Spray-formed tooling is a new approach for the making of stamping
dies and molds. The new rapid-tooling process involves spraying molten steel
over ceramic casts, which eliminates machining and other processing steps. Ford
is using spray-formed tooling for making torque-converter blade dies for
lift-gate brackets, wiper-motor brackets, instrument brackets, and inner-hood
reinforcements. "The spray-formed tooling process will shave millions of dollars
and several months off of the production process," says Dr. Charles Wu, director
of the Ford Manufacturing Systems and Vehicle Design Research Laboratory. The
technology is an all-inclusive rapid-tooling process that includes die
development, design, and construction. Envelope size for the initial dies was 1
sq ft, but the size is expected to grow to 8 x 8 ft. For more information,
contact Henry Fradkin, Tel: (313) 594-1993, Fax: (313) 323-2647 or Joseph A.
Szuba, Tel: (313) 845-8226, Fax: (313) 323-1129.
One way to keep a Formula One racing team moving at breakneck speed in the pit and at the test facility is to bring CAD drawings of the racing vehicleís parts down to the test facility and even out to the track.
Most of us would just as soon step on a cockroach rather than study it, but thatís just what researchers at UC Berkeley did in the pursuit of building small, nimble robots suitable for disaster-recovery and search-and-rescue missions.
Design engineers need to prepare for a future in which their electronic products will use not just one or two, but possibly many user interfaces that involve touch, vision, gestures, and even eye movements.
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