Mechanical & Fluid Systems

Electric Cylinder

SMAC (Carlsbad, CA) introduced the CBL50 electric cylinder designed to achieve peak force of 50N at 2 Amp current, and acceleration up to 40G. It features carriage-free design and built-in linear bearings. It is available with a vacuum and spring option for pick-and-place applications. With the optional IP65 and IP67 dustproof and waterproof feature, the cylinder is suited for applications such as food and beverage processing, packaging, and pharmaceutical industries. Stroke lengths of 10, 25, 50, and 100 mm will be available. The cylinder is offered with a choice of encoder resolutions, with 5-micron standard, and 1 and 0.1 micron optional. It is fully programmable in position, velocity, and force simultaneously. A patented “Soft-land” function ensures precise contact force. For Free Info Visit

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mechanical Components, Motion Control



Optimal Engineering Systems (Van Nuys, CA) released low-profile XYθ (theta) stages that move in an XY-plane and rotate around the center of the XY-plane. Available in 12 models in two precision grades, the stages have linear travels from ±2 by ±2 mm, up to ±30 by ±30 mm. The stages can rotate around the center of the XY plane up to ±6°. Four models have solid tables sized from 100 x 100 mm to 200 x 200 mm, and eight stages from 250 x 250 mm to 1500 x 1500 mm are hollow core (open frame) stages. Available in normal and precision grades, they have preloaded cross roller bearings, and typical normal repeated positioning accuracy is from ±1.75 μm to ±2.5 μm; typical precision repeated positioning accuracy is from ±0.7 μm to ±1.0 μm. Parallelism of the stages is as low as 30 μm, and the larger stages can handle dynamic loads to 600 kg. The stages can be ordered with linear encoders for closed loop operation, customized to meet specific requirements, and complete ready-to-run alignment systems. For Free Info Visit

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Mechanical Components, Motion Control



C-Flex Bearing Co. (Frankfort, NY) offers a Super Plastic torsional damping coupling that stabilizes high-precision systems by dampening transient torque variations. The patented design offers high-torque loads with zero backlash for positioning in industries such as medical, packaging, and semiconductor. The standard flexible coupling is made up of two high-strength aluminum ends with glass-impregnated polyamide flexures. They are available with both set screws and “No Mark” steel clamp bushings. English and metric versions are available. Bore sizes range from 0.125" to 1.25", and 4 mm to 32 mm. Lattice and servo styles are available in both the Super Plastic and all stainless steel versions. For Free Info Visit

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Joining & Assembly, Medical, Motion Control, Packaging, Semiconductors & ICs


Design for Improving the Flatness of Solar Sails

An optically flat solar sail could be useful in optical communication and solar energy applications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California This work describes a discontinuous or segmented mirror whose overall flatness is less dependent on the limited tension that can be supplied by the booms. A solar sail is a large, nominally flat sheet of extremely thin reflectorized film rigidly attached to a spacecraft, enabling propulsion via solar radiation pressure. Rip-stop fibers embedded in the backside of the film — with diameters ≈100× the thickness of the film — are commonly used to arrest tear propagation, which can easily occur in the handling and/or deployment of these gossamer-thin structures. Typically, the thin film or membrane that is the sail is systematically folded to enable both volumetrically compact transportation to space and mechanized deployment. It is the aggressive folding and creasing of the thin film that limits the ultimate flatness that can be achieved.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Communications, Energy, Solar Power, Mechanical Components, Solar energy, Spacecraft


Reactionless Drive Tube Sampling Device and Deployment Method

Springs and a counter-mass create a powerful and stable sampling device. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California A sampling device and a deployment method were developed that allow collection of a predefined sample volume from up to a predefined depth, precise sampling site selection, and low impact on the deploying spacecraft. This device is accelerated toward the sampled body, penetrates the surface, closes a door mechanism to retain the sample, and ejects a sampling tube with the sample inside. At the same time the drive tube is accelerated, a sacrificial reaction mass can be accelerated in the opposite direction and released in space to minimize the momentum impact on the spacecraft. The energy required to accelerate both objects is sourced locally, and can be a spring, cold gas, electric, or pyrotechnic. After the sample tube is ejected or extracted from the drive tube, it can be presented for analysis or placed in a sample return capsule.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Mechanical Components, Motors & Drives, Drilling, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft


Nozzle Heat Flux Gauge

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama This innovation is a tungsten-rhenium gauge that can be placed into an aft exit cone of a rocket motor. It will measure heat flux with time for the full duration of the RSRM (reusable solid rocket motor) nozzle environment with equal response time.

Posted in: Briefs, Mechanical Components, Measuring Instruments, Nozzles, Rocket engines, Thermal testing


Rotary-Hammer Core Sample Acquisition Tool

This tool can be used for drilling in construction, mining, or scientific research applications. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California NASA is developing technologies to enable in situ analysis and sample acquisition from planetary bodies. Missions to these diverse locations require autonomous, highly customizable, reliable tools. A tool capable of core generation, capture, and transfer, and customizable for different missions, would be very valuable.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Data Acquisition, Mechanical Components, Tools and equipment, Drilling, Test equipment and instrumentation


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