Genetic modification moves to a new level with a technology to produce bioacrylic under development by OPX Biotechnologies, Boulder, CO. Since beginning pilot scale development in 2009, the company says it has reduced bioacrylic production cost by 85 percent. The target price is $0.50 per pound.
Its proprietary technology, called EDGE (Efficiency Directed Genome Engineering), is said to rapidly develop a microbe and bioprocess. OPX generates mutations that track genes responsible for performance changes. OPX researchers then select genetic changes from a variety of randomly created strains and combine them. OPX claims its technology is 1,000 to 5,000 times faster than conventional genetic engineering methods. Biomass and other feedstocks are used.
OPX has retained Merrick & Company to design its demonstration and commercial manufacturing plants, which are scheduled to become operational in 2011 and 2013, respectively.
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.
Several new products in this group of new adhesives, coatings, and sealants are formulated to protect sensitive electronic components, or to seal components of commercial and military aircraft. Others are designed to operate in tough, messy, dirty oil & gas operations, or for rotary applications and motors.
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