Plenty of engineers know about the mechanical property advantages of thermoplastic urethanes, or TPUs. These materials usually exhibit a powerful combination of abrasion resistance, high tear strengths, and wide service temperature ranges. What's less well known is how much these properties improve with the dry-heat annealing of the finished parts. This post-curing step typically improves tensile and tear properties by 10-20 percent, according to data from specialty compounder RTP Company. Temperatures for the annealing vary with the specific TPU, but they commonly fall between 212 and 248F. Annealing times can range from 12 hours to as much as 14 days. For more information, visit http://rbi.ims.ca/3849-525.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.