A new linear actuator system from Alpha Gear consists of a high-precision, rack-and-pinion unit (positioning accuracy: greater than 12 microns) and a rotary actuator which moves the load on this unit. The system was originally developed for high-end, machine tool applications such as feed drives, workpiece handling, machine tool positioning and Cartesian axes or load/unload systems. These applications have traditionally been solved using a ball screw drive or a planetary ball screw, and linear motors are not commonly used due to higher costs. According to Alpha Gear, the linear actuator system can provide up to five times faster travel speeds and up to three times better positioning accuracy in these applications. A high level of constant rigidity in the mechanical system provides consistent performance over the complete travel distance, and energy efficiency saves on electricity costs. For more information on the TPM Linear Actuator System, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4922-509.
The FDA has just released draft guidelines for using 3D printing in the design, development, and manufacture of regulated medical products. Although the recommendations are non-binding, they do set some much-needed parameters.
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