Manufacturing innovations: Wireless power transfer, micro-laser-assisted machining, high-speed sintering

Greater competitiveness for manufacturers can result by using top innovations, such as high-speed sintering, Buckypaper, Synthetic Gecko Tape, micro-laser-assisted machining, wireless power transfer, and personal fabrication, say SME Manufacturing Enterprise Council members.
By Control Engineering Staff June 19, 2009
NanoLab explains BuckyPaper

NanoLab prepares BuckyPaper, a sheet form of our carbon nanotubes, in various sizes and thickness for your research and development.

Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) unveils its annual list of inovations that could change the way you manufacture, at its Philadelphia Conference. Innovation has been a hot topic, so SME provided manufacturers with a list of what’s radical and revolutionary. The SME “annual list of Innovations That Could

Change the Way You Manufacture

” was shared at the recent “Breaking Through: The SME Annual Conference” held earlier this month in Philadelphia.
“We also chose these technologies based on usability across manufacturing industries and positive impact on manufacturing,” adds Terry Wohlers of SME’s Manufacturing Enterprise Council, foremost expert on additive manufacturing and president of Wohlers Associates Inc.
The SME list includes:
– High-Speed Sintering “promises to dramatically speed up the additive manufacturing process to the point where it’s even more compelling to consider for production applications,” Wohlers says;
– Buckypaper, a thin sheet made from tiny nanotubes, is showing promise as a material in building aerospace vehicles and body armor;
– Synthetic gecko tape borrows from the animal kingdom to create an adhesive which can support higher shear stress (36 N/cm2), eliminating the need for high-heat soldering. Synthetic gecko tape will soon be used to create new and lighter materials;

Micro-laser-assisted machining processes

will revolutionize manufacturing because materials that were previously impossible to machine can be done with absolute precision;

Wireless power transfer,

for manufacturers, “will completely change the way large machines and complex products like cars and planes are designed and built. And for the consumer, it will make it possible for small electronics and other products to draw power from one central, wireless source. Imagine never having to plug in to recharge your cell phone, iPod or laptop again,” says Wohlers; and
– Personal fabrication will make prototyping and manufacturing easier, from the shop floor to the consumer. “It differs from traditional forms of additive manufacturing because it’s affordable for use anywhere, whether it’s a company, school, or individual. The idea of personal fabrication will allow almost anyone to make almost anything anywhere. It will forever change the way we view manufacturing,” he adds.
“SME’s Manufacturing Enterprise Council of members chose these innovations largely because they are available now and they work now rather than in the distant future,” says Lauralyn McDaniel, SME event manager.
Complementing this year’s list is also the 2009 Tech Watch List featuring self-healing polymers and liquid lens imaging. Self-healing polymers have the capability of repairing themselves after damage, while liquid lens imaging captures 250 pictures per second and could revolutionize how cell phones and automobiles are made. SME provides more details about manufacturing innovations .
Also see:

Thought patterns: How to innovate like Edison

-Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering ,