At the Pack Expo West show in Las Vegas next month, Danaher Corp. will be making its first major product announcement since it went on a buying spree a few years back, acquiring well-known companies in the motion arena like Pacific Scientific, Kollmorgen, and Warner Electric. These former competitors got together, and using their collective engineering acumen, developed a new brushless servo motor, known as the AKM line, which will be marketed under the Kollmorgen label. What's notable about the new motor? For one thing, it's leveraging technology that Pacific Scientific originally developed for the Segway—one of the most challenging apps for motors around, say company engineers. But that's only part of the story. "One goal was to try and get as much torque as possible in the smallest possible package," says John Stroup, Group Executive, Danaher Motion. Stroup says that in tests against competitive motors, the new AKM exhibited about 30% higher torque density. He wouldn't reveal exactly how engineers did it, but it's likely they played games with windings, magnets, and slot fill. Another goal was to develop a cell-based manufacturing strategy to make up to 12,000 different versions from a standard motor platform. The strategy reduces the likelihood that an engineer will need to order a custom product, avoiding any additional charges, says Stroup. He also expects lead times to drop significantly.
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
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