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Composites for Aerospace: Faster, More Automated

The aerospace industry continues to increase its use of composites, a phenomenon that’s pushing academics, trade groups and manufacturers to research and develop methods to enhance the techniques and tools for using the materials.

Auto Industry Faces Short- and Long-Term Challenges

Sales of cars and light trucks plummeted during the Great Recession and General Motors Co. and Chrysler emerged from government-back bankruptcies in 2009. Since then, total industry deliveries have surged, hitting a record 17.47 million in 2015, according to Autodata Corp.

ERP Software for Small Shops

Modernizing the smaller shop with the latest digital tools available from enterprise resource planning (ERP) software developers

Quality Inspection and the CAD Connection

Modern manufacturing is rapidly adopting model-based definition (MBD). When employing an MBD strategy, the CAD model becomes more than the nominal to which all parts are measured and inspected against. MBD keeps the all-important digital thread intact—from design to manufacturing to inspection and quality reporting.

Micro Manufacturing Keeps Shrinking the Envelope

Micro components continue to shrink in size, demanding ever-greater precision and improved handling of parts with sub-micron-sized features. New approaches in micro machining technology include higher-precision systems from traditional micro machining developers, as well as techniques using additive manufacturing processes and semiconductor wafer-scale technology on the smallest of micro parts.

Metrology Gets Connected

“Metrology and its relationship to manufacturing is rapidly evolving,” Ken Woodbine, president, Wilcox Associates, a brand of Hexagon Metrology (North Kingstown, RI), recently observed. “We are seeing larger quantities and faster speeds of measurement data collection. The next challenge is what to do with all that data.”

Time for Monumental Thinking in Additive

As additive manufacturing emerges from a long infancy, the industry is grappling with a key challenge: A file format and design tools from the 20th century are being asked to do 21st century jobs.

Change-up Pitch: From Metal to Plastic

Even though it’s been around since the 1950s, when engineering-grade resins were first introduced, many manufacturers still are not familiar with the many benefits that metal-to-plastic conversion provides.