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In 2017, we proposed that the world is on the cusp of a new era of disruption and economic vitality.1 Today, nearly two years later, we're seeing this disruptive revolution mature and bear fruit. Our motive this month is to detail the progress of these new technologies, how they are gaining a footing and planting roots - and how we, a little company in New Jersey - continue to contribute to this exciting cycle of change and advancement.
Self-driving Cars. The Waymo Division of Alphabet (Google's parent company) has officially launched the world's first self-driving commercial taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona. It's like Uber but sans driver.2 These taxis are heavily armed with lidar, radar, and ultrasonic sensors plus cameras that provide a 360° view. There are no blind spots. All of these sensors and cameras benefit from the development of hydrophobic coatings that promote rain repellency and offer a self-cleaning benefit as well. Additionally, PPG and others are developing new automotive paints that will not only make cars more visible to self-driving car sensors but more hydrophobic and thus cleaner. Ford, with help from Argo AI, is spending over $4 billion on self-driving technology in a five-year span with hopes to launch a self-driving car in 2021. ramé-hart customers engaged in the self-driving car disruption: Google, PPG, Ford, Johnson Controls, Magna Electronics, Voxtel.
3D Printing. Lockheed Martin and the US Air Force are now using 3D printing to fabricate parts for the F-35 fighter jets. Desktop Metal is pushing the boundaries of 3D printing by printing in metal using Bound Metal Deposition (BMD) with a resolution of 50 microns. A single pass can take as few as three seconds and the printer costs half as much as an Aston Martin DB11. Both users and makers of 3D printers are interested in wetting properties from multiple perspectives. Part makers are interested in optimizing the materials used in 3D printing in order to achieve the desired surface properties while printer makers are motivated to understand the wetting properties of the materials in order to achieve proper bonding between layers. ramé-hart customers engaged in the 3D printing disruptions: US Navy, Boeing, Desktop Metal, HP, GE.
Devices. Today there are over 20 billion devices connected to the internet. That's three devices for each person on the earth. People spend more time on mobile devices than PCs. McDonalds is adding touchscreen kiosks to its stores at a rate of 1000 per quarter. Over 50 million cars were sold last year with touchscreen panels and next year that number will increase by more than 15%. Then there are tablets, GPSs, kiosks at airports, medical devices, and myriad other touchscreen devices for applications that haven't been thought of yet. All of these devices need two things that we help with: They need oleophobic touchscreens; and they need chips.
To learn more about how touchscreens are made more oleophobic using vacuum and vapor deposition, see our February 2012 Newsletter here. ramé-hart customers engaged in touchscreen disruption: Google, Ford, GE, Roche, Corning, CTDI, 3M.
Chipmaking is the most involved and complex manufacturing process in the world today. Current immersion lithography technology prints lines under 40 nanometers wide and on 40 to 50 layers in material that is only 1 micron thick. A basic processor for a lowly PC can have over 50 million transistors. This accomplishment is short of miraculous. But it could not be done without contact angle. At various stages of the chipmaking process, wetting tests are performed on the wafers using pure deionized water in order to judge the efficacy of the prior cleaning step in the process. Only through meticulous testing and cleaning can wafers make it through the myriad processes with zero or near zero defects. ramé-hart customer engaged in chipmaking: ON Semi, Intel, Micron, SAFC Hitech, Lam Research, Applied Materials, Nantero, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Texas Instruments, Western Digital.
Pharmaceutical. In the past 30 years, significant disruptions have been made in controlled drug delivery systems. Increasingly, pharmaceutical scientists are interested in surface energy and wetting properties. One US-based drug developer controls the surface characteristics of compressed tablets by controlling the concentration of potassium salt such as poly(maleic acid-alt-octadecene). Dissolution rates can be tightly controlled by precisely tweaking and regulating the proportion of polymeric material. There is also a relationship between dissolution release rates and wetting properties. As the surface of a tablet is made increasingly hydrophobic, the release time increases. Drug developers are tightly controlling the concentration of polymers in drug capsules in order to control the drugs release mechanisms – anywhere from immediate release to extended long-term release. Future drug delivery development will require not only a greater understanding of wetting properties, but also overcome limits set by human physiology. ramé-hart customers engaged in disrupting drug delivery: Johnson & Johnson, Roche, Pfizer, Bayer, Scanogen, Sanofi, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Kronos Bio, Celgene, Teva Pharma.
Wherever there are innovators disrupting existing technologies, you will find nearby a ramé-hart instrument. Think of us as your companion in disruption.
|Spinnerets for Electrospinning and Bioprinting|
While on the topic of disruptive
technologies, electrospinning and bioprinting are being deployed for
a variety of novel and promising applications. We contribute to this
disruption as the world's number one fabricator of coaxial
Bioprinting is essentially using 3D printing technology to fabricate biomedical parts such as tissues and organs. There are a number of biomedical applications - drug delivery, tissue engineering, and wound dressing, for example - where bioprinting offers promising advantages over traditional methods. While biomaterials have been around for some time, it's only been recently that bioprinting and bioink technologies have been able to advance this science at an astonishing rate.
Electrospinning is used in the development of smart textiles,
protective clothing, food packaging, filtration, composite material
fabrication, and a variety of other compelling applications. It involves the
production of fine threads that are produced using an electrical
charge. Coaxial electrospinning as well as bioprinting both involve using two
or more solutions or biomaterials to
create a fiber with a core and sheath of different materials.
ramé-hart is the world's leader in coaxial needles (aka
spinnerets) used in electrospinning and bioprinting. We also make triaxial,
quadaxial, multi-channel, side-by-side, and other specialized
spinnerets. To learn more about our custom spinneret offerings, please