Magnets let this cable carrier float within its track
You may be tempted to lump all cable carriers together because their differences tend to be subtle ones related to the geometry of their links and their use of wear-resistant materials. At the fair, though, Igus GmbH demonstrated a carrier with a high-tech twist that was hard to miss. The company debuted a "magnetic energy chain" that floats within its own track.
To turn an ordinary energy chain into a maglev system, Igus installed magnetic modules on both sides of a fixed track and embedded pieces of iron in the plastic links of the chain itself. The result: a reduced-contact cable carrier that moves quickly with lower forces, less wear and reduced noise. The lower half can optionally be fitted with magnetic modules too, opening up the possibility of a chain with still greater wear resistance and whose top and bottom halves can move independently. According to Frank Blase, the company's chief executive officer, the magnetic system can move at speeds up to 15 m/sec, carrying loads of up to 4 kg/m of chain. A chain with 40m of travel, the maximum for this system, can accelerate as quickly as 90 m/s2, Blase adds. "That's impossible with any other carrier system today."
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
Norway-based additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is building what it says is the first industrial-scale 3D printing plant in the world for making aerospace-grade metal components. The New York state plant will produce 400 metric tons each year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium parts.
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