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AMT Tech Report: Issue #287

What's going on with carbon steel? NASA's RC tank 'splines space shuttle tires. Metal AM's coming-of-age. The impact of closed-loop. Movie time! Amazon's robots.
Dec 01, 2023

"The road to success is always under construction.

– Tecumseh

1. WTH Is Going on With Carbon Steel? 

Is it the new gold? As a knife nerd, there are two types of us: those who desire the bleeding edge of what technology has to offer, with powdered exotic alloys and cermets; and purists. Purists prefer old-school, high-carbon blades that can be honed to an edge fine enough to out-cut a Trumpf fiber laser and will rust if you look at it the wrong way. The only thing I know for certain is that it has nothing to do with anything I just said. It’s been a while; I had to deliver what you needed. 

Read more here.

2. NASA’s RC Tank ‘Splodes Space Shuttle Tires 

By Michael Bay. Anyway, made in 1993, NASA’s CR-990 Tire Assault Vehicle (TAV) was a uniquely crafted device spawned from a remote-control tank used to detonate space shuttle tires, which could explode with the force of 2.5 sticks of dynamite. The TAV, which cost just $3,000 to build (a fraction of its $100,000 robotic predecessor), has since retired to exhibit at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center as a testament to cost-effective innovation. Bro, even NASA admits robots are out-of-control expensive! 

Read more here.

3. Metal AM’s Coming-of-Age 

And it comes in the form of a specialty heat treatment for high-stress applications, thanks to some MIT researchers! The process, known as directional recrystallization, upgrades the metal's microstructure, resulting in blades and vanes with improved resistance to creep—permanent deformation under stress and heat. This allows for precision 3D printing of turbine blades with similar or better performance than those made by traditional casting, potentially leading to more efficient engines and reduced CO2 emissions.… 

Read more here.

4. The Impact of the Closed-Loop 

Closed-Loop Manufacturing (CLM) is revolutionizing quality control by enabling real-time monitoring and early detection of production issues via sensors, IoT devices, and advanced analytics. This proactive approach allows for immediate corrective actions, process optimization, data-driven decisions, and reduced variability, leading to consistent product quality. CLM also enhances traceability, minimizes waste, and increases efficiency, signaling a shift toward a new era in quality assurance where high standards are embedded in the production process.… 

Read more here.

5. Movie Time! Amazon’s Robots 

Amazon's warehouses in Matteson and Boston employ advanced robotics which play a pivotal role in fulfilling Amazon's promise of fast delivery for Prime members. These robots are key to Amazon's strategy to dominate online retail and boost profit margins. Amazon has grown immensely since its early days, exemplified by the billions in sales during Prime Day, and their growing automation force exemplifies the "Amazon Effect," driving the shift from physical stores to online shopping, with robots being the company's technological and financial foundation.… 

Read more here.

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Stephen LaMarca
Technology Analyst
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