Application Briefs

Pick-and-Place System Delivers Improved Productivity and Safety

Deciding between a gantry and a robot for your application isn’t always as clear-cut as it may seem. To automate a simple, yet time-consuming and potentially dangerous task in its factory, a company that makes particleboards weighed the benefits of using a gantry system against a robot system.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control
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Miniature Linear Bearings Help Prolong Curiosity’s Mars Mission

The launch, landing, and overall mission of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is arguably one of the most daring — and successful — space exploration endeavors ever undertaken. After a successful landing at Gale Crater on August 6, 2012, MSL’s Curiosity rover has already surpassed its 23-month mission target, and it continues to transmit informative images of the Martian surface on a daily basis.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control
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Software Helps Optimize World’s Largest All-Composite Aircraft

Collier Research Corp.
Newport News, VA
HyperSizer.com

When the Stratolaunch aircraft rolled out of the Mojave, CA Air and Space Port hangar this spring in preparation for ground testing, it was a clear example of how far the design and manufacturing of composite materials has progressed. In September, the first phase of engine testing on the aircraft’s six Pratt & Whitney turbofan engines was completed.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Aviation, Composites, Materials, Software
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Sensor Assists NASA with Wearable CO2 Monitor

SST Sensing Ltd.Coatbridge,
UK
www.sstsensing.com

Studies show that heightened carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations can have an adverse effect on the human metabolism, slowing down thought processes, hampering decision-making performance, and heightening the chance of human error. One environment where this is unavoidable is in spacecraft.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Aerospace, Patient Monitoring, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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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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CoaXPress Blazes Trail for Faster, Higher Quality Machine Vision

Introduced in 2010, CoaXPress (CXP) has become a leading standard for high-end machine vision, as well as life sciences, security, and defense applications. The CXP standard enables sending high-speed asymmetric serial data over long distances using standard 75-ohm coaxial cable. It currently supports speeds up to 6.25 Gb/S per link. However, the use of multiple links allows scaling up of bandwidth to meet the needs of a specific application. In addition, CXP enables control of the camera and supply of 24V at up to 13W of power per cable — all over the same coaxial cable.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics
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Improved Surface Characterization with AFM Imaging

To shrink device size yet still tightly control performance, new technology often requires increasingly stringent surface specifications. Characterization tools, in turn, must keep pace by providing higher resolution, faster throughput, and more functionality. The atomic force microscope (AFM) is well known as a high-resolution imaging technique, but its characterization power and ease of use have increased significantly over the years.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Photonics
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Simulation Helps Samsung Deliver Safer, More Efficient Lithium-Ion Battery Packs

Siemens PLM Software
Plano, TX
www.plm.automation.siemens.com

The use of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries has made the electric vehicle (EV) a reality, and electric mobility looks to be a not-so-distant future. However, there has been more than one incident of Li-ion batteries in electric vehicles catching fire and exploding due to either faulty thermal management systems or abuse. All this underscores the vital importance of finding new methods for effective, accurate design of the thermal management systems (TMS) that control temperature and optimize the performance of Li-ion batteries. This need is critical for the global automotive industry, where large Li-ion battery packs are used in EVs and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) — both enjoying growing consumer demand year after year. Battery suppliers need to create packs that are compact, efficient, and economical without compromising safety.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Batteries
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Nano-Motion Stages Rely on High-Precision Encoders for Accuracy and Repeatability

ALIO Industries designs and builds very high precision automation stages for nano-level manufacturing and research applications, including microlithography, medical devices, and micro-machine tools. In this world where a misalignment of one micron might as well be one meter, Renishaw encoders have played a vital role in the performance of ALIO's True Nano™ and 6-D Nano Precision™ motion systems (Figure 1).

Posted in: Application Briefs, Motion Control
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Surgeons Can Feel a Robot's Grip

Thanks to advances in biomedical engineering, the use of robotic systems in surgery has become increasingly common. A clear challenge in robotic surgery, however, is the lack of haptic technology — there have been limitations in the ability to provide force feedback to the surgeon. Because many medical devices and surgical tools such as grippers and laparoscopic instruments do not provide tactile sensation, there has been no definitive way for a surgeon to sense how much force is being applied when using the instrument. This lack of tactile feedback limits the range of surgical techniques and affects the surgeon's dexterity.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Sensors
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