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Overmolding Service

Proto Labs, Maple Plain, MN, has launched an overmolding service. Product designers and engineers use overmolding to improve grip and durability, dampen vibration, and add two-color aesthetics to parts. Overmolded parts go through a multi-step process that results in common products like tool handles, personal care products, medical devices and more. The overmolding process uses engineering-grade thermoplastics and liquid silicone rubber materials to create overmolded prototypes and end-use production parts.

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Precision Coffeemaker Adapts Brews to Beans and Taste

NASA’s embedded communications technology and PID controllers play key roles in coffee brewing system.Technology often takes circuitous paths. A magnetron developed for precision bombing during World War II led to the microwave oven, and a battery-powered drill created for collecting samples of Moon rock gave birth to the Dustbuster. Likewise, one student’s NASA experience with autonomous robotic vehicles has informed the creation of one of the world’s most sophisticated coffee machines.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Machinery/Automation/Robotics Category Winner

SHAPE MEMORY ALLOY BASED SAFETY LATCH Nicholas W. Pinto, Suresh Gopalakrishnan, Chandra S. Namuduri, Nancy L. Johnson, and Mark Vann General Motors, Warren, MIGeneral Motors has invented a device that indicates when an unsafe level of energy remains in an electrical panel box after the main power has been disconnected. Possible sources of this energy may be incorrect wiring, external device add-ons, and the presence of residual charge from capacitors. The device works by engaging a safety latch mechanism built with shape memory alloy (SMA) technology along with an audio or visual alarm.

Posted in: Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Machinery & Automation, Robotics

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2016 Create the Future Design Contest: Consumer Products Category Winner

MIFOLD Jon Sumroy, Carfoldio, Ltd., Ra’anana, Israel “The award is a true accolade from design and engineering professionals. This means that, as well as solving a serious problem with a convenient, practical, and affordable solution, we have solved the problem in a well designed and engineered way. The credibility of the contest, and the respect and professionalism of the organizers and judges, will enhance our ability to market the Grab-and-Go Booster Seat worldwide. This will help us keep more children safer in more journeys, more of the time.” The mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat for children aged 4-12 is more than ten times smaller than a regular booster seat and just as safe. A regular booster seat works by lifting a child up to the position of an adult. mifold does the opposite, securing the seatbelt in the correct position on the hips and shoulder by holding the seatbelt down at three points.

Posted in: Articles, Automotive, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Imaging, Medical

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Editor’s Choice: November 2016

A handheld laser torch for welding and brazing metals enables in-field repairs where space and time are constrained. The fiber laser torch incorporates changing lenses to allow the operator to adjust the laser’s power output in real time. Applications include engine repair, medical device manufacturing, plastic mold and die restoration, and jewelry manufacturing and repair. Find out more here.

Posted in: UpFront, Aerospace, Recycling Technologies, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Low-Power-Consumption, Single-Mode Quantum Cascade Lasers Fabricated Without Epitaxial Regrowth

These low-power lasers can be used for spectroscopy instruments in health and safety monitoring, and industrial process monitoring.Quantum cascade (QC) lasers employ intersubband electronic transitions in semiconductor quantum well structures to generate emission at specific engineered wavelengths. QC devices have been particularly successful as mid-infrared emitters in the 4- to 12-μm wavelength range, a spectral regime that is difficult to access with interband diode lasers. As cascade devices, QC lasers can also be designed with many gain stages, which, combined with optimized doping and optical design, has enabled the development of lasers with remarkably high continuous output power (in excess of 1 W). One of the most important applications of mid-infrared QC lasers is quantitative gas detection using absorption spectroscopy, where a single-frequency laser is used to interrogate specific absorption lines of a target compound. While high output power is essential in certain applications, many in situ absorption spectrometers require only milliwatt-level output to effectively measure low levels of compounds of interest with strong absorption lines in the mid-infrared regime.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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A Versatile Three-Dimensional Printing Approach

This technology can generate integrated circuits, electrical connectors, supercapacitors, and flow cell batteries.NASA has developed a versatile method and associated apparatus for constructing and using a conductive filament in various applications of 3D printing. It uses an attractive polymer formulation, which exhibits low melting temperature even when combined with conductive material, as the printing filament material. It may be used with a commercial 3D printer to generate custom 3D conductive geometries, such as integrated circuitries, electrical connectors, supercapacitors, and flow cell batteries. This invention can be used to create conductive, piezoelectric, or multifunctional materials using three-dimensional printing, with relatively low melt or glass transition temperatures. This invention should be useful wherever such materials are needed, with modest fabrication costs.

Posted in: Briefs, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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