Manufacturing Ideas to Watch – Issue 2 (June 2017)

In this issue of Manufacturing Ideas to Watch: Flexography Using Nanoporous Stamps, Enhanced Tracking and Control for Friction Stir Welding, Microwave-initiated Ultrafast Nanomanufacturing, Manufacturing Functional and Transparent Coatings, and a Nanorobotics Platform for Nanomanufacturing. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment!

Flexography Using Nanoporous Stamps
Flexography Using Nanoporous Stamps
[Image source: Science Advances]

Higher-resolution flexography is essential to manufacturing low-cost, large-area printed electronics and current production methods are limited in size due to contact-mediated liquid instabilities. Flexography Using Nanoporous Stamps can achieve continuous of micron-scale features with uniform nanoscale thickness at ~m/s speeds. This represents a combination of resolution and throughput that far surpasses current industrial printing technologies. The nanoporous stamp technology could be used to build machines for printing electronics in new formats, such as for large displays, smart packaging, and ubiquitous wireless sensors.
John Hart, MIT

Enhanced Tracking and Control for Friction Stir Welding
Through the Tool Tracking
[Image source: Vanderbilt University CTTC (PDF)]

Friction Stir Welding is a solid-state joining process in which two metal pieces are joined together via mechanical intermixing; it is often used in building cars, trains, robots, ships, and more. Through the Tool Tracking for Friction Stir Welding is a technique to keep a weld tool on track by utilizing only force sensors on the friction stir welding tool. It’s beneficial for manufacturing since it can do corrections in real time, is cost-effective since no other sensors are required, and increases the robustness of the Friction Stir Welding process. Alvin Strauss and George Cook, Vanderbilt University

Microwave-initiated Ultrafast Nanomanufacturing
Microwave-initiated Ultrafast Nanomanufacturing
[Image source: Nature Scientific Reports]

Current processes for manufacturing metal oxides or sulfides can be complicated. A new technique using microwave-assisted heating, is an ultrafast and more energy-efficient method of manufacturing these nanomaterials. Microwave-initiated Ultrafast Nanomanufacturing can make it much quicker and lower cost to mass-produce these nanomaterials that can be used in lubricants, solar cells, lithium-ion batteries, and high performance protective composites. Xinyu Zhang, Auburn University

Manufacturing Functional and Transparent Coatings
Manufacturing Functional and Transparent Coatings
[Image source: Dauskardt Group]

Atmospheric pressure plasma discharge is used to fragment and polymerize small molecules as a method of Manufacturing Functional and Transparent Coatings. The manufacturing process can grow a wide range of materials, including silica, metal oxides, nitrides, and polymer coatings, onto both organic and inorganic substrates. There are obvious benefits for scalability by using a naturally abundant gas like compressed air to facilitate a coating process. Additionally, there is a significant reduction in chemical waste during the manufacturing process. Reinhold Dauskardt, Stanford University

Nanorobotics Platform for Nanomanufacturing
Nanorobotics Platform for Nanomanufacturing

[Image source: Nanowerk, Nanotechnology Spotlight]

A new Nanorobotics Platform for Nanomanufacturing combines controlled movement of nanorobots with unique light focusing or blocking abilities for direct surface writing and provides researchers with considerable freedom for creating diverse features with different shapes and sizes. This versatile production method could lead to a new ‘on-the-fly’ nanomanufacturing platform and create new opportunities for surface science and the production of nanodevices which could be used in a variety of fields including computers, energy, chemicals, and more. Joe Wang, University of California – San Diego


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