Mechanical CAD helps measure ozone depletion
Norman Bartlett, UK
Tsukuba, Japan-A recent UN report suggests that loss of ozone in the Earth's atmosphere is occurring at a rate greater than anticipated. How great may be determined by SMILES, a Japanese satellite radiometer designed to measure trace elements including ozone, ClO, HCl, BrO, and NO at an altitude range of 10 to 60 km.
| Using CADlogicís paraCAD+, Thomas Keating Ltd. designs and manufactures components for millimeter wavelength electronics such as this 89 GHz corrugated feed horn for Gaussian beam mode propagation.
Built by NASDA, the Japanese Atmospheric and Space Development Agency, SMILES will use millimeter wavelength electronics to detect the vibrational and rotational emissions of ozone depleting chemicals. Millimeter wavelength components cover frequencies of oscillation from 30 to 3,000 GHz which have, until recently, fallen between the capabilities of conventional microwave electronics and infrared optical techniques.
Special antennas, designed with quasi-optical methodologies, transform waveguide transmission modes into a series of beams with Gaussian profiles. The beams propagate through processing elements from which precise ranges of the Gaussian distribution of radiation can be picked, such as near field, far field, etc. The transmission path is through independent off-axis mirrors, not lenses, providing very low loss transmission.
To facilitate the design, development, and manufacture of components and instruments for millimeter wavelength electronics, SMILES supplier Thomas Keating Ltd. (Billinghurst, UK) has added calculation enhancements to paraCAD+, a low-cost CADlogic 2D parametric CAD package. The paraCAD+ system helps calculate transmission paths through the sequence of mirrors to determine instrument layout. Incorporating a series of macros derived from research in experimental physics, the CAD system predicts the field distribution of radiation, calculates points of focus, and optimizes the mechanical layout.
Thomas Keating Managing Director Richard Wylde says, "With paraCAD+, everything is associative, so refractive index, surface accuracy, aperture radius, wavelength, and so on, are all in the electromagnetic modeling process."
Products from Thomas Keating Ltd., visit www.qmciworks.ph.qmw.ac.uk
Deregulation drives 'smart house'
Ariane Sains, Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden-In the Nordic countries the smart house is now being driven by electricity market deregulation. To compete for customers, utilities are selling much more than electricity. They need to sell electronic services that let consumers know how much energy different appliances are using, allow better control of heating and lighting, and let homeowners run things remotely.
| Ericssonís e-box technology allows a homeowner to control all household appliances electronically, while at home or by long-distance.
At the same time, telecommunications companies such as Sweden's Ericsson are looking for practical applications for new technology. Swedish utility Vattenfall, for example, has a prototype smart house using Ericsson's e-box technology. The e-box is designed to allow a homeowner or apartment dweller to control virtually everything electronically, while at home or by long-distance. The system uses ordinary, fixed telephone lines, the Internet, and household electrical systems. It can also be controlled via the WAP mobile phone technology now being developed by Ericsson and others such as Nokia and Lucent.
Ericsson has sold its system to two regional Swedish utilities which have begun putting the smart house into practice. Ericsson believes that within five years, every fourth household in the western world will have some form of intelligent system operating via telephone lines
Lift trucks transition from dc to ac
David J. Bak, International Editor
Flen, Sweden-While ac technology is widely used in many applications such as household appliances, it has only recently been embraced by the truck industry. One example: BT Industries. By taking a holistic design approach, the company is now equipping its warehouse trucks with ac, instead of dc, motors.
"Our interest in developing ac motors for our trucks began in the late 1980s when we started looking around for a maintenance-free motor that would offer a more robust solution with performance advantages," explains Lars Eriksson, quality manager at BT Products AB.
Through its partnership with API Elmo, a manufacturer of ac truck-drive motors, BT has pioneered an ac motor that overcomes the three major problems most often associated with ac motors: conversion power losses, hardware costs, and manufacturing techniques for low-voltage ac drive motors. The result, says Eriksson, is a machine cost that is comparable with that of a dc-powered truck.
By looking at the truck as an entire system, it turned out that power losses during dc to ac conversion equal the losses in a dc motor's brushes (losses that an ac motor does not have). Optimizing the number and type of semiconductors kept hardware costs down. Finally, the entire truck design was based on ac power, with the ac motor's high braking torque as its foundation.
Among its key advantages, the brushless motor ac truck:
Requires no motor maintenance
Achieves productivity gains as high as 15%
Returns 10-15% more energy to the battery because of regenerative braking
Eriksson reports that the new motors are easy to install and maintain, and are more cost-effective in the long term than existing dc designs. "In the future, we will not only increase the number of trucks equipped with ac motors, but include them in new model designs for larger trucks."
Anaheim, CA-Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2000 will run Jan. 18-20 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
In the exhibit hall, you can see a breathable adhesive film for dressing wounds, from Scapa Tapes (Windsor, CT) that allows wounds to heal more quickly.
Another new product comes from Loctite (Rocky Hill, CT), which will show its new FLASHCURETM 4304a low viscosity adhesive designed for close-fitting parts and FLASHCURETM 4305a medium-viscosity adhesive to fill larger gaps. Both are designed for medical bonding applications that demand rapid cures, such as needle bonding, balloon attachment in catheters-, and pressure transducer subassemblies.
And Barry Controls (Brighton, MA) will bring its latest generation of high-performance, shock attenuating medical casters, to protect delicate equipment from external shocks while retaining their maneuverability.
For more show details, including schedules and product previews, see www.mdmwest.com.
Analysis works with all CAD programs
Los Angeles, CA-Structural Research & Analysis Corporation (SRAC) released a 2.0 version of COSMOS/ DesignSTAR. The design analysis program now communicates with, and can analyze geometry from virtually every CAD program, including Pro/ Engineer, CadKey, Helix, IDEAS, Mechanical Desktop, Microstation Modeler, Unigraphics, Velum Solids, Solid Edge, and SolidWorks. The new version includes several improved design analysis capabilities. One is the AccuStress automatic transitional mesher for more accurate stress analysis. AccuStress offers user defined mesh controls for faces, edges, vertices, and components with faster meshing speed.
| COSMOS/DesignSTAR version 2.0 can directly read Pro/Engineer and SolidWorks part files.
A new FFE solver saves time and computer resources for large problems, including assemblies. COSMOS/DesignSTAR 2.0 also features enhanced assemblies analysis with gap, contact and friction, and improved geometry capabilities that can read Pro/Engineer and SolidWorks part files directly. The program also reads IGES files for both parts and assemblies, and supports Parasolid 11.0 and ACIS 5.0.
The new release also exports PATRAN and IDEAS files. Another feature is the ability to launch COSMOS/Flow, SRAC's new computational fluid dynamics program, from directly within the COSMOS/ DesignSTAR interface.
COSMOS/DesignSTAR continues to offer basic analysis bundle containing stress, displacement, frequency, buckling, steady-state and transient thermal analyses. Advanced analysis bundles include nonlinear stress, dynamic response, low frequency electromagnetics and fatigue capabilities. Motion simulation, computational fluid dynamics and high-frequency electromagnetics are also available as add-ons.
"COSMOS/DesignSTAR 2.0 was developed with the design engineer, not an analysis expert, in mind," says Dr. Victor Weingarten, SRAC founder and president.
According to Weingarten, solution of assemblies containing gaps, sensitivity analysis, shape optimization, and nonlinear analysis will become standard mainstream design analyses in the future. These capabilities are included in COSMOS/DesignSTAR, with the exception of optimization, which will be added within the next year.
Gasoline DI spells two engines in one
Schwieberdingen, Germany-What do you do when government regulators are railing for lower emissions standards and higher fuel efficiency, while customers are clamoring for more powerful engines with higher horsepower?
The engineers at Robert Bosch GmbH kept both parties happy by designing the Motronic MED7 direct injection (DI) engine, which runs in an "efficient" mode at low horsepower, and runs in a "powerful" mode at high horsepower.
The gasoline injection system is based on a pressure reservoir and a fuel rail, which a high-pressure pump charges to 120 bar (1,740 psi). The engine's electro-magnetic valves can then inject the fuel directly into the combustion chamber.
| Boschís latest gasoline direct injection engine runs in two different modes, with a lean mixture injected in the compression stage for efficiency, or a rich mixture injected in the intake phase for power.
Compared to a traditional manifold system, this engine must inject its fuel in one-fifth the time (0.5 msec. at idle), and atomize its fuel droplets to one-fifth the diameter (less than 20 Ķm), says Rolf Leonhard, Bosch's development manager of the Engine Management Gasoline Division. He described the engine at a recent press conference here.
The new engine achieves these goals by running in two distinct modes of fuel-air mixture, stratified or homogenous, depending on the load demand. Whereas conventional spark-ignition engines may use a fuel-air mixture of 14.7:1, direct injection engines run with much more air, and thus have lower fuel consumption, Leonhard says. An oxygen sensor measures the exhaust (upstream of the catalytic converter), then feeds this data back to the throttle and distributor. The technology is similar to a design manufactured since 1996 by Mitsubishi Motors (see Global Design News, April 1998, pp. 72).
While running below 50% of its full load, the engine is in the "stratified" mode, injecting fuel to the cylinders just before the ignition point (in the compression phase). This creates a combustible air-fuel mixture cloud on the spark plug, cushioned in a thermally insulated layer composed of air and residual gas. Running in stratified mode at idle, the engine has fuel savings up to 40% compared to traditional engines, since it uses between 1.5 and 3 times the amount of air in the combustion mixture.
When it needs to run above 50% engine load, the Motronic MED7 converts to a homogenous cylinder charge, injecting the air and fuel much earlier (now in the intake phase) at the standard mixture ratio. It is more efficient than a standard engine because of its high compression level, Bosch says.
The company claims that the vehicle can drive in stratified mode for more than 70% of driving conditions. Overall fuel saving is about 15%, Leonhard notes. The engine was first used commercially in the Volkswagen Lupo TDI, launched earlier this year in Germany.
Adjustable pedals make Sable safer
Benjamin B. Ames, Associate Editor
Foxboro, MA-Saying it has designed a car that adjusts to the driver, instead of vice versa, Mercury has unveiled its 2000 Sable. Compared to the 1999 model, it has evolved features such as improved aerodynamics for a quieter ride, and air bags that adjust their power to the driver's seating position and the speed of impact.
| The 2000 Mercury Sableís adjustable pedals slide on a positive-engagement screw mechanism, which is moved by an encased cable.
Perhaps one of the boldest changes is the set of motorized gas and brake pedals that shorter drivers can move closer to their feet. With a rocker switch on the outside edge of his seat, the driver can adjust the pedals about three inches (75 mm) toward himself.
Designing this maximum travel length with a 5 to 10 sec adjustment time was not a problem, says William H. Baker, Taurus/Sable project manager. Neither was the testing tolerance of 1.2 million cycles over a 10-year life. But there were three additional challenges found by the engineers at Teleflex Automotive Group Inc. (Plymouth Meeting, PA), who designed the pedals.
First, they had to ensure the accelerator and brake pedal would not move relative to each other. "It's important to keep the relationship between the pedals the same, because driving a car is reflexive," Baker says.
So Teleflex set the pedals on parallel, 27 mm-diameter guide rods, powered by an electric motor under the instrument panel. It is a sealed system that slides on a positive-engagement screw mechanism, moved by an encased cable.
Next, the engineers had to compensate for the smaller feet that shorter drivers typically have. So they angled the guide rods slightly toward the floor. The pedals drop by 10 mm as they get closer to the driver.
Finally, the designers adjusted the car's safety system, since the adjustable pedals allow a short driver to sit farther from the steering wheel, instead of slouching low in the seat to reach the pedals. So engineers designed a "smart" airbag, which adjusts to four major variables: the speed of impact, whether the seatbelt is buckled, how far the seat is positioned from the dashboard, and the position of the adjustable pedals.
In other features sampled on my test drive, the Sable's 3.0-liter V-6 engine, power steering, and antilock brakes compared well to Oldsmobile and Honda. Adjustable pedals will also be available on the 2000 Ford Taurus.
Brush motors target coreless market
Harleysville, PA-According to Pittman, the 22-mm motor is one of the world's most popular sizes, with global sales at roughly four million units. By combining low-cost, iron-core construction with rare-earth magnets, Pittman's new 22-mm iron-core brush dc motors and gearmotors simultaneously target two application areas. First, the motors may offer engineers a low-cost alternative to coreless products. And second, the motors may represent an economical way to improve performance over more traditional iron-core, ceramic-magnet-based motors.
Miniature coreless motor products, also known as "ironless" motors, are essentially a basket of copper wire rotating around a rare-earth magnet core. Generally associated with German and Swiss companies, such motors have a reputation for great precision, high quality, and superior performance, with the only major drawback being cost.
| The 1.556-inch long motor delivers up to 5.3 oz-inch continuous torque output with speeds up to 8,000 rpm.
One well known coreless motor supplier, Maxon Precision Motors (Burlingame, CA), has a patented moving-coil rotor design where a moving copper coil forms the core of the motor along with the magnet. Maxon claims many advantages, such as high efficiency and acceleration; no magnetic detent; low inductance for longer life; and a linear relationship between voltage/speed, speed, load/speed, and load/current. Other coreless motor suppliers such as API Portescap (Amherst, NY) and MicroMo Electronics Inc. (Clearwater, FL) also tout enormous advantages of coreless technology, claiming that applications are far from exhausted, and predict that coreless technology will have even greater importance in electronically controlled small motors in the future.
Such suppliers almost always note that brush systems are the least durable. Because brushes wear out and must be lubricated, there may be reliability issues. Brushes also take up room and generate particulate matter that is undesirable in some applications. Nonetheless, these suppliers unanimously agree that the only major drawback of coreless technology is the cost compared to more conventional iron-core, brush motors.
| The 1.256-inch long motor gives nearly 3 oz-inch continuous torque with speeds up to 7,500 rpm.
That's where Pittman's new 22-mm iron-core dc brush motor comes in. According to Bob Kish, Pittman's manager of new business development and marketing, many customers use coreless motors, not because their application stipulates a coreless motor, but because they need a small, good quality, and high performance motor. "Many coreless product users have probably considered an iron-core, ceramic-magnet motor, but because it did not meet quality or performance requirements, they feel locked into a coreless solution," says Kish.
But by combining easy-to-make iron-core construction with rare-earth magnets, Pittman claims its 22-mm design delivers similar performance to traditional coreless motors at a substantial cost savings. "We believe we have a breakthrough product here," says Kish, "that, for whatever reason, no one has thought of yet." Unlike most conventional iron-core, ceramic-magnet based brush dc motors, Pittman's 22-mm motor uses a 5-slot skewed armature design, bonded Neodymium magnets, and a torsion spring-based cartridge brush assembly designed to reduce audible and electrical noise and maintain constant brush force throughout the life of the motor. Available in two lengths (1.256 inches and 1.556 inches), Pittman's motor provides up to 5.3 oz-inch continuous torque output with speeds up to 8,000 rpm.
The benefits of coreless technology are something only a small handful of users really take advantage of, explains Kish. Coreless products have extremely low torque losses. Meaning that the no-load current is down in the 2 to 5 mA range. Most iron-core products are ten times that. But not everybody needs very low power consumption under no-load conditions. Most applications run the motor under load. And once you start loading the motor, says Kish, the load current becomes the dominant current consumption. "In terms of performance, under load our motor delivers the same torque-constant value as some coreless products."
Another advantage of coreless products, admits Kish, is extremely low inertia, and high acceleration, which the majority of applications don't require. "While not everyone is willing to pay for those benefits, they do so because most ceramic-magnet based, iron-core motors don't meet quality and performance requirements. Our motor frees engineers from being locked into the expense of coreless solution, when all they really need is a high performance small motor."
Motion controller expands Ethernet support
Mountain View, CA-Galil's DMC-2100 standalone motion controller now supports the Modbus Ethernet protocol, and multimaster and multislave capabilities. These new features take advantage of the Ethernet to provide faster and more efficient communications with less wiring, while expanding the number of input/output (I/O) connections to the controller.
Ethernet is a local area network, which enables connection of several devices, such as PCs, motion controllers, and I/O devices, to a hub or in several hubs at a hardware cost of roughly $30. The 10 Base T (twisted pair), 10 Base F (fiber optic), or 10 Base 2 (coaxial cable) hardware formats can be used to establish this connection. Ethernet is an open platform serial connection protocol. Common languages are TC/PIP or UP/PIP.
"Ethernet is here to stay," says Jacob Tal, president and co-founder of Galil Motion Control. "We will continue to pursue its advantages with new features added to our controllers."
Ethernet is increasingly found in industrial applications due to its high speed; ability to network computers, motors, and hardware over long distances; low cost; and flexibility to minimize wiring, reduce noise sensitivity, and provide unlimited access to I/O. The Ethernet expands the capabilities of the controller, allowing combined control of motion, I/O devices and PLCs.
Modbus is an early, open protocol, meaning it has published specifications. This serial bus was originally developed as the computer interface to Modicon (now Schneider Electric) PLCs. Data is present in input, output, and control relay data registers for communication from a PLC through a communication line to computer. Modbus is widely used for distributed control systems.
According to Dick Caro, Vice President, ARC Advisory Group, Galil is one of many companies making the transition from proprietary buses to Ethernet TC/PIP. He notes, "Many motion control manufacturers have mirrored the movement of industrial automation devices to Ethernet, which often had Modbus interfaces and functioned on RS485 twisted pair links at 1 MB/sec. "With other buses, there was always some kind of incompatibility, a problem with connections or plugs but now you can change chips on a device from RS485 line drivers to an Ethernet chip to gain 10 times the performance without significant cost."
The advantage of DMC-2100's multi-master capability is that it enables multiple computers to talk directly to the controller using Ethernet, enabling a computer to send a motion command at the same time another PC is receiving status information from the controller. With multislave capability, Galil's DMC-2100 is in direct communication to all I/O devices via the Ethernet LAN. This reduces the wiring for each I/O device because it no longer has to plug directly into the controller.
The ability to plug into a corporate LAN and have direct communication to I/O devices has great advantages, namely high speed at low cost, says Caro. But it also comes with a set of problems, but solvable problems, such as establishing safeguards, firewalls, and segmenting the network for control.
Application engineering software producer Think 'N Do (Ann Arbor, Michigan) integrated Galil's Ethernet motion controller into its flow chart environment without code changes. The company's product is a primary control platform for solving logic applications in automated processes, with customers in the PC and chip manufacturing industries.
"We have always been strong proponents of Ethernet and have used the Ethernet connection option over TC/PIP, over Modbus, and other protocols," says Michael Schoonmaker, senior application engineer with Think 'N Do. "The bottom line is that we were successful using the DMC-2100 family without having to change a single line of code in our product. Galil did a good job of integrating its product into a set of driver DLLs, so that the user doesn't know whether it is a physical ISA, PCI board, or an Ethernet connection."
Multiple masters (computers)
Multiple slaves (I/O devices)
BOOT-P utilities for setting
Why Choose Ethernet?
Supports long distance between motors, controllers, and PCs
Reduces noise sensitivity
Expands I/O to controller
Provides unlimited access to I/O
Combines control of motion and PLC
CAD tool limits sheet metal scrap
Pomona, CA-Ahhh....tortilla chips and salsa. The "bread and butter" of any good Mexican restaurant.
But how do food makers get them so thin, light, and crispy?
With a good deep fryer and the sheet metal feature in Solid Edge. At least that is how food processing equipment manufacturer Casa Herrera makes them.
| Using Solid Edge from Unigraphics Solutions, Casa Herrera designed this tortilla chip fryer in five weeks rather than the conventional five months. Frying 1,500 pounds of chips per hour, it is made of all stainless steel.
A Casa Herrera flour- and corn-food products processor is about 30% sheet metal. In the past, mechanical engineers made a top, right, and left view of a part and sent it to the sheet metal specialist who would unfold the part and make a flat pattern drawing. For a typical five-bend sheet metal part such as the side guard for a machine, a specialist needed an entire day to recreate and unfold the part, mostly working with pencil and paper, and generate the drawings using AutoCAD.
Mechanical engineers at Casa Herrera had been using 2D AutoCAD for many years when the company decided it needed to upgrade to a new CAD system that could increase production and limit scrap. "We originally considered add-on software for AutoCAD that would provide just sheet metal unfolding," says Alan D. Flores II, a mechanical design engineer at Casa Herrera. "But one of the vendors suggested Solid Edge from Unigraphics Solutions (St. Louis, MO) so we decided to consider converting to solid modeling."
The company evaluated two other programs as well, but decided to go with Solid Edge because its sheet metal capabilities were more extensive, says Flores.
Today, engineers create solid models of sheet metal parts in Solid Edge Sheet Metal, a self-contained environment for modeling features. The software provides functionality specific to working with sheet metal, such as forming flanges, that is not supported by basic solid modeling tools, notes Flores. Support for thick sheets, mitered corners, and the ability to easily choose a material size when constructing flanges simplify part design.
| A single chip chopper from Casa Herrera.
To speed modeling even further, Casa Herrera purchased a Voyager Program partner application for Solid Edge called SMAP 3D from German-based CAD-Partner GmbH. This program provides a library of commonly used structural sheet metal parts. "Most of our machine frames consist of angle, channel, and square tubing," explains Flores, "These are all in SMAP 3D. We just enter the size and length of part we want and then place the pre-drawn object into the model."
Modeling sheet metal parts as solids requires less of the engineers' time than it took to draw them in AutoCAD, says Flores. More impressive time savings came with the unfolding process, however, which Solid Edge Sheet Metal does automatically. The daylong task of unfolding five pieces manually now takes an hour, which includes the time needed to make flat pattern drawings for the shop.
Jobs that used to take two or three weeks, such as increasing or decreasing the size of an existing machine, now take two or three days, adds Flores. Simple design changes are also accommodated quickly.
Flores cites an example when he needed to create an aluminum side plate with an intricate hole pattern. He took two days to generate the drawings for the plate in AutoCAD. When the design was changed, he took another two days to upgrade it. Later, he modeled that same plate in Solid Edge. Accommodating a design change then became the simple matter of changing the model and spinning off new drawings. This process takes 30 minutes, he says.
Casa Herrera also saves time by using an analysis package from a Solid Edge Voyager Program member. With Cosmos/Edge from SRAC (Los Angeles), the critical forces on machine components, such as a roller on a sheeter head, can be calculated in 30 minutes. This complex analysis would have taken a senior engineer two weeks in the past, the company says.
Because it is so easy to create drawings from solid models, communication with the shop has also greatly improved. "With AutoCAD we had to draw each view from scratch so we made just the basic views," says Flores. "But when a part has already been modeled as a solid, we can drop in as many views as we want: isometric views, front views, or we can zoom in to difficult areas. There is no confusion about the design we are trying to convey." The shop also benefits from the fact that the designers can now detect any interference while in the software stage. Fewer problems show up in the shop because they are spotted and fixed before they get to that point.
"We originally went looking for software that would help us unfold sheet metal parts, but we ended up with Solid Edge," says Flores. "There is no question that its sheet metal capabilities save us a great deal of time. But the other aspects of solid modeling, such as the ability to make as many drawings as we need and check part interferences, are also very helpful. We're not only designing machines faster, we're making them better."
Automotive plastics win again
Wyandotte, MI-The heat of competition couldn't melt these plastics.
Judging from the 23 finalists in the annual parts competition sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineers' Automotive Division, plastics continue to play a winning role in meeting the auto industry's weight, cost, and performance goals. In a search for the most innovative use of plastics, the competition's seven judging categories covered just about every inch of the automobile, highlighting innovative uses of thermoplastics under the hood and on the chassis, exterior, and interior. Here's a look at the winners:
The competition's top honors, as well as the first place award in a category dedicated to processing innovations, went to a polypropylene fan shroud and reservoir assembly found on the 2000 Dodge Durango and Dakota. This reservoir integration technology, or RITec, takes advantage of advances in industrial blow molding to reach new heights in parts consolidation, according to Steve Hinter, product manager for the assembly's supplier, McCord Winn Textron (Madison Heights, MI). The RITec assembly combines fan shroud, front and rear washer-fluid reservoirs, and coolant reservoir into a single component that offers more for less: It weighs 1.1 lb less, costs $1.50/unit less, and takes up less space than comparable individual components. Hiltner adds that the technology offers the potential to integrate other components too, including electric fans, air intake components, bumper beams, and wheel liners. RITec's success rests on a tooling technology that extends traditional 3:1 blow ratios to as high as 12:1, providing a deep enough draw for this large, complex part. Hiltner says this reservoir assembly, which went into production in July after a two-year development, represents the first use of deep-draw technology in both North America and in an automotive application. Montell USA Inc. (Wilmington, DE) supplied the polypropylene.
Powertrain. The active air-intake manifold for the Rover KV6 2.0 and 2.5 liter engine features an internal geometry that varies at different rpm ranges to maximize power and torque. Fifty percent lighter and 30% less costly than previous passive aluminum manifolds, this glass-filled nylon manifold requires only three manufacturing steps: lost core molding of the manifold; ultrasonic welding to attach the flap valves that change the runner lengths within the manifold; and vibration welding to add a plenum cover. And rather than molding the valve frames and flaps separately, the manufacturer, MANN+HUMMEL (Bloomfield, MI), instead overmolds the two components in a single process, first shooting the nylon 6 frame (35% glass-filled) and then molding in the nylon 12 (50% glass-filled) flap. The company takes advantage of the two nylons' differing shrinkage rates to create the clearance between the frame and flap.
Chassis. For the sake of structural support and function integration, the grill opening reinforcement (GOR) made by Visteon Automotive for the Ford Focus relies on metal/ plastic composite technology from Bayer Corp. (Pittsburgh). The technology, which has already seen use in Europe, combines two thin (0.5 mm) steel stampings with a latticework of 30% glass-filled nylon. Joined in an overmolding process that creates mechanical, rather than adhesive, connections, the hybrid employs the plastic to stiffen and stabilize the sheet metal. According to Visteon systems development engineer Eric Sheppard, the compressive, torsional, and flexural strengths of the hybrid all came to 1.8 times those of an all-metal concept initially considered by Ford. What's more, the all-metal concept would have needed a ten-piece, welded construction, creating "tolerance stack-up" problems, Sheppard reports. "The hybrid enabled a dramatic decrease in secondary fit and finish adjustments," Sheppard adds. The hybrid GOR also brought about a 40% weight reduction compared to conventional designs and allowed Ford to integrate 26 connections to 15 mating components.
More winners. In the materials category, DaimlerChrysler won for its use of a Surlyn Reflection Series ionmer alloy (from DuPont) for the Neon 2000's bumper fasciaan automotive first, thanks to weatherable, high-gloss, molded-in color that matches related body components. In the body interior category, Delphi Automotive's full instrument panel for the Bonneville 2000 represents the first North American use of a TPO skin (from Mytex Polymers, Southfield, MI). In the body exterior category, DaimlerChrysler's Smart Car won for its interchangeable body panels, which feature colors molded into PC/PBT (from GE Plastics). In the environmental category, a polyolefin-based TPE with up to 60% post-consumer rubber-from-tires content helped DaimlerChrysler garner environmental honors for the lower radiator seals on the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Hot Spots in Cyberspace
Have a question? Ask an expert
You know that place on your back just between your shoulder blades that itches like crazy -- until you can get someone to scratch it? And you know that project -- that one little thing that is stopping you from finishing? Well, maybe someone else can "scratch" it for you. That's where Ask the Expert at www.designnews.com comes in. Head over to the appropriate channel, click on the "Ask the Expert" button, then click on the "Show Me the Experts" link. Read over some of the questions and answers to see if your problem is listed. If not, click on the expert's name and send off your own request.
Here's a sample from the fastener channel; John Cocco, director, North American Engineering Center, for Loctite is the expert.
Question: Can you suggest an adhesive to bond Delrin (acetal) to itself, which would be resistant to paint related solvents such as acetone or MEK?
Answer: When bonding Delrin to itself I suggest using one of our Prism Cyanoacrylates (Instant Adhesive). The adhesive, 401, gets better bonding strength when used in conjunction with a primer, 770. The acetone will not affect or degrade the cured product; however, it may damage the plastic. MEK is generally used as a clean-up solvent for cured product and therefore would not be the best choice of solvents.
More on how to...
In our quest for knowledge, the Design News editors came up with another site that answers those "how to" questions http://www.how2hq.com. Not only are there "How2" items to select, but there are discussion boards, tutorials, and a community chat center. There's a great section on restoring and collecting autos, the do's and don'ts in applying for a patent, a job search area, even a section with where to get the best deals in customized computers.
Check out the chips...
...and more at National Semiconductor's website http://www.national.com. This provider of systems-on-a-chip silicon solutions allows users to search for products by keyword, product category, or name. In addition, the site offers data sheets served up via a pretty nifty parametric catalog system. Also, look for a resources section with application notes, articles and papers, reading lists, discussion forums, evaluation board, tutorials, diagrams, and component listings. If you have not seen this site lately, check it out.
The new Pod People
Hexapods that is. An online hexapod technology site maintained by Geodetic Technology, http:// www.hexapods.com, has tons of product pages, industry news, applications and case studies, links to auctions and books, and a search engine. There's also a pretty good tool box with a metal and alloy hardness converter, flow calculators, speed and feed charts, and more. The site also offers email updates and an employment page.
There's no bizness like flow bizness...
And if you are in the flow control biz, then you'll want to check out this technical resource site with information on the use, selection, design, and maintenance of process valves, actuators, and controls. There's a technical resource library in a variety of industries, a section on innovations in technology, a resource center, a great list of other sites of interest, industry standards area, and even a chuckles page. So head on over to http://www.flowbiz.com.
Paula Porter, Design News
Senior Web Editor