Thanks for that input, bobjengr. I've done several posts from that show, as have the rest of us who went. Here are my others: igus plastic bearings http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271925 3D printing http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271813 Baxter Robot http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271846 SABIC's carbon composites for medical devices http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271732 Disease-fighting materials http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=271712
Ann--I have used Penn fasteners and can "testify" they really do a great job depending upon the application. The micro-devices are ideal for the applications you mention in your post. I was very surprised at the shear and tensile some designs can tolerate. I'm really sorry I missed the show. Certainly seems like a great experience and I look forward to other posts you make relative to your visit.
The microPEM pins are so tiny you can barely see them with the naked eye, at least with my eyes unaided by glasses. The sample Penn gives out is so small and lightweight--2 super thin 1.5in diameter disks fastened together--it kept flying out of the pocket in my notebook (not a computer, an actual paper device I use to take notes on). I was also impressed by the many uses of silicone for adhesives, coatings, and other apps: it's a truly versatile material.
Most of the new 3D printers and 3D printing technologies in this crop are breaking some boundaries, whether it's build volume-per-dollar ratios, multimaterials printing techniques, or new materials types.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.