Metal + plastic = stronger part
Conventional automotive heat shields, which are typically made of plastic, have been known to fail under the stressful conditions of everyday driving. To solve that problem, engineers from Diamond Manufacturing Company have developed Plasticore, a pierced-metal product that works in conjunction with plastic to offer greater mechanical strength and heat resistance. It works by using plastic "tangs" that bond with the plastic. During creation of the part, injected plastic seeps through pierced holes in the metal, then forms around the tangs, creating flanges. The result: a stronger composite material that stands up to greater mechanical stress and higher temperatures. Plasticore is being tested for use in high-stress areas on automobile bumpers and dashboards. "But it can be used," says Lee Plank, chief operating officer of Diamond Manufacturing Co., creator of Plasticore, "Anyplace where there's a problem with plastic not being strong enough."
Diamond Manufacturing Co.: Product Code 4951
Lithium copper parts eliminate oxides
Oxides can ruin a metal casting or plastic mold. Parts coming from those molds and castings often exhibit marks or folds. To solve that problem, engineers from Belmont Metals have introduced 2% lithium copper pieces that are specially cleaned and polished to remove the surface oxides that can ruin fine-detailed castings. By dissolving the pieces in molten metal, manufacturers can eliminate gas holes, porosity, and metal oxides in pure copper and copper-based alloys, while increasing fluidity of the base material. The new parts, which are available in 3 and 4-oz sizes, are oxide-free. As a result, the company says, casting surfaces using those materials are smoother. "Rather than allowing the oxides to get into the melt and then trying to get them out later, it's best not to allow them in there in the first place," notes Bruce Reed a senior consultant and metallurgist.
Belmont Metals Inc.: Product Code 4949
Removable shield protects against EMI
Electronic products such as cellular phones need EMI/RFI shields to ensure proper performance. Problem is, such shields can often impede efforts to inspect or repair the electronics. Thanks to a new design called Boldt Shield II, however, that problem may now be solved. The new product, designed by engineers at Boldt Metronics International, incorporates a small removable lid that allows for easy access to the surface-mount printed circuit board. The shield consists of two parts: a frame and the removable lid. Most of the shields are made from tin-plated steel, but the firm's engineers can also design shields from tin-plated beryllium copper or nickel-silver. The key to Boldt Shield's advantage is the accessibility it provides. "The problem in the past was that users couldn't access the board to repair or test it," notes Dario Negrini, vice president of sales and marketing for Boldt Metronics. "But with this design, they never need to de-solder the shield to get to the board."
Boldt Metronics International: Product Code 4950
Electroplating toughens roller chains
For decades, carbon steels have offered the best combination of cost, strength and performance for roller chains. Still, carbon steels are often unacceptable for chains used in aggressive chemical environments. But by electroplating those chains with a zinc-nickel alloy, engineers now believe they can combat corrosion and add life to the product. In truth, it's not the first time zinc or nickel has been used for electroplating of roller chains. But it is unusual for the two to be alloyed together for such applications. Engineers from the Diamond Chain Co., developers of the process, say that the zinc-nickel alloys offer better electro- chemical corrosion resistance than either of the individual alloying elements. The firm has recently employed zinc-nickel electroplating in applications involving intermittent moisture and humidity. Applications have included farming, food processing, beverage operations, and maritime machinery.
Diamond Chain Co.: Product Code 4966