Brace for higher prices for industrial materials in coming months. Rising prices are triggering inventory building, creating the strongest demand for steel, nonferrous metals, and plastics in more than two years. Prices for flat-rolled carbon steel, the bellwether grade, have jumped six times since November, for total actual increases in the 20-to-30 percent range. Cash prices on the London Metal Exchange for nickel, a key stainless steel ingredient, have risen 15 percent since early January. Whirlpool announced this week that it will raise prices because of rising steel, plastics and paint costs. Value engineering efforts are sure to intensify as a way to fight higher materials’ costs.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
The first photos made with a 3D-printed telescope are here and they're not as fuzzy as you might expect. A team from the University of Sheffield beat NASA to the goal. The photos of the Moon were made with a reflecting telescope that cost the research team £100 to make (about $161 US).
A tiny humanoid robot has safely piloted a small plane all the way from cold start to takeoff, landing and coming to a full stop on the plane's designated runway. Yes, it happened in a pilot training simulation -- but the research team isn't far away from doing it in the real world.
Some in the US have welcomed 3D printing for boosting local economies and bringing some offshored manufacturing back onshore. Meanwhile, China is wielding its power of numbers, and its very different relationships between government, education, and industry, to kickstart a homegrown industry.
You can find out practically everything you need to know about engineering plastics as alternatives to other materials at the 2014 IAPD Plastics Expo. Admission is free for engineers, designers, specifiers, and OEMs, as well as students and faculty.
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