Bringing the future of eco-thinking through smarter manufacturing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #122)

The impact that our human civilization is having on the environment is unprecedented and we need to be conscious and proactive about it. Fortunately, there are more benefits to be had through smart manufacturing technologies other than improved quality and lead times. By better monitoring the production process, we can avert hugely wasteful discrepancies, as NASA has been experiencing with faulty materials through 20 years (!!) of launches. Cutting edge tracking, monitoring and reporting tools, like Authentise 3Diax, enable companies to do just that, potentially saving millions of dollars. In parallel, new materials, designed to be recycled indefinitely and easily, will cast new light on everyday products and their construction. This is particularly important, as the mentality behind the design process has to change significantly to make the system work. Examples like the Apple AirPods show us how we must keep recyclability into much higher consideration, along with sources life-standards and production health concerns, when designing products that will help us preserve scarce resources and stay out of landfills.

NASA was sold faulty rocket parts for almost 20 years

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When the launch of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory missions failed in 2009 and 2011, the agency said it was because their launch vehicle malfunctioned. Now, a NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) investigation has revealed that the malfunction was caused by faulty aluminum materials. More importantly, the probe blew a 19-year fraud scheme perpetrated by Oregon aluminum extrusion manufacturer Sapa Profiles, Inc. wide open. LSP, along with NASA’s Office of the Inspector General and the US Department of Justice, have discovered the Sapa Profiles falsified critical tests on the aluminum it sold.

Read the full piece on Engadget.

Plastic Gets a Do-Over: Breakthrough Discovery Recycles Plastic From the Inside Out

A team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has designed a recyclable plastic that, like a Lego playset, can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level, and then reassembled into a different shape, texture, and color again and again without loss of performance or quality. The new material, called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, was reported in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Read the rest here.

AirPods Are a Tragedy

AirPods are a product of the past. They’re plastic, made of some combination of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. They’re tungsten, tin, tantalum, lithium, and cobalt.

Humans extract these elements from the earth, heat them, refine them. As they work, humans breathe in airborne particles, which deposit in their lungs. The materials are shipped from places like Vietnam, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, and India, to factories in China. A literal city of workers creates four tiny computing chips and assembles them into a logic board. Sensors, microphones, grilles, and an antenna are glued together and packaged into a white, strange-looking plastic exoskeleton.

These are AirPods.

Read the rest of the article on Vice.

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Is 3D printing reinventing the automotive assembly line? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 78)

Henry Ford was the first to envision a streamlined way of bringing quality automobiles to market. The idea behind his revolutionary vision was that technology enabled his workers to optimize their activities. That philosophy is still alive and well in the automotive industry and now, thanks to 3D printing, it’s experiencing a renewed sense of discovery. Currently, companies like Audi and GM are employing 3D printing to help speed up the design and prototyping cycle cutting lead times by more than 50% and saving over $300K on tooling. The bravest (or those with the most resources) are pushing 3D printing towards new applications and wild concepts for the cars of the future.

General Motors Saves $300,000 By Switching To 3D Printed Tooling

Zane Meike holds sample 3D printed tool at the Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Michigan. Photo by Michael Wayland/Automotive News

The Lansing Delta Township assembly plant of American multinational vehicle manufacturer General Motors has reported an expected cost saving of over $300,000 since it acquired a 3D printer three years ago. Driving forward its 3D printing efforts, the plant eventually expects to create annual cost savings in the millions of dollars.

Read the full article here.

Shanghai Commits To Divergent 3D Printed Electric Vehicle Production

The Divergent 3D node-based additive manufacturing technology, used to make the Blade supercar, is to be the driver of a new electric vehicle (EV) production plant in Shanghai.

“The EV market in China is at an inflection point, with unparalleled growth in demand and government policy stimulus,” says Eric Ho King-fung, chairman of We Solutions in an article for the South China Morning Post.

Check out the rest of the article here.

MIT’s 3D-printed inflatables could shape the interiors of cars in the future

Car interiors could morph into different configurations at the flick of a switch, using 3D-printed inflatable structures developed by researchers at the MIT. The Self-Assembly Lab at MIT worked with BMW on the project, called Liquid Printed Pneumatics. The result is a stretchy, inflatable silicone prototype that can take on a number of different shapes depending on the level of air pressure inside. If turned into a car seat, it could quickly be tuned to different positions, or levels of springiness depending on user preference.

Read the rest at Dezeen.

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The opportunities of 3D printing organic compounds (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 46)

3D printing is still struggling to overcome issues regarding biodegradability and its ecological impact. We’ve been using materials for thousands of years that are of natural origin and can easily be disposed of. It’s been a challenge to translate that to the latest manufacturing tech around. Cellulose is having a comeback, as researchers are understanding how to create polymer structures from abundant and renewable raw materials. A new group of new biomaterials is being developed, some with transient properties, capable of degrading and dissolving on-demand. Nanocellulose has been invented in the 1970s as a food thickener and could be coming to a dish near you, made more palatable thanks to 3D printing. Advances in chemistry collide with the challenges of 3D printing to open the way for complex, smart and immensely useful organic materials.

MIT Develops Method To 3D Print Abundant Natural Polymer Cellulose

Diagram showing a) printing process b) process under a microscope c) extruded filament d) mini glasses e) mini rose. Image via Advanced Science News.

MIT scientists Dr. Sebastian Pattinson and Prof A.J. Hart have now published a possible method of 3D printing a derivative of cellulose as a substitute for environmentally problematic plastics, one which sidesteps previously encountered problems. […] As detailed in the research paper, after printing, the cellulose acetate parts can be converted to cellulose proper by de-acetylation using sodium hydroxide.

Read the full article here.

3D Printed Biomaterials Degrade on Demand

Biomaterials that can degrade on demand have been 3D printed by engineers at Brown University. The materials were fabricated by means of stereolithographic printing, which uses an ultraviolet laser controlled by a computer-aided design system to trace patterns across the surface of a photoactive polymer solution. The capacity of the materials to degrade is imparted by the development of reversible ionic bonds. Precursor solutions were prepared with sodium alginate, a compound derived from seaweed that is known to be capable of ionic crosslinking. Different combinations of ionic salts, including magnesium, barium and calcium, were then added to 3D print objects with varying stiffness levels, a factor which affected how quickly the structures dissolved.

Read more about the research here.

Can 3D Printed Nanocellulose Transform The Food Industry?

Cellulose is a natural ingredient, but would you necessarily want to eat it? Diagram of the nanocellulose extraction process via bio1151.nicerweb

The Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is the latest institution to introduce a nanocellulose-based platform that promises “the 3D printing of personalized food” with the added ability “to cook, bake, fry and grill while printing at the three dimensional space.”

Read the full article here.

 

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