July 28, 2015 Volume 11 Issue 28

Mechanical News & Products

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New lead screw configurator allows for quick design

igus has developed a new lead screw configurator that allows customers to design their own lead screw and associated drawing in minutes without in-depth technical knowledge and CAD software. The new tool even directly checks the plausibility of the configuration. Trapezoidal, high helix, or metric thread lead screws in combination with nuts made of iglide high-performance polymers ensure lubrication-free adjustment for long-lasting and smooth-running applications. The company runs its North American operations out of Providence, RI.
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Compact spiral elevator opens up conveying possibilities

FlexLink AB has upgraded its compact spiral elevator even further with in and out feeds. With a total of six configurations, this solution increases your possibilities and fits different production line layouts even better. The spiral gives you increased access to the production floor, offering a 40 percent smaller footprint compared to the most common solutions on the market -- and the possibility to transport goods vertically, bridging the differences of height. The spiral can be installed in a few hours and ensures smooth running, low noise, and long service life.
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Water park's 5D movies require special pneumatics

Can you imagine going to the movies in a bikini or swim trunks? You can really do it -- you don't have to dream it. A new form of movie experience at an Abu Dhabi water park involves the audience sitting in special moving seats with various integrated effects taking place around them and on them, including real floods that fill up the theater. Emerson's AVENTICS pneumatic components play a key role in making the magic happen.
Read the full article.


8 ways to improve your sheet metal parts

All sheet metal parts start out flat. And no matter how convoluted or complex their final shapes may be, the wall thickness of those parts must be uniform throughout. Engineers from Protolabs share their eight quick sheet metal design tips, focusing on material and finishing options along with design elements like bends, reliefs, holes, and slots when developing your metal components. Really useful info.
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Resins: Alkali stress crack resistance for automotive

The Polyplastics Group recently introduced a new polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin that delivers excellent alkali stress crack resistance for a range of automotive applications. DURANEX 532AR also exhibits outstanding hydrolysis, heat shock resistance, and electrical performance for components in the chassis and engine compartment. This material has successfully reduced the risk of cracking in molded articles by preventing alkali (often formed by rust on metal parts) from penetrating the inside of the resin, thus imparting toughness that helps generate less stress. Ideal for use in parts (like electrical components and sensors) installed in the chassis section and lower areas of vehicles.
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New washdown servo gearboxes from Gam

Gam Gear's new SSP Series is an innovative washdown servo gearbox solution designed for food, medical, or sanitary applications. It is a precision inline planetary gearbox outwardly constructed of 300-series stainless steel. The motor adapter plate, housing, and shaft are all stainless steel. Viton seals, stainless steel hardware, and sealed interfaces provide outstanding corrosion resistance in all types of wet and caustic washdown environments. Ideal for any light or demanding servo application where corrosion resistance is a requirement, the SSP Series offers economy, high precision, and long-lasting performance.
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Get a linear shafting sample on the house

Lee Linear has produced world-class, linear motion components and linear shafting for over 40 years. With the ability to manufacture custom shafting -- threading, diameter reduction, keyways, flats, plating, and more -- to required standards in a short amount of time, Lee Linear is able to fulfill orders on time, eliminating downtime and increasing profits for its customers.
Request your sample.


Top Product: Cross roller ring can swing the loads

Because it has orthogonally arranged cylindrical rollers, the cross roller ring from THK is a roller bearing with high rotation accuracy capable of bearing loads in every direction. Cylindrical rollers are arranged with each roller perpendicular to the adjacent roller, in a 90-deg V groove, separated from each other by a spacer retainer. This design allows just one bearing to receive loads in all directions including radial, axial, and moment loads. This component is optimal for applications such as joints and swiveling units of industrial robots, swiveling tables of machining centers, rotary units of manipulators, precision rotary tables, medical equipment, measuring instruments, and IC manufacturing machines. Available in several rotation configurations including inner/outer ring, inner ring only, and outer ring only. And now a new micro cross roller ring is perfect to handle smaller applications.
Learn more about THK cross roller rings.
Learn about the new Micro Cross Roller Ring RAU.


Solvay develops sustainable Halar ECTFE anti-corrosion coating system

Solvay's new waterborne Halar ECTFE coating system broadens metal corrosion-prevention applications for the chemical processing industry. The coating system is comprised of a high-adhesion primer and topcoat and is easily applied using standard liquid spray equipment. Solvay's Halar ECTFE powder coatings have been used for corrosion prevention for over 40 years for equipment in a range of industries including acids, mining, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and semiconductor, among others. The new waterborne Halar ECTFE liquid coating tech expands the range of end-use applications to those that are difficult or impossible to powder coat. This includes complex shapes, uneven surfaces, oversized vessels, pipe interiors, and tanks and containers. Moreover, it provides engineers an alternative protective metal coating option to corrosion-resistant alloys (CRAs).
Learn more.


Powerhouse gripper for collaborative applications

The SCHUNK Co-act EGL-C long-stroke gripper is a milestone on the way to a comprehensive human/robot collaboration (HRC): It is the world's first long-stroke gripper developed for collaborative operation. It achieves high gripping forces up to 450 N (handling weights beyond small parts assembly) and combines them with a long stroke of 42.5 mm per finger. The intelligent 24-V unit is suitable for handling workpiece weights up to 2.25 kg and can be flexibly used in a wide range of applications. The SCHUNK developers are particularly focused on the automotive-related supply industry, carmakers, and machine building, where powerful grippers may be able to achieve rapid success in HRC applications.
Learn more.


Xometry receives ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications

Xometry, the world's largest digital manufacturing marketplace, recently announced that it has received ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100D certifications. These certifications are among the industry's most rigorous and reflect the company's commitment to quality. ISO 9001 is the world's most widely recognized quality management standard and helps organizations to meet the expectations and needs of their customers. The AS9100 standard goes beyond the requirements of ISO 9001 to meet the rigorous demands of the aerospace and defense industries.
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Lightweight, heavy-duty thermoplastic planks introduced

If you're told to walk the plank these days, you may find yourself walking on plastic. SABIC recently introduced its STADECK heavy-duty panels to the Americas. These high-strength but extremely lightweight panels are used for scaffolding and numerous other applications in the building and construction industries. They are made from glass fiber-reinforced thermoplastic resin and are up to 60 percent lighter than wooden planks, saving not only your back but also the gas or diesel it takes to tote heavier support materials around. They also never rot or corrode.
Learn more.


Completely updated new full-line catalog of fasteners

Micro Plastics introduces its new 300-page catalog #41 containing thousands of fastening solutions for engineers and product designers. Find hundreds of new problem-solving products including Spacers, Washers, Clips, Clamps, Ties, Bushings, Screws, Nuts, Rivets, and Plugs. Micro Plastics specializes in Nylon threaded fasteners, but the company also offers extensive product lines for wire management and circuit board hardware. Samples are available upon request.
Check out the new online catalog.


Plastic torque-limiting wing nuts

JW Winco, a leading supplier of standard industrial machine components, has now made available EN 5320 Plastic Torque Limiting Wing Nuts, which are used when manually applied torque is to be limited. Turn clockwise, and the torque of the wing nut triggers an "over-engagement" when the specified torque is reached. When tightening, this will ensure the maximum permissible torque is not exceeded. Turn counter-clockwise, and the torque needed for loosening will always be transmitted properly. The technopolymer plastic is glass fiber reinforced and temperature resistant up to 176 F (80 C). The wing nuts are available in either a black matte or orange matte finish. An aluminum version (GN 3663) is also available.
Learn more.


ICOMold: New CAD model design service partner

ICOMold has partnered with a professional design service with a large group of designers who specialize in designing for injection molding. If you need to get a quote but don't have a 3D CAD model (or need your file modified, repaired, or converted), ICOMold is now offering these services through its design partner ZVerse.
Learn more.


Ford reduces production line injury rate by 70 percent using virtual manufacturing and ergonomists

Ford Motor Company has reduced its production-line injury rate by 70 percent since 2003 for its more than 50,000 "industrial athletes" by using virtual manufacturing, new ergonomics technology, lift-assist devices, workstation redesign, and data-driven process changes.

"We refer to our assembly line employees as 'industrial athletes' due to the physical nature of the job," says Allison Stephens, technical leader for assembly ergonomics at Ford. "We have made data-driven decisions through ergonomics testing that has led to safer vehicle production processes and resulted in greater protection for our employees."

At Ford, immersive virtual reality uses a 23-camera motion-capture system and head-mounted display to virtually immerse an employee in a future workstation. Then, the employee's movements are evaluated to determine task feasibility and proficiency.

 

 

 

 

While automotive designers focus on a vehicle's look and the customer experience, Ford virtual manufacturing experts focus on two key areas: design feasibility and the safety of employees on the production line.

Two to three years in advance of a new-vehicle launch, Ford ergonomists virtually simulate the build process using both human and virtual test subjects to assess the physical labor needed to build a vehicle. In an effort to reduce and help prevent employee fatigue, strain, and injury, the data collected is used to guide engineering solutions prior to implementing tasks on the production floor.

3D printing is used by an ergonomist to validate hand clearance in the vehicle assembly process in those instances in which virtual simulation yields unclear results. Employees with various hand sizes use the 3D-printed model to test how tight the space will be in vehicle assembly, which helps to drive better production decisions.

 

 

 

 

Core virtual manufacturing technologies
On average, Ford ergonomists complete more than 900 virtual assembly task assessments per new-vehicle launch centered on three core technologies: full-body motion capture, 3D printing, and immersive virtual reality. Each provides critical data used to evaluate the overall safety of the assembly process for employees, while maintaining high vehicle quality for customers.

Virtual manufacturing experts at Ford use:

  • Full-body motion capture provides data on how an employee uses his or her body to move and complete tasks. Through more than 52 motion-capture markers placed on an employee's arms, back, legs, and torso, ergonomists can record more than 5,000 data points to evaluate muscle strength and weakness, joint strain, and body imbalance. Similar technology is used across professional sports to improve athletes' techniques and help them avoid injury.
  • 3D printing is used by an ergonomist to validate hand clearance in the vehicle assembly process in those instances where virtual simulation yields unclear results. Employees with various hand sizes use the 3D-printed model to test how tight the space will be in vehicle assembly, which helps to drive better production decisions.
  • Immersive virtual reality uses a 23-camera motion-capture system and head-mounted display to virtually immerse an employee in a future workstation. Then, the employee's movements are evaluated to determine task feasibility and proficiency.

Full-body motion capture provides data on how an employee uses his or her body to move and complete tasks.

 

 

"Motion tracking technology has been used for more than 30 years to quantifiably assess the technique of athletes and reveal where they may be susceptible to injury from overuse or from forces that will damage tissues," says Gary Scheirman, vice president for applications engineering, Motion Analysis Corp. "Using similar technology, Ford can develop state-of-the-art, safe working environments for its employees and produce better vehicles for its customers."

Virtual manufacturing program results
To date, Ford ergonomists have worked on more than 100 new-vehicle launches globally using virtual manufacturing tools -- most recently the 2015 Ford Mustang, F-150, Edge, and 2016 Explorer. Through significant investments in the program, not only has Ford achieved a reduction in employee injury rates, it has seen a 90 percent reduction in such ergonomic issues as overextended movements, difficult hand clearance, and tasks involving hard-to-install parts.

Source: Ford Motor Co.

Published July 2015

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