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In order to reduce costs and increase efficiency, it has always been the policy of industry to continuously spend money on Research and Development. Now it appears that this has paid off for the industry in the shape of a new technique allowing plastic and aluminium to be bound together during the moulding process – especially benefitting the automotive and aviation sectors.

Binding metals and polymers has always been a difficult task and especially so when the part is likely to have to deal with high stress or is safety critical. This has been overcome by German engineers, who came up with the idea of pretreating sheets of aluminium with an infrared laser which creates a rough surface more receptive to bonding with other materials. This works in a similar way to the Velcro on a shoe fastening, and provides significantly more powerful interlocking then standard methods of combining two materials. There is still a long way to go in developing the technique for multiple types of metals and polymers, but the creators are positive of success and it will be interesting to see how this technique allows even more innovative parts to be manufactured using injection moulding.