Virtual Fabrication and Assembly Documentation

Over the years, the term “virtual” has become associated with many different domains. Virtual machines are now commonplace as a substitute for physical laptops or desktops, allowing for the emulation of computer systems. Of course, virtual reality is in the news daily as new headsets, apps, and games provide a substitute for images and sounds, allowing for the simulation of a three-dimensional environment. In the printed circuit board (PCB) space, some fabrication and assembly information such as artwork, drill, netlist, test, and component placement have been conveyed virtually to manufacturing for more than 30 years.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers, Documentation, Assembling, Fabrication
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Wire Sensors Detect Dangerous Conditions in the Clouds

Sensors designed to keep aircraft safe are also helping in climate studies.

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Sensors, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Weather and climate
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How Metal 3D Printing is Redefining Part Design

It's one of the basic rules of manufacturing: As part complexity increases, so do machining and assembly costs. But what if there were a different way to produce metal parts — one with fewer limitations than traditional milling, turning, and grinding processes, and able to build complex parts in less time and with little human intervention?

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Additive manufacturing, Machining processes, Metals, Parts
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Sizing and Selecting Linear Motion Systems

The LOSTPED acronym can help designers avoid mistakes by reminding them to consider all the interrelated factors during system development and specification.

Virtually all manufacturing processes incorporate some type of linear motion. A common mistake that designers make when sizing and selecting linear motion systems is to overlook critical application requirements in the final system. This can lead to redesigns, and may also result in an over-engineered system that is costlier and less effective than desired. “LOSTPED” is a simple acronym that guides the designer in gathering the information needed to specify the appropriate linear motion components or modules in any given application.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Systems engineering, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Manufacturing processes
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Piezo Technology in Pneumatic Valves

Solenoid devices are the standard for electrically controlled pneumatic valves. However, piezo valves offer many advantages over their solenoid counterparts, and open entirely new areas of application.

Pneumatic valves made with piezo technology offer many advantages. They are small, lightweight, extremely precise, durable, fast, and save energy. Piezo valves do not need energy to maintain a switching status, and therefore generate almost no heat. What's more, piezo valves can potentially be operated without any noise. Another key advantage is that they always work proportionally.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control, Parts, Valves, Pneumatic systems
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Adding Simple Vision Systems to Collaborative Robots

Upfront evaluation can help determine if a vision system is the best solution for an automation application.

Adding vision to a collaborative robot can open a world of possibilities for automation applications. With a vision system, a robot can inspect parts, check specific features of a part, recognize a part to pick it up, count items, adjust its path using visual feedback, color sort, and so on. The breadth of applications requires careful consideration to ensure selection of the right technology for the job.

Posted in: Articles, Motion Control
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Intelligent Robotics Safeguarding

Traditional robot applications limit operator access to hazards through hard-guarding and protective devices that either detect and stop the hazard, or prevent access into the safeguarding space until the hazard no longer exists. The introduction of power- and force-limited robots used in collaborative applications changes this environment. Reduced or nonexistent hard-guarding, along with continuous motion and interaction between the robot and the operator, makes the environment inherently dynamic and uncertain. Methods to reduce risks to a tolerable level include limiting forces and speed, but these measures can yield unacceptable production rates.

Posted in: Articles, Robotics, Artificial intelligence, Risk management, Robotics
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Novel Threading Enables New Approach to Golf Clubs

Fastener threading technology used on shuttle engines reduces vibration in golf clubs.

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Collaboration and partnering, Vibration, Fasteners
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Using Sensor Fusion to Analyze Laser Processing in Additive Manufacturing

Sensor: “A device that detects or measures a physical property and records, indicates, or otherwise responds to it.” A sensor is a device that detects a physical quantity and responds by transmitting a signal.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Lasers, Sensors and actuators, Additive manufacturing
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Bringing New Vision to Laser Material Processing Systems

The use of modern laser technology has become standard in industrial manufacturing thanks to its speed, accuracy and effectiveness. Lasers are used to engrave parts, electronic printed circuit boards or chip cards. They perforate packaging; structure semiconductor wafers; drill, cut and weld plastics or metals; and create highly complex structures via 3D printing.

Posted in: Articles, Imaging, Machine Vision, Lasers & Laser Systems, Photonics, Lasers, Additive manufacturing, Manufacturing equipment and machinery
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