Injection Molding Service Saves Time and Money for Spring Manufacturer

Proto Labs
Maple Plain, MN
www.protolabs.com

As products get smaller, their components need to follow suit, and springs are no exception. In a variety of industrial applications, flat-wire wave springs are replacing traditional coil springs. The reason is that a wave spring is half the height of a coil spring, yet can often perform the same job as the coil spring — deflect the same amount of weight under the same load — saving valuable space and, in most cases, weight as well.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Articles, Manufacturing & Prototyping
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Contacts for Hi-Rel Connectors: Comparing Technologies

Contact design is critical to the performance of any connector — especially for devices that must function in harsh environments where extremes of temperature, shock, and vibration are to be encountered. Yet there are many different contact styles, and each supplier will claim an advantage. This article aims to set out clearly and concisely the merits and drawbacks of each of the main styles.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components
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Mineral Analyzer Shakes Answers Out of Soil and Rocks

On the Curiosity rover, a tool called CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy) is helping scientists determine what minerals make up the Martian landscape, and whether single-celled or more complex organisms could once have thrived there. CheMin sends an X-ray beam through tiny samples of Martian soil or rock, recording how the beam scatters as it bounces against atomic planes of the different minerals contained within. The technique, called X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), has been around for a long time, but the tools commonly used were not practical for a robotic mission millions of miles from the nearest human hands.

Posted in: Spinoff, Articles, Robotics
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Products of Tomorrow: November 2017

This column presents technologies that have applications in commercial areas, possibly creating the products of tomorrow. To learn more about each technology, see the contact information provided for that innovation.

Posted in: Articles, Products, Batteries, Energy Storage, Fluid Handling, Implants & Prosthetics, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Robotics
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Naval Research Laboratory

The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) began operations in 1923 as the United States Navy's first modern research institution, and it continues today as one of the Navy's premier R&D resources. NRL's early 20th Century founders knew the importance of science and technology in maintaining naval power and preserving national security.

Posted in: Articles, Research Lab
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Line Scan Cameras

Area array and line scan cameras are each suited for unique machine vision applications. Area array cameras, for all intents and purposes, are “conventional” cameras that use sensors with two-dimensional pixel arrays. The square or rectangular shaped sensor captures an image in a single pass with the resulting image having a width and height corresponding to the number of pixels on the sensor, for example, 640x480. Because of this, area array cameras are ideal for machine vision tasks where objects are small or have approximately the same size in both dimensions. However, the size of PCBs, LCD panels, and wafers has increased beyond the speed, accuracy, and resolution capabilities of many area array cameras. Line scan cameras offer a better solution.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics
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Optical Monitoring System Enables Greater Accuracy In Thin-Film Coatings

The challenges in achieving greater accuracy in optical thin-film coatings, both historically and in today's coating processes, are many and deserve our scrutiny. The “old” way of designing and manufacturing coatings was to use a thin-film design software like TFCalc, which included analysis, optimization, results, optical data, and coating files. In this instance, one would create a design using high-, medium-, and low-index materials to come up with a theoretical design (Figure 1). The design of the coatings would be the easy part; the hard part comes in replicating the design thickness and the material indexes inside the coating chamber each and every time.

Posted in: Articles, Photonics
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Brookhaven National Laboratory

Opened in 1947 on the former site of the U.S. military's Camp Upton in New York, Brookhaven National Lab's (BNL) initial mission centered on the peaceful exploration of the atom. Particle accelerators, leading chemistry and biology experiments, and visionary scientists soon joined research reactors, and Brookhaven began innovation and exploration. The Lab's new mission is to perform basic and applied research including nuclear and high-energy physics, physics and chemistry of materials, nanoscience, energy and environmental research, national security and nonproliferation, neurosciences, structural biology, and computational sciences. Over its history, Brookhaven Lab has housed three research reactors, one-of-a-kind particle accelerators, and other facilities.

Posted in: Articles, Research Lab
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AUGMENTED REALITY: Beyond Gaming to Real-World Solutions

Ask a stranger off the street what Virtual Reality (VR) is or how it works, and most people will have some inclination of what the technology entails; however, ask that same person about Augmented Reality (AR), and the answers are less likely to be easily gained. Maybe someone will talk about the gaming aspect of the technology, or its earliest incarnation in the failed Google Glass.

Posted in: Articles, Data Acquisition, Simulation Software
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Connectors Link Data Networks for Orion and Industry

Spinoff is NASA's annual publication featuring successfully commercialized NASA technology. This commercialization has contributed to the development of products and services in the fields of health and medicine, consumer goods, transportation, public safety, computer technology, and environmental resources.

Posted in: Articles, Electronics & Computers
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