Manufacturing & Prototyping

Actuators

Nook Industries (Cleveland, OH) offers Series 500™ programmable actuators designed for continuous duty and long service life. They incorporate a direct or toothed-belt drive for high mechanical efficiency. Ball screw-driven programmable actuators are made with high-strength materials, and are available in parallel and in-line models with either a servomotor or stepper motor. The screw shaft is constructed with medium-carbon, induction-hardened alloy steel, and the ball nuts are manufactured from high-grade bearing steel. Both ball screw and nut are heat-treated to a surface hardness of 56 HRC.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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Machine Control

Unitronics (Quincy, MA) has introduced Samba, a palm-sized PLC with HMI and onboard I/Os for machine control that features a color 7" HMI panel. The 16-bit touchscreen enables data entry and display of variable data, including color trend graphs and alarm screens. Samba supports 24 userdesigned screens and 5-MB images per application. The integrated PLC offers features including two auto-tuned PID loops, time-based RTC control, data logging, and recipes. The internal memory holds 112 KB of application logic, plus 512K for fonts and 5 MB for images. Onboard I/Os offer digital, analog, and high-speed functionality.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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Accelerometer Chips

Silicon Designs (Kirkland, WA) offers industrial-grade MEMS variable capacitive accelerometer chips and modules for zero- to medium-frequency instrumentation applications. Onboard voltage regulation and an internal reference minimize temperature and voltage changes while eliminating additional external power regulation requirements. Each sensor is made to be virtually identical, allowing users to swap out parts in the same g range with few to no testing modifications. This also provides a plug-and-play solution for almost any application.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control

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Aluminum Rocket Engine Injector Fabricated Using 3D Additive Manufacturing

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama Liquid rocket engine injectors can be extremely expensive to manufacture and hard to iterate to achieve high performance. Internal sealing points can also be the source of reliability issues. The technology disclosed here covers the application of a 3D additive manufacturing (AM) process to produce a functional aluminum injector for liquid propellant rocket engines, along with injector and overall engine design features that optimize the application of such processes to improve performance, reliability, and affordability relative to components produced using standard machining processes and designs. Aluminum was used for the injector instead of higher- temperature metals like stainless steel because its thermal conductance properties provide more opportunity to leverage the cooling potential of liquid oxygen and other cryogenic propellants.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Making Flexible Ablators that are Flexible Char Formers

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California An approach was developed for making low-density, flexible ablators for a thermal protection system (TPS) from a flexible fibrous carbon substrate and a polymer resin. The material is foldable and stowable, and can be deployed in space without compromising performance. In addition, the material can be stowed in space for very long periods of time (years) without compromising deployability or performance. These flexible ablators offer an alternative to rigid TPS materials, thereby reducing design complexity and cost. On charring, the flexible ablative TPS retains its flexibility. After charring, the TPS has comparable flexibility and mechanical properties to the virgin material.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Method for Providing Semiconductors Having Self-Aligned Ion Implant

Refined self-aligned ion implantation for improved SiC high-temperature transistors. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio This is a modification to technology for realizing durable and stable electrical functionality of high-temperature transistors. This modification is believed crucial to experimental implementation of SiC junction field effect transistors that electrically operated continuously at 500 °C for over 10,000 hours in an air ambient with less than 10% change in operational transistor parameters.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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Femtosecond Laser Processing of Metal and Plastics

Precision machining can be achieved with no thermal affects and minimal post-processing. Amada Miyachi America, Monrovia, California and Jenoptik, Jena, Germany While precise and fast, the down side to cutting with microsecond (ms) fiber lasers has been that the parts require a number of post-processing operations after they are cut, which add significantly to part cost, and can also damage mechanically delicate parts.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping

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