April 02, 2019 Volume 15 Issue 13

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.


Can we shock the rock? New drilling tech could make geothermal energy more feasible and save on drill bits

For thousands of years, geothermal energy has been harnessed as a clean and sustainable source of power.

Long ago, indigenous people around the globe, such as the Maoris in New Zealand, cooked their food using water from natural hot springs. Later, the Romans engineered a way to use the Earth's heat to warm their buildings. Now, with modern technology, geothermal wells are drilled deep into the ground in order to tap into the heat radiating from the Earth's core and transform it into electricity.

However, one remaining challenge associated with drilling geothermal wells is the presence of hard rocks, such as granite, that slow down the process and wear down drill bits. In turn, this causes drilling time and expenses to increase.

To combat this, a team of researchers from the J. Mike Walker '66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University is developing Shockwave and Plasma Accelerated Rock Cracking (SPARC) drilling technology. By making the creation of wells more efficient, accessible, and cost effective, their U.S. Department of Energy funded project may help make geothermal energy a more viable alternative to fossil fuels.

Dr. David Staack, associate professor, Sallie and Don Davis '61 Career Development Professor, and College of Engineering director of laboratory instruction, is leading the SPARC project. His team includes Dr. Dion Antao, assistant professor, Dr. Alan Palazzolo, James J. Cain Professor I, and Dr. Bruce Tai, assistant professor.

"The drilling technology that we are working on has the potential to increase drilling rates (rate of penetration) and reduce the wear and tear of traditional drill bits. This is achieved by locally prestressing or precracking the rock being drilled prior to the cutting action of the drill bit," said Antao.

As Staack further explained, the team's SPARC technology will equip traditional drill bits with high-voltage electrodes on the tip that emit a microscopic plasma discharge to shock the rock and crack it like a tiny explosion. Creating fractures and weakening the rock will allow the drill head, affixed with conventional diamond cutters, to have an easier time breaking through the material.

As Palazzolo described, along with setting the stage for further development of geothermal energy, using electric plasma bursts to increase the rate of penetration will enable the drilling process to be streamlined and therefore be more cost competitive with nonrenewable resources.

"It's very exciting to be able to apply my expertise in machining research to study rock drilling with a real-world application," said Tai. "This is truly a novel, interdisciplinary idea that will be a game changer."

Source: Texas A&M University

Published April 2019

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