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MM: Making A More Efficient Engine; Honda Debuts 3D Printed Vehicle

In this episode of Manufacturing Minute, developing more efficient industrial equipment and Honda tries its hand at 3D printing.

Making A More Efficient Engine

Researchers from Georgia Tech say a newly developed metal treatment process could lead to significantly more efficient industrial equipment.

In their recent study, engineers tested a method of blasting cast iron blocks with a mix of copper sulfide and aluminum oxide particles.

The process resulted in chemical changes to the metal's surface that improved its ability to bond with oil molecules.

Piston engines and other equipment use oil to reduce friction, but they traditionally need oil additives to facilitate bonding -- and friction still accounts for about half of the energy loss in conventional internal combustion engines.

The Georgia Tech process, however, performed better than any currently available oil additives.

It also relied on relatively inexpensive materials and could be easily altered and adapted to fit a range of uses and industries.

Researchers said it could significantly reduce energy loss on an industrial scale, as well as potentially revolutionize surface engineering.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Could this process help make manufacturing more energy-efficient? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Honda Dabbles with Additive Manufacturing Tech

In the automotive industry, 3D printing (otherwise known as additive manufacturing) is something that most major automakers are just beginning to dabble in.

In fact, automotive firm Local Motors is really the only company that’s become known for its work with additive manufacturing — the foremost example being its 2014 debut of the world’s first fully-working 3D-printed car.

But now Honda is taking a more substantial step into the market with the debut of its Micro Commuter delivery vehicle made in partnership with Kabuku, a 3D-printing startup.

Unveiled recently at a major technology and electronics tradeshow in Japan, the Commuter is a custom electric vehicle designed for a local confectionary firm to deliver shortbread along some of Japan’s narrowest roadways.

Over just two months, Honda and Kabuku co-created the small 1,300 pound vehicle with Honda developing the concept and Kabuku 3D printing the vehicle’s body.

It’s unclear if this is just the first of many ventures into the realm of 3D printing for Honda or if this was just a one-off collaboration.

But it is likely that this won’t be the last time we see a major automaker venturing out onto the 3D printing landscape.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Do you think there’s a place for additive manufacturing tech within the automotive industry? If so, why? Tweet us your thoughts at @MnetNews or respond in the comments section. 

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