The military discovered a few years back that it could save money by buying commercially available products off the shelf. Thus, an acronym was born. Sometimes, however, even manufacturers without a military's purchasing might must procure specials. Some vendors take great strides to accommodate this business, as two of these examples attest. Before you know to go special, though, it pays to have a maker's help in sifting through the catalogs. As the third example here shows, at least one bearing maker has made that job a little easier.
Custom air power
The cylinder maker has set up a special microsite where designers in search of custom cylinders can find solutions. Here, Bimba lists applications by industry, including a vast expanse of detailed examples that stretch from assembly to wood processing. The site posts an online RFQ form as well. The company says nearly half of its actuator business is custom or semi-custom. The site highlights a particular application which it updates periodically. For more about Bimba's custom program, dubbed Solutions Shop, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4399-518.
Put a spring in
Manufacturers can tap into the machined-spring expertise available at Helical Products Co. while continuing to build to their own internal standards. Helical will apply its proprietary machining methods to a manufacturer's product to create flexibility where over-rigidity currently exists. In this way, a manufacturer can add flexibility to a part whose dimensions might preclude the use of a commercial coupling, for example. A few loops cut into a part will accommodate mild misalignment while a bunch of them lets a shaft transfer rotation around a corner without a gearbox, the company says. For more on Helical's custom program, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4399-517.
Finding your bearing
Designers can access a wealth of bearing information through SKF's interactive engineering catalog, including a full listing of plain and rolling-element bearings, seals, product data, and a complete set of relevant calculations. A search feature allows the designer to specify performance criteria and narrow his catalog choices. Another feature couples bearing styles to application images and their sectional views. For the SKF catalog, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4399-519.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
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.