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.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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