3M has introduced a sampling program for its HFE (hydrofluoroether) fluids that's available to engineers across a broad range of industries. The program gives companies the opportunity to experiment with and explore new applications for 3M HFEs as an alternative to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in manufacturing and industrial processes. Primarily known for their use in precision cleaning of high-value, complex parts used in the electronics, computer, aerospace, medical equipment, and automotive industries, 3M HFEs also serve as: a carrier for specialty lubricant deposition on computer hard-disk drives; a component in spray contact cleaners used in electrical maintenance and repairs; an extraction medium to isolate oils or fragrances; a formulating agent combined with more active chemicals to neutralize their flammability or aggressiveness; a fluid for recirculating heat transfer; and an alternative to organic solvents for cleaning metallic and non-metallic chamber surfaces in dry-etch semiconductor wafer equipment. "Currently, there is no other product available in the marketplace with the desirable balance of performance, workplace safety, and environmental properties of 3M HFEs," claims Kathryn Williams, marketing operations manager, 3M Specialty Fluids. FAX (612) 733-1659.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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