Cool Tools: World's darkest spray paint
A whole range of products can now take advantage of the world's blackest coating, Vantablack, thanks to the development of a new spray version called Vantablack S-VIS. It is easily applied at large scale to virtually any surface. Vantablack's carbon nanotube matrix structure absorbs virtually all (99.8 percent) incident light, enabling precision optical systems to be optimized. The material's developer, UK-based Surrey NanoSystems, has mimicked the performance of its original Vantablack with this new version that can be sprayed onto objects, rather than deposited using a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process.
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New e-chain features injection-molded contact points to reduce energy-line failure due to freezing
In order to prevent freezing of an energy supply, for example on inclined lifts, the motion plastics specialist igus has developed a new e-chain called "ice-chain." With injection-molded raised contact points, the chance of freezing is significantly reduced along with the costs of downtime and maintenance. This solution can be used in applications down to -40 F. The ice-chain is also available as a complete system equipped with pre-harnessed cables that can be quickly installed and connected.
When should you 3D print jigs and fixtures?
Jigs and fixtures are typically machined, but industrial 3D printing can often be used as a complement or alternative to machining. Designing irregular or complex shapes? Need smaller-than-usual tooling? Building components that are difficult or impossible to machine? If so, additive manufacturing is probably a good fit for your jigs, fixtures, and other tooling needs.
Read the Protolabs design tip.
End-of-arm vacuum tool for cobots
Piab is proud to introduce piCOBOT, a cleverly equipped end-of-arm (EOAT) vacuum tool designed specifically for the cobot market. Featuring the company's signature vacuum technology, piCOBOT offers industry-certified plug-and-play extensions to the latest collaborative robots, so called cobots. Offered as a development kit, piCOBOT comprises a vacuum pump unit, a gripper unit, and two suction cups. The standard kit includes four different sets of suction cup models suitable for a variety of tasks, but customers can also choose freely from the company's extensive range of suction cups for more tailored solutions.
Xometry launches die casting, stamping, extrusion manufacturing services
Xometry has launched a new service through which customers can request quotes for Die Casting, Stamping, and Extrusion work from their network of qualified partners. It's all part of the company's plan to become your one-stop shop for on-demand manufacturing. Xometry's ever-expanding partner network already includes over 2,500 shops in the United States.
Learn more. Xometry has been called "the Uber of manufacturing."
Know your materials: Nylon 12CF
FDM Nylon 12CF is a chopped carbon fiber-filled polyamide 12 material that is available for 3D printing on compatible Stratasys Fortus production systems. The material is 35 percent carbon fiber by weight and has a high strength-to-weight ratio with a tensile strength on par with high-performance FDM material. The 3D design and rapid prototyping specialists at TriMech run through what you need to know about this exciting and versatile material.
Read the TriMech blog.
Cool Tools: Desktop full-color 3D printer
The all-new XRIZE desktop industrial 3D printer enables users to manufacture functional polymer and composite parts in full color. And since RIZE's intelligent and innovative solutions focus on the user as much as the machine, XRIZE is easy to use, safe, and enables markup to provide much-desired IP security, traceability, and branding. This machine requires minimal pre-processing, post-processing, and material management. It uses a patented Augmented Deposition process by extruding an engineering-grade thermoplastic and simultaneously jetting C-M-Y-K inks through industrial printheads to achieve the full-color part. Build volume is 12 x 8 x 8 in. (310 x 200 x 200 mm). New carbon fiber materials also available.
Experts answer questions about retaining rings and wave springs
Every year, hundreds of technical questions are submitted through Smalley's "Ask the Expert" page. The company's team of engineering experts answers the questions directly, but they also post them in a blog for sharing. This selection addresses some commonly asked questions about retaining rings and wave springs. Very useful info.
Read the full article.
Lube nozzles oil the wheels of aviation gearboxes
Gearboxes used in aviation and other similar demanding applications are specially designed, held to tight tolerances, and require precise and reliable lubrication. This is in contrast to how gearboxes in heavier, more industrial applications tend to be immersed in lubricant without the need for targeted lubrication. The delivery of precise, highly accurate (and in some cases screened lubricants) is usually provided by lube nozzles. The Lee Company, with over 70 years of experience in precision fluid control, is able to offer special nozzle designs to meet most requirements. Safety screens can be added for additional protection.
Click here to learn more.
Tech Tip: Why use flame-resistant adhesives?
Learn about the benefits of flame-retardant adhesive and potting systems, including how they mitigate the risks associated with smoke, toxicity, and flames. Several Master Bond epoxies have been formulated to meet the stringent UL94V-0 specification and pass the horizontal/vertical burn test per FAR standard 14 CFR 25.853 (a). These products feature non-halogenated fillers, have low smoke emissions, and are self-extinguishing.
Protect internal threads during paint and powder coating processes
New PEM PreTect thread masking plugs from Penn-Engineering will protect internal threads of self-clinching nuts and standoffs during paint and powder coating processes. The pre-installed silicone masking plugs -- supplied already in place -- have been designed for self-clinching blind standoffs, thru-hole standoffs, and nuts in thread sizes #4-40 to 1/4-20 and M3 to M6. Plugs can be augmented for thru-hole fastener types with a specially engineered stretched polyester film offering thread protection on the side opposite the plug. Plugs and film can be removed easily using a fine tip tool when processes are completed.
New 3M tape tackles high-temp fastening applications
Since 1980, 3M VHB Tapes have opened the door to faster and easier assemblies. Now, the new GPH series from 3M combines the extreme, permanent bonding power and convenience of 3M VHB Tapes with high-temperature resistance. It can withstand operating temperatures up to 450 F, with long-term durability in conditions up to 300 F. Users will experience excellent adhesion to high and medium surface energy materials, as well as coated or painted surfaces. 3M VHB Tapes, including the new GPH series, replace traditional mechanical fasteners, subsequently eliminating processes like drilling, grinding, refinishing, screwing, welding, and associated rework/clean-up.
Click here to learn more.
Top Tech Tip: Balanced retaining rings
Smalley's balanced feature statically balances the retaining ring. A series of slots, opposite the gap end, account for the missing material in the gap. This characteristic is very useful when the balance of the assembly is critical and it is necessary to reduce eccentric loading.
Request your free samples today!
Belt conveyor design program
ABB's new web-based Dodge Passport design tool allows users to select, quote, and order conveyor pulley assemblies complete with shafting and mounted bearings for bulk material-handling applications. Real-time pricing and availability enable customers to make cost-effective selections of readily available components. After selections are complete, Passport's add-to-order capability lets customers seamlessly convert selections into orders via the PT Place e-commerce platform.
Updated grippers for plastic materials
FIPA has upgraded its proven product line of sprue grippers for handling plastic material. The Series 90, 100, and 130 grippers now bear the red FIPA dot, which makes the gripper components immediately identifiable in installations. The Series 90 grippers reliably grip small sprues due to their high closing force, wide jaw opening, and compact design, while the Series 100 grippers are designed to securely grip medium to large sprues. The Series 130 grippers feature strong gripping force and a wide jaw opening, making them ideal for large sprues. FIPA grippers have a long life cycle due to their high-strength aluminum alloy housing and jaws, with a durable, corrosion-resistant anodized coating. FIPA also offers grippers with and without "part present" monitoring.
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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