Manufacturing & Prototyping

A Robust Supply Chain: The Important Role Your Contract Manufacturer Can Play

Your complex device demands a robust supply chain. In today’s unsure environment, you need to know that your supply chain is available, flexible, and affordable when you need it. Establishing a strong and effective partnership with a contract manufacturer can ensure that you have the purchasing power and agility needed when the unexpected happens or design changes are needed. “A Robust Supply Chain,” our White Paper, outlines three things to look for in a contract manufacturer and three things you can do to ensure a smooth production process and an improved bottom line.

Posted in: White Papers, Manufacturing & Prototyping


Thermal Spraying of Coatings Using Resonant Pulsed Combustion

This is a high-volume, high-velocity surface deposition of protective metallic and other coatings on surfaces. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Thermal spray coating is not a new process. There are different techniques utilized that depend on the objective function of the coating, the environment to which the coated piece will be subjected, and the coating material used. In any application, quality is ultimately measured by how well the coating material adheres to the sprayed surface. This, in turn, is controlled by the velocity at which the coating material impinges on the substrate, the size of the molten coating particles, and the degree to which the coating material is prevented from chemically reacting while in a molten state.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Spraying, Coatings, colorants, and finishes


Plasma Treatments to Assist Fluid Manipulation in Microgravity

Altering the surface energy of container walls permits anchoring of fluids within the container. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A recent innovation has made manipulation of hazardous laboratory reagents in microgravity easier, thus enabling even more scientific research to be performed on the International Space Station (ISS). Prior to this innovation, moving fluids from container to container was performed only under conditions of redundant and physically separate layers of containment. This design paradigm restricts access to — and direct manipulation of — fluids in microgravity conditions.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Waste management, Hazardous materials, Spacecraft


Stencil-less Jet Printing for PCB Assembly

Solder paste inkjet is an inline, solder-mask printing technology that enables 3D printing of different thicknesses of solder paste for prototype PCBs. Imagineering Inc., Elk Grove Village, Illinois For many years, stencil printing has been the standard method of depositing solder paste on surface mount assembly printed circuit boards (PCBs). It has provided a durable method of applying solder paste, but there were always difficulties that significantly slowed down a change from one product to another in the assembly operation, and added cost. A significant challenge in newer, smaller electronics assembly is the huge difference in size among components. Therefore, trying to apply the right amount of solder paste for each component with one stencil is difficult. The biggest problem is how to produce quick-turn prototypes without disrupting series production that is already running in the line. Product changeover requires time-consuming tweaks to the stencil printing process, while unnecessarily shutting down an expensive assembly line to change the product. The inability of the stencil’s technology to vary solder paste volume by part, on the run, remains the biggest impact on the soldering quality.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Computer software and hardware, Production, Welding


In-Situ Mixing, Degassing, Decavitation, and Extrusion Modules for Fused Deposition Modeling 3D Printers

A resonant acoustics mixing mechanism equipped with high-vacuum pulling capacity will be employed. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio Additively manufactured 3D articles of certain high-temperature polymer composites such as ULTEM 1000 reinforced with chopped carbon fibers and printed by current state-of-the-art Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers, suffer significantly with high porosity due to moisture-induced cavitation during the liquefying process under high printing temperatures because the pre-fabricated feedstock filaments contain excessive moisture trapped in polymer matrix or fiber interfaces that is extremely difficult to remove. During compounding (mixing of chopped fibers with resin) and the filament extrusion process, controlling moisture absorption is extremely difficult and very costly. Furthermore, compounding and filament fabrication are two separate processes normally performed at different plants, and thus add extra costs and technical challenge of keeping the material dry. In the case of the high-temperature polymer, it is even more difficult to control the residual moisture content and is more prone to blistering during FDM printing due to higher melting temperature.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Additive manufacturing, Composite materials, Polymers


Products of Tomorrow: January 2016

The technologies NASA develops don’t just blast off into space. They also improve our lives here on Earth. Life-saving search-and-rescue tools, implantable medical devices, advances in commercial aircraft safety, increased accuracy in weather forecasting, and the miniature cameras in our cellphones are just some of the examples of NASA-developed technology used in products today.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping


Product of the Month: January 2016

Dewetron, Wakefield, RI, announced the TRIONet compact data acquisition system that accepts any two of the company’s multi-channel TRION series plug-in modules. The system connects to any Windows computer via USB 3.0 (or USB 2.0) or Ethernet. TRIONet mainframes can be interconnected using Ethernet. As a result, TRIONet mainframes can be placed up to 100 meters apart. Both star and daisy-chain topologies are supported, depending on the physical environment. A 9- to 36-VDC power input allows TRIONet to be operated from vehicle power. A small touchscreen color display shows the status, IP address, and health of the mainframe. Each mainframe can support up to 16 high-speed analog channels of many different types. There are various analog, digital, data bus, and timing modules available. Measuring 12.6 × 8 × 2.2", the system weighs 5 pounds with one TRION-2402-MULTI module. TRIONet consists of the mainframe, a TRION-2402-MULTI (universal input) 8-channel module, the company’s OXYGEN data acquisition software, and cables for both USB 3.0 and Ethernet. The system can be used with Windows 7 or 10 computers or tablets. For Free Info Visit

Posted in: Products, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping


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