Engineering Materials Features

Delve more deeply in to the world of materials innovation. Our expert editors bring you a host of the latest thinking, innovation, materials views and opinions from industry about how to improve design and what you should be thinking about when it comes to questions about materials in design and engineering.

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14/05/2012

Show preview: Medtec 2012 brings the best in medical innovation

The UK medical market continues to post impressive growth figures of 9.5% pa with the emphasis being on the next generation of high-technology medical devices not only being designed here but also manufactured in the UK.   Read More

17/04/2012

Driving design: The trends shaping the world of engineering

Paul Fanning asks Mike Cane (Cambridge Design partnership), Stephen Knowles (Industrial Design Consultancy) and Eric Wilkinson (Cambridge Consultants) what trends, drivers and technologies are affecting product development.  Read More

17/04/2012

A sense of realism: How the virtual world is being increasingly exploited for engineering advantage

Virtual engineering is becoming an increasing part of the design process. Engineers are spending more and more time in the virtual world, which is becoming ever more complex and realistic.  Read More

17/04/2012

Wiring simulation tool slashes lead times, lowers evaluation costs

A new tool to help engineers cut lead time and costs in the design and production of vehicle wiring harnesses has been developed.  Read More

17/04/2012

PLM and ERP collaborate effectively

ERP, enterprise resource planning, the backbone management information system that handles the operational aspects of a business, and PLM, product lifecycle management, which manages the product attributes, are often portrayed as vying for a central starring role within manufacturing companies.   Read More

17/04/2012

Adhesive tape offers strength and versatility in industrial bonding applications

The common perception of adhesive tapes is of them as a temporary measure. Fit only as a placeholder rather than a permanent bond. This is understandable, of course, based as it is on the domestic application of tape, where it is very much as the poor relation to glues. However, in the industrial environment, there are a number of applications in which tapes can provide a valuable and long-term solution.   Read More

15/03/2012

Leading edge technology helps UK athletes go for gold

The London Olympic and Paralympic Games are just around the corner and Team GB is calling on the expertise of UK industry to help its athletes achieve record levels of speed, strength and endurance.  Read More

15/03/2012

Designing in 3D: How 3D printing is changing the way product design and development are taking place

The availability and variety of additive manufacturing technologies has fundamentally altered the time and approaches taken in product development and seems likely to continue to do so.  Read More

15/03/2012

Crowdsourcing design model is moving forward fast

The concept of collaborative design – 'crowdsourcing' ideas in order to design and develop genuinely innovative commercial products – has been a minor obsession of the design community as long as the technology to enable easy communication of ideas has been available.  Read More

15/03/2012

Lightweight panels prove flexible

The imperative to drive down vehicle weight (and thereby carbon emissions) has been a key goal, particularly within the transportation sector, for many years. The reasons for this are obvious enough, since legislation, environmental concerns, economics and common sense all demand lower carbon usage and, while alterations to engine technologies can achieve lower energy consumption, those alterations are extremely expensive to develop. Much cheaper and easier, therefore, to reduce weight from the vehicle's body.  Read More

15/03/2012

Show preview: JEC Europe

JEC Europe – Europe's largest composites exhibition – will open its doors in Paris, Porte de Versailles, on 27-29 March 2012.  Read More

09/02/2012

Electric racing brings wider benefits

The sheer amount of technology transfer that comes from the motorsport sector is hard to beat. From advanced materials to sensors technology, innovations developed for the track often end up on day to day road cars, or somewhere radically different than initially intended. Indeed, it is probably only the aerospace and defence industries that can compete in terms of technology transfer.  Read More

09/02/2012

Overcoming the issues associated with migrating CAD data

Globalisation, higher product complexity, more demanding customers and brutal competition are all driving the need for ever-more effective collaboration. This, in turn, depends on a core competence in sharing product data. Although there has been much progress in recent years, poor product data interoperability remains as an enormous technical barrier to effective collaboration and is believed in some quarters to be the single largest source of cost and waste in engineering.  Read More

09/02/2012

Securing innovation: Recent developments from the fastening industry

A number of new fastening innovations have come to market since the New Year. Among these is one from Sussex-based TR Fastenings, which is introducing a nut that can be used on sheet metal and plastic which is normally too thin to tap by conventional methods.  Read More

09/02/2012

Quick access fasteners turn heads

Three years ago, inventor of the quarter turn quick access fastener, Dzus Fasteners, developed the D8. The fastener incorporates an advanced and unique manufacturing technology using a rolled cam form process which is exclusive to parent company Southco. The quick access fastener has seen sales increase by 28% overall, including 60% growth in the US, in the past year alone.  Read More

09/02/2012

Automotive brake disc provides high performance at lower cost

Manufacturers have long sought to improve the durability and performance of automotive brake discs, which are subject to tremendous temperature and pressure changes. The current range of brake discs are mostly made from cast iron, except for very high performance discs which are made up of a ceramic composite.  Read More

09/02/2012

TSB initiative looks to encourage component manufacturers into space sector

The space sector has long been a trying environment for the engineer. It is one of the harshest environments known to man and getting systems and components to reliably operate there continually pushes the envelope of technology.  Read More

09/02/2012

Innovative X-2 rotor setup overcomes problems of the past

With all the advantages, helicopters still possess a number of distinct operational constraints. They are excellent hovering machines, and can do so for long periods of time, allowing them to be used in a variety of roles from search and rescue to supporting troops on the ground. But when it comes to forward flight they have limited speed and range, and can have issues hovering at high altitudes.  Read More

17/01/2012

Cloud computing offers new possibilities to design engineers

To say that cloud computing is a hot topic at the moment would be an understatement. This is particularly the case in the consumer world, where the hype is generally around Apple's iCloud, Google Docs, Amazon EC3, and the like.  Read More

17/01/2012

Advanced Engineering Show 2011: Adressing material shortcomings

The Advanced Engineering show held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) served up a host of innovative materials for engineers to assess and critique. The sheer number of materials available on the market has never been more varied. But there is no perfect material and it is up to engineers to find the best fit for the product or application at hand.  Read More

17/01/2012

ECF 2011: Dassault Systèmes debuts new sketch tool

Taking place at Disneyland, Paris, Dassault Systèmes European Customer Conference served largely to emphasise a number of the themes that have been emerging from the company in recent times, although there was a launch of a new piece of design software.  Read More

17/01/2012

Non-traditional bearings improve design and functionality in many industries

Bearing manufacturers are increasingly looking to develop and use alternative materials for a variety of different applications. It is being driven by both the demand from engineers for better solutions as well as the result of a concerted effort by industry to open up and engage with new market sectors.  Read More

17/01/2012

Overrunning alternator pulley improves internal combustion engine

An overrunning alternator pulley (OAP) can play an important part in the smooth running of the modern internal combustion (IC) engine. But it often gets overlooked by design engineers despite the positive effects it can have on energy efficiency.  Read More

17/01/2012

Innovative fastener helps oil industry enhance reliability

Oil rig operations have some of the harshest operational requirements of any industry sector. The remote, hard-to-reach reserves hidden under the seabed demand deep drilling at high speed. And as reserves dwindle, the result is that ever-greater shock, vibration and temperature is put through critical joints.  Read More

17/01/2012

Offshore and subsea applications make specific demands of bearings

Subsea conditions represent some of the harshest and most challenging in terms of bearing technology. Combatting them is something that has forced bearing manufacturers to develop highly innovative and robust solutions using a variety of materials and designs.  Read More

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