One sign of the slowly improving economy is an increase in automotive engineering innovation. The 2010 Innovation Awards Program sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) received 62 nominations, the most in recent years.
The entries included a range of fascinating technologies, including several game-changing designs focusing on plastics-enabled assembly that consolidates parts, improves quality, reduces use of fasteners and cuts tooling requirements. Entries came from Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Kia Motors, PSA Citroen, BMW, Hyundai Motors, Ferrari, and Subaru.
Conspicuously absent from the Blue Ribbon judging held today at the Ticona Technical Center in Auburn Hills, MI, were entries covering new technologies for the battery-powered Chevy Volt. GM decided to withhold technical data on the Volt until its public unveiling, which begins this week with introduction to the auto press.
The results of the judging will be made public at a gala awards ceremony Nov. 9 In Livonia, MI.
A make-your-own Star Wars Sith Lightsaber hilt is heftier and better-looking than most others out there, according to its maker, Sean Charlesworth. You can 3D print it from free source files, and there's even a hardware kit available -- not free -- so you can build one just in time for Halloween.
Some next-generation bio-based materials are superior in performance to their petro-based counterparts, but also face some commercial challenges. This is especially true of certain biopolymers, adhesives, coatings, and advanced materials.
Cars and other vehicles, as well as electronics and medical devices, continue to lead the use cases for the new plastics products we've been seeing, as engineers design products for tougher environments.
LeMond Composites, founded by three-time Tour de France cycling champion Greg LeMond, is the first to license a new carbon fiber production method invented by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that's faster, cheaper, and greener.
This month will mark the launch of the SpeedFoiler, a super-fast, ultra-lightweight foiling catamaran that can fly short distances over water faster than other foiling designs, in part because of its carbon composite materials.
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