ITT Industries Hybrid Posi-Lock Quick Connectors. Slip on, latch, and click, and these connectors mate to standard SAE endforms shaped on metal tubing or injection molded components—eliminating push-on or compression fittings and their time-consuming joints. The latest metal-stem (hybrid) version, initially developed for automotive fuel systems, provides metal-to-metal contact for greater strength. The Posi-Lock slips over the male endform, but only if completely seated for full lock travel will the connector's latch grab the integral ring. Locking gives an audible click and tactile feedback of a secure connection. Pressing on the dual retainer tabs allows the latch to slide open and disconnect. For a white paper on this quick connect technology, go to www.designnews.com. (www.ittconnects.com/terminals) Enter 632
RFID COUPLER MONITORS PROCESSES
Colder Products Co. Smart Coupling™ Technology. The RFID tag inside the package-coupling inserts of these quick connections can contain history of container contents—to ensure correct sequencing and quality control. Because engineers could not find an off-the-shelf RFID interrogator (read/update) unit small enough (0.8 inch square) to fit easily on the coupling, they developed a one-chip solution, notes Rick Garber, Smart Technology Business Unit manager. His team used a Microchip Technology PIC microcontroller and developed the firmware. The reader features a small interrogation field, out to 1.5 inches, to avoid inadvertantly reading nearby tags. An overmolded, wrap-round antenna within the insert allows signal pickup under any coupler/insert orientation. (www.colder.com) Enter 633
SHORTER, WITH MORE FLOW
Clippard Instrument Laboratory Minimatic® Jumbo Quick Connect fittings. At just under ½-inch diameter, these fittings strike a balance between larger, more cumbersome quick connects and smaller devices with less flow. Although shorter by about ¼ inch than the company's standard Minimatics, these fittings provide more than twice the flow (14 vs. 3 scfm at 100 psi). The reason: A molded Delrin® poppet valve with an O-ring opening/closing against a circumferential surface, rather than a more obstructing tire-type valve. According to Engineering Manager Rich Boutell, the fitting would have to be twice as long to get the same flow with the conventional valve. (www.clippard.com) Enter 634
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
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.