Planetary wheel failure was a vexing issue for the U.S. Marine Corps.’ Light Armored Vehicles, partially because these failures couldn’t be predicted. Wireless temperature and vibration sensors from Solidica Inc. of Ann Arbor, MI, made it possible to monitor the wheels without the difficult task of routing wires through the water-tight hull. The Solo sensor device, which includes a Freescale Semiconductor MMA7260QT accelerometer, dynamically monitors both temperature and vibration. Wireless communication also lets the USMC alter the embedded algorithms as the vehicles move into different operational environments and has built-in signal conditioning and alert prognostic algorithms. Ruggedization is a key factor, since the sensors get drenched when the vehicles drive through water.
Siemens and Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology have achieved a faster production process based on selective laser melting for speeding up the prototyping of big, complex metal parts in gas turbine engines.
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