Author: Rich Novicky

Right-Angle, Flange-Mounted Planetary Gearbox is Suited for Tight Spaces

Compact WPLFE gearbox takes second place in i-NOVO Tech Awards CHARLOTTE, N.C.—A compact right-angle planetary gearbox manufactured by Neugart USA is said to require up to 30 percent less space than comparable right angle gearboxes, depending on the frame size. Besides being suited for applications with tight space constraints and powerful torque requirements, the new flange-mounted WPLFE gearbox “has the flexibility to mount in any direction to help optimize small spaces,” the company reported in a press release. The WPLFE took second place in voting for the i-NOVO Tech Awards at the recently concluded SPS-IPC Drives trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany. This model has a standardized flange interface that makes it easy to mount drive components, such as pulleys, belt drives, rack-and-pinion systems, linear units, and rotary tables. The WPLFE’s large flange output shaft diameter is reported to provide five times the torsional stiffness of an output shaft with a feather key. It also comes with deep, low-friction groove ball bearings that produce little heat, ultimately improving the lifetime performance of the gearbox and drive, according to the manufacturer. The WPLFE gearbox, capable of operating at temperatures from 25º to 90º C, is said to have a service life of 20,000...

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Engineers Reveal Fabrication Process for Transparent Sensors

MADISON, Wis.—In 2014, when University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers announced, in the journal Nature Communications, that they had developed transparent sensors for use in imaging the brain, researchers around the world took notice. Then the requests came flooding in. “So many research groups started asking us for these devices that we couldn’t keep up,” said Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma, the Lynn H. Matthias Professor and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in electrical and computer engineering at UW-Madison, in a release from the university. Ma’s group is at the leading edge of developing what it calls “revolutionary flexible electronic devices.” The see-through, implantable micro-electrode arrays were said to be “light years beyond anything ever created.” Although Ma and collaborator Justin Williams, the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at UW-Madison, patented the technology through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, they saw its potential for advancements in research. “That little step has already resulted in an explosion of research in this field,” said Williams in the release. “We didn’t want to keep this technology in our lab. We wanted to share it and expand the boundaries of its applications.” In a paper published on Oct. 13, 2016 in the journal Nature Protocols, the researchers described in great detail how to fabricate and use transparent graphene neural electrode arrays in applications in electrophysiology, fluorescent microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and optogenetics. “We described...

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Dana Rolls Out Portfolio of E-Axles for Hybrid, Electric Vehicles

MAUMEE, Ohio—Dana Incorporated recently announced that it has introduced its Spicer ® Electrified ™ portfolio of motor, control, and e-drive technologies to advance electric propulsion systems. The portfolio addresses each of Dana’ end markets—light, commercial, and off-highway vehicles—and builds on Dana’s half-century of research in electric driveline technologies. It is also said to complement the company’s battery-cooling solutions offered under the Long® brand portfolio. “Dana has a unique ability to leverage knowledge across multiple end markets, and we are confident that our investment and research will benefit the advancement of technology for the entire mobility industry,” said Dana President and CEO James Kamsickas, in a release from the company. “The Spicer Electrified strategy will build on Dana’s experience and successes, while further accelerating electric driveline technology and real-world applications over the next decade and beyond.” Currently in production, the Spicer® EV Drive for electric vans manages speed and torque from the e-motor to the wheels. Planned for launch in 2018, Dana’s new e-axles for electric transit buses and city delivery vehicles feature a fully integrated motor and gear box. Dana is also working with automotive manufacturers to develop all-wheel-drive (AWD) e-axles that deliver superior performance, packaging, and reliability, while meeting customer demand for AWD functionality paired with traditional front-wheel-drive...

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Digital I/O Carrier Board Connects Industrial Devices to Raspberry Pi Single-board Computers

TEMECULA, Calif.—A new carrier board released by industrial automation manufacturer and Internet of Things platform developer Opto 22 is reported to add the ability to connect, monitor, control, and automate billions of existing devices that were previously beyond the Raspberry Pi’s® built-in 3.3 VDC GPIO sensing and control capabilities. Opto 22’s Digital I/O Carrier Board for the Raspberry Pi® single-board computer enables the Pi to sense or switch up to 16 individually selectable electrical loads, ranging from 2.5 to 280 VAC/VDC, with solid-state power and reliability, the company said in a press release. Raspberry Pi developers across the world can use the carrier board with industrially hardened modules to build solutions for real-world industrial automation, remote monitoring, and discrete control applications. The Raspberry Pi is a flexible and powerful single-board computing platform originally designed as an educational tool for software students. With a variety of input/output interfaces, including USB, HDMI, and 40 3.3 VDC GPIO pins, the Raspberry Pi has been an ideal tool for rapid prototyping and development. Using its built-in GPIO pins, small electrical devices and peripherals like LEDs and push buttons can be connected to the Pi through breadboards and wires to build hobby-level monitoring and control applications. As an education platform, the Raspberry Pi has ignited the imagination of new and experienced developers alike. New opportunities to use the Raspberry Pi are being identified in...

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IoT Industrial Grade Socket Modems Reported to Accelerate Time to Market

LAVAL, Canada—Briowireless Inc., a manufacturer of Internet-of-Things (IoT) wireless cellular devices, recently launched its line of BitPipe™ IoT Interface, PTCRB certified industrial-grade socket modems. The Bitpipe™ IoT Interface, with its family of compact cellular socket modems, is said to enable reduction of R&D costs while accelerating time to market for IoT applications. “There’s a fast growing demand from OEMs, developers, and startups for efficient and industry compliant IoT cellular connectivity solutions,” said Eric Janosz, CEO of Briowireless, in a company release. “In response to this demand, we are very proud to launch our new line of BitPipe™ IoT Interface modems supporting 2G/3G fallback and LTE-Cat 1 4G/3G fallback cellular technologies.” Out of the box, the IoT industrial-grade socket modems are said to incorporate everything a developer needs to provide IoT cellular connectivity, including an industry certified cellular radio, DC-DC converter, digital and analog inputs and outputs, serial communications, and software API. The BitPipe IoT Interface supports numerous cellular networks, including 2G/3G and 3G/4G-LTE. Their form factor and electronic interface have been standardized by Briowireless to provide inter-changeability, flexibility, and versatility, therefore protecting the IoT solution providers’ investment for future connectivity requirements. In addition to being PTCRB certified and compliant to FCC and Industry Canada standards, the modems have been granted Network Compatibility Approval (NCA) by AT&T and other Canadian mobile network carriers. Additional details on product availability, pricing, and...

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Shipments of ADAS Components Projected to Reach 1.2 Billion Units Annually by 2025

BOULDER, Colo.—The market for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) is on the verge of a tipping point. Driven largely by a quest for improved safety, either via government mandates or a desire to receive top-tier crashworthiness ratings, automakers are rapidly incorporating new technologies and systems that are designed to help drivers avoid accidents by improving their situational awareness, improving reaction times, or enhancing the vehicle’s response to adverse conditions. Key components that are enabling ADAS include cameras, image processors, system processors, ultrasonic sensors, solid-state LiDAR, high-end LiDAR, radar sensors, and infrared sensors, among others. A new report from Tractica projects that shipments of components for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will increase at a healthy pace over the next decade, rising from 218.1 million units shipped in 2016 to 1.2 billion units by 2025. By that time, the market intelligence firm forecasts that the ADAS component market will reach $89.3 billion in annual revenue. “Advances in a number of fields, including camera and imaging technology, high power, low energy consumption processing, advanced neural networks and data processing, and others, have shifted the focal point of technology innovation from the computer in the 1990s, to the mobile handset in the 2000s, and in the current decade, to the automobile,” said principal analyst Keith Kirkpatrick in a press release. Kirkpatrick added that, while fully connected and autonomous vehicles are likely a...

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Automotive Radar Microcontroller Said to Bolster Accuracy and Safety

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—Renesas Electronics Corporation recently introduced its first RH850-based, 32-bit, automotive radar microcontroller (MCU) series, the RH850/V1R, for enabling future advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving vehicles. The RH850/V1R-M, the first product from the RH850/V1R Series, includes a digital signal processor (DSP, Note 1) and high speed serial interfaces, and is specifically designed for middle- to long-range radars, the company said in a press release. Software and tools, including evaluation boards, will also become available to enable system developers to start their development immediately with the RH850/V1R-M microcontroller. With the expansion of ADAS and autonomous driving, sensors are fast becoming a key technology. Currently, vehicles are being equipped with a broad spectrum of sensors, such as cameras, LiDAR, and ultrasonic sensors. In particular, radar sensors are required for ADAS applications, including advanced emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, because unlike other sensors, radar sensors are not negatively affected by external environmental limitations, including adverse weather conditions, such as rain, fog, or whether the sun is shining or not. High precision sensing becomes critical in realizing future autonomous driving to meet the increasing requirements of range resolution, separation of objects, and precision in measurement of velocity. This requires increased numbers of antennas and boosting of the signal processing performance. To address these needs, Renesas launched the new RH850/V1R-M MCU, specifically designed for radar applications in ADAS. The...

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MIPI Alliance Releases MIPI I3C Sensor Interface Specification

PISCATAWAY, N.J.—The MIPI® Alliance, an international organization that develops interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries, recently released MIPI I3CSM, Improved Inter-Integrated Circuit, a sensor interface specification that streamlines sensor integration in smartphones, wearables, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and automotive systems. The MIPI I3CSM specification is reported to solve the engineering community’s pressing need for a new chip-to-chip interface that integrates sensors in these and other product designs. Joel Huloux, chairman of the board of MIPI Alliance, called the release of MIPI I3C an important milestone for the MIPI Alliance and the developer community. “It brings together multiple sensor interface approaches around a unifying specification that provides conveniences and system-level benefits for many applications,” said Huloux in a prepared release.  “We expect MIPI I3C will play a fundamental role in expanding opportunities for sensor-based applications in mobile, mobile-influenced, and embedded systems markets.” The MIPI I3C specification supports the adoption and proliferation of sensors in mobile-connected products. Besides making it easier to integrate sensors in small space-constrained form factors, it is said to alleviate interface fragmentation, help minimize pin count, and control system-wide energy consumption. The specification gives developers a greater choice of design options, reduces system-level implementation costs, and helps shorten time-to-market for new applications, according to the MIPI Alliance. It delivers these benefits by incorporating, consolidating, and advancing I2C, SPI, and UART with a new approach. The...

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Large Modular Enclosures Are Said to Ease Wiring and Inspection

OAKWOOD, Ga.—New rectangular hoods recently introduced by Mencom Corp. are reported to offer a number of features to meet the demanding requirements of the wiring market. The BIG Series hoods have larger dimensions than the standard hoods, provide additional space, and accommodate larger sizes of cables and additional entry holes, the company said in a press release. The new enclosures are reported to be 23mm wider and up to 34mm higher than the current enclosures. Despite the larger sizes, the BIG hoods are still fully compatible with existing rectangular connectors and accessories, the company said. The hood compartment is designed with an upper and lower half connected by 4 screws with O-rings, providing easy access during assembly and up to three times more space versus standard hoods. The enclosures enable the connection of push button selectors, switches, and signaling lamps after the necessary holes have been drilled.  It is possible, for example, to enable power supplies or signaling circuits even after the connector has been coupled, according to Mencom (mencom.com). The hood entry is available in one or more top and side entries and a closed enclosure that can be...

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Right-Angle, Flange-Mounted Planetary Gearbox is Suited for Tight Spaces

Compact WPLFE gearbox takes second place in i-NOVO Tech Awards CHARLOTTE, N.C.—A compact right-angle planetary gearbox manufactured by Neugart USA is said to require up to 30 percent less space than comparable right angle gearboxes, depending on the frame size. Besides being suited for applications with tight space constraints and powerful torque requirements, the new flange-mounted WPLFE gearbox “has the flexibility to mount in any direction to help optimize small spaces,” the company reported in a press release. The WPLFE took second place in voting for the i-NOVO Tech Awards at the recently concluded SPS-IPC Drives trade fair in Nuremberg, Germany. This model has a standardized flange interface that makes it easy to mount drive components, such as pulleys, belt drives, rack-and-pinion systems, linear units, and rotary tables. The WPLFE’s large flange output shaft diameter is reported to provide five times the torsional stiffness of an output shaft with a feather key. It also comes with deep, low-friction groove ball bearings that produce little heat, ultimately improving the lifetime performance of the gearbox and drive, according to the manufacturer. The WPLFE gearbox, capable of operating at temperatures from 25º to 90º C, is said to have a service life of 20,000...

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This Month’s Shop Spotlight: Swiss Precision Machining

Swiss Precision Machining (SPM) started out in 1979 in Illinois with three Swiss cam machines, and today it operates more than 90 precision metal fabricating machines. In the last year, SPM grew from a factory of under 30,000-square-feet to one of 82,000-square-feet in its 37th year of business. “Our modern facility is ISO 9001:2008 certified as well as meeting ISO 13485 standard for medical devices. We have the most advanced, high speed machinery available, featuring 11 axis, automatic bar loading and CNC control,” SPM reports on its website. SPM shapes complex parts from stainless steel, titanium, bronze, nitronic 60, brass, aluminum and steel. It is ISO 9001:2008 certified, and for medical devices, it meets the ISO 13485 standard for medical devices. “Our highly skilled quality control professionals are all trained through a rigorous training program to ensure that they understand the quality expectations of SPM. Our various measurement and inspection devices are meticulously kept to a strict calibration schedule, which is carefully monitored and controlled,” said SPM on its website (www.spmswiss.com). When the company manufactures a gimbal lock plate, SPM meets tolerances of 0.001 of an inch using a CNC Swiss screw machine. The product is manufactured out of 17-4PH H900 stainless steel for the medical industry. The part is used to keep cables separate during robotic surgery. “We machine a wide range of materials, including aluminum, brass, stainless...

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Ace Wire Spring Shows Students What Manufacturing is All About

Company hosts two groups of students on Manufacturing Day 2016

PITTSBURGH, Pa.—In an effort to help students experience what manufacturing is really like and open their minds to career opportunities in the field, Ace Wire Spring & Form Co., Inc. recently celebrated Manufacturing Day 2016 by hosting two separate groups of students for a presentation and tour of the company’s facility. Ace Wire Spring, located in McKees Rocks, Pa., manufactures a wide variety of custom precision springs for diverse applications.

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RD Rubber Technology Celebrates 30 Years of Precision Rubber Molding

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif.—Since 1986, RD Rubber Technology Corp. has consistently built its business by earning the trust of customer after customer—an achievement that has led to three decades of steady growth. The company, a specialist in the precision molding of rubber components, credits its longevity to a unique commitment to long-term relationships, uncompromising quality standards, and unwavering attention to detail. Many of RD Rubber’s original customers from the 1980s are still working with the company, and those long-term relationships also apply to employees, vendors, and the local business community. RD Rubber (www.rdrubber.com) has been located in Santa Fe Springs from the beginning. When the company needed to expand operations and move to a bigger facility to accommodate its growing business, it stayed local to retain the longtime employees who have been instrumental to its success. Over the years, RD Rubber has focused on the custom fabrication of high-tech component parts for OEMs in the healthcare, aerospace, military, electronics, and food equipment industries. The company recently added an ISO Class 8 clean room with complete liquid silicone molding (LIM), assembly, and inspection in the same room. RD Rubber is ISO 9001:2008 and ITAR certified, often working with products that have no margin for error. The company’s motto is “the critical invisible” because RD Rubber often makes the hidden components for applications that are critical to human safety.  All manufacturing...

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Bestronics Details Second Plant Expansion in Two Years

SAN JOSE, Calif. —After recently expanding its manufacturing facilities for the second time in two years, Bestronics reports that the transformation of its Silicon Valley campus is complete. Bestronics, a provider of manufacturing, engineering, and test services for original equipment manufacturers, recently  added another building to its San Jose campus to meet the growing demand for locally based manufacturing support, and now offers nearly 150,000 square feet of technology-ready manufacturing space with two adjacent facilities located in the heart of Silicon Valley. Coinciding with the expansion, Bestronics added to its executive team in operations management, along with new hires in engineering and project management roles. “We offer clean room assembly and our newly added facility is available for all phases of your product’s lifecycle, including a uniquely innovative and practical ‘incubation environment’ for early stage hardware companies,” said CEO Nat Mani in an email to D2P. “For ‘mature legacy products’ that take up a lot of your energy and resources, we have the perfect business model as well.”  Bestronics has championed the return of local manufacturing to Silicon Valley. Mani also said that the company has added highly sophisticated SMT equipment, along with the latest 3D X-ray, automatic optical inspection, innovative SPI printing, environmental stress test systems, and other toolsets to support the most bleeding edge hardware development. “Coupled with these infrastructure improvements, extraordinarily capable technical leadership team, and...

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Digicom Electronics Brings Nitrogen into Soldering and Reflow Processes

Adding nitrogen is intended to maximize reliability of the device OAKLAND, Calif.—The electronics manufacturing services provider Digicom Electronics, Inc., reports that it is generating its own nitrogen for use in its solder reflow, selective soldering, and hand soldering manufacturing processes to strengthen the bonds and improve solder adhesion. The addition of nitrogen, part of Digicom’s Diamond Track Manufacturing Processes, is said to minimize device failure and ensure printed circuit board integrity, especially for mission critical products for the medical, military and aerospace, industrial, and RF wireless industries. “Manufacturers must seek every way possible to eliminate failures of the devices they manufacture,” said Mo Ohady, general manager, Digicom Electronics, in a company release. “Many major failures result from a weakness in the solder joint that connects the wire bond to the PCB, or the solder connecting the device or package to the board. Processes that seem to benefit the most are the ones that have a narrower pitch, so the narrower the pitch, the more that nitrogen use is recommended. Studies show a 50-60 percent reduction in defect level when using nitrogen in the reflow process. Digicom seeks to employ technologies that produce products of the highest quality. Towards that end, we have implemented nitrogen in our manufacturing process.” The nitrogen is generated and piped directly to machine inputs and work areas at a prescribed volume and pressure to achieve...

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Stoffer to Head Global Sales and Marketing at Bal Seal Engineering

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif.—Bal Seal Engineering, Inc., a designer and producer of custom sealing, connecting, conducting, and EMI shielding components, has named Gary Stoffer as its new vice president of global sales and marketing, the company announced recently. Stoffer, who holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Southern California, previously served as vice president of sales and marketing for a Southern California–based global industrial applications company. In his new role, he will be responsible for all global sales and marketing for Bal Seal Engineering. “I’ve been impressed by Bal Seal’s approach to design by partnering with its customers,” Stoffer said in a company release. “I am excited about being part of the future of an organization with a rich history of innovation and collaboration.” As Bal Seal’s new head of sales and marketing, Stoffer will play a key role in developing strategies for achieving the company’s short- and long-term sales goals and initiatives. He added that he’ll be studying and streamlining the sales processes, with the objective of “creating levels of efficiency that will lead to increased market penetration, continued product innovation, and even stronger partnerships with customers.” Commenting on Stoffer’s appointment, Bal Seal President and CEO Rick Dawson said, “I’m very pleased to welcome Gary to our company. The hands-on experience and leadership abilities he brings to Bal Seal are exactly what we need...

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Paul DiLaura Joins Carbon as Vice President of Sales

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—Carbon, the 3D printing company formerly known as Carbon 3D, recently announced that Paul DiLaura, former managing director at Dassault Systemes North America, has joined its leadership team as vice president of sales. “With the recent launch of our M1 printer, Paul will be key to help guide Carbon’s strategic growth, accelerate the adoption of our technology, and maintain a central focus on customer success,” said Dr. Joseph DeSimone, CEO and co-founder of Carbon, in a press release. “This is an exciting time at Carbon, and Paul’s proven ability to successfully lead business in high growth environments will be a valuable asset to the company and critical to our growth.” Paul joins Carbon after spending approximately 11 years at Dassault Systemes, where he led customer and partner relationships in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as the managing director of North America. He’s held a variety of roles, including managing some of Dassault Systemes’ key relationships (Boeing), as well as the majority of small and mid-sized businesses. “I am honored to join the talented team at Carbon that is working at the intersection of hardware, software, and molecular science to create new possibilities with additive manufacturing,” said Paul DiLaura in a statement. “I look forward to partnering with customers across a variety of industries to help transform how they develop their products.” Carbon (www.carbon3D.com) has received $141...

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AGC AeroComposites Names Mark Tattershall Vice President of Sales and Marketing

HAYDEN, Idaho—AGC AeroComposites, a global supplier of composite aerostructures, assemblies, and components to the aerospace and defense industry, recently announced that it has named Mark Tattershall as its vice president of sales and marketing. Tattershall joined AGC in 2015 as director of business development for its facility in Hayden, Idaho. In his new role, Tattershall will be responsible for all North America account management, business development, and marketing strategies. He will also be instrumental in integrating the company’s most recent acquisitions: North Coast Composites and North Coast Tooling and Mold Corporation. Tattershall has more than 30 years of international aerospace and defense experience in a variety of roles in quality, engineering, sales, marketing, and business development, representing companies such as Kaman Aerospace, Breeze-Eastern, Capewell, AmSafe/Bridport Aviation, and Westland Helicopters. “Mark has demonstrated the knowledge, expertise, and customer relationships to position AGC AeroComposites for future growth and success,” said Wayne Exton, CEO of AGC AeroComposites, in a press release. Tattershall holds a bachelor of science with honors in Engineering Business Development from Bournemouth University. He also completed a five-year mechanical engineering apprenticeship with Hanns Engineering in Bridport, Dorset, England. AGC AeroComposites (www.agcaerocomposites.com) supplies the aerospace and defense industry with composite and metallic aerostructures and...

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Empire Precision Plastics Names New Business Development Manager

ROCHESTER, N.Y.— Empire Precision Plastics, a precision molder of optic and intricate molded components, has hired Keith Bradt as the company’s new business development manager, the company announced recently. As a member of Empire’s leadership team, Bradt will develop strategies to grow the company in ways that meet customer and market needs. He will manage and develop the Empire sales team, encouraging continuous improvement in sales performance, process enhancement, and accountability. “Keith is an experienced sales professional with a strong technical background. This combination of skills makes him an invaluable leader in the continued growth of Empire Precision,” Empire President Neal Elli said in a press release announcing the hiring. “Along with our sales team, Keith will ensure that we continually meet and exceed customer expectations, from prototype through production and assembly.” “I am excited to be a part of the Empire team and look forward to playing a role in the growth of the organization,” Bradt said. Bradt has an MBA in management and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Empire (www.empireprecision.com) has hired several new employees recently as part of the company’s ongoing expansion, and more positions are available, the company reported. Empire Precision Plastics is ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2012 certified and ITAR...

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New High Strength Steels Could Be Boon for Auto Industry

A designer of nanostructured steel materials is drawing interest from automakers who are looking to reduce the weight of their vehicles while overcoming the historical tradeoff between strength and formability of steel.  By Mark Langlois, Senior Editor NanoSteel, a designer of nanostructured steel materials, is aiming to help auto manufacturers reduce the structural weight of cars with advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) that can be stamped and formed at room temperature without additional manufacturing infrastructure or investment. The company, currently working to develop steel materials that offer unique combinations of high strength and formability , is poised to benefit from the national trend reported this year that nearly two-thirds of automakers are focused on light-weighting their vehicles in an effort to meet federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy  (CAFE) standards by 2025. The CAFE standards set a requirement of 54.5 mpg fleet-average for car makers by 2025. No automaker yet meets that requirement. A national survey reported in August 2016 revealed a mix of strategies to achieve that standard. While that 63 percent of auto manufacturers will attempt to meet the CAFE requirement by manufacturing lighter cars, nearly half (49 percent) are attempting to meet the goal through engine efficiency programs, and 40 percent through transmission technologies. Electrification of the vehicle was also increasingly mentioned by respondents, with 37 percent saying that they employ mild hybrid or start-stop technology, and 32...

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