June 23, 2020 Volume 16 Issue 24

Mechanical News & Products

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Automation: ECONOmaster drilling units help build trailers

On a recent project for Mid-State Engineering, Suhner custom ECONOmaster drill units were used to automatically drill holes into fiberglass panels for a truck trailer body. The quill-feed drill unit has selectable drill heads that can be used in combination or individually. Using servo drive motors, the machine auto indexes down a table to ensure precision hole locations across a 60-ft span.
Read the full article.

Great Resources: Unit Conversion Tool

Convert popular spring units such as force or retaining ring thrust capacities into metric units with Smalley's engineering tools. Convert units such as mass and weight, angular measurements, velocities, temperatures, pressures and densities, and more.
Click here to learn more. You should bookmark this one.

Assembly pins help build in safety

Assembly pins are not new, but JW Winco has been able to make them even better by enhancing fully developed parts according to the application and combining them with other standard securing parts. See what's new, including assembly pins with different end washer forms, spring cotter pins with specific wire-gauge sizing, and more.
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Reduce component failure with the HELI-CAL Flexure

Discover how to eliminate vibrating failure, prevent premature component wear, prevent motor seizure, and stop bearing failure by incorporating Helical Products' flexure technology into your machinery components. With the Generate Only program, companies can maintain ownership of their specialized design while incorporating Helical's proprietary flexure technology.
Learn more in this informative white paper.

New cable reel with worm guide increases safety in assembly areas

igus has just introduced a clever cable reel that can guide cables and hoses for the transmission of energy, media, and data without interruption. The e-spool flex increases safety at manual workstations and operating panels. For quick installation of the cable reel, the developers opted for a worm guide. The cable is inserted in a few simple steps, and the e-spool is ready for use. No complicated slip rings are required, so bus cables and hoses for air and liquids can also be guided without interruption. Both manual and automatic return options available. Extension lengths to 15 m possible.
Learn more.

Self-lubricating polymers improve surf machines

A company in Brazil that designs fitness training equipment that simulates the movements of a surfboard reduced costs by 70 percent by switching to bearings manufactured by igus, the Germany-based motion plastics expert. The bearings also cut down on maintenance significantly.
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CNC machining for prototypes or low-volume parts

For plastic parts, CNC machining allows you to test the form, fit, and function of prototypes prior to tooling up for the injection molded production parts. For both plastic and metal, CNC machining provides fast turnaround and low cost for small quantities of parts. Learn all about ICOMold's CNC machining capabilities, which typically include tolerances to within +/- 0.2 to 0.3 mm for plastics and +/- 0.05 mm for metals. Parts that are CNC machined can also exhibit better structural integrity than those that are 3D printed, due to the nature of the manufacturing process. Secondary processes also available from ICOMold.
Learn more.

Reverse engineering software with never-before-seen features

3D Systems' Geomagic Design X 2020 combines robust 3D scan processing and complete CAD design functionality to enable faster, more accurate, and reliable reverse engineering. Using the software's newest features, engineers will benefit from streamlined modeling workflows as well as expanded modeling pathways for complex, revolved parts. The newest Geomagic Design X release includes an Unroll/Reroll function that enables an engineer to unroll the mesh to automatically extract a 2D sketch, make the modifications needed, and then re-roll the sketch for additional engineering. Wait, what? Wow. The software also includes a new Selective Surfacing feature that combines very fast organic surfacing with high-precision feature modeling methods.
Learn more.

Great Resources: One guide for all your retaining ring questions

Finding the best possible solution for your design challenge is no easy task. Smalley engineers have created a brand new Ask the Expert - Retaining Ring FAQ E-book that answers all of your retaining questions in one simple guide.
Get the guide today.

All about lead screws and how to apply them

Lead screws use the helix angle of the thread to convert rotary motion to linear motion. Learn all about their benefits, performance characteristics, design choices, life cycles, and more in this in-depth article from Thomson Industries.
Read the full article.

No Drip Spray Nozzles sanitize, clean, and cool

EXAIR's new 1/2 NPT No Drip External Mix Air Atomizing Spray Nozzles work in the same way the company's standard atomizing nozzles do, but have the added benefit of positively stopping liquid flow when compressed air is shut off. External Mix Air Atomizing Spray Nozzles have the highest flow rates and allow the air and liquid flow to be adjusted independently. They can be used on liquids above 300 centipoise. The patented No Drip design requires no additional air line to control the No Drip feature.
Learn more.

New from Ruland: Slit couplings

Reliance Precision Limited is now offering its slit couplings through Ruland's eCommerce platform and extensive worldwide distribution network. Slit couplings are zero-backlash and manufactured from a single piece of aluminum with intermittent slit cuts, allowing for high torque and torsional stiffness capabilities, low inertia, and long life. Reliance's design uses a proprietary slit pattern that has radiused as opposed to squared edges, reducing stresses that build up during misalignment conditions and torque loads. Equipment designers in industries such as packaging, scientific, semiconductor, solar, medical, and automation benefit from the wide range of sizes and performance characteristics offered by slit couplings.
Learn more.

Function-integrated machine frames from Rexroth include internal cable guide

Bosch Rexroth's new function-integrated profiles (FIPs) include a completely internal cable guide that allows for the safe and space-saving laying of cables, data lines, and hoses. Thanks to the new profile junctions, they can even be laid through profile connectors. The FIP range comprises four profile cross-sections with a host of accessories to build on the modular system. The entire solution can be combined with the established Rexroth modular profile system and provides an unprecedented level of design flexibility.
Learn more.

Intelligent chain monitoring avoids downtimes

Developed in-house by iwis, the non-contact chain elongation monitoring system (CCM-S) continuously measures the wear elongation of chains during operation and gives maintenance staff a timely warning that a chain needs to be replaced. If chains stretch and wear as a result of temperature and load, or if chains running in parallel have different lengths, even a deviation of one percent from the nominal chain pitch can lead to problems in a machine. With CCM-S, users can continuously monitor the elongation of chain drives using sensors without having to compromise production because of interruptions. Can be used with simplex, duplex, and triplex chains.
Learn more.

Hood latch comes in new ultra-slim design

SOUTHCO has refreshed its successful line of hood latches to accommodate the space limitations of next-generation servers, data centers, and similar applications. The new and improved HH Hood Latch features a thin profile, maintaining robust performance with a form factor of just 8 mm. The redesigned latch features an easy-to-use pop-up handle for intuitive operation. This unit offers a dual-engagement hole-mounting design, allowing for convenient installation with pin allocation at either location.
Learn more.

Air Force Research Lab tries baking COVID-19 out of aircraft interiors

AFRL team members look over a C-17 used to investigate the ability of ground heaters to raise interiors to temperatures sufficient to kill the COVID-19 virus. This test is part of an overall effort to demonstrate the effectiveness of using common equipment to disinfect aircraft quickly and easily. [U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge]





By Holly Jordan, Air Force Research Laboratory

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is fighting a new enemy with a proven weapon as it investigates heating aircraft interiors to eliminate the threat of COVID-19 and other biological contaminants inside military planes.

Researchers from the AFRL 711th Human Performance Wing are looking into the ability of common ground heaters to raise the interior temperature of a C-17 aircraft enough to kill viral agents. These heaters are found at every military installation, where they are commonly used by maintenance crews to keep warm or to heat equipment.

"Our goal with this test was to demonstrate the ability for any Air Force base to assist with aircraft disinfection utilizing only commonly available equipment and materials," said Dr. Doug Lewis, 711th Human Performance Wing Protection Systems Team Lead, who is heading the effort. "We knew that if we could prove the ability of this equipment to heat aircraft interiors to temperatures in the 120-degree Fahrenheit range, we were potentially demonstrating an Air Force-wide disinfection capability, pending further laboratory results."

Over two separate test events conducted in May 2020 at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, Lewis and his team placed an array of sensors and measurement equipment inside a C-17 aircraft and carefully sealed it using materials common to military installations. Hoses from the ground heaters were directed inside, and heat levels were raised for a period of six hours per test. Through this setup, researchers successfully heated the interior up to 50 F above ambient temperature.

Dr. Angela Theys of Materials Engineering and Technical Support Services secures ductwork for an AFRL test to investigate the use of ground heaters to raise interior temperatures on C-17 aircraft. [U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge]





The team is working in coordination with Battelle, a research and development organization based in Columbus, OH, to conduct testing on the effectiveness of heat to inactivate the COVID-19 virus. Preliminary results from Battelle indicate that the temperatures reached during the AFRL tests were sufficient to disable the virus to safe levels on surface materials including aluminum, silicon, and nylon webbing.

Lewis says the team will conduct further tests and continue to work with Battelle to investigate additional test parameters representative of operational conditions. The future tests will look into the effectiveness of heating the interior for less than six hours as well as the effects of various ambient humidity and temperature conditions.

Lewis called the initial results a positive indicator of the ability to use commonly available equipment to help eliminate the COVID-19 viral threat on aircraft. He said the team is developing recommended implementation procedures, including solutions for environmental conditions that fall below the threshold required to reach the optimal disinfection range. This may include the recommendation to perform the procedure in heated hangars.

Although this approach is new, the concept of heat disinfection for aircraft is not. The AFRL-developed Joint Biological Aircraft Decontamination System, or JBADS, is a currently employed technology that similarly relies on heat and humidity to disinfect aircraft interiors. This system encloses an aircraft fully, like an aircraft "oven," heating to temperatures of 140 to 180 F and disinfecting the entire interior, including difficult-to-reach surfaces.

The JBADS team has also achieved success in optimizing the system to eliminate the COVID-19 threat. However, since this process involves highly specialized equipment, JBADS is not widely enough available to be used immediately as a go-to solution for the COVID-19 disinfection across the entire military aviation community. Conversely, ground heaters are a common and widely available resource that can be repurposed toward this goal.

In addition to reaching otherwise inaccessible surfaces, controlled heat disinfection will not adversely impact electronics and sensitive equipment, as some disinfectants might. Lewis said he was pleased with the test results and foresees it as a viable low-cost solution for the disinfection of COVID-19 and other viral agents as well.

Bill Davis of Materials Engineering and Technical Support Services measures the temperature of ductwork during an AFRL test on a C-17 aircraft. [U.S. Air Force photo/Richard Eldridge]





Lewis also noted that heat disinfection is only one approach AFRL and partner organizations are looking into to assist in COVID-19 flight safety. He and a vast team of researchers are looking at various solutions, including chemicals, common soaps and household cleaning items, ultraviolet light, ionization, and simply "airing out" aircraft between missions. Many of these potential solutions could be employed alone or together to achieve the desired results.

"Our goal is to prove the efficacy of a process that can be easily and quickly replicated throughout the Air Force to provide safety for our air crews," he said.

Published June 2020

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