The dual-hinge operating mechanism in Motorola's PEBL mobile phone is made with injection molded 17.4 PH stainless steel to a density of 7.6 g/cm³. The innovative design positions the clamshell cover so that it slides down and flips open in one movement. The flip slider and hinge barrel are made by Advanced Materials Technologies Pty Ltd. of Singapore. According to the molder, the MIM process allows a very complex thin wall, overhanging structures and three-dimensional design. Both parts are coined, machined, polished and plated. It's estimated that it would have cost five times more to machine these parts. They won the grand prize in the electrical/electronic components category of the 2006 Powder Metallurgy Design Awards competition sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation. For more information on the design awards, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4933-517.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.