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[Image above] Credit: NIST

GE’s new “flexible” factory in India is changing how we make things

GE has invested over $200 million in a new “flexible factory” that will produce diverse products, from jet engine parts to locomotive components, for four different GE business all under one roof for the first time. The plant, which is located near Mumbai, India, covers 67 acres and will employ 1,500 workers who will share production lines, support infrastructure, and equipment like 3-D printers and laser inspection technology.

Crystal pattern mapping can recover obliterated serial numbers in metals

Researchers at NIST have demonstrated a technique for mapping deformation in metals that can recover destroyed serial numbers. The researchers used electron backscatter diffraction to read, in the crystal structure pattern, imprints on steel that had been removed by polishing. The technique can be used to meet forensic needs such as reconstructing vehicle identification numbers or imprints on ammunition casings.

3-D printing with custom molecules creates low-cost mechanical sensor

A research project at the University of Washington merges custom chemistry and 3-D printing to print molecules that can respond to their surroundings. Scientists printed a bone-shaped plastic tab with barely visible stripes that turn purple under force. It acts as an inexpensive, mechanical sensor with no electronic parts.

Better batteries from Berkeley Lab work with industry

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is known for having some of the world’s leading battery scientists and highly specialized equipment. However, until recently, it was often difficult for private industry to take advantage of the resources. That has changed with CalCharge, a unique public-private partnership uniting the emerging and established battery technology companies with critical academic and government resources.

World’s first compact rotary 3-D printer–scanner unveiled by Singapore start-up

Nanyang Technological University’s start-up Blacksmith Group launched the world’s first compact 3-D printer that can also scan items into digitized models. Named the Blacksmith Genesis, this user-friendly device allows users without much knowledge of 3-D software to scan any item, then edit the digitized model on the computer and print it out in 3-D.