January 17, 2023 Volume 19 Issue 02

Mechanical News & Products

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10 design tips for sheet metal bending from Xometry

Sheet metal bending is one of the most commonly used methods to form sheet metal fabricated parts. The costs and quality depend on various factors, including setup costs, material costs, and design complexity. To ensure an optimum bend and to avoid deformation, the experts at Xometry recommend following certain design tips for every type of sheet metal part feature.
View this informative Xometry video.


CNC: Reduce runout with ANCA's new complete tool runout compensation

Manufacturing high-quality, high-performance tools requires the Total Indicator Runout (TIR) to be perfect or minimal for overall tool life and surface finish. Runout can cause shortened tool life and poor surface finish, and in drills and reamers can result in oversized holes. A new option in ANCA's ToolRoom cures runout woes and helps to increase tool life and productivity.
Read the full article.


Fluke 831 Laser Shaft Alignment Tool

Misalignment causes at least half of all damage to rotating machinery, but instead of fixing the problem, teams often just treat the symptoms by replacing bearings, couplings, and seals. The new Fluke 831 Laser Shaft Alignment Tool makes shaft alignment easy with an intuitive guided user interface that enables quick and complete shaft alignment without advanced training or complicated programs.
Learn more.


Flame-resistant composites for EV applications

IDI Composites International has introduced a new thermoset composite material delivering critical performance benefits for electric vehicle (EV) applications, FLAMEVEX™ is a flame-resistant lightweight composite that has been used on battery packs, which have passed the stringent Chinese Standard GB/T 31467.3 test, commonly known as the China bonfire test. This material offers designers a strong, lightweight, and cost-effective alternative to steel and aluminum materials traditionally used to enclose battery packs in EV applications. Flame performance levels can be tailored.
Learn more.


New high-performance hollow shaft gear unit for heavy-duty applications

Harmonic Drive has released its HPF series of hollow shaft gear units designed for heavy-duty industrial applications. These advanced gear units offer high torque outputs and flexible installation options, and they provide exceptional torque density and positional accuracy. Industrial applications include robotics, packaging, and material handling.
Learn more and get all the specs.


Electrically insulative toughened epoxy meets NASA low outgassing specifications

Master Bond Supreme 42HT-2ND Black is a two-part, non-drip epoxy system designed for bonding, sealing, and coating applications. It is capable of withstanding temps up to 450 F (232 C), meets NASA low outgassing standards, and is recommended for applications that require vacuum compatibility. This epoxy is electrically insulative and withstands rigorous thermal cycling. It offers a high strength profile and a forgiving mix ratio.
Learn more.


High-end precision guide rollers -- new design

Guide rollers may seem like simple, standard parts, but these rollers with ball bearings are in exceptionally high demand. JW Winco has expanded its guide roller offering to include the standard part GN 753.1. With its entirely new design, these guide rollers have a special deep groove ball bearing of hardened roller bearing steel. They are available in six sizes, from 0.866 to 1.969 in. (22 to 50 mm) outer diameter. The bearing features permanent lubrication and a typical 2Z seal to protect against dust and dirt (in other words, the bearing is covered on both sides by metal disks).
Learn more from JW Winco.


VariBlast Precision Safety Air Gun is the People's Choice

EXAIR's VariBlast® Precision Safety Air Gun has won the 2022 People's Choice award from Professional Tool and Equipment News (PTEN). These safety air guns provide a focused blast of air capable of handling tough jobs with remarkable strength while minimizing air consumption and noise. This OSHA-safe air gun employs an engineered, full-finger, variable-flow trigger. The VariBlast is available with a standard 12- or 20-in. extension that can also be outfitted with type 316 stainless steel or PEEK thermoplastic air nozzles for non-marring applications.
Learn more.


Stacked conveyor system supercharges tea company production

Watch how Bosch Rexroth's VarioFlow plus conveyor system, designed using a stacked configuration, moves products smoothly and quickly within a narrow footprint at the Yamamotoyama of America tea company in Pomona, CA. The facility operates multiple tea bag manufacturing and carton machines, each of which can produce 300 tea bags (which is 18 full cartons of tea bags) per minute. VarioFlow plus is a flexible, modular plastic chain conveyor system used for moving high-volume packaged goods. The solution has been a huge success for the facility, increasing production speed without damaging products.
View the video.


New sizes: SureFrame cut-to-length T-slotted rails

Automation-Direct has added new 30 x 60 mm and 60 x 60 mm profiles to its SureFrame 30 Series lineup of cut-to-length T-slotted extruded aluminum rails. These structures are lightweight, economical, versatile, and easy to construct, with uses ranging from stands that hold barcode scanners and label applicators to OEM machines made entirely of T-slotted aluminum rail. The rails are available in the most popular profiles and dimensions, are compatible with many other brands, and can be cut to your specified lengths in increments of 0.001 in. with no cutting fees.
Learn more.


Siemens offers Virtual Product Expert for CNC

Siemens has introduced the Virtual Product Expert (VPE), a new online support program for its CNC machine tool users, machine builders, dealers, and importers. Through the VPE program, customers can interact directly with a SINUMERIK CNC product expert and have their specific operation and programming questions answered, from the basic functions of the control to the most advanced machining technology aspects of the hardware and software suites. Best of all, this service is offered to all Siemens CNC community members at no cost.
Learn more.


Create your perfect parts: Xometry Manufacturing Design Guides

Need to order parts and get it right the first time? Xometry provides more than 17 manufacturing processes, including CNC machining, 3D printing, injection molding, sheet cutting, and more. Get in-depth design-for-manufacturing tips, specs, and best practices for Xometry's services. Optimize your designs, reduce manufacturing time, and lower your costs. Case studies available too.
View the Xometry Manufacturing Design Guides.


How slip clutches can help maximize your designs

The way they see it over at Polyclutch, there aren't a whole lot of problems you can't solve with a slip clutch. Way beyond using them for overload protection, there are a surprising number of other applications for these versatile and valuable components. From increasing machine speeds and applying constant tension on wire to indexing a conveyor and automatic screw assembly, slip clutches just may provide the design leverage you've been seeking.
Read the full article.


New high-performance metals for 3D printing

3D Systems has added two new materials to its materials portfolio. Certified HX is a high-performance nickel alloy that contains a higher percentage of molybdenum (up to 9.5%) vs. other nickel alloys, which enhances strength and resistance to corrosion, creep deformation, cracking, and oxidation in hot-zone environments. Certified CuCr2.4 is a high-strength, corrosion-resistant copper alloy that is significantly stronger than pure copper and easier to process. Both materials are certified for use with the company's DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350 3D printers. Applications include industrial gas turbines, consumer goods, aerospace and defense, and automotive.
Learn more.


COMSOL Multiphysics Version 6.1 is here!

COMSOL has released the latest version of its modeling and simulation software. COMSOL Multiphysics version 6.1 is full of feature additions and workflow enhancements. "This version provides our users with powerful multiphysics simulation tools in areas of highly competitive R&D, like audio technology and vehicle electrification," says Bjorn Sjodin, VP of product management at COMSOL. "We have also strengthened the software's foundation with new capabilities for optimization and the modeling of turbulent flow and mechanical contact."
Learn more.


Researchers shrink camera to the size of a salt grain

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have developed an ultracompact camera the size of a coarse grain of salt. The system relies on a technology called a metasurface, which is studded with 1.6 million cylindrical posts and can be produced much like a computer chip. [Image courtesy of the researchers]

 

 

 

 

By Molly Sharlach, Princeton University

Micro-sized cameras have great potential to spot problems in the human body and enable sensing for super-small robots, but past approaches captured fuzzy, distorted images with limited fields of view.

Now, researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have overcome these obstacles with an ultracompact camera the size of a coarse grain of salt. The new system can produce crisp, full-color images on par with a conventional compound camera lens 500,000 times larger in volume, the researchers reported in a paper published Nov. 29, 2021, in Nature Communications.

Enabled by a joint design of the camera's hardware and computational processing, the system could enable minimally invasive endoscopy with medical robots to diagnose and treat diseases, and improve imaging for other robots with size and weight constraints. Arrays of thousands of such cameras could be used for full-scene sensing, turning surfaces into cameras.

While a traditional camera uses a series of curved glass or plastic lenses to bend light rays into focus, the new optical system relies on a technology called a metasurface, which can be produced much like a computer chip. Just half a millimeter wide, the metasurface is studded with 1.6 million cylindrical posts, each roughly the size of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Each post has a unique geometry, and functions like an optical antenna. Varying the design of each post is necessary to correctly shape the entire optical wavefront. With the help of machine learning-based algorithms, the posts' interactions with light combine to produce the highest-quality images and widest field of view for a full-color metasurface camera developed to date.

A key innovation in the camera's creation was the integrated design of the optical surface and the signal processing algorithms that produce the image. This boosted the camera's performance in natural light conditions, in contrast to previous metasurface cameras that required the pure laser light of a laboratory or other ideal conditions to produce high-quality images, said Felix Heide, the study's senior author and an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton.

The researchers compared images produced with their system to the results of previous metasurface cameras, as well as images captured by a conventional compound optic that uses a series of six refractive lenses. Aside from a bit of blurring at the edges of the frame, the nano-sized camera's images were comparable to those of the traditional lens setup, which is more than 500,000 times larger in volume.

Previous micro-sized cameras (left) captured fuzzy, distorted images with limited fields of view. A new system called neural nano-optics (right) can produce crisp, full-color images on par with a conventional compound camera lens. [Image courtesy of the researchers]

 

 

 

 

Other ultracompact metasurface lenses have suffered from major image distortions, small fields of view, and limited ability to capture the full spectrum of visible light -- referred to as RGB imaging because it combines red, green, and blue to produce different hues.

"The significance of the published work is completing the Herculean task to jointly design the size, shape, and location of the metasurface's million features and the parameters of the post-detection processing to achieve the desired imaging performance," said Joseph Mait, a consultant at Mait-Optik and a former senior researcher and chief scientist at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.

Heide and his colleagues are now working to add more computational abilities to the camera itself. Beyond optimizing image quality, they would like to add capabilities for object detection and other sensing modalities relevant for medicine and robotics

Published February 2022

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