Assembly errors-and not metal fatigue-are now being investigated as the possible cause for dangerous fuselage delamination discovered on Boeing 737 jets operated by Southwest Airlines. Six jets with cracks were built in a similar time frame at a former Boeing plant in Wichita, KS.
A 5-foot hole appeared on Southwest Flight 812 on April 1. The original focus was the potential for microcracks that radiated from rivet holes and worsened over time. That scenario was particularly ominous because Boeing expected the aluminum fuselages to remain stable in the roof location much longer.
Investigators are exploring several possible errors during assembly in the 1990s. Focus is on the size and the way rivets and sealants were used to hold aluminum panels together. The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation. Possible problems with the planes’ production were first reported by ABC News.
Electromagnetic inspections of an area of the roof called the lap joint are being conducted on other 737s.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
A recent report sponsored by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) focuses on emerging gasification technologies for converting waste into energy and fuel on a large scale and saving it from the landfill. Some of that waste includes non-recycled plastic.
Capping a 30-year quest, GE Aviation has broken ground on the first high-volume factory for producing commercial jet engine components from ceramic matrix composites. The plant will produce high-pressure turbine shrouds for the LEAP Turbofan engine.
Seismic shifts in 3D printing materials include an optimization method that reduces the material needed to print an object by 85 percent, research designed to create new, stronger materials, and a new ASTM standard for their mechanical properties.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.