Honoring both innovation and manufacturing, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) issued its 2011 list of “Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture.”
The annual list, which includes new and emerging technologies, focuses on innovations that are available in the marketplace today or within a few months and that have already shown some successful implementation. The list includes several in which heat plays a key role.
Microstructured molding tools, which can help manufacturers of products that benefit from enhanced surface capabilities. Created as square or custom inserts for injection or compression molds, the tools can add capabilities such as increased heat transfer, superhydrophobia, reduced friction and reduced fluid drag to any molded product.
Super Velcro, an extremely strong adhesive that comes apart when heated. Ten times stickier than Velcro and reusable gecko-inspired glues, the material provides a strong but alterable bond and can replace liquid adhesives or foam tapes.
Programmable magnets. Using heat to erase a magnetic field, the material can be reprogrammed to have multiple north and south poles of differing strengths.
The list also includes:
- Graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of
carbon that is lightweight and electrically conductive. The strongest material
ever developed, graphene is 50 times stronger than steel.
- Programming light with quantum dots. The ability
to control the size of a quantum dot enables a manufacturer to determine the
color of light emitted.
- A remote-presence robot. The device allows a
telecommuting worker to remotely attend meetings, visit offices of colleagues
and otherwise collaborate with people in another location.
- The Build to Demand (BTD) process. BTD is intended for suppliers that experience variable demand and are seeking to increase customer service rates while reducing inventories and production costs.