You don’t have to look too far to find the reasons for the growth of fiber lasers for production applications. On price per watt, beam quality, electrical consumption, and maintainability required, fiber lasers typically score the lowest on the cost side and very high on the performance side.
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Innovate, Integrate, Collaborate are more than just marketing keywords. A number of metrology and software companies I visited at IMTS are putting their development dollars to work in these areas and showing off the results.
Carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composite materials deliver the important performance advantages of high strength-to-weight ratio, durability, and extreme corrosion resistance in lightweight structures, valued especially for demanding aerospace and oil and gas industry applications.
The growing need for nano and micro components in the medical industries is challenging manufacturers to continually improve upon their manufacturing processes and take a scientific approach to injection molding and tooling.
Not all threaded connections serve similar purposes.The load-carrying needs of an aerospace engine support bolt in a tension assembly greatly exceed those of a simple screw that fastens a cover plate to an electrical wall socket. International thread-acceptance documents and standards recognize this basic engineering fact, and incorporate different thread-inspection requirements into their verification standards.
Machining composites presents unique challenges compared to metals. Reinforcement fibers are abrasive, shortening tool life. The plastic matrix carries away little heat, unlike metal chips, and overheating can melt the matrix.
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.
There’s an old saw that if bumblebees were aeronautical engineers they would know they can’t fly. Quite apart from the miracle of their flight, bees also happen to make a lightweight structure of surprising strength, just the sort of thing you’d want if you were building aircraft: honeycomb.
Entrepreneurs and existing manufacturers are making 3D printers that automate production of composite parts, and are unique in their design.
Lightweighting is so established it’s now part of marketing for new vehicles. Automakers routinely detail how much less models weigh than their predecessors. General Motors Co., for example, has said a range of its vehicles is anywhere from almost 250 lb (112.5 kg) to 700 lb (315 kg) lighter.