The Diaphorm Division of Solectria Inc. has developed a new manufacturing process that takes aim at the high cost of compression molding continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics at low production volumes.
The patent-pending Pressure Diaphorm process relies on a rubber diaphragm to press the molding material over a single-sided mold at low pressures—30 to 45 psi versus 1,000 or more tons for a comparable compression molded part. These single-sided tools can be built from wood, composites, or aluminum. "Tooling that might cost $100,000 or more for a 1,000-ton compression machine could cost as little as $25,000 or less with Diaphorm's process," reports development manager Tyler Johnson.
Without the expense of conventional molds and machines, the process can turn out molded parts that cost 20 to 70% less than comparable compression moldings, at product volumes between 1,000 and 100,000 parts, Johnson estimates.
Diaphorm supplies these custom molded parts in polypropylene, thermoplastic urethanes, and nylons. The company uses common reinforcing fibers, including glass, carbon, and aramid.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
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 discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.