Size really does matter when it comes to direct-drive linear actuators. The smaller the actuator, the more that can be crammed side-by-side into the tight spots normally occupied by pneumatic cylinders or ball screws. But size isn't everything. Force and acceleration capabilities matter too. So does ease-of-installation. Copley Controls has just developed a compact actuator that balances all of these needs. Sized to mount on 28-mm centers, the new ServoTube Model STA11 is the company's most compact direct-drive linear actuator to date. Yet it's no weakling. The STA11, which has an 11-mm thrust rod, offers a peak force of 92N and continuous force of 23.5N. It has maximum velocity of 5.6 m/sec, accelerates instrumentation-type loads to 25g, and provides a 14- to 232-mm stroke. Read more about the new actuator here, including comments from one of the first engineers to use it.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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