Magna Puts a New Twist on Welding

Magna Puts a New Twist on Welding

Mar 9, 2018

Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine TROY, Mich.—Magna has put a new twist on joining thermoplastic materials in order to help automakers cut weight and costs: torsional welding. The torsional welding process, developed by Magna (www.magna.com) for automotive applications at its exteriors plant in Liberec, Czech Republic, presents a new way to join plastics. It features a high-speed twisting motion that creates enough friction-based heat to join a plastic bracket to a thermoplastic fascia. The innovative technology achieves an approximate 10 percent weight reduction because it allows thinner materials to be joined, which, in turn, reduces material costs. Torsional welding is currently used to make the front fascia of the 2017 Skoda Octavia, and it has potential for other applications where materials of similar composition need to be joined.   There may also be uses for torsional welding with the increase of advanced driver assistance systems and the development of self-driving cars. The trend will be for automotive fascias to become heavier with the increase in autonomous features, due to the addition of sensors. With torsional welding, it’s now possible to reduce weight on the outer skin and brackets so more sensors can be added without impacting the overall weight of the vehicle. The Society of Plastics Engineers’ Detroit Chapter recognized Magna’s torsional welding process with an innovation award at its TPO conference last fall in Troy, Michigan. “We seek every opportunity, from design and materials to enabling technologies, to help customers meet their lightweighting goals,” said Magna Exteriors President Grahame Burrow, in a press release. “We appreciate this recognition from SPE and look forward to expanding the use of this innovative process.”...

Which Technologies Should Come First, Second, Third?

Which Technologies Should Come First, Second, Third?

Mar 7, 2018

By Ken Koenemann – VP of Supply Chain and Technologies, TBM Consulting Group Featured on Advancedmanufacturing.org Analytics solutions. The industrial Internet of Things. Robotics. Automation. Manufacturers looking for tech solutions that will help them control costs and gain a competitive edge have many great options. In fact, deciding what type of technology to invest in and why can seem overwhelming. Could you get a better ROI through automation and improved productivity, or through using analytics to identify inefficiencies and streamline processes? To glean the most from almost any new technology, make sure you have: A clear understanding of what’s happening in your business A vision for what you want the technology to do and why The right process structure and skill sets along with team alignment. Before investing in any new technology, ask these questions: What are the key drivers of operational and financial performance for your business? Do you clearly understand performance levels, reasons for misses and have processes for correcting them? Many manufacturers regularly fall short of their strategic goals, and it’s a good bet most of them also struggle with these questions. A lack of data usually isn’t the issue. Most manufacturing environments usually include some combination of ERP, CRM, CMMS, EMS and financial reporting systems and spreadsheets. The problem is the long time it takes to gather and analyze key performance indicators from the various sources. When that’s the case, predictive technology is invaluable and probably your best next investment: It will help you better understand what’s happening in your business and why to keep strategic goals on track, and it will position you to apply new technologies more effectively moving forward. Many cloud-based predictive solutions are also more versatile and relatively inexpensive and easy to implement compared with, say, a behind-the-firewall solution. Moreover, a well-executed solution can delivery similar types of insights quicker due to a shorter implementation timeline. Predictive solutions are helpful because they can help you improve understanding of most facets of your operations, from sales trends to reasons for downtime. One manufacturer with which TBM is familiar was regularly losing a day’s worth of production every few months, which added up to several hundred thousand dollars...

Airbus Installs First 3D Printed Titanium Part on Series…

Airbus Installs First 3D Printed Titanium Part on Series…

Feb 20, 2018

“Airbus Installs First 3D Printed Titanium Part on Series Production Commercial Aircraft” Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine NEW YORK—Several months ago, Airbus and Arconic achieved a 3D printing first—the installation of a 3D printed titanium bracket on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft, the A350 XWB. Arconic, a global technology, engineering, and advanced manufacturing company, announced in September that it is 3D printing these parts for Airbus’s newest widebody aircraft at Arconic’s additive manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.  “Arconic is proud to partner with Airbus to advance aerospace additive manufacturing,” said Jeremy Halford, president of Arconic Titanium and Engineered Products, in a company release. “Our comprehensive capabilities, from materials science leadership to qualification expertise, helped make this achievement possible. We look forward to continuing to advance the art of the possible in additive for aerospace.” This first installation of a 3D printed titanium part on a series production Airbus commercial aircraft marks a milestone for additive manufacturing in aerospace. Although airplane makers have been using 3D printed parts for quite some time, largely for components inside the cabin, equipping airframes with metal parts produced via additive manufacturing is new. Airbus’s installation of this 3D printed titanium bracket on a series production commercial airplane, as opposed to a test airplane, is said to mark a significant step forward in the qualification of more complex 3D printed parts for production aircraft. 3D-printed parts, including metal printed cabin brackets and bleed pipes, are already flying on Airbus A320neo and A350 XWB test aircraft. The 3D printed titanium bracket is part of an ongoing partnership between Airbus and Arconic. In 2016, Arconic (www.arconic.com) announced three agreements with Airbus to produce titanium and nickel 3D printed parts for commercial aircraft, including the A320 platform and A350 XWB. Arconic’s 3D printing technology capabilities include laser powder bed and electron beam...

New process could make wood as strong as titanium alloys…

New process could make wood as strong as titanium alloys…

Feb 9, 2018

“New process could make wood as strong as titanium alloys but lighter and cheaper” By University of Maryland, Tech Xplore Engineers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) have found a way to make wood more than 10 times times stronger and tougher than before, creating a natural substance that is stronger than many titanium alloys. “This new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and 10 times tougher,” said Liangbing Hu of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and the leader of the team that did the research, to be published on February 8, 2018 in the journal Nature. “This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so strong and durable. It’s also comparable to carbon fiber, but much less expensive.” Hu is an associate professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute. “It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” said Teng Li, the co-leader of the team and Samuel P. Langley Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at UMD’s Clark School. His team measured the dense wood’s mechanical properties. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.” The team also tested the new wood material and natural wood by shooting bullet-like projectiles at it. The projectile blew straight through the natural wood. The fully treated wood stopped the projectile partway through. “Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak in furniture or buildings,” Hu said. “The paper provides a highly promising route to the design of lightweight, high performance structural materials, with tremendous potential for a broad range of applications where high strength, large toughness and superior ballistic resistance are desired, ” said Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University who was not involved in the study. “It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to...

How will Industry 4.0 impact U.S. manufacturing?

How will Industry 4.0 impact U.S. manufacturing?

Jan 26, 2018

By JLL Staff Reporter, Real Views The Fourth Industrial Revolution is picking up steam in warehouse aisles and factory floors around the world. As advancing technology brings the manufacturing industry closer to the vision of a ‘smart factory,’ the future of U.S. manufacturing depends on how well industry leaders play the new cards in the deck: robotics, data, automation and 3D printing—without overlooking the value of human capital. So far, the U.S. appears ready for change, earning a “well positioned for the future” nod from the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Production assessment, which evaluated production structures in countries around the world. While human-free warehouses and factories are still a long way off, more sophisticated, tech-fueled automation is already becoming a standard feature of the nation’s industrial buildings. These days, drones equipped with sensors can scan bar codes for inventory purposes, safely restock and pick merchandise on high shelves, and move small items quickly around the warehouse. Meanwhile, robotics and other technologies such as 3D printing, connected sensors and artificial intelligence are drastically transforming the way goods are manufactured. “Industry 4.0 represents a clear opportunity for the U.S. manufacturing sector when you think about the skilled positions coming back into the economy,” says Aaron Ahlburn, Managing Director, Industrial & Logistics Research, JLL. “Most industry-relevant technology works best when paired with intelligent use, and the U.S. has a competitive advantage when it comes to skilled, tech-savvy labor.” The factory of the future depends on today’s talent The United States’ manufacturing sector is the second largest in the world, after China. According to WEF’s 2018 report, the U.S. “is globally renowned for its ability to innovate and is currently at the forefront of major developments surrounding the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” This won’t be the first time the U.S. manufacturing industry has won in terms of innovation. This is, after all, the birthplace of the moving assembly line. And earlier automation technologies have already made this a country where only two in five employees are now directly engaged in production, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Still, according to the same report, the nation’s share of global manufacturing value has declined over time, dropping from 29 percent...