Show Stoppers 4-20-98

April 20, 1998

7 Min Read
Show Stoppers 4-20-98

April 20, 1998 Design News


Highlights from the Design Engineering Show

Software soars

NDES '98 filled Chicago's McCormick Place with the latest and greatest from the world of design engineering. Here's a sampling, starting with software. Ashlar Inc. announced the release of Vellum Solids, a hybrid modeling program. This CAD software is based on ACIS solids modeling engine 4.0 and employs Vellum Solids to combine the power of wireframe, surface, and solids modeling?Invention Machine Corp. premiered TechOptimizerTM 3.0 professional edition software, which integrates the functionality of TechOptimizer 2.5 professional edition and the knowledge base of IM-PhenomenonTM, a computer software tool for the automatic creation of scientific and engineering ideas?Unigraphics Solutions (the result of the merger of EDS and Intergraph Software) launched Solid Edge 5.0, the first Parasolid-based version of the product ?SolidWorks introduced SolidWorks 98, featuring new part and assembly modeling features, and more powerful drawing capabilities. ?SRAC introduced COSMOS/Works 4.0, which lets engineers perform analyses of complete SolidWorks assemblies?In the Compaq booth, Parametric Technology Corp. demonstrated DesignWave 2.0. It features concurrent updates, a new Sketch Solver, and modeling improvements. ?Bentley Systems highlighted dynamic assembly modeling, a result of the integration of Mechanical Dynamics' ADAMS 3D constraint solver into Bentley's MicroStation Modeler ?IBM/Dassault Systemes previewed CATIA Version 5. With a single system scaleable architecture across both Windows NT and UNIX platforms, the package will enable the capture and reuse of design intent, process specifications, and intelligence ?MICROCADAM played host to Bob Ballard, Space Cruiser program manager at Vela Technology Development. Vela is using MICROCADAM's HELIX software to design the first space vehicle developed for people not payloads. ?Solid Concepts displayed SolidView 3.0, which enables anyone with a Windows PC to view, measure, and mark up CAD data ?CADKEY 97 Release 2 from Baystate Technologies offers advanced solid modeling without complex constraint tools, solid model creation and freeform editing, detailing productivity enhancements, and tablet support ?Visionary Design Systems unveiled IronCAD, a Windows-native 3D solid modeling package with drag-and-drop features that let users drag 3D data from graphical catalogs with or without parameterized deisgn intent ?The MacNeal-Schwendler Corp. debuted the first release of MSC/InCheck for Solid Edge. It includes stress, vibration, buckling, heat-transfer, and shape-optimization capabilities in a Windows interface ?Engineers wanting to do drop tests of their designs will find the capability in a new ANSYS release. The capability is the result of a joint effort between ANSYS and Livermore Software Corp. .

Motion-control innovations

Pittman unveiled the ELCOMr II series 4400 slotless, brushless dc motors that combine brushless longevity and slotless performance with low-cost brush manufacturability ?Oriental Motor introduced its "World Standard Series" ac motors that are compatible with the voltages of all major regions and conform to world standards such as UL, CSA, CE, TUV, and EN/IEC ?Another motor on display was Thomson Airpax Mechatronics's new 15-mm permanent-magnet stepper motor ?On the controls side, Boston Gear added three new units to its ac motor controller family ranging from 1/4 through 30 hp ?And IMS's new 1.5-axis modular motion controller provides designers with distributed control and flexibility to expand as the system evolves ?igus's DryLinr T linear guide replaces conventional rolling elements with friction elements that operate lubrication free in moist environments ?Other noteworthy bearing products introduced at the show include Thomson Industries' JIS (Japanese industrial standard) Metric Super Smart Ball Bushing linear bearings and pillow blocks?Also at the show, Schenck Trebel introduced the VIBRO-IC "intelligent" machine monitoring system, which can learn a machine's normal operation behavior, anticipate when an abnormality is about to occur, diagnose the potential problem, and initiate corrective action ?And on the fluid-power side, Ingersoll-Rand unveiled new two-stage, engine-driven reciprocating compressors. Both use 9- and 11-hp Kawasaki engines for quieter, smoother, and more-fuel-efficient operation .

An electronics cornucopia

Reliance Electric showed its award-winning IQ Intelligent Motor, and introduced the GB3000 SE sensorless enhanced drive, which combines V/Hz, sensorless vector, and closed-loop flux vector capabilities in a single unit ?To meet industry demand for larger industrial flat-panel displays, Allen-Bradley added a 15-inch TFT (thin-film-transistor) display option to its popular line of industrial computers, as well as a PCI interface card for running soft control applications on DeviceNet ?Omron also jumped on the DeviceNet bandwagon with compatible temperature-sensor input and high-resolution analog I/O terminals ?Daniel Woodhead Company introduced a continuous 3608 shield to its Brad Harrison line of products. The shield prevents electrical noise from corrupting signals, even through mating connections ?Beau Interconnect announced Series 86 and 87 Eurostyler pc-board headers for convection or vapor-phase soldering. The through-hole terminal-block headers use a polymer to achieve a 250C process temperature rating and are compatible with "pin and paste" and intrusive reflow techniques ?BEI Sensors & Systems Co., Encoder Systems Div. unveiled the LIE5 Series of optical linear encoders, developed under the company's business alliance with Carl Zeiss. The encoders can travel at faster traversing speeds, the company says, and have accuracies to 1 micron/m ?National Instruments presented modules that connect CompactPCI systems to communications networks for use in industrial automation applications?Fluke showed its latest test and measurement products on the show floor by literally dropping them to demonstrate robustness. The units included ScopeMetersTM, whose large LCDs give the users waveform shapes as well as digital data, and new digital multimeters that feature larger displays for long-distance viewing?Debuting from efector was a range of AS-i products that allows the firm's switches and sensors to be interconnected on a simple two-wire bus. The line is geared for inexpensive direct replacement of parallel-wired PLC-based systems while providing high speeds via 4-bit/node data packets ?C&K Components announced the KN Series of ultra-miniature tactile switches for portable electronics. The switches stand 1.63-mm (side actuated) and 2.5-mm (top actuated) tall. Made of high-temperature thermoplastic, the devices withstand surface-mount reflow soldering ?To provide economical power, Phoenix Contact displayed its new Quint Series of 24V dc switching power supplies. Aimed at the instrumentation market and other applications where conditioned power is vital, a power-factor-correction option meets CE requirements for harmonic distortion.

Materials mecca

NDES was definitely the place to be to catch up on materials advances. Norton Performance Plastics introduced a softer micro-cellular urethane foam that requires less force to compress and maintain a seal ?Howmet Corp. introduced VitreloyTM alloys invented by scientists at Caltech and marketed by Amorphous Technologies International (ATI). Howmet is combining this alloy with its proprietary casting processes to provide a die-casting process that results in near-net shape investment casting of reactive alloys ?A new Seal Design Guide from Apple Rubber Products Inc. provides information on basic concepts of seal design and includes sections on applications and troubleshooting ?Rogers Corp. introduced PORONr solid silicone materials for fire- and heat-resistant pads and seals, high- and low-temperature gaskets and cushions, and radiant heat shields ?LNP Engineering Materials displayed the Guestr D-Icer, a water-circulation unit that prevents the formation of ice around a boat or dock, made from Vertonr MFX long-glass-fiber-reinforced polypropylene ?Shell Chemical Co. explained how its Carilonr polymers were used as a 15% glass-filled grade in place of a glass-filled acetal homopolymer in Nalge Nunc Int'l's UnwireTM test tube racks. The original material used to make the racks was creating fumes, causing watery eyes, and sinus irritation in lab workers when the material was exposed to high heat ?DuPont Krytoxr performance lubricants introduced the Krytox XP line of lubricants formulated with soluble additives ?Groendyk Mfg. Co. Inc. offered custom-produced and -molded rubber sponge components in EPDM, nitrile, natural, and neoprene polymers ?Stevens Urethane presented ST-1796 and ST-1776 grades of flame-resistant thermoplastic polyurethane, with suit applications requiring flame-resistant thin films such as fire-fighting gear and life vests.

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