March 27, 2018 Volume 14 Issue 12

Mechanical News & Products

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Round vs. square rails -- which are better for you?

Thomson invented the world's first anti-friction linear ball bushing bearings in 1946. For many years, these round-rail linear guides satisfied every linear motion control requirement. However, as machines required closer tolerances, the round rail didn't always fit the bill. Learn the pros and cons of each design type.
Read this informative Thomson blog.


New bearings reduce wear in heavy-duty applications

igus has introduced a new bearing with an improved iglide material, called TX2, that offers self-lubricating and maintenance-free properties for heavy-duty applications. TX2 increases wear resistance by a factor of 3.5 in load ranges with more than 100-MPa surface pressure. The material is ideal for components in machines that serve construction and agriculture, which can require more than 50 liters of lubricant annually. The material is also very resistant to temperature, chemicals, moisture, corrosion, and seawater, which opens up the applications base for its use substantially.
Learn more.


Aerospace fastener hole drilling and countersinking all in one step

Kennametal has introduced the HiPACS drilling and countersinking system for aerospace fastener holes. Designed to drill and chamfer holes in one operation, the high-precision tool meets the aerospace industry's stringent accuracy requirements while delivering increased tool life in machining composite, titanium, and aluminum aircraft skins. With an industry-standard interface, HiPACS can be utilized on any CNC machine. Three components eliminate the need for custom tooling: a reducer sleeve with a built-in high-precision pocket seat, a PCD countersinking insert, and two series of solid carbide drills.
Learn more.


Why precision metrology is critical for electric vehicle gearing

As the shift from internal combustion engines to electric motors in vehicles continues, the number of drivetrain components will dramatically lessen too. The remaining components will be even more critical to a vehicle's operation and longevity. One such area is the gear components necessary to convert the high-force torque from electric motors to the RPMs at the wheel.
By Michael Schmidt, Zygo Corporation
Read the full article.


Master CNC machining tolerances eBook

Need a refresher on the basics of applying tolerances to custom machined metal and plastic parts? In this ebook, Xometry provides some pointers on designing mating parts and parts for specific functions. Chapters include: general machining tolerances, clearance and interference fit, how to avoid over-tolerancing, CAD drawing prep and specs, and an inspection report cheat sheet.
Get this valuable resource from Xometry.


Specifying metal inserts for molded plastics

Teaming with insert manufacturers that offer engineering expertise throughout the design and manufacturing process can be worth its weight in gold. Learn how two OEMs overcame their metal insert challenges by using advice and products from Tri-Star Industries, including specialty stainless steel parts and modifying the knurling on some inserts.
Read the full article.


Posi-Lok keyless shaft bushings for secure shaft-to-hub connection

Zero-Max offers a variety of options within the Posi-Lok keyless shaft bushings (PSL) product line that allow users to rigidly and reliably secure shaft-mounted components into position for optimal operating results in their machines. Options include material choices, plating, and different mounting methods. Posi-Loks are a superior shaft-hub locking solution, eliminating the need for keyways that can weaken or cause excess wear to shaft components. All Posi-Lok models easily slide onto a shaft for mounting and provide reliable, zero-backlash performance.
Learn more.


Automation: ECONOmaster drilling units -- affordable, flexible, get the job done

Suhner's ECONO-master® is a low-cost, high-output automated drilling unit that puts holes in light metal, composite, thermoplastic, and even wood substrates at high speed with excellent accuracy. It features low power and air consumption. On a recent project for Mid-State Engineering, Suhner custom ECONOmaster drill units -- featuring selectable drill heads that can be used in combination or individually -- were used to automatically drill holes into fiberglass panels for truck trailer bodies.
Read the full article.


Great Resources: Ultimate Guide to Injection Molding

Xometry has put together a comprehensive resource for injection molding -- from the basic principles to applications, tooling, materials, design features, and more. Learn how to optimize your part designs and choose the right surface finishes, textures, and post-processing for your projects. A super-handy resource worth bookmarking.
Read the Xometry Ultimate Guide to Injection Molding.


Sealing fasteners may optimize your designs

Highly specialized sealing fasteners include sealing screws, sealing nuts, sealing bolts, and sealing washers. Unlike ordinary fasteners, sealing fasteners are configured with a rubber O-ring (or a rubber element) that, when squeezed, permanently seals out a wide range of contaminants from entering and damaging equipment while preventing leakage of toxins into the environment. ZAGO sealing fasteners are designed to withstand harsh weather and extreme temperatures and are vibration and pressure resistant.
Learn all about ZAGO's wide selection of sealing fasteners.


Spirit levels with adjustment and cross-measurement

They may seem like relics from the past, but spirit levels remain indispensable tools in everyday industrial operations. Two new types from JW Winco now offer even better and faster alignment. The cross spirit levels GN 2276 combine two perpendicular linear levels within a single, round aluminum housing to show the alignment in two planes at once, making installation and leveling easier and faster. The new screw-on spirit levels GN 2283 are used to check the horizontal position of jigs, machines, devices, appliances, and instruments. These are available in a directly mountable, flat version (AV) and as an adjustable version (JV) with an alignment cam.
Learn more.


New cast urethane materials and finishes

Xometry has added new urethane resins and finishes as options for quick and affordable low- to mid-volume production. Urethane casting is used to make end-use, highly durable parts with robust mechanical properties. It is considered a "soft-tooled" process, where a silicone mold is formed around a master pattern -- usually 3D printed. Xometry has materials in two main durometer classes, rigid (Shore D) and rubber-like (Shore A). Finishes include matte/frosted, semi-gloss, high-gloss, and custom.
Read this informative Xometry blog.
Get the Xometry Urethane Casting Design Guide.


New molded-in aluminum threaded inserts for plastics

SPIROL has introduced a new, high-performance series of Molded-In Inserts for plastics assemblies. The rugged design of the Series 63 Through Hole Inserts and Series 65 Blind End Inserts consists of multiple bands of helical knurls to maximize torque resistance, balanced with radial undercuts to achieve high pull-out (tensile) force. These Molded-In Inserts are designed to be placed in the mold cavity prior to plastic injection. They offer exceptional performance due to unrestricted plastic flow into the retention features on the outside diameter of the Inserts.
Learn more.


How to avoid premature linear screw actuator failure

At their core, electric linear screw actuators deploy mechanical technology such as ball bearings, ball screws, and roller screws that have a finite life. These components do not last forever -- even though that is the expectation of some customers. But how long will an actuator really last? Tolomatic engineers provide a way to calculate, estimate, and size the electric linear screw actuator to achieve the desired life for your applications.
Read this informative Tolomatic blog.


3D Printing: Desktop Metal qualifies 316L stainless steel for high-volume manufacturing -- thousands of parts per week

3D-printer machine maker Desktop Metal has qualified the use of 316L stainless steel for its additive manufacturing platform called the Production System, which provides some of the fastest build speeds in the market for mass production and can make thousands of parts per week. This article includes very useful cost-per-part and time-to-manufacture information using five different application examples.
Read the full article.


Flexible ultrasound patch could make it easier to inspect damage in odd-shaped structures such as engine parts and turbines

This stretchable, flexible ultrasound patch could make it easier to inspect damage deep inside odd-shaped structures. [Credit: Hongjie Hu]

 

 

Researchers have developed a stretchable, flexible patch that could make it easier to perform ultrasound imaging on odd-shaped structures, such as engine parts, turbines, reactor pipe elbows, and railroad tracks -- objects that are difficult to examine using conventional ultrasound equipment.

The ultrasound patch is a versatile and more convenient tool to inspect machine and building parts for defects and damage deep below the surface. A team of researchers led by engineers at the University of California San Diego published the study in the Mar. 23 issue of Science Advances.

The new device overcomes a limitation of today's ultrasound devices, which are difficult to use on objects that don't have perfectly flat surfaces. Conventional ultrasound probes have flat and rigid bases, which can't maintain good contact when scanning across curved, wavy, angled, and other irregular surfaces. That's a considerable limitation, said Sheng Xu, a professor of nanoengineering at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the study's corresponding author. "Nonplanar surfaces are prevalent in everyday life," he said.

"Elbows, corners, and other structural details happen to be the most critical areas in terms of failure -- they are high-stress areas," said Francesco Lanza di Scalea, a professor of structural engineering at UC San Diego and co-author of the study. "Conventional rigid, flat probes aren't ideal for imaging internal imperfections inside these areas."

The patch is a novel inspection option for objects that are difficult to examine using conventional ultrasound equipment. [Credit: Hongjie Hu]

 

 

Gel, oil, or water is typically used to create better contact between the probe and the surface of the object it's examining. But too much of these substances can filter some of the signals. Conventional ultrasound probes are also bulky, making them impractical for inspecting hard-to-access parts.

"If a car engine has a crack in a hard-to-reach location, an inspector will need to take apart the entire engine and immerse the parts in water to get a full 3D image," Xu said.

Now, a UC San Diego-led team has developed a soft ultrasound probe that can work on odd-shaped surfaces without water, gel, or oil.

The probe is a thin patch of silicone elastomer patterned with what's called an "island-bridge" structure. This is essentially an array of small electronic parts (islands) that are each connected by spring-like structures (bridges). The islands contain electrodes and devices called piezoelectric transducers, which produce ultrasound waves when electricity passes through them. The bridges are spring-shaped copper wires that can stretch and bend, allowing the patch to conform to nonplanar surfaces without compromising its electronic functions.

This stretchable, flexible ultrasound patch can easily conform to odd-shaped surfaces such as pipe elbows (top) and wheel edges (bottom) -- objects that are difficult to probe with conventional ultrasound equipment. [Credit: Hongjie Hu]

 

 

 

 

Researchers tested the device on an aluminum block with a wavy surface. The block contained defects 2 to 6 cm beneath the surface. Researchers placed the probe at various spots on the wavy surface, collected data, and then reconstructed the images using a customized data-processing algorithm. The probe was able to image the 2-mm-wide holes and cracks inside the block.

"It would be neat to be able to stick this ultrasound probe onto an engine, airplane wing, or different parts of a bridge to continuously monitor for any cracks," said Hongjie Hu, a materials science and engineering Ph.D. student at UC San Diego and co-first author of the study.

The device is still at the proof-of-concept stage. It does not yet provide real-time imaging. It also needs to be connected to a power source and a computer to process data. "In the future, we hope to integrate both power and a data-processing function into the soft ultrasound probe to enable wireless, real-time imaging and videoing," Xu said.

The team has filed a patent on this technology. Victoria Cajipe (vcajipe@ucsd.edu) in the campus Innovation and Commercialization Office is the contact for licensing information.

Source: University of California San Diego

Published March 2018

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