January 08, 2019 Volume 15 Issue 01

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Cool Tools: New Artec LEO 3D scanner

Exact Metrology is proud to announce the availability of its Artec LEO 3D scanner, the first scanner to offer onboard automatic processing with an integrated touch panel viewer. This frees users from being tied to a computer for data capture. The scanner has a 3D reconstruction rate of 80 frames per second, making it the fastest professional scanner on the market. With its large field of view, Artec LEO can scan and process large objects and scenes quickly and accurately, and it boasts a data acquisition rate of up to 4 million points per sec.
Learn more.


Clippard PTFE multi-channel gradient valves

NIV series gradient valves feature multiple two-way, normally closed solenoids connected around a central body. This unique design provides significant reduction in internal volume with enhanced mixing capabilities. Each actuator operates independently, allowing for flow of various media to be mixed or for one media to be split into multiple streams. These multi-channel gradient valves are useful for solvent selection, stream splitting, flushing, and other automated applications.
Learn more.


Top Product: Allite Super Magnesium

Weighing 33 percent less than aluminum, while also being stiffer and stronger pound for pound, the new Allite Super Magnesium alloy has shown its mettle in classified defense and aerospace applications. Now it's available for wider use. This material is less expensive than carbon fiber and has the lowest carbon footprint of any structural material throughout the value chain. Industry applications include home improvement, sporting goods, aerospace, automotive, biking, and beyond. Three alloy variants available to suit welding, forming/forging, or casting. These alloys feature excellent shock-absorption properties, good electromagnetic shielding performance, good heat dissipation, and recyclability. Allite is based in Dayton, OH.
Learn more.


Replace metals with hard materials

The use of sapphire, ceramics, and other hard materials has significant advantages over metal, depending on the application. The materials machined at Insaco are harder and stronger in compression than most metals. They can be electrically or thermally insulating or conducting, and in the case of sapphire, can be polished optically clear to a surface finish less than 1 micro inch. This allows for selecting a material based on the most important material property required and allows for versatility in selecting the material that makes the most sense. When a low-cost part must be frequently replaced because of a harsh environment, looking to hard materials may be the key to lowering overall cost. Learn more about metal replacement materials in this informative Insaco article.
Read the full article.


HVACR Tech Tip: How to properly clean a condenser coil

Condenser coil cleaning is one of those subjects where there is a fair amount of misdirection and misinformation being propagated by some manufacturers/distributors that has caused unfortunate confusion in the industry. Parker Hannifin provides answers to common questions to set the record straight. Why do condenser coil cleaners foam, and evaporator coils usually don't? What is the difference between the acid and non-acid condenser coil cleaners? Learn these things and more in this informative post.
Read the Parker Hannifin blog.


Vulcanized rubber spacer disks with a steel plate

The GN 438 rubber spacer disks from JW Winco provide a dampening and muffling function, protecting surfaces from damage. By stacking several spacer disks on each other, the spring rate of the package can be increased, which opens up new possibilities for use. When used as a foot disk, type A is attached using screws and can be installed on small machines, systems, or devices. Alternatively, the type B version can be adhered to all suitable and clean surfaces by means of an adhesive pad. The steel disk plate is zinc plated, with a blue passivated finish, while the black rubber underlay is vulcanized and is temperature resistant up to 248 F.
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Desktop Metal launches 316L stainless steel for 3D printing

Desktop Metal, a 3D-printer maker, has just announced the launch of 316L stainless steel for the company's Studio System, the world's first and only office-friendly metal 3D-printing system. This machine is great for prototyping and low-volume production. A fully austenitic steel known for its corrosion resistance and excellent mechanical properties at extreme temperatures, 316L is well suited for applications in the most demanding industrial environments, including salt water in marine applications, caustic cleaners found in food processing environments, and chemicals in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Learn more.


Benefits of using military-grade adhesives in your applications

Some epoxy compounds successfully meet thermal stability testing standard ASTM D3850-12 per MIL-STD-883J Section 3.5.2 and 3.8.5 for military applications, however these systems can also be used across many other industries where thermal stability is an important requirement. Some common non-military applications that benefit from compounds that pass MIL-STD-883J include downhole oil equipment, lasers, satellite systems, electronics, power tools, and various automotive applications.
Learn more from Master Bond.


How a camera auto-focus lens uses a special spring

Ultrasonic motors are small motors, some measured in millimeters, that are being used in a variety of applications including the auto-focus feature on a camera lens, side mirrors, surgical equipment, and robots. Learn how a single-turn closed wave spring is used to maintain the necessary pressure against the motor stator in a camera, and why it is a better choice in this application over coil or washer-type springs.
Read the Rotor Clip application note.


How electronic flow sensors help spread road salt

Salt spreading trucks use a pre-wetting system when ice needs to be removed from roads and the temperatures are too low for direct salt spreading to work. The system sprays salt water onto the road salt as it is being spread to "jump start" the melting process. But how do you monitor the amount of pre-wet salt used?
Read this short, informative blog from Gems Sensors & Controls.


Top Tech Tip: Save space and weight with Crest-to-Crest® Wave Springs

Crest-to-Crest® Wave Springs can take up to 50% less space than a traditional coil spring. Formed using flat wire, this results in a more compact spring that takes less material to produce and can reduce the overall weight of the spring and assembly.
Learn more.


SOLIDWORKS add-in for Xometry turbocharges part outsourcing

The Xometry Add-In for SOLIDWORKS v4.0 is a powerful tool that integrates directly with Xometry's Instant Quoting Engine, allowing engineers to simultaneously design parts and weigh considerations of cost and lead time in a single CAD environment. Machine learning algorithms give you an instant price by analyzing the part's geometry and factor in manufacturing requirements such as the process, material, features, finish, and inspection type. Then, the add-in provides lead time, cost, and manufacturability (DFM) feedback in seconds. Includes CNC machining, 3D printing, sheet metal, urethane castings, and other manufacturing methods.
Learn more.


Springs made of high-performance, engineered plastic

Lee Spring's LeeP plastic composite compression springs molded from Ultem resins provide critical advantages over traditional metal alloy springs. They feature high strength-to-weight ratio, no magnetic interference, high corrosion resistance, and dielectric insulation for non-conductive applications. They are stocked in a variety of standard sizes, each available in a "rainbow" of strengths formulated from different Ultem resins. They were designed to meet a wide range of spring applications where non-corroding, non-metallic, inert materials are preferred.
Learn more.


Direct interface for cobots and CNC machines launched

Manufacturers struggling to get CNC machines to communicate directly with their collaborative robot now have a solution: VersaBuilt's CNC Communication URCap is a simple yet powerful interface for machine-tending applications with Universal Robots. Launching at Universal Robots' booth 4605 at the ATX West show this week in Anaheim, the URCap allows a UR cobot to easily execute any machining program stored on the CNC directly through the cobot's own teach pendant.
Learn more.


Top Tech Tip: Bearing insulation prevents electrical current damage

Bearing damage can occur when electrical currents use the rolling contact as a conducting path. Insulated bearings prevent premature bearing failures eventually caused by stray electrical currents. But insulation properties must remain stable regardless of environmental conditions, in particular when bearings are stored, handled, and operated in humid climates. SKF dives deep into this issue.
Read the full article.


Hydrogen power in a bottle for on-the-go use: Army plans to license nanogalvanic aluminum powder discovery

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory's nanogalvanic aluminum powder for hydrogen generation. [U.S. Army photo by David McNally]

 

 

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory plans to license its discovery of a nanogalvanic aluminum powder for hydrogen generation.

Army researchers at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland have developed a novel, structurally stable, aluminum-based nanogalvanic alloy powder that, when combined with water or any water-based liquid, reacts to produce on-demand hydrogen for power generation without a catalyst.

"This powder-based alloy includes material that disrupts the formation of an encapsulating aluminum oxide layer, allowing for the continuous production of hydrogen that can be used at the point of need to power a wide range of devices via fuel cells and internal combustion," said Dr. Anit Giri, a scientist with the lab's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate. "The powder can be easily manufactured to scale, and can be conveniently and safely transported via tablets or vacuum pouches, thus eliminating reliance on high-pressure hydrogen cylinders."

Dr. Anit Giri, a scientist with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, observes a sample of a unique aluminum nanomaterial powder that reacts with water to produce hydrogen. [U.S. Army photo by David McNally]

 

 

 

 

ARL will be posting a Federal Register Notice and launching a supporting website inviting companies to submit their ideas on how best to commercialize this technology. The laboratory will then select the most appropriate partners and collaborators. Officials said license exclusivity will then be determined.

Researchers said the powders has many advantages, including:

  • Energy and Power Source
  • Stable Alloy Powder
  • Non-Toxic
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Hydrogen Emitting
  • Manufacture to Scale
  • Easily Transportable

Army researchers discovered the unique properties of the nanopowder while investigating aluminum alloy compositions for other purposes. The researchers, from the lab's Lightweight and Specialty Metals Branch, made the serendipitous discovery that at least one of these compositions can, in the presence of water, spontaneously generate hydrogen -- rapidly and efficiently.

"The researchers have since demonstrated rapid hydrogen generation rates using powder and tablet forms of the alloy," said Branch Chief Robert Dowding. "The hydrogen has been shown to be useful for powering fuel cells and is expected to power internal combustion engines." The researchers are currently taking advantage of the innovation by characterizing the hydrogen generation rates and purity of the gas generated, Dowding said.

Army researcher Anthony J. Roberts inflates a balloon with hydrogen produced from a chemical reaction between water and an aluminum nanomaterial powder discovered at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. [U.S. Army photo by David McNally]

 

 

 

 

"They are also examining the effects of compositional changes to the alloy and systematic changes in the microstructure of the powders," he said.

Giri said the discovery has many benefits and applications, such as simple manufacturing.

"The powder can be made using current manufacturing techniques from either pure or alloyed aluminum," he said. "The manufacturing process is easily scalable and it is also very fast -- with a 75-percent theoretical hydrogen yield in one minute at standard temperature and pressure, and 100-percent theoretical yield in three minutes."

The nanopowder is also extremely efficient. Giri said 1 kg of powder can generate 4.4 kWh of energy -- enough to power 10 60-W incandescent light bulbs for more than seven hours or the equivalent LED bulbs for over 50 hours.

The material can be in powder or tablet form and be combined with any available water-based liquid to provide hydrogen on demand, at the point of need.

The discovery eliminates reliance on high-pressure cylinders, Giri said.

"It's easy to transport and store via tablets or vacuum-sealed pouches with no inherent inhalation risk," he said. "The powder is also environmentally friendly. Its by-products are stable and non-toxic. Finally, it's a versatile hydrogen source with direct combustion for vehicular power, to use in fuel cells to power any electronic device, and could potentially be used in 3D printing/additive manufacturing to create self-cannibalizing robots/drones."

In order to support a better understanding of the material, the laboratory established a website to showcase details on the technology and a review the process that will culminate in the granting of a patent license(s) around September 2018.

On this website, visitors can register their interest to be contacted about further developments, post general questions, and download background technical information, as well as templates for all the required documents that will be used throughout the process.

For further information, click here.

"The Federal Register announcement is a significant step forward in the transition of power to the Soldier in the field, where it will become available on demand at the point of need," Dowding said.

Source: U.S. Army Research Laboratory

Published July 2018

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