Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at the history of manufacturing, the latest trends in the industry and sustainable manufacturing. We’ve learnt that manufacturing is constantly moving and developing, and as a result, we have new materials!
This is exciting stuff and to share our joy at the opportunity of designing and manufacturing with new materials, we’ve collated our top five.
Before we delve straight in, we asked Daneel Ballaram, Head of Product Design and Digital Manufacturing Services here at Baker Baynes, what he felt Baker Baynes could offer customers in the manufacturing industry, particularly with the regular emergence of new materials:
“Autodesk offers tools that help customers design, create and revolutionise the way they manufacture. Baker Baynes help customers adopt this technology, with industry best practices and evolving trends in technology.”
With this in mind, here are some new materials that are being applied to the manufacturing industry, all of which Autodesk can help you use to ensure best in class manufacturing.
1. Fibre Metal Laminates (FMLs)
Over time, aluminium aircrafts are vulnerable to fatigue cracking, due to the stresses put on the regularly used aluminium. Although aircrafts are typically taken out of action before fatigue cracking happens, it’s still a costly consequence of aluminium.
Enter a solution: Fibre Metal Laminates (FMLs) – a hybrid composite for aircrafts, which is a great improvement on aluminium. FMLs are made by bonding together alternating layers of treated aluminium sheet and something called fibre prepreg into large panels.
FML panels can be thinner than aluminium alone because they aren’t as affected by fatigue cracking. Therefore, they are lighter in weight, which in turn means panels can be made larger. And, this means less brackets equating to quicker and easier construction of aircrafts. These are just some of the benefits of FMLs, there are more.
2. Grip Metal
To put it simply, Grip Metal is like Velcro, but it’s made from metal and it’s unbelievably strong!
Other materials like rubbers, plastics, wood, concrete, carbons, glass fibres and papers can be stuck together with Grip Metal, which is particularly useful for bonding together materials safely and securely on large structures. It’s also useful as an extra layer to strengthen structures. Because of this, it means light and low-cost materials can be used and strengthened with Grip Metal.
This new material will give designers, engineers and material scientists a new way of preventing any material from suffering from wear, torsion or compression forces. It’s without a doubt a useful material to look out for in future manufacturing!
200 times stronger than steel, one million times thinner than human hair, bendable, transparent, flexible and the world’s most conductive material, Graphene has so much potential as a manufacturing material!
Although 2D crystal graphene has been known to scientists for a long time, no one knew how to extract it from graphite until 2004 when two scientists were cleaning the graphite stone with ordinary sticky tape and noticed that small parts of graphene remained on the tape.
The University of Manchester, where the isolation of graphene was achieved, claims that the potential of graphene is limited only by our imagination. Its unique properties could have an incredible impact on multiple industries, including manufacturing. Current applications of graphene are in the membranes, composites and coatings, energy, biomedical, sensors and electronics industries. So, watch this space, graphene is here to change our world!
4. Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs)
A shape memory alloy is a mixture of metals that ‘remembers’ its original shape after it has been deformed. When heated, these metals will return to their original shape.
This is an exciting new material that’s being used in several industries. Some examples of its application are:
- • In the aircraft industry where it’s being used to create quieter and more efficient jet engines
- • In the robotics industry to create lightweight robots
- • In civil engineering, where SMAs have the ability to automatically fix cracks in bridges and buildings
- • And finally, in the medical field in prosthetics, dental braces and eye glasses where movement and temperature can alter shape
5. Ceramics in additive manufacturing
Additive manufacturing is the name for all the methods that build 3D products layer by layer using computer technology. Additive manufacturing has been happening for about 25 years with the prototyping of plastic, but now, the technology has developed to incorporate ceramics.
As a material, ceramics have a lot of benefits. It’s strong, has high-dimensional stability, low density and high resistance to abrasion and corrosion. So, what happens when you use ceramics in additive manufacturing? It becomes easy to create complex shapes, you have the freedom to redesign parts to make them more lightweight and more suitable for their purpose, there’s no need to use expensive tools and its very quick to manufacture.
At the moment, ceramics in additive manufacturing is being applied to the industrial, aerospace and medical industries but it’s expected that the new use of ceramics in additive manufacturing is to extend to multiple industries and hundreds of applications.
So, there you have it, Baker Baynes’ top five new materials in the manufacturing industry. But, that’s not it from us on manufacturing – come back soon to find out about some new manufacturing materials that are changing our environment for the better. In the meantime, find out how we can help you adopt the technology needed to make advanced manufacturing happen – get in touch.