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.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
BMW has already incorporated more than 10,000 3D-printed parts in the Rolls-Royce Phantom and intends to expand the use of 3D printing in its cars even more in the future. Meanwhile, Daimler has started using additive manufacturing for producing spare parts in Mercedes-Benz Trucks.
SABIC's lightweighting polycarbonate glazing materials have appeared for the first time in a production car: the rear quarter window of Toyota's special edition 86 GRMN sports car, where they're saving 50% of its weight compared to conventional glass.
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