Industry Headlines

SME Unveils Annual Manufacturing Innovations List

May 28, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

DEARBORN, MI-The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) has announced its annual list of “Innovations that Could Change the Way You Manufacture.”

“The fundamental difference between this list and others is that these innovations are available now,” says Cindy Skelton-Becker, chair of SME’s Manufacturing Enterprise Council (MEC), which selected this year’s innovations.

The innovations are:

  • High-Speed Sintering
  • Buckypaper
  • Synthetic Gecko Tape
  • Micro-Laser-Assisted Machining
  • Wireless Power Transfer
  • Personal Fabrication

    The technologies were chosen based on usability across manufacturing industries, positive impact on manufacturing and availability for immediate use.

    “High-speed sintering made the list because it promises to dramatically speed up the additive manufacturing process to the point where it’s even more compelling to consider for production applications,” says Skelton-Becker.

    Buckypaper, a thin sheet made from tiny nanotubes, is already showing promise as a material in building aerospace vehicles and body armor.

    Synthetic gecko tape borrows from the animal kingdom to create an adhesive that can support high shear stress, eliminating the need for high-heat soldering. Synthetic gecko tape will soon be used to create new and lighter materials.

    Beyond materials like gecko tape and buckypaper, processes like micro-laser-assisted machining also may revolutionize manufacturing by making it possible to machine materials that were previously impossible to machine.

    While high-speed sintering and micro-laser-assisted machining may change how things are done on the shop floor, the last two innovations-wireless power transfer and personal fabrication-will present changes not only for manufacturers but also for consumers.

    “For manufacturers, wireless power transfer 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 Skelton-Becker.

    Also in the near future, 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,” explains Terry Wohlers, a member of the MEC and expert on additive manufacturing technology.

    “The idea of personal fabrication will allow almost anyone to make almost anything anywhere,” adds Wohlers. “It will forever change the way we view manufacturing.”
  • Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Quality Magazine. 

    You must login or register in order to post a comment.

    Multimedia

    Videos

    Podcasts

     In honor of World Quality Month, we spoke to James Rooney, ASQ Past Chairman of the Board of Directors 2013, for his take on quality around the world.
    For more information, read the ASQ Speaking of Quality column.
    More Podcasts

    Quality Magazine

    CoverImage

    2014 August

    Check out the August 2014 edition of Quality Magazine for features!

    Table Of Contents Subscribe

    The Biggest Obstacle/Concern?

    In the current economic and business climate, what is the biggest obstacle/concern to your job?
    View Results Poll Archive

    Clear Seas Research

    qcast_ClearSeas_logo.gifWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

    eNewsletters

    STAY CONNECTED

    facebook_40.png twitter_40px.png  youtube_40px.pnglinkedin_40px.png