When plastic parts have to serve in a structural role, they usually require some extra attention to both part design and processing. And nowhere is that extra attention more evident than the annual new product design competition held by the Alliance of Plastic Processors, part of the Society of the Plastics Industry. The competition this year featured 49 entries from a variety of industries — including automotive, agriculture, appliance, medical, industrial, furniture and consumer products. Those 49 products represented the full range of molding processes, not just standard injection molding but also advanced variants such as co-injection and gas-assist molding. Three of the winners, however, relied on lesser-known structural-foam molding. A process that can fill big parts with low injection and clamping pressures, structural foam molding employs specialized large-platen, multi-nozzle molding machines that foam the plastic melt with an inert gas. Here’s a look at three of the winners that used structural foam process.
For a look at the other winners, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/4927-531. And for more on the agricultural entries, turn to the feature article on page 41.
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.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
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.