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.
New solar power material converts 90 percent of captured light into heat
A multidisciplinary engineering team at the University of California, San Diego, has developed a new nanoparticle-based material for concentrating solar power plants designed to absorb and convert to heat more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures. The new material can also withstand temperatures greater than 700 C and survive many years outdoors in spite of exposure to air and humidity. Their work, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot program, was published recently in two separate articles in the journal Nano Energy.
By contrast, current solar absorber material functions at lower temperatures and needs to be overhauled almost every year for high-temperature operations.
"We wanted to create a material that absorbs sunlight that doesn't let any of it escape. We want the black hole of sunlight," said Sungho Jin, a professor in the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. Jin, along with professor Zhaowei Liu of the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering professor Renkun Chen, developed the Silicon boride-coated nanoshell material. They are all experts in functional materials engineering.
Graduate student Bryan VanSaders measures how much simulated sunlight a novel material can absorb using a unique set of instruments that takes spectral measurements from visible to infrared. This testing is led by electrical engineering professor Zhaowei Liu. [Credit: David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering]
The novel material features a "multiscale" surface created by using particles of many sizes ranging from 10 nanometers to 10 micrometers. The multiscale structures can trap and absorb light, which contributes to the material's high efficiency when operated at higher temperatures.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) is an emerging alternative clean energy market that produces approximately 3.5 gigawatts worth of power at power plants around the globe -- enough to power more than 2 million homes, with additional construction in progress to provide as much as 20 gigawatts of power in coming years. One of the technology's attractions is that it can be used to retrofit existing power plants that use coal or fossil fuels because it uses the same process to generate electricity from steam.
Traditional power plants burn coal or fossil fuels to create heat that evaporates water into steam. The steam turns a giant turbine that generates electricity from spinning magnets and conductor wire coils. CSP power plants create the steam needed to turn the turbine by using sunlight to heat molten salt. The molten salt can also be stored in thermal storage tanks overnight, where it can continue to generate steam and electricity, 24 hours a day if desired, a significant advantage over photovoltaic systems that stop producing energy with the sunset.
One of the most common types of CSP systems uses more than 100,000 reflective mirrors to aim sunlight at a tower that has been spray painted with a light-absorbing black paint material. The material is designed to maximize sunlight absorption and minimize the loss of light that would naturally emit from the surface in the form of infrared radiation.
With particle sizes ranging from 10 nanometers to 10 micrometers, this multiscale structure traps and absorbs light more efficiently and at temperatures greater than 700 C. [Credit: Renkun Chen, mechanical engineering professor, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering]
The UC San Diego team's combined expertise was used to develop, optimize, and characterize a new material for this type of system over the past three years. Researchers included a group of UC San Diego graduate students in materials science and engineering, Justin Taekyoung Kim, Bryan VanSaders, and Jaeyun Moon, who recently joined the faculty of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The synthesized nanoshell material is spray-painted in Chen's lab onto a metal substrate for thermal and mechanical testing. The material's ability to absorb sunlight is measured in Liu's optics laboratory using a unique set of instruments that takes spectral measurements from visible light to infrared.
UC San Diego mechanical engineering professor Renkun Chen spray paints a novel material that could significantly improve the cost competitiveness of solar energy by converting more than 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat. [Credit: David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering]
Current CSP plants are shut down about once a year to chip off the degraded sunlight-absorbing material and reapply a new coating, which means no power generation while a replacement coating is applied and cured. That is why DOE's SunShot program challenged and supported UC San Diego research teams to come up with a material with a substantially longer lifecycle, in addition to the higher operating temperature for enhanced energy conversion efficiency. The UC San Diego research team is aiming for many years of usage life, a feat they believe they are close to achieving.
Modeled after President Kennedy's moon landing program that inspired widespread interest in science and space exploration, then-Energy Secretary Steven P. Chu launched the Sunshot Initiative in 2010 with the goal of making solar power cost competitive with other means of producing electricity by 2020.
Source: UC San Diego
Published November 2014
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