September 12, 2017 Volume 13 Issue 34

Mechanical News & Products

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Reverse Engineering add-in 2018 for SOLIDWORKS 2018 for SOLIDWORKS is a reverse engineering application fully integrated into SOLIDWORKS. Users can easily process point clouds, hard probe, and 3D laser scans directly in SOLIDWORKS. Tube measure and quick settings tooling dialog are two features new to the software. Other new capabilities and enhancements include:

  • No wait time when processing gigabytes of point cloud scan data with Voxel thinning.
  • Automatic function generates profile curves through a point cloud, allowing users to define and order equal number and spacing of points for parametric spline creation.
  • Enhanced lock plane simplifies your work flow, users can define point-to-plane snap tolerance capture with a hard probe or 3D scanner.
  • A standalone Integrated Point Cloud module that doesn’t require a SOLIDWORKS license to visualize points, hard probe, or laser scan.
Click here to learn more and read a Schutt Sports application story.

Two-stage rotary latch is rugged and secure

Southco has expanded its successful line of rotary latching solutions with the addition of a stainless steel version of its popular R4-30 series. This two-stage rotary latch is constructed of high-strength, corrosion-resistant stainless steel, making it an ideal choice for enclosures applications exposed to demanding environments, such as an outdoor antenna tower access panel. The design prevents false latching conditions in enclosure applications and provides concealed latching for increased security and industrial design.
Click here to learn more.

New adhesives for bonding displays

DELO now offers two reliable adhesives that are suitable for bonding display frames as well as cover glass and can be used for joining a display panel to a housing. DELO PHOTOBOND LA4860 is a one-component, light-activated urethane polymer adhesive. Because of its unique curing mechanism, opaque components, like display frames, which often have a black mask on the edge of areas or are bonded to the housings, can be quickly and reliably joined without the need for additional heat curing. Initial strength is reached after a few minutes. DELO-PUR SJ9356 is a two-component, polyurethane hybrid adhesive. This flexible adhesive ensures stable and tension-equalizing bonds and seals, even with changing loads. It is an optimal solution for sealing large bonding gaps.
Click here to learn more.

New anti-static Super Air Knife with 34% better performance

EXAIR’s new Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife eliminates static electricity 34% better at low inlet pressures, which saves compressed air and money. Production speeds, product quality, and surface cleanliness can improve dramatically. It eliminates static on plastics, webs, sheet stock, and other product surfaces where tearing, jamming, or hazardous shocks are a problem. Gen4 products have undergone independent laboratory tests to certify they meet the rigorous safety, health, and environmental standards of the USA, EU, and Canada that are required to attain the CE and UL marks. They are also RoHS compliant. New design features include a metal armored high-voltage cable to protect against abrasion and cuts, integrated ground connection, and electromagnetic shielding.
Click here to learn more.

Producing large 3D-printed metal parts gets automated

3D Systems has introduced a next-generation additive metal production platform designed to allow manufacturers to easily scale their 3D-printing efforts and integrate them seamlessly into the factory floor. Based on the company's Direct Metal Printing (DMP) precision metals technology, the automated DMP 8500 Factory Solution features an efficient and fully integrated workflow -- from powder in to part out -- to produce repeatable, high-quality parts with a lower total cost of operation (TCO).
Read the full article.

Mike Likes: C Series and CM Series springs get really small

Smalley has expanded the Crest-to-Crest® Wave Spring Series. Smalley's popular C (imperial) and CM (metric) Series have been expanded; standard sizes are now available from stock down to .188 in. and 5 mm in diameter. Smalley Wave Springs can replace conventional coil springs while occupying only half the space and providing the same force and deflection.
Request complimentary samples today!

Dual-curing adhesive simplifies production

DELO now offers a dual-curing adhesive for structural bonds. DELO DUALBOND SJ2718 combines high strength and temperature resistance with a simple production process, making it ideal for use in automotive applications like the production of electric motors, where buried magnets are fixed in the rotor package. Designed for use where adhesive bonds are exposed to large mechanical stress and increased temperatures, this new, two-stage light-curing and heat-curing adhesive is faster and easier to use as compared to traditional epoxy resins that generally need additional equipment to hold components in position on production lines and in curing ovens. This product can be prefixed in 1 to 5 seconds, depending on the intensity of the UV light. With a strength on aluminum of 60 MPa and on high-performance plastic PA6 of 30 MPa, its performance is comparable to purely heat-curing structural adhesives.
Click here to learn more.

Intelligent slewing ring bearing simplifies equipment monitoring

igus has developed an intelligent slewing ring bearing (SRB) that is installed with an isense PRT.W wireless sensor that detects wear, so the need for a replacement can be indicated with enough time in advance via the system’s icom module. Slewing rings from igus are used in applications that handle high cycle speeds and loads, including control desks, welding equipment, indexing tables, and chainsaws. iglide slewing ring bearings have plastic sliding elements between aluminum or stainless-steel inner and outer bearing rings. These sliding elements are made of the high-performance, self-lubricating iglide J plastic, making them maintenance-free and friction and wear resistant.
Click here to learn more.

Reduce automation costs with igus belt drive axes

Mechanical engineers often need a basic, space-saving linear guide when designing technology that performs simple tasks, such as vending machines. However, most solutions on the market are very advanced, leaving manufacturers forced to either pay for features they do not need or develop their own linear guide. igus is now offering the drylin ZLW eco, a ready-to-install entry-level series that is making simple positioning and adjustment tasks extremely efficient and cost effective. A toothed belt axis of this entry-level series with a stroke length of 100 mm starts as low as $150. Two sizes handle loads of 3 kg or 10 kg.
Click here to learn more.

Xmas tree-type fasteners

Micro Plastics' product line of "X-MAS TREE TYPE FASTENERS" has been expanded to include over 50 new standard sizes, with 8 special item clips. In addition, a metric line of over 20 sizes is also available. These uniquely designed fastening snap-in clips feature a ribbed shank that ensures fast and easy installation. Clips hold secure in a wide range of materials and work effectively in blind hole applications. A variety of head, prong, and point styles are available. The standard line offers fasteners to fit hole sizes of 1/8 in. through 3/8 in. and will accommodate panel thicknesses from .062 in. to 2.00 in. The metric line accommodates hole sizes of 3 mm through 8 mm and panel thicknesses from 1.6 mm to 50 mm. Fasteners are molded in corrosion-, abrasion-, and vibration-resistant black nylon.
Click here to learn more.

Alternatives to screws for compact electronics

Aluminum and stainless steel microPEM TackSert pins from Penn-Engineering provide cost-effective alternatives to micro screws for attaching top panels to base panels or chassis in compact electronic assemblies. They will attach top panels of any material to a base or chassis manufactured from common cast metals (such as magnesium and aluminum) or plastics (such as ABS and printed circuit boards). The pins ultimately eliminate many of the costs and issues associated with screws and integrate unique design features, promoting reliable and effective performance.
Click here to learn more.

5 easy ways to reduce 3D-printing costs

According to Marcus Morrissette at Xometry, there are two main drivers to consider when pricing for outsourced 3D-printed parts: material cost and machine run time. Understanding these factors and how to optimize them is important to lowering costs for all of the 3D-printing processes Xometry offers, including Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), PolyJet (PJ3D), and Binder Jet Metal (BJ3D). Consider these suggestions when designing your 3D CAD file.
Read the full article.

Easy programming for hydraulic proportional controls

HAWE Hydraulik's eDesign, a new cloud-based, graphical programming interface for electronic control systems, enables users to design programs and to install them directly on the electronic control without knowing a programming language. HAWE eDesign already includes a large number of functions to program either the CAN-knot type CAN-IO or the company's electronic amplifier plug type EV2S. The programming interface is ideally suited to facilitate the transition from on/off valve technology to proportional control, and is primarily intended for low to medium complex programming. Built-in tutorials and hints simplify use.
Click here to learn more.

Proto Labs expands into sheet metal fabrication

Proto Labs has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held company Rapid Manufacturing Group (RAPID), a New Hampshire-based custom parts supplier specializing in quick-turn sheet metal fabrication and CNC machining. With the acquisition, Proto Labs will be able to offer its customers another quick-turn manufacturing service while expanding its CNC machining capabilities. RAPID was founded in 2001 on the idea of using automation to provide custom sheet metal parts faster than traditional methods -- a story that closely parallels Proto Labs’ own by optimizing product development and improving supply-chain efficiencies through a variety of digital manufacturing methods.
Click here to learn more.

All about edge-welded metal bellows

BellowsTech, an industry leader in the development and manufacture of metal bellows using edge-welded metal bellows technology, proudly serves the aerospace, semiconductor, UHV, Cryogenic, Oil and Gas, and various other high-technology markets. Learn how edge-welded bellows can work in your application. This product video focuses on the unique characteristics and parameters of edge-welded metal bellows.
View video.

Hair trigger: Air Force designing flying systems that mimic insect biology

Researchers at the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, have developed a novel, lightweight artificial hair sensor that mimics those used by natural fliers -- like in bats and crickets -- by using carbon nanotube forests grown inside glass fiber capillaries. The hairs are sensitive to air flow changes during flight, enabling quick analysis and response by agile fliers. [Air Force photo]





By Marisa Alia-Novobilski, Air Force Research Laboratory

Nature has inspired scientific and engineering innovations for hundreds of years. An apple falling from a tree inspired Isaac Newton to define the laws of gravity. The burdock burrs clinging to the skin of his hunting dog lead to Swiss engineer Georges de Mestral's invention of Velcro. The ability of the kingfisher to slice through water to catch prey inspired the redesign of the high-speed Japanese Bullet Train, enabling it to exit tunnels quietly at a speed 10 percent faster than predecessors.

For scientists at the Air Force Research Laboratory, it is the hairs on bats and crickets that inspired the creation of artificial hair sensors, destined to change the course of agile flight.

"Ever notice how a cricket might stop chirping when you walk into a room? It's because it detects a big air disturbance and does not know if you are a friend or a foe," said Dr. Jeff Baur, a principal engineer in the Structural Materials Division, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. "Nature has given bats and crickets these fine hairs that they use to sense changes in their environment. We hypothesized that if we could engineer similar hairs at the surface of an aircraft, we could enable an agile flight system that can detect air changes and 'fly by feel.'"

[U.S. Air Force video]

Thus, a multi-directorate Artificial Hair Sensor team funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research was started to develop an innovative, adaptive, multifunctional structure for Air Force systems. Beginning in the lab as a "proof of concept" experiment, the artificial hair sensors have gained international interest, with aerospace companies and researchers eager to integrate these into their wind-tunnel models and flying systems.

Moreover, the research has also resulted in three patent applications based on the research activity -- a highlight for scientific research in any field.

Fly by feel
"We're providing new insights and non-traditional outlets for long-term (AFRL) research. The project has moved to the point where we are making these sensors, evaluating them in the wind tunnel within AFRL, and distributing them to collaborators across the globe to try them out in different concepts. It's exciting," said Baur.

For the Air Force, the need to understand ambient air data and its effects on aircraft performance, navigation, and more has become more critical as flying machines are now lighter and operate in diverse environments. The need for "fly-by-feel" systems, where aerial systems have distributed smart sensors to assess the external environment and change maneuvers during the course of flight, is increasingly important as agile fliers join the fleet.

Conventional aerial systems typically draw data from bulky "bolted-on" sensors, resulting in single-point measurements with delayed sensing. The Artificial Hair Sensor team created a novel, lightweight artificial hair sensor that mimics those used by natural fliers -- like in bats and crickets -- using carbon nanotube forests grown inside glass fiber capillaries. The hairs are sensitive to air flow changes during flight, enabling quick response by fliers.

Carbon nanotubes, revered by material scientists for having a high strength-to-weight ratio as well as their ability to conduct electrically, form the basis for these hair sensors and are grown inside of a glass capillary with electrodes on each end. With a diameter of less than one-tenth of a human hair, the sensors work when air flows over the fiber, compressing the carbon nanotube and causing a change in the resistance between the electrodes. This information is analyzed by a "brain-like" neural network, in which an algorithm is able to process and dictate a response.

"These can help to better understand aerodynamics or wind gusts in an urban environment, for example. Imagine my agile aircraft is turning the corner of a building -- the wind may change. If I have a system that can detect a gust is coming, I can adjust immediately to stay on course," said Dr. Greg Reich, a team member from the Aerospace Systems Directorate.

Though a large portion of development and bench-level lab testing of the sensors took place at AFRL, the team took advantage of pressure wave tubes developed at the Munitions Directorate by Dr. Ben Dickinson and wind tunnels within the Aerospace Systems Directorate to validate the sensor durability and sensitivity to speed.

"By changing the diameter of the capillary, we are able to detect different wind speeds and have shown success at up to 100 miles per hour," said Baur. "We are still in the process of evaluating durability, but already we have tested the same sensor for more than 316 hours. This shows great promise."

Another potential application for the artificial hair sensors, according to Baur, is in bonded composites. By applying the sensors across bonded material, researchers can internally detect what is going on inside of a bond, which may allow them to detect a break before it happens.

Ultimately, the artificial hair sensors are just one way the scientists and researchers at AFRL continue to advance technology and the state-of-the-art for Air Force systems now and the future.

"We're just working to understand how nature does things and taking advantage of this understanding and knowledge for the Air Force," said Baur.

Published September 2017

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