Features

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
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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
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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
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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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3D Printing Enables Customized Magnets

Polymer-bonded magnets are valuable for many sensor applications that require the production of unique and reproducible field profiles, not necessarily fields with the highest strength.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Sensors
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Oil Sheer Clutch Cuts Downtime for Metal Stamping Press

Replacing a mechanical clutch, the oil sheer technology supplies constant, reliable tension on the stock feeding a 400-ton press to deliver precision and repeatability.

In the metal stamping business, precision, repeatability, and uptime are key. But stamping accuracy suffers when improper tension on the coil feeders incorrectly supplies metal to the presses, resulting in off-spec parts and increased rejections. ART Technologies of Fairfield, OH, relies on an oil shear clutch brake to supply constant, reliable tension on the coil feeding to one of its 400-ton presses to produce the precision and repeatability it needs, with no downtime for maintenance or adjustment. When the plant is working 20 hours a day, that uptime is as critical as the tolerances it maintains.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control
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New Products: May 2017 Photonics & Imaging Insider

High Efficiency Double Spot Beam Splitter

LASER COMPONENTS (Bedford, NH) has introduced the HEDS (High Efficiency Double Spot) beam splitter. Double spot beam splitters are diffractive optical elements (DOE) used for separating an incoming laser beam into two identical beams. They are most commonly used in lithography as well as high power applications such as cutting and perforation. Until now, a small portion of light was lost in higher diffraction orders. Some applications cannot tolerate even a 1% loss, so this DOE boasts an efficiency well above the standard value of 81%. HEDS is available in wavelengths between 193 nm and 10.6 µm.

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Scanning Electron Microscope

JEOL USA (Peabody, MA) has introduced a new Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) that combines the performance of a Field Emission SEM with the simplicity of the JEOL InTouchScope™ SEM series. The new JSM-IT300HR features a rugged in-chamber specimen stage and large chamber to accommodate a wide variety of samples of different shapes, sizes, and weights. The specimen chamber’s twelve geometrically-optimized analytical ports allow for multiple detectors, creating a virtual nano-lab inside the SEM. Low vacuum capability is a standard feature and allows for imaging and analysis of all types of samples in their native state.

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Optical Transmitter

The Micro ATx high-fidelity optical transmitter from APIC Corporation (Culver City, CA) combines an ultra-low-RIN (-168 dB/Hz) continuous wavelength (CW) laser (1530-1565 nm), a low Vπ amplitude modulator, a low noise amplifier, power conditioning and control electronics into a small yet rugged package (14 x 5 x 2 cm). When used in combination with APIC’s highly linear 20 GHz analog receiver, the resultant link performance, with a selectable low noise amplifier (LNA), has a gain greater than 8 dB; a noise figure (NF) lower than 8 dB; an SFDR ~ 111 dBHz2/3; and an RF bandwidth from DC through 20 GHz.

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20 GHz Realtime Spectrum Analyzer

Saelig Company, Inc. (Fairport, NY) has introduced the Spectran HF-80200 V5 RSA rack-mounted real-time 9kHz-20GHz Spectrum Analyzer that can capture even intermittent signal transmissions. The Spectran HF-80200 V5 RSA scans from 9kHz to 20GHz in less than 20mS, so that even erratic transmissions or interference can be captured. The HF-80200 V5 is controllable through a USB interface or LAN/Ethernet, allowing continuous logging and streaming of almost any frequency range, and direct access to the analyzer through an Internet-connected PC. It offers AM and FM demodulation. All V5 rackmount spectrum analyzers are housed in a durable aluminum case and feature a built-in 20dB preamplifier.

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Line Scan Cameras

Teledyne e2v (Chelmsford, UK) has developed OctoPlus, a new range of line scan cameras for Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) applications. OctoPlus is based on new image sensor pixel architecture and is specifically tuned to provide the most accurate images of the retina and cornea; mapping tissue structure, measuring thickness and visualizing blood flow dynamics for diagnostics. Specific advantages of OctoPlus include a 250 percent larger field of view compared to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved commercial Swept Source OCT (SS-OCT) and a +5dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in comparison with equipment currently available in Spectral-Domain OCT (SD-OCT).

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Red to Near-IR Enhanced Photodiode

Opto Diode Corporation (Camarillo, CA) has introduced the NXIR-5C, a red to near-infrared (NIR) enhanced photodiode with a circular active area of 5 mm2. With a spectral response from 320 nm to 1100 nm, the rugged photodiode is housed in a custom 4.7 mm x 4.9 mm ceramic carrier surface-mount device (SMD) package. The NXIR-5C provides superior responsivity with low reverse bias and high sensitivity at 0.62 A/W @ 850 nm and 0.35 A/W at 1064 nm. It has low dark current at 1nA, low capacitance of 5 pico-farads (pF) at 10 volts, and high shunt resistance greater than 100 MΩ.

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E-Arm Focus Mount with LED Ring Light

Aven’s (Ann Arbor, MI) E-Arm Focus Mount with Integrated LED Ring Light and independent brightness Controller provides ease of use for inspection purposes. An eco-friendly 60 LED ring light provides even, shadow-free illumination, and a variable light control adds flexibility. These energy-efficient LEDs provide a minimum of 20,000 hours of high-output illumination. The adjustable tilt of the E-arm permits a variety of inspection angles. The E-Arm Focus Mount is compatible with all Aven Binocular and Trinocular Stereo Zoom Microscopes, Boom and Articulating Arm Stands.

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Programmable Light Source

The RS-7-4 SpectralLED™ is a new digitally programmable, color tunable, calibrated light source from Gamma Scientific (San Diego, CA) that bolts directly on to existing image sensor testers from manufacturers such as Teradyne and National Instruments, and can be readily adapted to test head manipulators and handler instrumentation custom built by end users. The LED-based RS 7 4 offers a longer calibrated, stable lifetime than tungsten sources. Plus, the color temperature and spectral power distribution of the RS-7-4 can be rapidly varied through software control, and the output is extremely linear over its entire output range.

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Posted in: Products, Photonics
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Nick Krotkov, Atmospheric Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

Using data from NASA’s Earth Observing System Aura satellite, launched in 2004, a team led by Michigan Technological University created a global map of volcanic emissions. Scientist Nick Krotkov will use the information to refine climate models and better understand the human and environmental health risks of erupted gases like sulfur dioxide.

Posted in: Who's Who, Data Acquisition
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Product of the Month: May 2017

Spectrum Instrumentation Corp. (Hackensack, NJ) introduced the DN6.44x, a range of 12 high-speed, 14-, and 16-bit LXI-based digitizers with up to 24 fully synchronized channels. The 16 bit ADC models offers sampling rates of either 130 MS/s or 250 MS/s, while the 14 bit units feature sampling rates of 500 MS/s. The units are suitable for applications where arrays of receivers, sensors, detectors, rectifiers, antennas and other electronic devices are to be used and tested. Each channel is also equipped with its own front-end amplifier that features six input ranges (from ±200 mV up to ±10 V full scale), switchable input impedance (50 Ω and 1 MΩ) and programmable positive input offset for unipolar signals. Analog bandwidth is as high as 250 MHz (for 500 MS/s models), enabling the units to capture electronic signals in the DC to 200 MHz frequency range. The instruments are equipped with a large on-board acquisition memory of 512 MSamples per channel.

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Posted in: Products, Data Acquisition
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Products of Tomorrow: May 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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