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Lumenium To Cut Product Development Time By 25 Percent

Lumenium To Cut Product Development Time By 25 Percent

Virginia, US: Lumenium LLC, the internal combustion engine developer, collaborates with Desktop Metal—which offers metal 3D printing systems—to analyse the use of its metal Additive Manufacturing Studio System during the product development stage, with timeline reduction of 25 percent.

Switching from computer numerical control (CNC) machining to additive manufacturing for prototyping of its components, further cost and material reduction are some of the benefits.

The company had stated that rapid prototyping is particularly crucial to allow the quick iteration of part features and designs required for continued improvement of engine performance.

For example, to produce the prototype parts for its Inverse Displacement Asymmetrical Rotational engine, the firm relies on an in-house CNC machine and wire electrical discharge machining. This method of prototyping is time consuming and costly, as full product development timescale ranges between three and five years.

Alongside Google, the US Navy and Built-Rite Tool & Die, Lumenium was among Desktop Metal’s first wave of customer to receive the Studio System in December 2017—in a bid for a more efficient and cost-effective approach towards product development.

Components produced by the engine developer have to adhere to stringent performance requirements. Besides the ability to withstand high heat and stress inherent to engine operation, each part requires high dimensional accuracy, low thermal expansion, and strength under dynamic loads.

To maintain the overall power density and efficiency of the engine, part weight is also an important consideration. This move to additive manufacturing can potentially enable the company to reduce the weight of its parts, while conforming to the engine’s performance needs.

In a case study to compare the production of a steel prototype engine part using a traditional CNC machine and the Studio System, Desktop Metal and Lumenium found that the latter saved 74 percent of cost, 43 percent of time, and a weight reduction of 39 percent.

Cutting the one-year concept phase by 25 percent, design phase by 33 percent, and fabrication phase by 50 percent, the overall product development timescale could be down by 25 percent.



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Australia Commits $3.89 Billion To Melbourne Airport Rail Link

Australia Commits $3.89 Billion To Melbourne Airport Rail Link

Victoria, Australia: The Australian government has announced that it will invest A$5 billion (US$3.89 billion) to construct the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, with the Victorian government expected to make an equal contribution towards this work.

The rail link is planned to connect the central business district (CBD) in the city to the airport.

With this linkage, traffic congestion is expected to ease on the Tullamarine freeway—one of the busiest roads in Victoria which serves more than 210,000 vehicles per day.  The move will also reduce airport traffic on the Calder freeway.

Apart from reducing road traffic congestion, this project is expected to create thousands of jobs in the area, boosting the Victorian economy.

Currently, multiple routes have been proposed for the airport rail link. These include the underground, overground, and combined solutions.

The ideal route, however, will be determined under the business case process, spearheaded as part of the 2017-18 Budget. Other decisions that will be made based on this process include the mode of transport, and the overall cost of the project.

In a joint statement, Malcolm Turnbull, prime minister of Australia, and Paul Fletcher, urban infrastructure and cities minister, also expressed their interest in private sector involvement with regards to funding. This is on top of their expectation of a 50:50 funding partnership with the Victorian government for the infrastructure.

Depending on the final route and designs of the rail connection to the Melbourne Airport, there will be further benefits to the state. Railway connectivity to the northern and western parts of Melbourne —regional Victoria—will be enhanced, with access to the north and west sides of the airport that potentially allows opening up for housing release.

Benefits also include the development of new railway stations between the airport and the city.

Australia’s key airports—like those in Sydney and Brisbane, already have railway linkages to the city. The airport rail link in Perth is currently under construction.

As the country’s second busiest airport, Melbourne Airport is projected to have a throughput of 60 million passengers by 2030. The only public transport option between the airport and the city currently is the Sky Bus, with one-way journey taking up to 45 minutes subject to road traffic conditions.

NASA Aims For The Sun

NASA Aims For The Sun

Florida, US: NASA’s Parker Solar Probe was flown from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, to Astrotech Space Operations in Titusville, Florida on 3 April 2018, where it will begin the last leg of its preparations before it is scheduled to launch to the sun on 31 July 2018.

It will continue to be tested at Titusville’s Astrotech Space Operations over next few months, and to undergo its final assembly and mating to the third stage of the Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle.

The spacecraft is mankind’s debut mission to the Sun. It will orbit directly through the upper solar atmosphere—the corona—closer to the surface than any human-made object has ever reached.

Amidst the heat and radiation, this mission serves to unveil fundamental science behind what powers solar wind—the constant release of materials from the Sun that shapes planetary atmospheres and affects space weather near Earth.

Just before it is fuelled, one of the most vital elements of the spacecraft, the thermal protection system (TPS), also known as a heat shield, will be fitted. The TPS is a new technology that will allow Parker Solar Probe to survive the temperatures in the Sun’s corona—just 3.8 million miles (approximately 6.11 million km) from the surface of our star.

“There are many milestones to come for Parker Solar Probe and the amazing team of men and women who have worked so diligently to make this mission a reality,” said Andy Driesman, Parker Solar Probe project manager from the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

“The installation of the TPS will be our final major step before encapsulation and integration onto the launch vehicle,” he added.

The solar probe is expected to be launched from Launch Complex-37 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, Florida. The two-hour launch window will open at approximately 4 am EDT on 31 July 2018 through 19 August 2018—repeating each day at slightly earlier times.

During its seven-year mission, the spacecraft will explore the Sun’s outer atmosphere, making important observations in answer to age-old questions about the physics of stars. Data accumulated will be crucial in enhancing forecasts of major eruptions on the Sun, subsequent space weather events that impact technology on Earth, and satellites and astronauts in space.

The mission is named after Eugene N. Parker, professor emeritus at University of Chicago, whose insights into solar physics and processes have informed the discipline—making it the first NASA mission to be named for a living individual.

Parker Solar Probe is part of NASA’s Living With a Star Programme, that explores aspects of the connected Sun-Earth system that directly impact life and society on earth.


Stratasys Launches Vulcan Labs To Advance Powder-Bed Fusion Technology

Stratasys Launches Vulcan Labs To Advance Powder-Bed Fusion Technology

Texas, US: Stratasys, industrial 3D printer manufacturer spun off its 3D printing operation into an independent entity, Vulcan Labs Incorporated, based in Belton to further develop Powder-Bed Fusion (PBF) additive manufacturing on 3 April 2018.

Vulcan’s solutions are catered to meet the complex demands of end-use production applications—to overcome the typical deficiencies of productivity, quality and certification. Focusing on metals first, the company serves to improve the quality verification, repeatability, and efficiency of the PBF technology.

Built to be an independent entity to take on the qualities of a fast-moving entrepreneurial organisation, Vulcan Labs is aimed at the rapid introduction of advanced PBF-based solutions.

The new company finds roots in the 2014 acquisition of the production-based service bureau, Harvest Technologies. With this background, it currently collaborates with application partners to advance technology accessibility, and to meet the strict requirements of production-ready applications.

With a management team that includes David K. Leigh—the original founder and chief executive officer of Harvest Technologies, the company is equipped with decades of experience across practical production applications in both polymers and metals. He is also able to contribute expertise in additive manufacturing specifically compatible with end-use parts applications across industries, including aerospace, automotive, defence, and oil and gas.

Currently working towards furthering PBF platforms to reach end-use production applications, particularly metals, quality-oriented solutions are currently being developed in five areas:

  • Optimised build environments and unique multi-laser scan strategies
  • Closed loop melt pool quality control
  • Detailed Data Logging and integration to the factory floor
  • Automated powder handling and in-situ powder quality characterisation
  • Automated calibration and build set-up capabilities

Voicing his appreciation for the collaboration with Stratasys that began 2014, Mr Leigh commented: “We’re looking forward to delivering new solutions for customers to take control of their applications, while having the tools in place to manage their own quality.”

Ilan Levin, chief executive officer of Stratasys, describes the partnership as having “both the experience and technical know-how necessary to bring PBF into real-world production—a vision aligned and complementary to our other activities in this space, including Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and our investment in LPW.”

Upcoming months will see Vulcan engaging with partners and customers to analyse and further develop its solutions. The new company also encourages parties interested in joint development opportunities to contact them.



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INNOVIA 300 System Service Commences For Driverless Mover In Shanghai

INNOVIA 300 system Service Commences For Driverless Mover In Shanghai

Bombardier’s INNOVIA 300 system has started its operations on Shanghai Metro’s Line 8 Phase 3 project on 5 April 2018, following the transportation company’s Chinese joint venture CRRC Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems (PBTS).

Bombardier Transportation’s contract with Shanghai Shentong Metro is expected to deliver a total of 44 vehicles for the APM system.

Zhang Jianwei, president of Bombardier China commented: “We are very excited to see our INNOVIA 300 system fully automatic driverless system enter revenue service in this city. I’m confident that we will see more Bombardier INNOVIA 300 system APM systems in other Chinese cities in the near future.”

Known as the Pujiang Line, the Shanghai Metro’s Line 8 is a new 6.6km long, dual-lane elevated driverless INNOVIA 300 system that connects Pujiangzhen to the Line 8 interchange at the Shendu Highway Station.

In addition to being an environmentally-friendly option, Mr Zhang added: “Our metro cars equipped with the INNOVIA 300 system  Bombardier Nitrac propulsion on Lines one, two, seven, nine and 12 are already moving Shanghai passengers daily; and we also provide maintenance and overhaul service for these cars to ensure passengers’ safety.”

Features of the INNOVIA APM 300 system vehicles include wide doors and rubber tires to reduce noise and vibration. The system also uses the Bombardier CITYFLO 650 CBTC system, a communications-based train control technology that increases the frequency of operations with a shorter distance between two running vehicles.

Bombardier INNOVIA 300 system Transportation has a total of six joint ventures and seven wholly foreign-owned enterprises in China. These entities have delivered more than 3,500 high-speed railway passenger cars, 580 electric locomotives and about 2,000 metro cars to various urban mass transit systems in the country.


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Nissan Launches First Electric Vehicle Batteries Recycling Plant In Japan

Nissan Launches First Electric Vehicle batteries Recycling Plant In Japan

Fukushima, Japan: Lithium-ion batteries from electric vehicles (EVs) will be given a new life at Japanese automaker Nissan’s Namie factory, as this refurbished battery for the Nissan Leaf car make will be sold at half the price—at 300,000 yen (US $2,855.51) of brand-new ones.

A joint venture between Nissan and the trading firm Sumitomo Corporation has been established, and the initiative is operated by 4R Energy Corporation.

According to Eiji Makino, chief executive of 4R Energy Corporation, “By reusing spent EV batteries, we wanted to raise the (residual) value of EVs and make them more accessible.”

When the batteries enter the plant, all 48 modules will be assessed over a four-hour proprietary process. Currently, the process is customised predominantly for the electric-powered first-generation Nissan Leaf.

However, batteries that have fallen below 80% of their energy capacity are not used for the Leaf recycling programme but are reassembled for lower-energy vehicles like golf carts, forklifts or for low-intensity functions in street lamps.

Mr Makino has also commented on 4R’s consideration to broadening their battery range to cater to more recent Leaf models, which consist of different chemical composition. The factory is expected to produce 2,250 battery packs, and several hundred other refabricated sets, annually.

Discussions are also underway for 4R to retrieve other reusable materials from used EV batteries, albeit the difficulty to completely dismantle them to be recycled on their own, said Makino.

The move is a game-changing one in the industry, as recycled batteries get circulated back into the life span of electric cars to impact the demand for new EV battery materials.

With a growing demand for EVs, automakers worldwide are seeking to make more cost-effective and durable batteries, which right now can account for up to a fifth of an EV’s cost due to increasingly expensive materials like cobalt and nickel.

As resources such as lithium and cobalt—fundamental materials in lithium-ion batteries powering EVs—become more critical in the near future, this sustainable treatment of worn batteries can potentially serve its environmental purpose in decreasing the pressure on scarce resources.


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Business Combination Agreement For Siemens And Alstom

Business Combination Agreement For Siemens And Alstom

Munich, Germany: A business combination agreement (BCA) has been inked on 23 March 2018 between technology company Siemens and transportation company Alstom for a proposed mobility business, including a rail traction drive business.

This is following the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 26 September 2017, along with the completion of required works council procedure and consultation process at Alstom.

This development effectively pitches together two major players with complementary portfolios in the railway industry. The joint venture will be named Siemens Alstom, and the Franco-German group will be headquartered in Saint-Ouen on the suburb of Paris, France.

Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Alstom’s chairman and chief executive officer, commented: “Both companies are working diligently and in a very good spirit to progress towards closing. These first nominations illustrate the companies’ commitment to balance in the governance of the future company.”

The proposed leadership was also announced at the signing of this BCA, with the board of directors comprising 11 members. Six of whom (including the chairman), will be appointed by Siemens, with four independent members and a chief executive officer.

Siemens has also proposed Roland Busch, its managing board member, as chairman Siemens Alstom’s board of directors. Yann Delabriere, who currently serves as lead director on Alstom’s board, will be appointed vice-chairman and independent director of Siemens Alstom.

Currently, this merger is subject to regulatory and shareholders’ approval which is targeted to conclude by the end of 2018. The group also requires foreign investment clearance from the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance on top of permissions from anti-trust authorities in the country.

Siemens has already commenced the internal bifurcation process of its mobility business from other segments in order to facilitate the merger.

Annual statements from both Siemens and Alstom have suggested that the combined company will have an order backlog of 61.2 billion euros (US$75.1 billion), revenue of US$18.8 billion and adjusted earnings before interest and taxes ofUS$1.47 billion.


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