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.
HP revealed more of its 3D printing plans in a recent webinar. Senior vice president of inkjet and graphics solution business Stephen Nigro spoke about how the technology works and expanded on HP's vision of open collaboration to commercialize its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology for end-production, and open collaboration on new materials. He also said HP will create software to help users decide when to use Multi Jet Fusion versus conventional subtractive manufacturing.
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
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