Researchers at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany
are investigating whether the load-life calculations for ball-screw actuators used routinely by engineers are applicable in machine designs that involve repetitive moves, short strokes, and quick thrust build-up over a fraction of revolution. "The equations were developed several decades ago when there were less sophisticated techniques available to determine the behavior of rolling elements and their impact on wear," says George Jaffe, Executive Vice President of Steinmeyer, Inc., a maker of ball screw actuators and motion systems. "Now we have the tools to develop more refined models that take into account things like the impact side loads, ball spacers, and various lubricants have on ball screw life." To support this effort, Steinmeyer is providing sample products and technical assistance to the research team. "Engineers can still use the existing equations, they just need to recognize that they're making a 'best estimate,'" says Jaffe.
The supply chain will change significantly over the next 10 years as industry 4.0 technology enhances supply chain performance, according to the 2015 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Supply Chain Innovation — Making the impossible possible.”
United Launch Alliance will fly 3D-printed flight hardeware parts on its rockets starting next year with the Atlas V. The company's Vulcan next-gen launch vehicle will have more than 100 production parts made with 3D printing. The main driver? Parts consolidation and 57% lower production costs.
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