No one likes downtime, particularly when manufacturing low-cost, high-volume
parts. Implementing an air-actuated collision protection device can help
maintain high production.
One company, for example, installs the sensor at the base of a pneumatic gripper designed to load/unload automotive parts to a spin balance machine. If there is a collision or dynamic overload, the sensor absorbs the shock to eliminate downtime from changing out a broken gripper or bent slide.
Response is fast and stiffness, programmable. Unlike spring-loaded devices, QuickSTOP's break-away threshold varies with air pressure to accommodate a wide range of loads. Other applications: machine tools, arc welding, material handling.
Kathy Febraio, Applied Robotics, Inc., 648 Saratoga Rd., Glenville, NY 12302, 518-384-1000.
Active head restraint
Data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that neck injuries usually occur in rear-end collisions at relatively low speed. The Pro-techTM system, to be introduced as standard equipment in the next generation Saab models, limits head and neck "whiplash" movement relative to the body.
In a collision from the rear, the occupant is pressed into the backrest. Movement of a pressure plate in the seatback forces the head restraint upwards and forwards to meet the head before whiplash begins.
The force with which the occupant presses against the backrest, the magnitude of collision forces, and occupant weight determine the amount of activation, tailoring the system to the individual.
Elke Martin, Saab Cars USA, Inc., 4405-A Saab Dr., P.O. Box 9000, Norcross, GA 30091, 770-279-6360.
Employing fundamental pendulum dynamics can enable you to determine a rotating solid body's inertia when you either lack a solid model or the body is too complex for a simple model to be useful. Suspend the body as shown, then measure the period of its rotation, the length of the suspensions, and the radius of the body, and you can calculate the body's inertia. This method works only for small values of (GREEK:a).
Charles P. Ketterer, Emerson Motor Co., 8100 West Florissant, P.O. Box 36912, St. Louis, MO 63136, (314) 595-8096.