The first automated fiber placement machine in the UK, shown here with employee Tim Smith of GKN Aerospace, will help speed production of complex composite aircraft structures like wings. (Source: National Composites Centre)
As Mark Twain famously said, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme." This sure looks similar to the invention of the automated loom that produced textiles using patterns of holes placed on punch cards. That development helped to spur the Industrial Revolution. Solving the problem of long composite lay-up time may spark a similar revolution in materials...
williamlweaver, thanks for quoting Twain, one of my favorite authors. The image that quote always gives me is the idea of the spiral path of time and change. I think your comparison with the automated loom invention is a good one. Automating carbon composite production could have effects at least as far-reaching.
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.