July 05, 2022 Volume 18 Issue 25

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High-end precision guide rollers -- new design

Guide rollers may seem like simple, standard parts, but these rollers with ball bearings are in exceptionally high demand. JW Winco has expanded its guide roller offering to include the standard part GN 753.1. With its entirely new design, these guide rollers have a special deep groove ball bearing of hardened roller bearing steel. They are available in six sizes, from 0.866 to 1.969 in. (22 to 50 mm) outer diameter. The bearing features permanent lubrication and a typical 2Z seal to protect against dust and dirt (in other words, the bearing is covered on both sides by metal disks).
Learn more from JW Winco.

VariBlast Precision Safety Air Gun is the People's Choice

EXAIR's VariBlast® Precision Safety Air Gun has won the 2022 People's Choice award from Professional Tool and Equipment News (PTEN). These safety air guns provide a focused blast of air capable of handling tough jobs with remarkable strength while minimizing air consumption and noise. This OSHA-safe air gun employs an engineered, full-finger, variable-flow trigger. The VariBlast is available with a standard 12- or 20-in. extension that can also be outfitted with type 316 stainless steel or PEEK thermoplastic air nozzles for non-marring applications.
Learn more.

Stacked conveyor system supercharges tea company production

Watch how Bosch Rexroth's VarioFlow plus conveyor system, designed using a stacked configuration, moves products smoothly and quickly within a narrow footprint at the Yamamotoyama of America tea company in Pomona, CA. The facility operates multiple tea bag manufacturing and carton machines, each of which can produce 300 tea bags (which is 18 full cartons of tea bags) per minute. VarioFlow plus is a flexible, modular plastic chain conveyor system used for moving high-volume packaged goods. The solution has been a huge success for the facility, increasing production speed without damaging products.
View the video.

New sizes: SureFrame cut-to-length T-slotted rails

Automation-Direct has added new 30 x 60 mm and 60 x 60 mm profiles to its SureFrame 30 Series lineup of cut-to-length T-slotted extruded aluminum rails. These structures are lightweight, economical, versatile, and easy to construct, with uses ranging from stands that hold barcode scanners and label applicators to OEM machines made entirely of T-slotted aluminum rail. The rails are available in the most popular profiles and dimensions, are compatible with many other brands, and can be cut to your specified lengths in increments of 0.001 in. with no cutting fees.
Learn more.

Siemens offers Virtual Product Expert for CNC

Siemens has introduced the Virtual Product Expert (VPE), a new online support program for its CNC machine tool users, machine builders, dealers, and importers. Through the VPE program, customers can interact directly with a SINUMERIK CNC product expert and have their specific operation and programming questions answered, from the basic functions of the control to the most advanced machining technology aspects of the hardware and software suites. Best of all, this service is offered to all Siemens CNC community members at no cost.
Learn more.

Create your perfect parts: Xometry Manufacturing Design Guides

Need to order parts and get it right the first time? Xometry provides more than 17 manufacturing processes, including CNC machining, 3D printing, injection molding, sheet cutting, and more. Get in-depth design-for-manufacturing tips, specs, and best practices for Xometry's services. Optimize your designs, reduce manufacturing time, and lower your costs. Case studies available too.
View the Xometry Manufacturing Design Guides.

How slip clutches can help maximize your designs

The way they see it over at Polyclutch, there aren't a whole lot of problems you can't solve with a slip clutch. Way beyond using them for overload protection, there are a surprising number of other applications for these versatile and valuable components. From increasing machine speeds and applying constant tension on wire to indexing a conveyor and automatic screw assembly, slip clutches just may provide the design leverage you've been seeking.
Read the full article.

New high-performance metals for 3D printing

3D Systems has added two new materials to its materials portfolio. Certified HX is a high-performance nickel alloy that contains a higher percentage of molybdenum (up to 9.5%) vs. other nickel alloys, which enhances strength and resistance to corrosion, creep deformation, cracking, and oxidation in hot-zone environments. Certified CuCr2.4 is a high-strength, corrosion-resistant copper alloy that is significantly stronger than pure copper and easier to process. Both materials are certified for use with the company's DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350 3D printers. Applications include industrial gas turbines, consumer goods, aerospace and defense, and automotive.
Learn more.

COMSOL Multiphysics Version 6.1 is here!

COMSOL has released the latest version of its modeling and simulation software. COMSOL Multiphysics version 6.1 is full of feature additions and workflow enhancements. "This version provides our users with powerful multiphysics simulation tools in areas of highly competitive R&D, like audio technology and vehicle electrification," says Bjorn Sjodin, VP of product management at COMSOL. "We have also strengthened the software's foundation with new capabilities for optimization and the modeling of turbulent flow and mechanical contact."
Learn more.

How to design a 10-in. cast-iron skillet in SOLIDWORKS in 10 min.

The engineers over at TriMech are always providing new tips, tricks, and tutorials. This time around, they have put together a 10-min. SOLIDWORKS demo on how to design a cast-iron skillet. The video covers sketch relations and dimensions to fully define the geometry and applying three-dimensional features. From beginner to advanced user, TriMech provides excellent training support.
View the video.

ClampDisk micro fastener is new alternative for automotive and consumer electronics

Designed as a unique alternative in assemblies for the automotive and consumer electronics markets, the ClampDisk Press-on Fastener is a new offering from PennEngineering that delivers a fast, simple way to achieve sheet-to-sheet clamped fastening while replacing the use of standard screws, nuts, and adhesives. The most common challenges that can be eliminated or reduced by using ClampDisk include over installation, cross threading, stripped screw heads, broken screws, and damaged product. This fastener can be removed easily with a sharp-edged tool.
Learn more and see how ClampDisk works.

Design Tips: Build strength into parts with insert molding

Plastic injection-molded parts are tough and strong, able to withstand heavy loads, moderately high temperatures, and the corrosive effects of acids and alkalis. In some cases, plastic even competes with metal, and is lighter and usually less expensive to boot. But once in a while plastic needs a little help, like when the bore in an all-plastic pulley quickly wears out or tapped holes in molded handles and knobs get prone to stripping. In these cases, say hello to insert molding.
Read the full Protolabs article.

New flame-retardant resin for 3D printing

3D-printing tech company Carbon has introduced an all-new photopolymer resin called EPX 86FR that the company says offers an unmatched combination of flame retardance, functional toughness, high strength, and long-term stability for end-use parts, functional prototypes, and tools in the automotive and industrial sectors.
Learn more.

New TurboBlast Safety Air Gun for heavy-duty jobs requiring powerful blowoff

EXAIR's new TurboBlast Safety Air Gun is the latest addition to the EXAIR line of Safety Air Guns. This dynamic air gun is capable of producing up to 23 lb of force with a simple press of a button trigger and is the ideal solution for blowoff applications requiring maximum force such as removing stubborn or heavy debris like slag and flash, part drying, or cooling from a distance, as well as heavy-duty cleanup in busy facilities. Available in different flow rates and extensions up to 6 ft long.
Learn more.

Guide to vibration-proof fasteners

How do you ensure the fasteners you're using won't loosen in an application that is prone to vibration? Engineers frequently debate that question. The experts at JW Winco run through the common solutions, including threadlockers, pre-installed nylon patches, and more.
Read this short, informative engineering tip.

Army melds virtual technology with real weaponry to optimize Soldier training

A Soldier tests out a new training device appended to an M4 carbine during a Synthetic Training Environment Live Training System Soldier Touchpoint at Fort Hood, Texas, on June 13. [Image credit: U.S. Army photo by Austin Thomas, Army Futures Command]





By Maureena Thompson, U.S. Army Futures Command

To address the need to simulate the effects of key weapons systems more accurately during live training exercises, the Army recently developed the Synthetic Training Environment Live Training System (STE LTS) program.

The STE LTS program aims to accelerate the evolution of cutting-edge equipment and software to amplify and expand the realism of the operational training environment.

The program specifically seeks to offer improvements to engagements -- known as the 12+5 -- involving direct and indirect fire; counter-defilade; dropped, placed, and thrown objects; guided and autonomous weapons; directed and radiant energy weapons; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear/plume; and information warfare. It plans to accomplish this task through implementation of enablers in the categories of calculations, network, sensors, terrains, and transmitters.

Creation of the STE LTS spans multiple stages from concept development to final product fielding and is thus a collaborative endeavor of Army Futures Command's Synthetic Training Environment Cross-Functional Team (STE CFT); the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI); the U.S. Army Operational Test Command; and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Project Office Live, among other Army training experts and stakeholders.

The system, which is being built out as part of a five-year, middle-tier acquisition rapid prototype authority managed by the PEO STRI Agile Acquisition Response (STAAR) Team, has been evolving swiftly since its 2021 inception in large part due to the Army's strategic execution of STE LTS Soldier touchpoints and STAAR Testbed engineering assessments of vendor prototypes.

Soldier touchpoints provide a unique, hands-on venue for Soldiers to test and offer honest feedback on vendor prototypes designed to fulfill STE LTS 12+5 requirements.

Soldier feedback and STAAR assessments often translate into iterative adjustments and upgrades that bring training capabilities closer and closer to meeting Soldiers' needs.

The opportunity to conduct rigorous testing early in the acquisition life cycle allows the Army to invest in -- or divest from -- new technologies more efficiently.

Funneling energy and resources into an improved live training system is important because constraints in training can become constraints on actual battlefields.

"There are two primary objectives for this program. Modernization of existing live training capabilities due to performance constraints and component obsolescence is key, but equally important is the representation of weapons that cannot be trained during force-on-force engagements due to legacy technology limitations," explained Curtis Leslie, Director of the STAAR Team.

"We're collaborating with the Army's science and technology community, traditional and non-traditional industry partners, and a bevy of stakeholders to push the limits and provide next-generation technologies that will enable the Army to effectively represent kinetic and non-kinetic battlefield effects, to include near-peer adversary systems for OPFOR units, and ensure the Army maintains overmatch across current and emerging warfighting domains," Leslie said.

Currently, roughly 60% of the Army's weapons portfolio is being exercised in force-on-force live training environments. The STE LTS program aims to increase the percentage of weapons being used -- particularly those that capitalize on breakthrough technologies -- to enable a more dynamic training experience for Soldiers.

By combining promising technologies with robust end-user feedback, the Army is improving its ability to develop and implement training that imitates real-life missions.

In summary, "We're making training more realistic," said Lt. Col. T.J. Naylor of the STE CFT.

Naylor, who leads STE LTS capability development, explained that the Army is "looking to improve the amount of weapons the warfighter is able to bring to their training that they could actually use in combat."

While previous live training mechanisms introduced new-at-the-time simulation enablers, such as lasers, recent advances in terrain imaging and virtual reality ecosystems have opened the door to more precise and interactive technologies.

These next-generation technologies include devices that can be appended to or integrated into existing weapons to enable a digital fire -- one that can be traced and evaluated in a manner akin to that of a real fire, but that is visible only to computers and the individuals using those computers.

Such technologies can enhance a Soldier's ability to operate and maneuver with real weaponry, as well as the Army's ability to create realistic surrogates when necessary.

The capacity to analyze the digital impact of a weapon's deployment also means unit commanders can provide more nuanced direction and adjustments during and after live training scenarios.

Equipped with these new resources and a focus on strengthening future readiness, the Army is "at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of technology to improve the capabilities of training, whether that's through improved laser or non-laser systems, such as geo-pairing or geo-optic training solutions," Naylor said.

Published July 2022

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