Friday, June 28, 2013

What's hot on the manufacturing front

With the economy limping along the bottom at 1.8% growth and incessant caterwauling about the death of the manufactruring sector, what is going on in the area of making things besides burgers?

Well, my fascination--3D printing--or what they now call "additive technology"--building an item by layering on materials--is a front runner.

There is a sister technollogy now called "cold spraying." Metallic particles are blasted through a nozzle at such high speeds that they bind to each other to form shapes.

Other happening areas include sensing and measurement. This helps things be built by computers.

Materials design, synthesis and processing are big areas. New machines mean new materials--new materials mean new machines.

Digital manfacturing is big. This means computer-aided modeling. Saves time.

Sustainable manufacturing is also a coming field--capturing lost energy.

Nano--teeny tiny things.

Flexible electronics--bendable tablets, electronic clothing.

Robotics are being refined as we read this, and researchers are trying to find new ways to join materials besides forging or welding.

It's all up for grabs! Got any ideas?

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