The Seattle, WA, area is rapidly emerging as a global center for carbon composites technology. The ball got rolling with the development of the composite-bodied Dreamliner 787 by Boeing. Toray Composites (America), Boeing’s primary carbon fiber supplier, has been adding capacity in Tacoma, WA, and now operates four prepreg lines there.
Italian automobile manufacturer Lamborghini has identified carbon composites as a core development area and is investigating new technologies in collaboration with the University of Washington and the Boeing Research and Technology Center in Seattle.
BMW wants to be the first to introduce large-scale use of carbon composites in cars and established SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, a joint venture with the SGL Group. The JV is building a plant in Moses Lake, WA, to produce carbon fiber. The plant will operate two lines, each with annual capacity of 1,500 metric tons. The first line is expected to be commissioned late next year. This is despite the fact that the car is being designed and assembled in Germany.
Hats off to Boeing for making the USA a global center for this pivotal new materials’ technology.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
A recent study finds that 3D printing is both cheaper and greener than traditional factory-based mass manufacturing and distribution. At least, it's true for making consumer plastic products on open-source, low-cost RepRap printers.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.