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Product Lifecycle Management System Aligns Manufacturer's Design and Development

An aerospace equipment manufacturer uses PLM to improve collaboration among design and development systems worldwide. Smiths Aerospace, a leading trans-Atlantic aerospace equipment manufacturer, has grown dramatically in recent years through a combination of strategic acquisitions and major program wins. To maintain its key position in the supply chains of all major military and civil aircraft and engine manufacturers, the company needed to align its heterogeneous design and development systems around the world. In addition to aligning these systems,the company also wanted to integrate new divisions into its Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs

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Real-Time Adaptive Color Segmentation by Neural Networks

Changing images would be analyzed to detect features of interest. Artificial neural networks that would utilize the cascade error projection (CEP) algorithm have been proposed as means of autonomous, real-time,adaptive color segmentation of images that change with time.In the original intended application,such a neural network would be used to analyze digitized color video images of terrain on a remote planet as viewed from an uninhabited spacecraft approaching the planet.During descent toward the surface of the planet, information on the segmentation of the images into differently colored areas would be updated adaptively in real time to capture changes in contrast, brightness, and resolution, all in an effort to identify a safe and scientifically productive landing site and provide control feedback to steer the spacecraft toward that site. Potential terrestrial applications include monitoring images of crops to detect insect invasions and monitoring of buildings and other facilities to detect intruders.

Posted in: Information Sciences, Briefs, TSP

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Rapid Injection Molding Offers Alternative to Conventional Prototyping

Rapid injection molding produces a fully functional part from a 3D CAD model. Now more than ever, technological advancements drive the product design process.Increasingly powerful CAD programs allow more complex product designs, which in turn drive the demand for more complex prototypes. At the same time,fast-moving competitive markets require frequent design changes, shorter lead times, and tighter budgets. In short,prototyping must be faster, better, and less expensive.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Process for Making Single-Domain Magnetite Crystals

Crystals can be chemically pure and free of defects. A process for making chemically pure, single-domain magnetite crystals substantially free of structural defects has been invented as a byproduct of research into the origin of globules in a meteorite found in Antarctica and believed to have originated on Mars. The globules in the meteorite comprise layers of mixed (Mg, Fe, and Ca) carbonates, magnetite, and iron sulfides. Since the discovery of the meteorite was announced in August 1996, scientists have debated whether the globules are of biological origin or were formed from inorganic materials by processes that could have taken place on Mars. While the research that led to the present invention has not provided a definitive conclusion concerning the origin of the globules, it has shown that globules of a different but related chemically layered structure can be grown from inorganic ingredients in a multistep precipitation process.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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A New Process for Fabricating Random Silicon Nanotips

This process is relatively simple and inexpensive. An improved process for the fabrication of random arrays of silicon nanotips has been demonstrated to be feasible. Relative to other such processes, this process offers advantages of low cost and simplicity. Moreover, this process can readily be combined with other processes used to fabricate integrated circuits and other monolithic silicon structures.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Resin-Transfer-Molding of a Tool Face

A resin-transfer-molding (RTM) process has been devised for fabricating a matrix/graphite-cloth composite panel that serves as tool face for manufacturing other composite panels. Heretofore, RTM has generally been confined to resins with viscosities low enough that they can readily flow through interstices of cloth. The present process makes it possible to use a high-temperature, more-viscous resin required for the tool face. First, a release layer and then a graphite cloth are laid on a foam pattern that has the desired contour. A spring with an inside diameter of 3/8 in. (˜9.5 mm) is placed along the long dimension of the pattern to act as a conduit for the resin. Springs with an inside diameter of 1/4 in. (˜6.4 mm) are run off the larger lengthwise spring for distributing the resin over the tool face. A glass cloth is laid on top to act as breather. The whole layup is vacuum-bagged. Resin is mixed and made to flow under vacuum assistance to infiltrate the layup through the springs. The whole process takes less than a day, and the exposure of personnel to resin vapors is minimized.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Development of Biomorphic Flyers

Autonomous flight control and navigation in small size is offered for planetary and terrestrial exploration applications. Biomorphic flyers have recently been demonstrated that utilize the approach described earlier in "Bio-Inspired Engineering of Exploration Systems" (NPO-21142), NASA Tech Briefs ,Vol.27, No.5 (May 2003), page 54, to distill the principles found in successful, nature-tested mechanisms of flight control. Two types of flyers are being built, corresponding to the imaging and shepherding flyers for a biomorphic mission described earlier in "Cooperative Lander-Surface/Aerial Microflyer Missions for Mars Exploration" (NPO-30286), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol.28, No.5 (May 2004), page 36. The common features of these two types of flyers are that both are delta-wing airplanes incorporating bio-inspired capabilities of control, navigation, and visual search for exploration. The delta-wing design is robust to ~40 G axial load and offers ease of stowing and packaging.

Posted in: Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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