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.
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The use of electrical discharge machining, or EDM, is spreading as manufacturers need more precisely cut workpieces, often made from tough to machine materials.
In a recent LNS Research study on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Digital Transformation, the top two challenges facing the adoption of IIoT technology are finding the budget to invest (32% of respondents) and building the business case (30% of respondents).
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.
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.
It’s been almost two decades since the C5 Corvette hit the streets with its groundbreaking chassis built around hydroformed steel bumper-to-bumper frame rails. The technology gave engineers a chance to create components that were both lighter and stiffer than traditional stamped and welded assemblies.
Additive manufacturing lets companies think “outside the box.” Engineers can now start to look at a part without restrictions on size, shape or material. Instead of taking 15 different CNC milled parts and brazing them together, these companies have reimagined the part entirely—to be built as one part.
VMCs have had a productive past, present and the future looks promising
The challenge of machining hip replacement implants out of cobalt chrome
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.