AM as enabling technologies for distributed manufacturing.
A growing though not-so-obvious role for 3D printing, 4D printing, and overall additive manufacturing is their use in fabricating new materials and enabling new or improved manufacturing and assembly processes. Individual engineers, OEMs, university labs, and others are reinventing the technology to suit their own needs.
For vehicles to meet the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, three things must happen: customers must look beyond the data sheet and engage materials supplier earlier, and new integrated multi-materials are needed to make step-change improvements.
3D printing, 4D printing, and various types of additive manufacturing (AM) will get even bigger in 2015. We're not talking about consumer use, which gets most of the attention, but processes and technologies that will affect how design engineers design products and how manufacturing engineers make them. For now, the biggest industries are still aerospace and medical, while automotive and architecture continue to grow.
More and more -- that's what we'll see from plastics and composites in 2015, more types of plastics and more ways they can be used. Two of the fastest-growing uses will be automotive parts, plus medical implants and devices. New types of plastics will include biodegradable materials, plastics that can be easily recycled, and some that do both.
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