Manufacturing & Prototyping

Shaft Voltage Tester

The AEGIS® CAT II/III Shaft Voltage Tester™ digital oscilloscope from Electro Static Technology (Mechanic Falls, ME) enables testing of industrial motors controlled by variable frequency drives (VFDs). The tester is designed and configured to take and capture voltage measurements from the spinning shafts of motors. The digital oscilloscope comes with a conductive microfiber-tipped probe, a probe holder with magnetic base, and a carrying case. The 2-channel, full-function, 100-MHz oscilloscope has a 5.7" TFT LCD color display, a multi-language user interface, and a 5-hour rechargeable/replaceable lithium-ion battery pack. The oscilloscope is capable of sampling rates of 1 GSa/s to 50 GSa/s, and has a USB port for data transfer or flash drive storage.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Test & Measurement
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RF Signal Generators

Saelig Co. (Fairport, NY) announced Rigol DSG800 RF signal generators with output frequencies from 9 kHz to 3.0 GHz. They provide an RF signal source with a maximum output of +20 dBm and frequency resolution of 0.01 Hz at any frequency. Featuring SSB noise of -115 dBc/Hz, they feature a stable internal clock for creating RF test signals. The instruments provide conventional sweep functions (step, list, logarithmic, and linear) as well as analog modulation functions including amplitude modulation, frequency modulation, phase modulation, and pulse modulation. They also offer an optional pulse train generation capability for translating serial data onto an RF link without additional hardware. The pulse train can be used as the modulating signal of pulse modulation, and can also be output as an independent pulse generator.

Posted in: Products, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Test & Measurement
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Robotic Drones to 'Print' Emergency Shelters

Researchers from the University of Bath, Imperial College, and University College London have developed robotic drones designed to "print" emergency shelters. The flying robots will autonomously assess and manufacture building structures to help areas suffering from natural disasters.

Posted in: News, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling
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The Fourth Revolution in Manufacturing

The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is all about going digital. But the term – and the basic idea behind it – are not new. First used in 2011 at Hannover Fair in Germany, the term Industry 4.0 originates from a question posed by the German government to its country’s manufacturing industry leaders: What is the next stage of evolution for manufacturing?

Posted in: Articles, News, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Method for Fabricating Metallic Panels with Deep Stiffener Sections

This method is a rapid, more environmentally friendly, cost-effective process.

This innovation integrates existing highperformance metallic materials and manufacturing technologies (all of which are now certified and used to produce thinner stiffened panels for launch vehicle structures) in a novel manner to allow fabrication of more structurally efficient panels with stiffeners that are substantially deeper than existing plate stock materials.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Metallurgy, Launch vehicles
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Robust, High-Temperature Containment Cartridges for Microgravity

Other potential applications include chemical processing, heat pipes, power generation equipment, nuclear components, and automotive.

Robust, high-temperature containment cartridges are needed for processing materials science experiments in microgravity. In general, the refractory metals (Nb, Ta, Mo, W, Re) possess the chemical inertness and high melting temperatures desired. Of these materials, niobium and tantalum alloys have been the materials of choice due to their low ductile to brittle transition temperatures, which allow deep-draw forming into cylindrical shapes. The high cost of tantalum and niobium, along with the desire for cartridges resistant to molten zinc and usable to 1,500 °C, demonstrates the need for alternative cartridge materials. Two candidate materials are molybdenum and tungsten alloys. Both have high melting temperatures and cost an order of magnitude less than tantalum and niobium.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Containers, Refractory materials, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft
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Method for Insertion of Carbon Fiber Through the Thickness of Dense Dry Fiber Preform

Heat shields for re-entry vehicles, and jet engine exhaust components are two potential applications.

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California

Creation of a structural joint for a heat shield for extreme entry environments requires structural fibers penetrating through the thickness of the shield at joint locations. The structural fibers must be made of carbon to withstand extremely high temperatures, i.e. 2000 ºC. Carbon fibers, due to their relatively high modulus (stiffness), are easily damaged and broken when handled by a conventional sewing machine. Special coatings such as nylon are required to increase the durability of the fiber to enable its use in a sewing or tufting process.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings Colorants and Finishes, Coatings, colorants, and finishes, Fibers, Materials properties
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Edge-Bonded Shims

Edge-bonded shims reduce assembly time and require less inventory storage space.

Precision shims are used as compensators to absorb tolerances between mating components. They significantly reduce manufacturing costs by eliminating the need for each component to be precision-machined in order to achieve the proper fit and function of the total assembly. During the assembly process, shims provide adjustment to compensate for accumulated tolerances that significantly reduces the need for re-machining and assembly time. Additionally, shims are commonly used to preserve the faces between mating components, cutting down the required machining time during rebuilds/retrofitting.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Assembling, Machining processes, Parts
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Precision Detector Conductance Definition via Ballistic Thermal Transport

This innovation could be applied in the development of bolometric detector array sensors.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

The characteristics of a thermal detector, such as sensitivity, response time, and saturation power (or energy resolution), are functions of the thermal conductance of the detector to its cryogenic environment. The thermal conductance is specified to achieve a tradeoff among the highest sensitivity, allowed response time, and the desired saturation energy or power budget for the particular application. It is essential to achieve the design thermal conductance (within an acceptable variance) after a thermal detector has been fabricated. Otherwise, the detector will fail to achieve its desired functionality. In addition, the formation of a multi-pixel imaging array becomes difficult and costly when the design thermal conductance is not achieved with high post-fabrication yield.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Sensors, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Conductivity, Thermal testing
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Products of Tomorrow: February 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: Products, Aerospace, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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