Earlier this year at Chinaplas 2006, Battenfeld displayed the HM 270/1330H/1000H, a multi-component injection molding machine that used a patented air-injection process. The machine first injects an outer skin, then a second core material and finally a gas to fill the mold. Water injection provides additional capability and even faster cooling. "You could make a tube, for example, out of a rigid plastic," says Thomas Betts, regional representative for Battenfeld. "Using water assist, you could hollow it out and then overmold it with a TPR on the end to give you a flexible hose connection." For the system designer, the water assist approach eliminates two or even three components. Although licensing is required for the patented process, the shortened cooling phase may provide justification for the added expense.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
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