Use of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRP) in cars continues to advance. Audi and Voith GmbH announced a partnership to promote industrialization of fiber-reinforced materials, particularly through developing a highly automated process for high-volume automotive production.”Fiber-reinforced polymers offer weight and strength advantages, which we have already put to use in the Audi R8 and the Audi RS 3 Sportback, for instance,” says Rupert Stadler, chairman of Audi. Voith has been working for several years on the use of CFRP to light weight components in paper machines and in machine drives.
Audi has already made extensive use of other lightweight materials to make its cars more fuel efficient. These include aluminum, steel and magnesium.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.