Member leaders from SME's technical communities presented industry outlooks at the SME Annual Conference in June. Several technical papers update developments in forming and fabricating (TP13PUB59); plastics, composites and coatings (TP13PUB61); product and process design and management (TP13PUB62); rapid and additive manufacturing (TP13PUB63); and manufacturing education and research (TP13PUB60).
The forming and fabricating forecast is hopeful, with expansion expected in transportation and energy markets as well as a continued revolution in new-often nonmetal-materials and innovative joining technologies in traditional segments of manufacturing, such as aerospace and automotive. Among the innovations in plastics, composites and coatings are forged composites, particularly for automotive applications, thermal insulating ceramic coating, dry film lubricant, rapid-cure carbon thermoset composite materials/processes and nanomaterials to influence material properties. Software advances for injection molding and mold design are improving simulation and flow analysis.
On the product and process design and management front, important topics continue to be change management-emphasizing the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet, knowledge management-with an increasing need to manage and leverage intellectual property, and shop floor information delivery and mobile devices, so employees have the data they need when and where they need it.
Rapid technologies and additive manufacturing advancements focus on 3D imaging, medical applications, direct digital manufacturing, materials and Web-based content. Continued industry consolidation is expected, along with rapidly expanding technology capabilities, many new companies, niche business models, substantial application discovery and market displacements. Also in June, at the Rapid 2013 Conference and Exposition in
A unified approach-within SME and in collaboration with other organizations, government agencies and educational institutions-in support of manufacturing education is outlined in the update from SME's Manufacturing Education & Research community. Ongoing efforts emphasize the importance of manufacturing and well-educated workforce to a robust economy. The central role of the "Four Pillars of Manufacturing Knowledge" model is described as well.
Several other new tech papers are from the SME Annual Conference breakouts sessions on "Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture." Authors from General Motors Global R&D (technology">www.gm.com/design-technology; Warren, Ml) describe a multi-ring domed electrode for aluminum resistance spot welding (TP13PUB55). The greatest benefit of this technology is the large resistance spot welding process window that it displays for welding of aluminum sheet, extrusion, casting or combinations thereof, while also achieving high weld quality and eliminating surface expulsion. 3D printing of silicon micro and nano structures by ion implantation, silicon deposition and selective silicon etching (TP13PUB58) is described by authors from
All SME Technical Papers are available by entering the paper number or a keyword in the search box at http://tinyurl.com/searchsme.
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