Wednesday, October 18, 2000
Here's a sample of some of the component innovations that I came
across during my rounds at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in
Chicago's McCormick Place. Most are targeted at helping machine builders bear
down on the competition by reducing size, maintenance, and noise; extending
life; and simplifying designs.
Rexroth Star (rexroth.starlinear.com) announced its
MHS Drive Unit, a combination ball screw and servo drive with a hollow shaft.
The concept links electric drive and mechanical components directly, resulting
in high traverse speeds and precision. The company also displayed the Integrated
Measuring System (IMS) that is insensitive to magnetic fields. It provides
contact-free scanning with reduced maintenance and deterioration. Supplied with
the Star Ball Rail and Roller Rail Systems, IMS combines guiding and measuring
functions in one unit.
THK (www.thk.com)debuted its Type
SRG caged-roller guide which incorporates an elastomeric cage to isolate
rollers. The company claims that by eliminating roller skew and roller-to-roller
contact, the guide reduces contact heat, noise, and maintenance, and extends
Schneeberger (www.schneeberger.com) introduced its
DIN-Machine Modules. Based on pre-aligned, installed, lubricated, and protected
MONORAIL MR-type roller guideways, the ready-to-mount design simplifies machine
building. The modules are available in one- and two-axis configurations.
Engineers can choose from a variety of sizes and options, such as an integral
Thomson Micron (www.thomsonindustries.com)displayed
its Equalizer Planetary Gearhead, which achieves equal load sharing on its
planet gears. The design is 3 to 11% more efficient and has 20% less torque
ripple, 4 to 6 db less noise, and 25% greater torque output. The secret is a
pivoting link, called "swing-link technology," that allows planet gears to
dynamically adjust radial position between the mating sun gear and internal
Gam Gear (www.gamweb.com)
showed its EPL-H Linear Mount. Targeted at belt-driven linear motion systems,
the design uses hollow output/input adapter clamps instead of traditional
shaft-to-shaft coupling components to shorten package length.
Another company talking about innovative coupling techniques was
Rimtec Corp. (www.rimtec.com). It displayed
a magnetic coupler that connects a motor to another device through a wall.
introduced its new Trayflex® 3D, an oil-resistant, multi-conductor cable
targeted at applications requiring continuous flexing, bending, or twisting.
With finely stranded bare copper conductors, a specially formulated PVC/nylon
insulation, and a new oil-resistant elastomeric alloy jacket, this cable
withstands exposure to harsh environments and offers a maximum torsion of +/-
180 degrees and a minimum bend radius of 10x cable diameter.
KabelSchlepp (www.kabelschlepp.com) debuted its new
Quantum cable-management system, which eliminates the noise caused by
hopping--the stepping phenomena resulting from moving a rectangular form around
a radius. In contrast to the Versa and Micro systems which are made of discrete
molded components, Quantum is a single piece of extruded nylon with integral
steel cable reinforcements. The single-piece design handles tight bend radii and
twisting, and is available in polyethylene for high-temperature applications or
where exotic lubricants may be an issue.
Eriez Magnetics (www.eriez.com)
demonstrated another cool magnetic technology. Instead of manual activation, the
Safehold(rm) APL Series permanent-lift magnet uses the lift/lower action to
automatically switch the magnet on and off.