Manufacturing Minute: Boeing's Drone-Killing Laser

Also in this episode, MIT's 3D breakthrough and Fiat Chrysler's appeals to GM.

A laser cannon that kills drones, MIT's latest 3D printing breakthrough and Fiat Chrysler's renewed appeals to GM.

Welcome to the Manufacturing Minute. I’m today’s host Andy Szal.

Drone-Killing Laser Cannon

Last week, Boeing announced the successful development of a new portable laser cannon.

Designed to destroy pesky drones buzzing around in sensitive locations, the High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator, or HEL MD, is small and deadly accurate.

The laser can hit within an inch or two of its target depending on the speed and distance —ideal for military use.

Unfortunately, it sounds more like a dollar store laser pointer than any artillery from Star Wars.

Advanced 3D Printing

MIT has outdone itself.

Last week, we reported on the invention of a 3D glass printer. Now, the institute says its new MultiFab 3D printer can print up to 10 different materials at once.

Developed from low-cost, off-the-shelf components for $7,000, the machine can be used for consumer electronics, micro-sensing, medical imaging and more.

The MIT team also plans to experiment with embedding motors and actuators, making it possible to 3D print more advanced electronics like robots.

Chrysler Still Wooing GM?

Earlier this year, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler made serious waves in the American auto industry by floating the possibility of a merger with General Motors.

GM executives dismissed the idea shortly thereafter, but Sergio Marchionne is back in the headlines after telling the publication Automotive News that a combined company could generate $30 billion in annual earnings.

GM responded that it has already vetted a merger with Fiat Chrysler and concluded that stockholders would be best served by continuing its current strategy.

Marchionne, who has long called for additional consolidation in automaking, countered that GM's executives and board members won't be able to avoid the merger's cost-saving potential forever.

So, What Do You Think?

Are Marchionne's concerns about rising costs in the auto industry warranted? Should Detroit's "Big Three" become the "Big Two" in the interest of savings? Email us or leave your comments below.

That’s all the time we have for today, but check out our sites every Tuesday and Thursday for your next Manufacturing Minute.

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