Beth, the main benefit seems to be speed of assembly, which in automotive manufacturing means less money.
Dave, thanks for the feedback. I don't read German, so could not get a lot of details on this. I thought it was a cool process, too, and one that seemed terribly obvious--with 20/20 hindsight. And I, too, noticed the funding from the German government in relation to that other thread I think you're referring to. My understanding of the way things work from people I know there is that this sort of effort is part of a much larger level of cooperation than a few government dollars here or there.
Ann, thanks for this article. This is a cool process! I can see why simulation of the molded part properties was an important part of the project, since the size, distribution, and orientation of the fibers will be different in the thermoformed areas as compared to the injection molded areas. One slight drawback is that the most reinforcement ends up in the areas which are geometrically easiest to thermoform, not necessarily the areas where the most reinforcement is needed. But still, this is a promising new process. With regard to a discussion going on in another thread, it's interesting to note that the German government supported this development.
By uniting injection molding and thermoforming into one processes, I assume the big benefit to manufacturers is reduced cost. Are there other benefits to producing complex automotive components in this manner?
The 3D printing revolution seems to have a knack for quickly moving technology ahead by way of collaborative effort and even a little friendly competition -- all of course in the name of scientific advancement.
Advantech has launched a new series of motion-control I/O modules to meet the increased demands that come with more distributed industrial systems that require control of a growing number of axes and devices.
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