Manufacturing & Prototyping

Virtual Prototyping: Visualizing the Next Generation of Products

The Department of Defense defines a virtual prototype as “A computer-based simulation of a system or subsystem with a degree of functional realism comparable to a physical prototype.” A virtual prototype is built from CAD drawings of separate assemblies that are gradually placed into the whole. Since the drawings of each subassembly are detailed and accurate, you can accurately assess their form (overall shape), fit (ease of as- sembly), and function (making sure it performs as specified). In addition to these traditional three Fs, the virtual prototype can be used for motion studies and studying interactions be- tween the machine and the humans who will use it. Once the design is complete, you can use the digital model to see whether parts interfere as you move them through their com- plete range of motion. In the past, design and analysis have been separate tasks, performed by different teams. With virtual prototyping, these functions are completely entwined.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, White Papers

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3D Printing and the Future of Manufacturing

3D printing is transforming the manufacturing industry in big ways. From realized design freedom to supply chain efficiencies, 3D printing is contributing largely to the recent upswing in reshoring manufacturing in North America. Read the latest white paper from Stratasys Service Bureaus to learn how 3D printing will continue to transform the industry in the coming years.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, White Papers

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2-in-1 Motor Increases Range of Electric Cars

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and German Aerospace Centre (DLR) have invented a 2-in-1 electric motor that increases the range of electric vehicles. The engine integrates the traditional electric motor with the air-conditioning compressor, typically two separate units. This novel, space-saving design allows the use of bigger batteries, which can increase the range of electric vehicles by an additional 15 to 20 percent.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Motors & Drives, Energy Efficiency, Energy, Transportation, Automotive, News

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Technology Enables First Test of Actual Turbine Engine Conditions

Because of the difficulty of monitoring turbine engines in operation, most manufacturers test turbine blades either after flight or rely on simulated tests to give them the data on how the various coatings on the blades are performing. Until now, creating an accurate simulation has been out of reach.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Test & Measurement, Monitoring, Aerospace, Aviation, Machinery & Automation, News

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3D-Printed Power Inverter Enables Lighter Electric Vehicles

Using 3D printing and novel semiconductors, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have created a power inverter that could make electric vehicles lighter, more powerful, and more efficient.At the core of this development is wide bandgap material made of silicon carbide, with qualities superior to standard semiconductor materials. Power inverters convert direct current into the alternating current that powers the vehicle. The Oak Ridge inverter achieves much higher power density with a significant reduction in weight and volume.Using additive manufacturing, researchers optimized the inverter’s heat sink, allowing for better heat transfer throughout the unit. This construction technique allowed them to place lower-temperature components close to the high-temperature devices, further reducing the electrical losses and reducing the volume and mass of the package.The research group’s first prototype, a liquid-cooled all-silicon carbide traction drive inverter, features 50-percent-printed parts. Initial evaluations confirmed an efficiency of nearly 99 percent, surpassing DOE’s power electronics target and setting the stage for building an inverter using entirely additive manufacturing techniques.Building on the success of this prototype, researchers are working on an inverter with an even greater percentage of 3D-printed parts in commercially available vehicles. SourceAlso: See other Electronics tech briefs.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Transportation, Automotive, Semiconductors & ICs, News

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Meeting Industry Standards for Sanitation in The Food Industry

Food service equipment manufacturing and electropolishing go hand in hand. Parts said to be made of “Food Grade Stainless” typically have undergone finishing operations such as passivation or electropolishing to enhance the cleanliness and corrosion resistance. With electropolishing, you also receive the added benefits of microfinish improvement and deburring.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, White Papers

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Underwater Robot Skims for Port Security

MIT researchers unveiled an oval-shaped submersible robot, a little smaller than a football, with a flattened panel on one side that it can slide along an underwater surface to perform ultrasound scans.Originally designed to look for cracks in nuclear reactors’ water tanks, the robot could also inspect ships for the false hulls and propeller shafts that smugglers frequently use to hide contraband. Because of its small size and unique propulsion mechanism — which leaves no visible wake — the robots could, in theory, be concealed in clumps of algae or other camouflage. Fleets of them could swarm over ships at port without alerting smugglers and giving them the chance to jettison their cargo.Sampriti Bhattacharyya, a graduate student in mechanical engineering, built the main structural components of the robot using a 3-D printer. Half of the robot — the half with the flattened panel — is waterproof and houses the electronics. The other half is permeable and houses the propulsion system, which consists of six pumps that expel water through rubber tubes.Two of those tubes vent on the side of the robot opposite the flattened panel, so they can keep it pressed against whatever surface the robot is inspecting. The other four tubes vent in pairs at opposite ends of the robot’s long axis and control its locomotion.SourceAlso: Learn about Underwater Localization for Transit and Reconnaissance Autonomy.

Posted in: Imaging, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Motion Control, Power Transmission, Machinery & Automation, Robotics, News

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