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Shedding Light on Solar System Installation

Marios Lambi, BASF Performance Materials


It’s no secret that the process of converting metal to plastic brings many benefits such as greater design freedom, part consolidation and mass reductions. But for many, this replacement of materials brings doubt. Specifically, there's a misconception that a plastic material's performance cannot easily be predicted like that of steel of aluminum. At BASF, we are virtually eliminating those fears by introducing Ultrasim, a predictive technology tool, into the product development of parts molded using BASF materials. Full Article

Viewpoints: 3D Printing Jigs, Fixtures and Other Manufacturing Tools

Jon Cobb, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Stratasys Ltd.


The fundamental objectives of manufacturing—improve quality, decrease cycle time and reduce costs—are the primary reasons that jigs and fixtures are so abundant. It doesn’t matter if the operation is fully automated or entirely manual; jigs and fixtures are deployed throughout manufacturing operations with the goal of reducing costs while accelerating production processes.When expanded beyond jigs and fixtures to include all manufacturing tools that serve as operational aids, they are even more widespread.  Full Article

UpFront: 2D Printing Experts Crash the 3D Printing Party

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


It was only a matter of time before we at Manufacturing Engineering—in the business of seriously covering manufacturing—put a 3D printer on our cover. We’ve featured several 3D-printed parts on our covers before, of course. There was a laser sintered Nike shoe in 2013, to show how mainstream additive manufacturing (AM) was becoming. Last year, we displayed GE’s direct metal laser melted fuel nozzle for the LEAP engine, which will soon be made in GE’s new high-volume AM facility in Auburn, AL. Full Article

Tech Front: A New Way to Extract Hydrogen from Water

Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe


Hydrogen is considered an important source of clean energy, and the cleanest way to produce hydrogen gas is to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. But scientists have struggled to develop cost-effective water-splitting techniques. Now, researchers at NC State University (Raleigh, NC) have created a technique using a new catalyst for converting methane and water into hydrogen and a fuel feedstock, called syngas, with the assistance of solar power. Full Article

Smooth, Fast and Friendly Controls for Productivity

Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak


Machine control providers continue to offer increasingly innovative and intuitive programming solutions for machinists who are demanding more from their CNCs. The latest machine controls come with special features to complement hardware advances and help machinists program the most complex parts with increasing ease and guidance. Many of the latest machine controls, for example, feature embedded intelligence with software algorithms that can automatically select the optimal machining method for a given part.  Full Article

AERODEF 2015: Getting Aero Performance at Auto Efficiency

Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


In his Keynote Address at AERODEF 2015 in Dallas, Michael Maher, Program Manager, Defense Sciences Office, DARPA, described how the US Dept. of Defense and the auto industry have necessarily had different approaches to light weighting and composites use—but finds common ground.

Full Article

BMW i3 Most Dramatic Car Since Model T, Consultant Says

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


BMW AG’s i3 electric vehicle “is the most dramatically different car since the Model T,” a consultant said, describing the results of a teardown his firm did on the model. “If I were an executive, I would be thinking, ‘How am I going to compete with this?’” Sandy Munro, chief executive officer of Munro & Associates in Auburn Hills, MI, said in an interview on Tuesday. Full Article

Lightweighting: Ford to Develop Carbon Fiber for High-Volume Auto Manufacturing

Press Release - Ford Motor Co.


Ford and DowAksa have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to formally advance research on cost-effective, high-volume manufacturing of automotive-grade carbon fiber, a material poised to play a significant role in the drive to make vehicles lighter for greater fuel efficiency, performance and capability.The agreement, between Ford Motor Co., Ford Global Technologies and DowAksa —a 50/50 joint venture between The Dow Chemical Company and Aksa Akrilik Kimya Sanayii A.Ş—will combine DowAksa’s feedstock capacity, carbon fiber conversion and downstream intermediates production capabilities with Ford's expertise in design, engineering and high-volume manufacturing. Full Article

Cadillac Aims at Mixed-Material Arts Championship

Edited by Executive Editor James D. Sawyer from information provided by General Motors


Following on the heels of the launch of the aluminum-intensive 2015 Ford F-150 come the details about the 2016 Cadillac CT6. General Motors said it will use the auto industry’s most comprehensive and advanced mixed-material manufacturing techniques to build its top-of the line sedan. The automaker said the weight saved in the process will give the new Cadillac the agility and efficiency of a smaller vehicle. Full Article

Delicate Supports, Database Software Improve 3D Printing

Contributing Editor Ilene Wolff


Software engineers are toiling away on applications updates for 3D printing to make work easier for their medical manufacturing counterparts, and have come up with some novel solutions that also save them time and money. “At Formlabs, we’re obsessed with providing the best user experience possible, and we’re always experimenting with new ways to make our products better,” says Maxim Lobovsky, co-founder of Formlabs, which hacked an idea from truss bridges and trees to make 3D printing faster and more efficient. Full Article

Aerospace Automation Stretches Beyond Drilling and Filling

Senior Editor Patrick Waurzyniak


Faced with ballooning order backlogs, aerospace builders and automation suppliers are exploring new ways to automate a broader range of aircraft manufacturing processes. The goal is to deliver higher-volume commercial aircraft like the Boeing 737 and 777 more quickly to customers, but also to improve the consistency and safety of the final product. To pick up the production pace, manufacturers and their suppliers are refining the automation systems used for drilling, filling and fastening operations and finding new opportunities for automation. Full Article

The Increasingly Perfected Science of Machining Composites

Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


Thanks to the aerospace industries and large quality-intensive programs such as the Airbus 380 and Boeing 787, the business of machining composites has moved into the mainstream of the manufacturing industry. There’s a bevy of tools, specialty tools and know-how about how to machine composites today, which helps make the complex materials ripe for expansion into other areas of industry. Full Article

Precise Noncontact Metrology Expands in Aerospace

Contributing Editor Bruce Morey


The long-term forecast for commercial aircraft is rosy. Boeing predicts more than 36,000 new planes will take to the skies over the next 20 years. Airbus is only slightly less optimistic, predicting over 31,000 in the same period. Those forecasts mean new challenges, as well as opportunities, for those who make a high volume of planes and their parts. Full Article

SME Speaks: Composites Usage Expands, Stimulating Innovation

Louis C. “Lou” Dorworth, Division Manager, Abaris Training Resources Inc


As a member of SME’s Plastics, Composites & Coatings Community and its Composite Manufacturing Tech Group, I have the privilege of working closely with other like-minded members who meet regularly and share information about current trends within industry. Through this collaboration, what we’ve discovered is that many new materials and innovative manufacturing processes have emerged in recent years resulting from an exponential increase in the use of composites across multiple industries over the past 10 years. Full Article

UpFront: Take a Ride with the Early Adopters in Aerospace

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


When it comes to the latest advanced manufacturing technologies, few industries are better leaders—researchers, developers and adopters —than the aerospace industry. In anticipation of SME’s annual AERODEF event, which will be held April 20–23 in Dallas, we’ve dedicated much of this issue to the aerospace industry, which faces big challenges. Full Article

LIFT Plans to Coordinate With Composites Manufacturing Institute

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


A Detroit-based group working on lightweight materials plans to coordinate with a similar Tennessee-based organization trying to develop composite materials.“We’re looking at how we should collaborate,” said Lawrence Brown, executive director of Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, or LIFT, the Detroit-based group that’s part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, or NNMI, an initiative of the Obama administration to speed development of advanced manufacturing.   Full Article

SABIC Uses 3D Printing for Prototype Truck Roof Fairing

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


Saudi Basic Industries Corp. used 3D printing to produce a prototype truck roof fairing designed to reduce fuel consumption and improve vehicle aerodynamics. SABIC said the roof fairing can reduce a heavy-duty truck’s annual fuel consumption by 3% annually. The company is displaying the 3D printed thermoplastic prototype at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, today through March 28.               Full Article

Fabricating Success at Clinton Industries

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


With rising material costs, government regulations, and customers resisting price increases, today there is no room for waste in the metal fabrication supply chain. Here's how one medical OEM partnered with a custom metal fabricator to improve efficiencies.
Full Article

EOS names Glynn Fletcher President of EOS of North America Inc.



Novi, Mich., March 23, 2015—EOS announced that Glynn Fletcher has been named president of EOS of North America, Inc. The appointment reinforces the company’s already strong position in the growing market for Additive Manufacturing technology. Full Article

Welding Aids Freezing for Zeltiq

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson


When the medical device manufacturer Zeltiq had trouble producing its revolutionary new fat-freezing product for the “CoolSculpting” process, they brought it to Electron Beam Engineering Inc. (EBE), for a simplified design and an improved welding process. Full Article

Ford to Formally Begin Aluminum F-150 Output at Second Plant

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


Ford Motor Co. formally will begin production of its aluminum F-150 pickup at a second plant on Friday, the company said on a conference call today.“Job one” of the revamped pickup is scheduled at the automaker’s Missouri plant near Kansas City.  Production of 2014 aluminum F-150 began last year at a factory near Ford’s Dearborn, MI, headquarters. Full Article

Manufacturers Told to Emulate LEGO, `Think Around the Box’

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


Manufacturers should “think around the box” and follow the example of LEGO, an academic said.David Robertson, a professor at the Wharton School, described how Denmark-based LEGO Group went from near bankruptcy to growth and profits.“It is not a story about LEGO,” Robertson said today at the MFG Meeting in Orlando, FL. “It is a story about innovation strategy.” Full Article

AERODEF 2015: Meeting the Challenge of Composites

George N. Bullen, President and CEO, Smart Blades Inc.


Carbon fiber composites “grew up” in the airline world for replacement of metal parts. Today, they are reaching maturity as an integral part of aerospace manufacturing. But the growing pains continue, according to George N. Bullen, FSME, CPIM, who has spent his career working in space and space technologies and is now president/CEO of Smart Blades, Inc. Full Article

Aluminum Joining Manual Proves a Hit

Executive Editor James D. Sawyer


The automotive industry’s current emphasis on lightweighting—and the introduction of the aluminum intensive 2015 Ford F-150—has focused a lot of attention on substituting aluminum for ferrous metals. One of the apparent hurdles facing that substitution is how to join aluminum, both to itself and to dissimilar materials. Full Article

NanoSteel Expands Material Capabilities for Additive Manufacturing

Press Release - The NanoSteel Company


The NanoSteel® Company today announced the expansion of the company’s additive manufacturing (AM) material capabilities to support metal 3D printing of complex high hardness parts and the ability to customize properties layer-by-layer through gradient material design.The company leveraged its 2014 breakthrough in AM wear materials to print a bearing and impeller using the powder bed fusion process. Full Article

ExOne Expects to Hasten New Materials for 3D Printing

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


ExOne Co. expects to make more materials available faster for 3D printing.“What you’ll see is a large number of powders that will be certified on our printers at a pretty good pace,” Rick Lucas, ExOne’s chief technology officer, said in a telephone interview. “I can’t comment on specific numbers and timing. It’s being driven by our customers.” Full Article

Is Additive the New Twist that Electric Motors Need?

Contributing Editor Ed Sinkora


To many, powering cars and trucks with internal combustion engines is hopelessly outdated. The technology goes back to the 19th century. It relies on a finite source of fossil fuels. And it contributes to global warming. So beyond attempts to make such engines more efficient and the vehicles lighter, there’s also a huge push to produce vehicles with electric or hybrid forms of propulsion. Full Article

Viewpoints: Hybrid Machines, Standard CNC Work Together

Randy Pearson, International Business Development Manager, Siemens Industry Inc.


When additive machining emerged a bit more than two decades ago, it quickly became a prototyping marvel. As design changes were made to a part or product, the result could be quickly visualized in a 3D solid part. Manufacturers also appreciated the tool, as it enabled them to see potential process problems in the actual cutting of the part. Full Article

Optimize Process for Best Performance

Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


Planning for successful machining of titanium starts where machining of any material begins—with a capable machine tool, appropriate spindle power, tooling connection, cutting tool geometry, and secure workholding. Machining titanium and heat resistant super alloys (HRSA) is complicated by the very characteristics of the materials that make them highly desirable for aerospace components—high strength-to-weight ratio and high heat resistance. Full Article

It's Here: The World’s First 3D-Printed Jet Engine

Editor in Chief Sarah A. Webster


Prof. Xinhua Wu, a professor of materials engineering and director of the Monash Centre for Additive Manufacturing, has led a team at Monash University that has 3D printed the first jet engine. Full Article

Lightweighting Heavy on History

Senior Editor Ellen Kehoe


Maybe the desire to lose weight doesn’t go back as far as Atlas in Greek mythology, but for decades materials experts have sought lighter weight with strength and economy in the more well-known applications of autos and airplanes as well as in such products as metal cans and bicycles. Full Article

Keeping Your Cool in Order To Keep Costs Down

Edited by Executive Editor James D. Sawyer with information from Walter USA LLC.


The machining of blades for steam and gas turbines has long been a difficult, demanding, and costly operation. In recent years this situation has begun to change. On the one hand, advances in machine tool technology and data processing have brought improvements to the process. However, the industry’s increasing use of high-temperature superalloys and difficult-to-machine materials is bringing a new set of complications and costs to this area of the power generation industry. Full Article

ExOne Says 6 New Materials Now Printable on Its Systems

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


ExOne Co., a maker of 3D printing machines, said six new materials are now printable on its systems, a move that may expand markets for additive manufacturing.The six materials are: Cobalt-Chrome, IN Alloy 718, Iron-Chrome-Aluminum, 17-4 Stainless Steel, 316 Stainless Steel and Tungsten Carbide. Cobalt-Chrome and IN Alloy 718 are used in aerospace. Full Article

Milling vs. Grinding for Rapid Stock Removal

David Graham and Philip Varghese, Corporate Applications Engineers, Norton | Saint-Gobain Abrasives


A recent effort by the Norton Advanced Applications Engineering Group demonstrates that for difficult-to-machine materials, grinding can be an economical alternative to other machining processes. The high removal rates achieved with the Norton Vitrium³ wheels provide a robust and reliable process which can be easily automated and is not susceptible to the variability experienced with traditional machining processes due to premature or unpredictable tool failure. Full Article

Tech Front: New Nanoscale Compounds for Better CNG Storage

Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe


Researchers at Rice University (Houston) have published a new study on nanoscale materials composed of metal organic frameworks (MOF) that could be used to devise more practical storage systems used with compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. Today’s CNG-powered buses and trucks typically use very bulky tanks that store natural gas at very high pressure. Full Article

Detroit Manufacturing Institute Opens, Gets New Name

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


A Detroit group, which aims to speed the development of light-weight materials, had a public coming out and got a new name today.The new moniker, Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, or LIFT, was unveiled as the institute officially opened with a ceremony. LIFT replaces the name Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Full Article

Ford Americas Chief: Manufacturing Hubs Will Lead to Discoveries

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


The National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, aimed to speeding development of advanced manufacturing, is a “positive,” the head of Ford Motor Co.’s Americas unit said today. “I think discoveries will happen,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said at a press conference at the Automotive News World Congress. Full Article

Honda Steps Up Use of Advanced Materials in Acura NSX

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


Honda Motor Co.’s Acura division said it’s stepping up use of advanced materials in its NSX supercar that goes on sale later this year.The previous NSX, which was discontinued in 2005, made extensive use of aluminum. That will continue with the new NSX, which will also have high-strength steel and carbon fiber. Full Article

ALMMII Will Cut Ribbon to Open Detroit Innovation Acceleration Center Jan. 15

Press Release - ALMMII


ALMMII, the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute will cut the ribbon to officially open its new innovation acceleration center in Detroit, Michigan on January 15, 2015. The 100,000 square-foot facility is part of a national network of research institutions and industrial companies geared toward advancing America's leadership in manufacturing technology. Full Article

Detroit Auto Show: Jurassic Park Meets Weight Watchers

Executive Editor James D. Sawyer


The theme for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (aka, NAIAS or Detroit Auto Show) could very well be “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear.” The slate of new vehicle introductions the first day was laden with trucks and ultrahigh-performance sports cars. These vehicles, however, are not the gas-guzzling dinosaurs of Detroit’s past. Full Article

Emuge Introduces Comprehensive Tooling Program for Threading Demanding Titanium Alloys

Press Release - Emuge Corp.


Today, Emuge Corp. ( announced they are introducing a comprehensive line of high-performance tools for threading demanding alloyed Titanium materials. Ranging from taps with unique new geometry designs to solid carbide thread mills, the new program provides solutions for the most demanding titanium challenges such as in Aerospace, Defense and Medical machining applications. Full Article

Obama Announces New Manufacturing Institute in Tennessee

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


President Barack Obama today announced a 122-member consortium, working with the US Department of Energy, will oversee an advanced manufacturing institute aimed at speeding development of new composite materials. Full Article

Trade Group: Despite Aluminum Buzz, Steel Isn’t Dead

Senior Editor Bill Koenig


A trade organization is trying to get out the message that steel is going to remain a major part of automotive manufacturing.“There is a bit of concern because of the hype about aluminum,” Jody Hall, vice president-automotive market of the Steel Market Development Institute, said in a Dec. 18 interview. Full Article

Rising Sons at Micro Mold and Plastikos

Senior Editor Michael C. Anderson


The Erie, Pennsylvania companies Micro Mold and Plastikos make highly engineered precision parts for an ever more demanding client base in the medical and other industries. Both companies also have reputations as great places to work. The companies’ success is directly related to the culture of each workplace, according to their CEOs—who are themselves directly related. Full Article

The Heat Is On Difficult-to-Machine Metals

Senior Editor Jim Lorincz


Cutting tool manufacturers call on a lot of tribal knowledge to help their customers find the most productive machining solutions for processing difficult-to-machine materials. Manufacturers in industries that are big users of titanium, stainless steels, Inconels, and other high-temperature heat-resistant superalloys (HRSA) are increasingly seeking machining solutions that extend tool life, improve productivity, deliver consistent part quality, and take advantage of the latest advances in machine tool technology—all at the same time. Full Article

Tech Front: New Conductive Polymer Nanocomposites Hold Promise for Portable Devices

Edited by Senior Editors Patrick Waurzyniak and Ellen Kehoe


Researchers at Drexel University (Philadelphia) have developed a strong, flexible, electrically conductive nanocomposite material that could be used to power future wearable energy storage devices. The conductive MXene-polymer nanocomposite material, created by researchers in Drexel’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering in collaboration with scientists at Dalian University of Technology in China, is very flexible yet has the strength to support many times its own weight. Full Article

Enabling Long-Winded Speech

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson from information provided by Morgan Advanced Materials


New speech valve implant with high-purity zirconia lasts eight times longer than traditional silicon. Here's how it was made. Morgan Advanced Materials worked with the University of Hull (Hull, UK) to develop a new valve used to restore vocal function for patients with throat cancer. The new tracheo-oesophageal fistula speech valve uses Zyranox biocompatible yttria partially-stabilized zirconia, specifically developed for surgical implant devices. Full Article

Injecting Quality at MGS Ireland

Edited by Senior Editor Michael Anderson from information provided by Hexagon Metrology


Liffey Park Technology Campus in Leixlip, County Kildare, stands less than one mile away from the original (circa 1759) brewing location for the most famous of Irish exports—Guinness beer. Over 250 years later, the site is now home to several hi-tech companies, including the Ireland Headquarters of Hewlett-Packard (HP). Full Article

Composites Processing: Is That All There Is?

Carroll Grant, Aerospace Contractor, Aerospace Composites Consulting


Being a part of the aerospace composites industry since the early 1980s has been an especially rewarding experience in my career. I got involved with this industry in the early days of automated lamination development and got to see processes like automated fiber placement (AFP) mature over the years and become the premier process for making large composite structures.  Full Article

Advanced Materials Always on the Edge

Senior Editor Ellen Kehoe


As materials discoveries have advanced, techniques have evolved “to accelerate the transition from materials processing in a laboratory environment to fabrication techniques in a full scale production environment” and to show how “the advent of new materials and advances in the design of mechanical and electrical components are inextricably linked.” The paper stating this describes a knowledge-based approach to hot isostatic pressing. Full Article

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