May 10, 2022 Volume 18 Issue 18

Mechanical News & Products

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Stock spiral- and straight-tooth bevel gears

Stock bevel gears from QTC Metric Gears are available with spiral or straight teeth, Modules 0.5 through 8, and gear ratios of 1.5 through 5. Designed to transmit motion between intersecting axes, straight bevel gears are the most common and are used in machine tools, food packaging equipment, and industrial automation. QTC Metric Gears is known for precision products, consistent quality, and dependable performance -- all key to keeping your machines running.
Learn more.


Robotic tape system automates key bonding applications

The RoboTape System for 3M Tape allows industrial manufacturers to take advantage of the benefits of 3M Tape in their assembly processes while maximizing production throughput, improving quality, reducing or re-tasking manual labor, and limiting re-work. This collaboration between 3M and Innovative Automation provides an improved way to apply 3M Tapes precisely for high-volume applications at production speeds that aren't achievable with manual tape application.
Learn more from 3M.
Watch how it works from Innovative Automation.


Linear guide rails provide long-running precision

Linear guide rail systems from JW Winco provide precise, quiet, and dynamic linear movements -- even for extremely demanding applications. The company has now produced its modular system in stainless steel (linear guide rails GN 2492 and matching cam roller carriages GN 2494). Also available are the C-shaped guide rails GN 2422 that come in four heights and are made of nonwarping, zinc-plated, hardened and ground steel. Simpler variations for standard applications are available as GN 1490 in two heights.
Learn more.


Plastic bevel gears are a cost-efficient alternative to metal

igus has expanded its gear offering with bevel gears made of its iguform S270 and igutek P360 high-performance plastics. These abrasion-resistant, self-lubricating gears are a lightweight and maintenance-free alternative to traditional metallic gears. All bevel gears are available in six different transmission ratios, plus seven modules for power transmission.
Learn more.


Design Guide: Automotive electronics fasteners

The Penn-Engineering PEM Automotive Electronics Fastening Design Standards catalog showcases the company's extensive portfolio of standard fastening solutions. It includes illustrations showing where their self-clinching fasteners, threaded inserts, and compression limiters are typically used within automotive electronics applications and provides performance data and technical specifications. A very good resource. PDF download with no registration.
Get your Design Guide today.


2022 Stampings & Washers catalog

Have you requested your copy of Boker's latest Stampings and Washers catalog? This 72-page reference is a valuable industry resource for design engineers and purchasing teams. It showcases the company's vast stamping and washer capabilities, offering an all-inclusive guide to over 32,000 stock tools for flat washers, spacers, and shims -- including 369 new sizes recently added.
Get yours today.


Sheet metal finishing options from Xometry

Xometry now offers expanded options for sheet cut and sheet metal parts. Parts fresh off the waterjet or laser often have a burr on their bottom face, marks from handling, frosting near the cut line from overspray, and/or vestigial tabs from being held in place during cutting. Applying a finishing process post-cutting will help you get parts that need minimal cleanup before installation.
Learn more.


Engineer's Toolbox: All about lead screws and how to apply them

Lead screws use the helix angle of the thread to convert rotary motion to linear motion. Learn all about their benefits, performance characteristics, design choices, lifecycles, and more in this in-depth article from Thomson Industries.
Read the full article.


NSK develops world's fastest ball bearing for EV motors

Bearing manufacturer NSK claims that it has created the world's fastest grease-lubricated deep-groove ball bearing for electric vehicle (EV) motors. The development includes special cage and materials design, along with a special grease.
Read the full article.


Self-lubricating toothed belt axis for clean use in food technology

igus has introduced a maintenance-free toothed belt axis specifically designed to improve sanitation in food manufacturing systems. The new drylin ZLW toothed belt axis is based on hygienic design principles and uses FDA-compliant materials. It can be cleaned quickly and thoroughly using high-pressure steam jets, chemicals, or by simply running water, which also increases product safety.
Learn more.


Overload safety devices for corrosive and washdown applications

Providing both torque-limiting and coupling functions in a compact design, Zero-Max Overload Safety Devices can operate as a coupling and an overload safety device connecting two inline shafts in a power transmission system. Power Take-Off models are also available for use with chain or belt drives. These Overload Safety Devices protect motor and drive systems from excessive overloading and potentially expensive system jam ups. They also offer easy re-engagement, allowing the system to be running again as quickly as possible.
Learn more.


New Standard Parts Handbook from JW Winco

JW Winco's printed Standard Parts Handbook is a comprehensive 2,184-page reference that supports designers and engineers with the largest selection of standard parts categorized into three main groups: operating, clamping, and machine parts. More than 75,000 standard parts can be found in this valuable resource, including the company's most popular sellers as well as brand new products such as toggle clamps, shaft collars, concealed multiple-joint hinges, and hygienically designed components (including ones made of metal-detectable plastics or antibacterial materials).
Get your Standard Parts Handbook today.


Low- and high-volume injection molding production

Scale your 3D-printed prototypes into high-volume production parts with Xometry's injection molding service featuring a wide variety of materials, colors, cosmetics, polishes, and surface textures. Low costs and fast lead times are offered for molded parts, and they are all backed by Xometry's Quality Service Guarantee. Insert and overmolding are available too. "7 Ways to Save on Injection Molding" design video featured on this linked page.
Learn more.


Perfect coupling solution for almost every situation

Couplings from JW Winco transmit rotary motions and torques from shaft to shaft. They also even out tolerances and mechanical deflection that would otherwise result in damage to drive or measurement configurations. Winco's portfolio includes the perfect coupling solution for practically every situation, including for torque and power transmission as well as position and motion control. Learn features, standards, installation, and use as well as speeds, temperatures, torsional stiffness, and moment of inertia.
Learn more about coupling options.
Get the JW Winco couplings technical leaflet (PDF). Very informative.


All about slip rings -- how they work and their uses

Rotary Systems has put together a really nice basic primer on slip rings -- electrical collectors that carry a current from a stationary wire into a rotating device. Common uses are for power, proximity switches, strain gauges, video, and Ethernet signal transmission. This introduction also covers how to specify, assembly types, and interface requirements. Rotary Systems also manufactures rotary unions for fluid applications.
Read the overview.


Machine learning offers shortcut to optimal HVAC operation

By Gabrielle Stewart, Penn State

Control mechanisms for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) in buildings follow set parameters to make conditions in a building more comfortable, but what they save on time can reduce efficiency and increase energy costs, according to Gregory Pavlak, assistant professor of architectural engineering at Penn State. More sophisticated control models, known as model predictive controllers, can optimize multiple variables to save on energy, operating costs, and carbon emissions, but can require much more time to find solutions.

Penn State researchers developed a method that leverages machine learning to create controls that balance building energy cost, comfort, and efficiency while computing at a fast pace. They published their findings in Energy in February.

"Detailed model predictive controllers may not be able to compute solutions fast enough for real-time operations in some buildings," Pavlak said. "We used machine learning to generate a simple, easily interpretable set of rules for reducing building cooling energy and operating costs -- without needing to run model predictive controllers in real time."

To identify shortcuts to the optimal solutions made possible by model predictive controllers, the researchers used the controllers and collected data from them. The team targeted patterns that consistently led to good performance. Once these patterns were identified, the researchers filtered and grouped them into categories of control strategies. These categories provided examples of high-performance control strategies that could be used to train a machine learning model. Classification trees, which generate a set of decision rules, were used for the machine learning model to determine the best times of day to cool a building.

These rules were simple enough to work with basic control hardware, as well as easy to interpret, according to Pavlak.

"Once these rules have been generated, they work extremely fast and can be implemented in low-cost controllers and standard building automation equipment," he said. "They're also very interpretable. Operators and engineers can read the rules and easily understand how the systems will behave."

The rules based on the data from model predictive controllers attained energy efficiency and energy cost levels comparable to those of a model predictive controller in action. The best rule sets attained 95 to 97% of the energy savings and 89 to 92% of the cost objective savings of the detailed model predictive controller. These values were reached through significantly faster computations: To schedule a control strategy for one day, the original model predictive controller required several hours of computation, while the researchers' method could complete the task in less than a second.

The researchers aim to enable more sophisticated explorations of this technique with future research, including investigations on a variety of buildings, HVAC systems, and operating conditions.

Min Yu, an architectural engineering doctoral candidate, was first author on the paper.

Published May 2022

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