Engineer's Toolbox: The secret to living hinges that fold flat
Living hinges are often used to produce a container and its lid as a single molded part. If properly designed, they can open and close thousands of times without ever losing strength or flexibility. Proto Labs provides valuable tips on designing these (sometimes thin and fragile) parts.
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Bottom tapped rails available for quick ship
Bottom tapped rails are useful for mounting from the bottom of a base, as well as when contamination protection is required -- eliminating the need for bolt-hole caps. See the available models from THK, including standard and radial LM guides and standard and radial caged ball. All units are available for quick shipping.
Non-marring blowoff nozzle protects expensive equipment
EXAIR's new PEEK 1/2 NPT Super Air Nozzle™ has been engineered to produce powerful blowoff without damage to expensive equipment. It features PEEK plastic construction and excellent resistance to damage from harsh chemicals and temps up to 320 F (160 C). The PEEK Super Air Nozzle is great for blowoff, cooling, and drying applications located in general industrial or corrosive environments.
Flex thixotropic one-component dual-cure epoxy
Master Bond UV23FLDC-80TK is a moderate viscosity, cationic-type system that offers both UV light and heat curing mechanisms. It cures readily within 20 to 30 sec when exposed to a UV light source. The adhesive can also undergo a secondary heat curing for shadowed areas, typically curing in 60 to 90 min. The system's adaptability to varying depths and applications, such as encapsulation and bonding, enhances its versatility. Well suited for uses where low stress is critical.
Standard parts with signal feedback included
JW Winco standard parts are becoming even more functional -- multifunctional, to be precise. From smart stop bolts that report whether workpieces are precisely positioned in the machining process to cabinet handles with signal lights and fluid level indicators with electronic REED contact signals, intelligent standard parts from JW Winco ensure greater safety, higher efficiency, and increased stability. Many more very useful options available for a wide range of applications.
Particle foam perfectly distributed thanks to simulation with Ultrasim
BASF's Ultrasim simulation solution now includes Infinergy, an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU) that is used in a wide range of applications to make components with particle foam -- from bicycle tires to the soles on shoes. Identify and solve problems related to pneumatic filling when distributing particle foams in molds, even taking gravity and mold closing into consideration. Avoid those pesky air pockets.
Best practices for making technical drawings
Ambiguities in technical drawings can cost extra money when a part must be redone or reworked, leading to unexpected project delays. It is essential to create clear technical drawings the first time around. Did you remember to include an isometric view if possible? Did you limit the number of hidden lines? Xometry lays out 14 tips that to help engineers create clear and professional manufacturing drawings. A solid review.
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NEW! Semi-automatic pin installation technology from SPIROL -- Better, faster fastening
SPIROL's new video showcases their updated Model PR and Model CR Semi-Automatic Installation Machines for Pins, Alignment Dowels, and Bushings. The video demonstrates how to operate the machine, details standard features, and optional quality and error-proofing enhancements. More than 80% of the components in this installation equipment are standard, pretested, production-proven, off-the-shelf parts. This translates into faster delivery, greater reliability, and lowest cost for equipment of comparable quality.
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Are fasteners over-torqued in your assemblies?
According to Mountz, if you currently use a click wrench for your bolting application, you should proceed cautiously because click wrenches are easily misused, which leads to over-torque events. Replacing a click-wrench with a Mountz FGC cam-over wrench helps prevent operator anomalies and over-torque occurrences, because a cam-over mechanism physically prevents the operator from over-torquing fasteners.
Tools for robotic metal weld grinding
There are many ways to automate grinding processes, but according to ATI Industrial Automation, "Compliance is the key to successful robotic grinding applications." Learn about the pneumatic compliance built into ATI's tools -- the CGV Compliant Angle Grinder and the PCFC Passive Compliant Force Control device -- that exerts a constant force and compensates for surface irregularities to ensure consistent results and facilitate easier robot programming.
How BMW Group uses ExOne binder jetting tech to make parts
3D-printer maker ExOne and BMW have worked together for more than two decades on additive manufacturing projects. This video showcases how the premium automaker uses ExOne binder jet sand 3D-printing technology to manufacture water jacket cores in serial production. Binder jetting is one of the fastest 3D-printing methods for producing high-quality and complex precision parts in high volume.
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NEW: Build parts together with Teamspace from Xometry
Xometry's Digital Manufacturing Marketplace has just launched Teamspace, a new product feature that makes it easy for you and your team to build big ideas together. Teamspace is a collaborative workspace within your Xometry account that gives you and members of your team quick and easy access to quotes, order placement, part status, tracking info, and more. Turbocharge the way you make custom parts using additive manufacturing, CNC machining, sheet and tube fabrication, plastics, metals, and more.
Clean in Place Latches save time and money
Spend less time and money on cleaning and cleaning media with two new standard parts from JW Winco. The new GN 1150 latches are designed to repel dirt and can be cleaned in place. The Hygienic Design latches support the machine and system cleaning concept known as clean in place, or CIP for short. Two versions available: front hygiene (FH) for applications such as switch cabinets that must comply with hygiene requirements only on the outside, and full hygiene (VH) with additional seals for HD quality, even on the latch arm side.
Flex Locators for quick changeover of small and large fixtures
Flex Locators from Fixtureworks are designed for quick changeover of small and large fixtures, automation components, and more. They are ideal for applications that require frequent disassembly, providing excellent repeatability for locating and clamping in a single operation. Manual and pneumatic versions are available. Just turn the handle, knob, or screw!
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Injection-molded heavy-duty plain bearings for high mechanical loads
igus has introduced a new two-component plain bearing for high mechanical loads called the iglide Q3E series. With this new, greaseless offering, igus has, for the first time, found a way to manufacture heavy-duty bearings made of two layers of high-performance plastic using the cost-effective injection molding process. Applications include the construction and agricultural machinery industries.
Weird science: Silkworms engineered to spin spider silk that is 6x tougher than Kevlar
Scientists in China have synthesized spider silk from genetically modified silkworms, producing fibers six times tougher than the Kevlar used in bulletproof vests.
The study, published Sept. 20 in the journal Matter, is the first to successfully produce full-length spider silk proteins using silkworms. The findings demonstrate a technique that could be used to manufacture an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic commercial fibers such as nylon.
"Silkworm silk is presently the only animal silk fiber commercialized on a large scale, with well-established rearing techniques," says researcher Junpeng Mi, a PhD candidate at the College of Biological Science and Medical Engineering at Donghua University and the first author of the study. "Consequently, employing genetically modified silkworms to produce spider silk fiber enables low-cost, large-scale commercialization."
Spider silk fibers produced by transgenic silkworms. [Credit: Junpeng Mi]
Scientists have eyed spider silk as an enticingly sustainable alternative to synthetic fibers, which can release harmful microplastics into the environment and are often produced from fossil fuels that generate greenhouse gas emissions. However, turning to nature for alternatives isn't without challenges. Previously developed processes for spinning artificial spider silk have struggled to apply a surface layer of glycoproteins and lipids to the silk to help it withstand humidity and exposure to sunlight -- an anti-aging "skin layer" that spiders apply to their webs.
Genetically modified silkworms offer a solution to this problem, says Mi, since silkworms coat their own fibers with a similar protective layer.
"Spider silk stands as a strategic resource in urgent need of exploration," says Mi. "The exceptionally high mechanical performance of the fibers produced in this study holds significant promise in this field. This type of fiber can be utilized as surgical sutures, addressing a global demand exceeding 300 million procedures annually."
The spider silk fibers could also be used to create more comfortable garments and innovative types of bulletproof vests, says Mi, and they may have applications in smart materials, the military, aerospace technology, and biomedical engineering.
To spin spider silk from silkworms, Mi and his team introduced spider silk protein genes into the DNA of silkworms so that it would be expressed in their glands using a combination of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology and hundreds of thousands of microinjections into fertilized silkworm eggs. The microinjections posed "one of the most significant challenges" in the study, said Mi, but when he saw the silkworms' eyes glowing red under the fluorescence microscope -- a sign that the gene editing had been successful -- he was overjoyed.
"I danced and practically ran to Professor Meng Qing's office to share this result," says Mi. "I remember that night vividly, as the excitement kept me awake."
The researchers also needed to perform "localization" modifications on the transgenic spider silk proteins so they would interact properly with proteins in the silkworm glands, ensuring that the fiber would be spun properly. To guide the modifications, the team developed a "minimal basic structure model" of silkworm silk.
"This concept of 'localization,' introduced in this thesis, along with the proposed minimal structural model, represents a significant departure from previous research," says Mi. "We are confident that large-scale commercialization is on the horizon."
In the future, Mi plans to use insights into the toughness and strength of spider silk fibers developed in the current study to develop genetically modified silkworms that produce spider silk fibers from both natural and engineered amino acids.
"The introduction of over one hundred engineered amino acids holds boundless potential for engineered spider silk fibers," says Mi.
Read "High-strength and ultra-tough whole spider silk fibers spun from transgenic silkworms" in Matter.
Source: CELL PRESS
Published September 2023
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