Despite a nor 'easter that disrupted travel from the East Coast to the McCormick Place venue in Chicago, those engineers who did manage to attend this year's National Manufacturing Week (March 5-8) found lots of new technology to take back to their jobs. And no wonder, with 1,850 exhibitors clamoring for their attention.
While several large players were noticeably absent, those companies who ended up commandeered their primo booth space, and others throughout the show floor, highlighted the quality leads they picked up once the stream of attendees began in earnest after Monday's storm.
Here are some of the most interesting products Design News' editors found along these aisles of plenty.
Automation and interconnect industry stalwarts displayed their latest wares. Omron announced Wireless DeviceNet, which communicates to distances of at least 500m (1,660 ft). The product combines spread spectrum, frequency hopping, and antenna diversity (redundancy) to ensure connectivity reliability. (Enter 563)...Phoenix Contact had its new high performance industrial computers on hand. These offer a built-in 10/100 Mbit Ethernet port, processing from 266 to more than 533 MHz, and come in wall-mount/industrial hardened and touch-panel versions. (Enter 564)...WAGO introduced its Series 285 Power Clamp that uses coil-spring technology to connect conductors from 4 AWG to 3/0, that have a current rating of 232A with a rated voltage of 1,000V. An 8-mm T-wrench and tab mechanism frees both hands for conductor insertion. (Enter 565)...Adding to its connectPower family of power supplies, Weidmuller debuted the CP-SNT 160W switchmode power supply. The 6.5A unit fits within 57 mm of DIN rail space, offers load sharing, and up to five of them can be connected in parallel for redundancy or increased current capability. (Enter 566)...The 76 Series metal-housed, rectangular connector additions to Wieland's Miniature Multipole line are geared to compact applications. Their metal hoods and housings are silicon-free and rated to IP 55. The series is vibration resistant for heavy-duty OEM and control uses. (Enter 567)...New in cabling is Olflex's Trayflex® 3D cable, which is an oil resistant, multi-conductor with open wiring approval. The cable is aimed at applications where continuous and simultaneous flexing, bending, and twisting take place. (Enter 568)...Fluke showed it's new 170 Series digital multimeters prices from $169 to $209 (Enter 569).
The 8633 TOP Control shown by Burkert Controlomatic Corp. integrates valve control, pilot valve, and position feedback into a single unit for pneumatically actuated process valves. The single- and double-acting device obtains feedback by either mechanical or inductive positioners. The 8633 fastens directly to the process valve with electrical and pneumatic connections. (Circle 570)...ASCO displayed the IS Piezo valve line. The Piezo valve consists of a multi-layer ceramic arm that produces a change in state when supplied with electricity. It is designed for intrinsically safe environments, has a 50-micron air filter, and is compatible with Fieldbus based systems. (Enter 571)...A new actuator introduced by Bimba Manufacturing is for conveyer stopping applications. The unit's base is the company's EF1 cylinder, which features an anodized coating, a PTFE-impregnated cylinder body, and a self-lubricating nylon shaft bearing. The rod end of the cylinder has a modified mounting flange anchored with four heavy-duty bolts. The flange has a pilot containing an energy-absorbing polymer bearing. (Enter 572)...Parker Hannifin showed the pneumatic sensor interface (ASI) wiring system, designed for low-level pneumatic actuator automation systems. The ASI network handles up to 31 slave devices, with each device controlling four inputs and four outputs (Enter 573).
Materials and adhesives
UFE Inc. has joined forces with Ticona and Universal Technical Systems to create free web-based design software for plastic helical and spur gears. After prompting users for temperature, torque, safety factor, and various sizing inputs, this rules-based software calculates loads and returns the material and design recommendations needed to meet them. (Enter 574)...Polygon Corp. has expanded its line up of continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics, adding PP, PBT, and PET to the TPU it offered in the past. (Enter 575)...Mearthane Products Corp. has built a new production line for cast urethane shock absorbing parts. Also new from the company is a line of electrically conductive solid and foam urethanes. (Enter 616)...BF Goodrich showed its latest overmold materials, including material systems that pair a variety of rigid substrates with EstaGrip TPE. These overmold materials offer hardness levels from 60 to more than 80 Shore A with tear strength up to 429 lb/in2. (Enter 617)...As for rapid prototyping and manufacturing materials, DTM Corp. showed new 420 stainless steel for use in its selective laser sintering machines. Parts made with the material are later infused with bronze for a structure that's 60% stainless and 40% bronze. (Enter 618)...In adhesives news, 3M rolled out two new versions of its well-known VHB adhesive tapes. One of them, VHB 4611, targets high-heat applications with continuous use temperatures up to 400F. Previous VHB tapes topped out at less than 300F. The other tape, VHB 5952, bonds low-surface-energy materials—like polyolefins—without the need for primer (Enter 619).
Design collaboration keynoted the software exhibits, where 3Ga Corp. introduced 3G.web.decisions, allowing engineers to access and reuse parametric CAD and CAE data for browser-based design change recommendations and new product designs. The system generates and accumulates design alternatives in an intelligent database, available over the Web, for simultaneous or separate design evaluation and collaboration. (Enter 620)...PDM developer SmarTeam Inc. debuted SmartBriefcase, several applications based on SmarTeam's XML-based iXF format. With SmartBriefcase, users package data in self-extracting, executable files for exchange with supply chain partners via email, or over the Web. The first application is a Bill of Materials program called SmartBOM. (Enter 621)...Vistagy Inc., showed EnCapta—software that captures non-geometric design data normally stored separately from CAD models, such as design details, cost estimates, engineering change orders, materials specifications, and assembly instructions, and lets them be managed as objects linked to the relevant CAD geometry. (Enter 622)...Immersive Design showed IPA (Interactive Product Animator), which uses web-enabled CAD data to generate such animations as exploding assemblies to communicate design intent to assemblers on the manufacturing floor and field technicians performing maintenance in remote locations. (Enter 623)...Digital Paper launched MyDigitalPaper—a free-of-charge, hosted application solution where customers can evaluate the company's docQuest technical content exchange and collaboration abilities, either on its own or integrated with PDM systems. (Enter 624)...If you're a small or mid-size manufacturer looking for ways to streamline your design cycle, check out Autodesk Streamline, the company's new collaborative service that uses eRoom Technology to create a "digital workplace" where employees, customers, suppliers, and partners can gather for collaborative product development. The company also demonstrated Inventor 4. (Enter 625)...ManufacturingQuote.com showed off its new, collaborative procurement management (CPM) technology, a no-commission, non-auction, e-Procurement service. This is customizable e-Procurement technology for dedicated corporate marketplace implementations. (Enter 626)...MSC. Software presented MSC.Marc, its "virtual manufacturing" tool which uses nonlinear FEA to simulate a product and all the stages of its fabrication, allowing engineers to optimize manufacturability, final shape, residual stress, and life cycle estimates. The company also showed MSC.visualNastran4D, which merges motion, animation, and FEA simulation into a single model system. (Enter 627)...PTC launched Pro/ ENGINEER 2001, featuring more than 400 new capabilities, including better design customization, collaboration, and innovation. (Enter 628)...SolidWorks 2001 is 3D CAD software with time-saving features like a heads-up user interface, simpler design reuse, Smart Part automated repetitive tasks, and Internet collaboration. (Enter 629)...ALGOR Inc. introduced the new KinePak, a kinematic modeling utility that lets engineers figure out the motion of common mechanisms, and check for interference. Its wizard-style interface makes it easy to parametrically build line drawings of mechanisms such as four-bar linkages or toggles, all with click-and-drag animation. (Enter 630)...New from ANSYS was ANSYS 5.7, a nonlinear FEA application capable of simulating single or complex multi-physical phenomena. This latest release allows users to enter ranges-not merely estimated values-of inputs such as material properties, geometric component extensions, external loads, and boundary conditions. (Enter 631)...LMS North America showed its physical and digital prototyping software. They allow engineers to integrate actual test data with virtual prototypes to optimize for dynamic motion, structural integrity, noise and vibration, acoustics, and lifetime fatigue. The products include: DADS 9.6, SYSNOISE 5.5, FALANCS and TecWare 2.10, and OPTIMUS 3.0. (Enter 632)...CADKEY Corp. presented its new CAD architecture, based on object-oriented design and smart hybrid modeling—a combination of 2D, 3D, wireframe, surface, solids, and parametrics. The company also featured the recently released CADKEY 19. (Enter 633)...think3 was showing off thinkdesign 6.0, its "mass-3D" design software which allows engineers at any level to perform product development, conceptual design, engineering, and manufacturing. It features a speech-enabled GUI, smart objects, associative modeling, PDM, and an adventure training game (Enter 634).
By teaming up to simplify motion-system design, motion control suppliers continue to reduce the number of pieces in the motion control puzzle. For example, Pittman introduced its customized ELCOM ST? slotted brushless dc motors with control electronics inside the motor housing. The design is smaller, lighter, and more cost-effective to operate than conventional brushless dc motor products that typically require more complex connections. (Enter 635)...Thomson Airpax Mechatronics showed its new thin 44-mm permanent magnet stepper motor for limited space applications. Applications include electronic assembly equipment such as component delivery systems, tape and label feeders, and precision-testing instrumentation. The compact permanent magnet stepper motor features powerful and precise operation, and low unit pricing of $9.95 in 500 quantity lots. (Enter 636)...Oriental Motor USA Corp. displayed its AXH series brushless dc motor and board-level driver. With motor volume 55% less than comparable ac induction motors, and driver volume 60% less than equivalent power drivers, AXH series achieves higher power density. (Enter 637)...Another compact motor-driver package, the IMS Motor+Driver from Intelligent Motion Systems Inc., is for designers who want the simplicity of a motor with on-board electronics, but without the expense of an indexer on each axis. Price for the high-torque Motor+Driver starts at $113.73 each/100 piece quantity (Enter 638).