Metal clamps are eliminated because of a new spin welding process used in the pressure line of the award-winning diesel exhaust fluid system (DEF) in the 2011 Ford Superduty pickup truck. A 50 percent glass reinforced polyamide quick connector is friction welded to a polyamide line in one of the many technical innovations in the DEF system, which won the Grand Prize at the 40th Annual Automotive Innovation Awards Gala held by the Society of Plastics Engineers International in November. The all PA12 inner tube line construction is 40 percent lighter than competitive EPDM rubber lines, according to Scott Cooper, an engineer with Ford Powertrain Engineering.
Spin welding, a technical strength at Ford, is used to join spherical plastic parts. Generation of friction at the mating surface by spinning one part (upper) against a fixtured (lower) part, fastens the assembly.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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