The products and services in the materials and assembly category of the 2013 Golden Mousetrap Awards keep expanding. This category includes engineering plastics; materials processing; and fastening, joining, and assembly components. This year, we've added a new section: 3D printing and rapid prototyping materials, tools, and services.
It's always fun to review the entries and see what's new, especially if it's something I wrote about during the past year. It's also a chance to find out what I might have missed.
This year's finalists are some of the most innovative products and come from some of the most prominent companies in their respective fields. They also indicate the leading edge of changes occurring in materials and assembly products and technologies.
In engineering plastics, finalist RxFibron HT is the first medical-grade PET for developing low-profile devices that exhibits high-tenacity properties, such as durability and thermal melt properties, as well as high strength. Not surprising, since its manufacturer, RxFiber, is the first dedicated solely to engineering medical-grade fibers for medical devices.
Another finalist in this category is the Ultra Flex Toggle Boot 1131/60 from APM Hexseal. What's a toggle switch boot doing here? you might ask. That's because it uses both low-durometer rubber and a bellow design to guard against tripping the breaker switch into the off position by mistake.
Another entrant, this one from major plastics company SABIC Innovative Plastics, is a group of materials used in smartphone company Xiaomi's Mi2A phone that made it thinner, lighter, and compact, but also stiff and durable. These are the LNP THERMOCOMP compound and the LNP LDS (laser direct structuring) and LEXAN EXL resins.
In materials processing, Cambrios Technologies has developed ClearOhm coating material, made from highly conductive silver nanowires. It offers significantly higher optical and electrical performance than previous generation transparent conductive materials like indium tin oxide. It's being used to create high-performance transparent conductive films that are enabling innovative products like large touch panels, OLED/OPV devices, and flexible displays.
Fastening, joining, and assembly component finalists include the Linear Springs from Smalley Steel Ring Company, products with a variety of spring loads that react along a straight line, so that they can provide a radial force even though located in an axial direction. Also in this category is the PEM Heat Sink Mounting System from PennEngineering. It securely attaches heat sinks to circuit boards and provides firm and constant contacts to the chip for optimum heat dissipation. Another entry is the Glass Encapsulation process from Valtronic for implantable electronic devices, a growing area in medical devices. The process utilizes glass as the material that hermetically seals the electronics of a smart implant, making it possible to expand its life and reduce its size.
In our newest category -- 3D printing and rapid prototyping materials, tools, and services -- the finalist is RedEye's Tumbling Service. This comprises new finishing and secondary operation services for parts produced through the fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing process of parent company Stratasys, a world leader in the field. The new finishing process called tumbling removes layer lines, which don't affect function, but do affect appearance. The FDM process gives parts an end-use quality finish.
Please come join us on Tuesday, February 11, at 5:15 p.m. at the Anaheim Marriott Ballroom in Anaheim, Calif., to see who will win. Tickets to the event are available on a donation basis. Your donations will directly benefit FIRST, an organization committed to showing youth the promising future that science and technology can hold and directly support scholarships to high school engineering students in order to further their ambitions.
The Golden Mousetrap Awards will be part of the Design News event that evening, which will also include the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Rising Engineering Star award, as well as the first Gadget Freak of the Year award. Click here to get tickets.