Materials in Production News

The latest news on trends in processes, mould tools, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, metal finishing, composite tooling, additive manufacture, composite processing and more.

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3D printable acoustically driven tractor beam

A working tractor beam has been produced using 3D printed parts and off the shelf components. The device is able to trap and pull objects using sound waves emitted from a single direction. The device uses sonic levitation and although it sounds like an April Fools in the making, the concept is established. Asier Marzo, a researcher at the University of Bristol, has published his results in an open access paper in Applied Physics Letters, from AIP Publishing.  Read More


Solar power could be more widespread with tin

Solar cells based on a class of semiconductors known as lead perovskites are rapidly emerging as an efficient way to convert sunlight directly into electricity. However, the reliance on lead is a serious barrier to commercialisation, due to its well-known toxicity.   Read More


Foam innovation to aid cost efficiency in lightweighting markets

A new generation of foams from chemical’s giant SABIC promises to slash degassing time in half. It means they can reduce the working capital of foam manufacturers drastically, making the increasingly popular material cheaper and more easily available to markets looking to lightweight but bring spirally cost under control.  Read More


Autonomous humanoid robot shows a range of movements

An autonomous humanoid robot has been developed under a joint project between academia and industry. The open platform robot was developed by The University of Bonn’s Autonomous Intelligent Systems group with help from tribo-plastic specialist igus.  Read More


Covestro supports sustainable power generation with more efficient wind turbine manufacture

Covestro has created the first ever large polyurethane rotor blade, replacing epoxy in the composite structure. The 37.5m blade was made in conjunction with the Shanghai FRP Research Institute, and will make up a prototype 1.5MW turbine to assess performance.   Read More


3D printed steel bracket yields fresh innovation for construction giant

Construction giant Arup is claiming that 3D printing is to make its construction debut, following the announcement it has produced a series of metallic brackets that are re-engineered structural steel elements. The part is designed to fit firmly into real-world, ‘hard hat’ construction projects, and could signal a new direction for the company, as it begins to experiment with additive manufacturing technology in the field of construction and engineering.  Read More


Research 'error' leads to metal processing breakthrough

US researchers have discovered a way of smelting metal using electricity, potentially revolutionising the way the metallic materials are produced. The team’s breakthrough came while doing unrelated electrochemistry work with batteries.  Read More


Driving customisation

DirectCoating/DirectSkinning technology aims to meet the requirements of car buyers and manufacturers alike. While consumers prefer a personalised vehicle interior with a premium appearance and an attractive design, the automotive industry is looking to manufacture components efficiently. Interest in this new technology is thus growing steadily, and it is now used in series production.   Read More


Europe falls behind smart material application

A report by Allied Market Research projects 15% annual growth in smart materials, but highlights that Europe lags behind both the US and Asian markets.   Read More


Stratasys aim to make 3D Printing as easy as printing a document

Additive manufacturing firm Stratasys has unveiled a feature that it hopes will make printing a physical 3D CAD model as easy as a normal document. The approach is powered by an open architecture ‘design-to-3D print’ workflow application called GrabCAD Print, which resides on the popular GrabCAD SaaS platform.  Read More


3D printing realism: Stratasys hails breakthrough with its multi-material, any colour, J750 printer

Stratasys has launched its most advanced 3D printer to date. The J750 is able to produce prototypes and parts with the widest range of material properties and colours of any printer available on the market.  Read More


Graphene takes flight

A partnership between The University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute (NGI) and a Chinese aviation company could take graphene composite-based planes a step closer to reality.  Read More


Cost of solar cells to be slashed

The cost of silicon wafers is set to be slashed following the development of a special manufacturing technique at the Germany Fraunhofer Institute, that does away with the need machine the material.  Read More


CEL Robox partners with Colorfabb and RS Components

UK desktop 3D print manufacturer CEL is to partner with a Dutch filament producer Colorfabb and RS Components, in a bid to make its low cost fused filament fabrication technology more appealing to engineers and expand its customer base.  Read More


Plastic gears given boost

PEEK supplier Victrex has acquired US-based polymer gears specialist Kleiss Gears. It is hoped the move will facilitate the development of plastic gear components across different industries.  Read More


Diamond-tech aids safety glove developments

A range of safety gloves is using a ‘diamond technology material’ that enables a thinner fabric with the same level of protection.  Read More


Magnetic, non-magnetics?!

Scientists have demonstrated for the first time how to generate a magnetic field in metals that are not naturally magnetic. The development could end reliance on rare and toxic elements commonly used by industry today.  Read More


Ceramics to keep Bloodhound cool

As the build of Bloodhound SSC gains momentum, engineers are assessing how to cool the tightly packaged rocket engine and the volatile HTP (High Test Peroxide).  Read More


Cutting costs in aircraft turbine production

A vibration clamping system has been produced by the Fraunhofer Institute to allow faster milling of aircraft turbine compressor blades. The system will aid damping by 400 times, cutting costs by nearly £4000. Turbine blades are long and thin, and producing them causes them to vibrate like a tuning fork. To avoid this, manufacturers mill each blade step by step. However, this manufacturing process has its own problems as tension causes the geometry to become slightly warped.  Read More


Next-gen 'Boris Bike' is a trike ... of sorts

Toyota has developed a compact three-wheeled ‘personal mobility vehicle’ called the iRoad. The slim chassis has a curb weight of just 300kg and features panels that can be personalised to the user’s tastes. The all electric mode of transport is designed to be as nimble as a scooter but offering the stability of a car due to a clever lean steering system.  Read More


Clear polymer casing enables view inside axle

US car maker Chrysler is using 3D printing to open a unique window in to the world of axle testing and development.  Read More


Prosthetic hand feels heat and humidity

A material that is able to ‘sense’ heat, humidity and pressure is being combined with a prosthetic hand to give some of the sense of touch back to amputees, by providing them with tactile information. Researchers in South Korea have developed a stretchy ‘skin’ like material that is able to sense pressure, temperature, and humidity.  Read More


3D printed car drives down Las Vegas strip

US based Local Motors has 3D printed a fully working crowd-sourced car called Strati. The company proved as much at a US trade show, where it printed the body of the car in 44 hours. Upon completion it was driven along the Las Vegas strip.  Read More


The implant that can only be made by 3D printed processes

A patient in Argentina has successfully had a large cranial implant fitted after undergoing stroke related surgery. The procedure placed stringent requirements on the manufacture of the titanium alloy prosthetic as it needed to precisely fit, have very specific permeability to allow brain fluid to pass through, have minimal heat conduction to the surrounding cerebral tissue, as well as biocompatibility to allow bone to grow into the edges of the implant.  Read More


Simulation used to test asphalt material properties

A simulation has been created to quickly and efficiently test the properties of road surfaces. It's hoped to yield improvement to materials properties as well as reduce troublesome potholes. Road engineers used COMSOL Multiphysics to create a bespoke simulation 'app' using the software's application builder.  Read More

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