Design News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Product News

Product News

Karen Auguston Field on Power Transmission No magnets, but LIMs attract attention anyway

If the Motion Control Expo can figure out how to keep the momentum going, it's going to be a good show for engineers interested in motion technologies. Held this year in conjunction with the SAE Automotive Manufacturing Conference & Exposition, May 11-13 in Detroit, traffic definitely was up.

Admittedly, it's not a place to find too many brand spanking new products. Most companies already unveiled their latest and greatest at either the National Design Show in March or the Hannover Fair in April. But what this show does offer is a focus on motion control technology. Traffic is moderate enough that at most booths you can find an applications engineer who is willing to spend some time with you. Also, since the International Robots & Vision Show is literally next door, attendees can stroll over and see some really cool applications using the products they just saw at the Motion Expo.

Though I saw many interesting products (a sampling is included in this section), my pick-of-the-show has got to be Baldor's ac linear induction motor (LIM). Well, not the motor per se, but the fact that engineers paired the motor with Baldor's flux vector drive (complete with new algorithms) to achieve variable speed and closed-loop control for servo-like performance.

You could tell by the looks on many faces passing by Baldor's booth that people were thinking: "What's an induction motor doing in a place like this?" And, in fact, you can't blame them. Since a LIM operates under the same principles as a standard, low-cost squirrel cage motor, it's hard to believe you can get positioning accuracy or repeatability anywhere close to servo.

But you can, says Baldor's Roger Bullock. "It all relates to the resolution of the encoder. I can put a 0.10 micron scale on my vector drive and match the performance of any servo."

Best yet, a LIM can do it for a lot less money, says Bullock since the permanent magnets account for the lion's share of the cost of a linear motor, and LIMs have no magnet. That's good news for applications involving stages longer than about 24 to 36 inches, though Bullock points out that LIMs cost less, whatever the stage length.

And since the only magnetic force present is the current flowing directly between the coil and reaction plate, there is no problem with metal chips a major issue with metal-cutting machine tools.

Accelerations of 1g are well within the requirements of machine tools. High accelerations are problematic for equipment designers because they introduce tremendous dynamic forces into the machine. More mass is typically required to offset these forces, but designers also seek to minimize weight.

Technically, the product appears to have merit. Baldor's biggest hurdle may well be to educate the market, where perceptions about LIMs make many engineers quick to rule them out as too-low-tech.

Baldor Electric Co.
Box 2400
Fort Smith, AR 72902
FAX (501) 648-5792.


The IP57B planetary gearbox offers integer ratios, low backlash, and up to a 10:1 ratio in a single stage. These NEMA size 23 gearboxes are available with five stock ratios from 5 to 100:1, nine standard ratios from 4 to 500:1, and 34 optional ratios from 3 to 1,000:1. Typical life exceeds 5,000 operating hours, which can be extended beyond 10,000 hours with optional upgraded bearings. The gearboxes are primarily fitted to brushed and brushless dc and stepper motors for factory automation, medical, process control, and scientific instruments.

API Motion Inc.
45 Hazelwood Dr.
Amherst, NY 14228
FAX (716) 691-9181.


STREAM SHIELDTM EMI vents provide 50 dB shielding effectiveness at 10 GHz. The vents' frame thickness is 0.032 inch. Honeycomb thickness of STREAM SHIELD vents is 0.250 inch, and panels are available in straight honeycomb and in "Omni" form, in which two 0.125-inch layers of honeycomb are combined at right angles to each other, reducing polarization leakage. Inside the frames, knitted wire mesh provides a low impedance bond with the honeycomb.

Div. of Parker Hannifin
77 Dragon Ct.
Woburn, MA 01888
FAX (781) 935-4318.


The HW1E Series unibody emergency stop switches meet all global standards, including EN418, and are available in both illuminated and non-illuminated models. Featuring non-removable buttons, HW1E switches cannot be disabled by an operator. Tamperproof, IEC-style mounting means HW1E switches cannot be removed from the exterior of a control panel as well. In addition, contacts cannot be teased open or closed, and the head and bezel shape prevent inadvertent disabling of switches.

Idec Corp.
1175 Elko Dr.
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
FAX (408) 744-9055.

Thermocouple wire

Thermocouple- and extension-grade wire is available from stock pre-spooled in the following sizes: 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1,000 ft. All wire is clearly identifiable through the traditional ANSI standard color coating. Different insulations meet a host of temperature ranges and environmental conditions.

OMEGA Engineering Inc.
Box 4047
Stamford, CT 06907
FAX (203) 359-7700.

Threadlocking adhesive

The 294 low-viscosity anaerobic threadlocking adhesive maintains its strength while withstanding continuous exposure to temperatures more than 450F over thousands of hours. The adhesive performs on oily fasteners, and does not break down on long-term exposure to solvents such as gasoline, brake fluid, and ethanol. The adhesive is targeted for wicking into pre-assembled components.

Loctite Corp.
1001 Trout Brook Crossing
Rocky Hill, CT 06067
FAX (860) 571-5465.


Coiled tubing can be specified with various parameters, including material, such as nylon, polyurethane, or Teflon; color, including clear; and outer coil diameter. Replaceable or permanently attached fittings can be provided, and the tubing is available from stock in sizes from 1/16 to 5/8 inch I.D.

NewAge Industries Inc.
Plastics Technology Group
2300 Maryland Rd.
Willow Grove, PA 19090
FAX (215) 657-6594.

Intelligent drive

The Programmable Servo Logic Controller (PSLC) combines servo controller and PLC functionality. Commands via RS-232 provide motion control for a single brushless or brush-type motor along with logic control for seven inputs and five outputs. The drive delivers up to 12A @ 24 to 80V peak power, has short circuit protection, and emergency and event handling. Targeted at distributed-control applications, the unit uses an embedded 386 CPU that allows supervisory control of up to 32 slave servo drives over an RS-485 multi-drop bus.

Logosol Inc.
1155 Tasman Dr.
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
FAX (408) 744-0977.

Podded cable

Podded cable combines power, signal, motor control, pneumatic or hydraulic lines, and data transmission cables in one package. The individual components remain isolated for shielding effectiveness or routability. When properly applied, the podded cable can eliminate the need for cable track or conduit systems. The reduced profile of podded cable allows large round cables to be combined, creating low-profile cables for higher flex products in smaller vertical spaces.

C&M Corp. USA
Box 348
Wauregan, CT 06387
FAX (860) 774-7330.

Monitor arm kit

Monitor arm kit with keyboard and mouse holder is a hinged monitor support that provides additional workspace on the workstation, and mounts to any profile that has a 10-mm t-slot. The hinged design allows the monitor to be moved in and out of the workplace and viewed from virtually any position. A pull-out keyboard holder attaches to the monitor holder, while the mouse holder mounts to the side of the monitor shelf and provides a location for a computer mouse.

Bosch Automation Technology
Box 2025
Racine, WI 53401
FAX (414) 554-7117.

Invisible film

Proprietary thin-film, Class 10,000 clean-room welding system produces a thin polyurethane film with an "invisible" seam. The process claims weld strengths up to 2,500 psi for films ranging from 1 to 10 mil thicknesses in sizes up to 18 3 24 inches. Applications include organ bags, oversized pressure cuffs, medical instrument and scope covers, protective barrier sleeves, specimen and tissue bags, and male/female prophylactic devices.

Polyzen Inc.
115 Woodwinds Industrial Ct.
Cary, NC 27511
FAX (919) 319-8428.

Cable carrier

The Series 2208 TwisterChain, a cable carrier for rotary applications, is available with a standard vertical radius of 150 mm (5.91 inches) and a circumference of 300 mm (11.81 inches). Inner height is 28 mm (1.10 inches). Typical applications include pick-and-place, paint-line, arc-weld robots, and any compact rotary application.

igus inc.
Box 14349
East Providence, RI 02914
FAX (401) 438-7270.

90 degree cable connector

Skintop SRW is a liquid-tight, non-metallic, 90 degree elbow strain relief cable connector with a PG thread. For quick installation, the connector also has a large variable clamping range. Target applications include automated equipment, control cabinets, panel boxes, and enclosures.

Olflex Wire & Cable Inc.
30 Plymouth St.
Fairfield, NJ 07004
FAX (973) 575-1267.

Flex cables

PVC control cables feature a bend radius of 5X cable diameter (unshielded) and 8X cable diameter (shielded). For small-volume applications the cable is available in lengths of 100, 500, and 1,000 ft. Applications include machine tools, automated systems, and materials handling systems.

Alpha Wire Co.
711 Lidgerwood Ave.
Elizabeth, NJ 07207
FAX (908) 925-6923.

John Lewis on Motion Control


All SmartMotors integrate controller, amplifier, encoder, PLC, power supply, and a network manager into a brushless dc servomotor. The Variable Resolution Encoder (VRE), now available on sizes 23 and 34, lets users reprogram to increase resolution to as much as 256,000 counts/revolution. At speeds in excess of 5,000 rpm, 256,000-count resolution is retained.

Animatics Corp.
3050 Tasman Dr.
Santa Clara, CA 95054
FAX (408) 748-8725.

Ferrara speaks out on adhesives


DurabondTM metallic adhesives and putties form bonds and repairs for applications to 2,000F. The metallic composites are inorganically bonded and chemically cured, and do not contain epoxies or silicones. The adhesives and putties are filled with selected metal powders to adhere to metals, ceramics, glass, and dissimilar metals. Applications include use in repairing cracked metal housings, exhaust manifolds, molds, dies, boilers, pipes, and fittings.

Cotronics Corp.
3379 Shore Pkwy.
Brooklyn, NY 11235
FAX (718) 646-3028.


The S Series Robotte combines a ball screw with spline mounted on a single hollow shaft. The resulting screw can move in both straight and rotating directions, offering versatile and compact actuation. The Robotte's hollow shaft provides a lighter weight, and the hollow can also be used for wiring and piping. Applications include use in manufacturing medical devices, and with robots including Scara, Cartesian, and desktop types.

NSK Corp.
Precision Products Div.
250 Covington Dr.
Bloomington, IL 60108
FAX (630) 924-8197.

Chuck Murray picks fluid power products


Electro Proportional Valvistor (EPV) Series valves feature high repeatability and provide high dynamic performance with no need for feedback loops and associated electronics. The valve family is available in a variety of sizes for flows up to 250 l/min (66 gpm) and pressures up to 280 bar (4,000 psi) NFPA rated. Applications include paving and mobile equipment, where precise control of velocity and position is desirable.

Vickers Inc.
3000 Strayer
Maumee, OH 43537
FAX (248) 641-4232.

Mobile valve

M400LS load-sensing directional control valve is for use in closed-center hydraulic systems with variable-displacement pumps. The valve's housing is cast as a monoblock, thus reducing the number of components while simplifying installation and service. Originally designed for a line of wheel loaders, it is targeted for use in scoop trams, fork lift trucks, and other large mobile hydraulic applications.

Parker Hannifin Corp.
Mobile Systems Div.
595 Schelter Rd.
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
FAX (847) 821-7600.

Rod clamp

Amlok pneumatic Series RCP rod clamps address pneumatic control problems such as over travel, drifting, bouncing, and reverse travel. The clamps can be mounted on NFPA cylinders or used with no cylinder at all, and their high locking force will hold a rod in any position. Since clamping is accomplished through spring force, any drifting caused by lack of air pressure is not possible.

Advanced Machine & Engineering Co.
2500 Latham St.
Rockford, IL 61103
FAX (815) 964-1446.

Laurie Toupin picks computers products


The software's aim is to bring CAE to the masses. Its Windows-based graphical interface guides users through tolerance practices including worst case, statistical, six sigma, and Monte Carlo methods to solve linear and non-linear and 1, 2, and 3D assembly problems. All groups throughout the enterprise can communicate and collaborate about critical tolerance issues early on, as well as throughout product development. TolStack for PCs runs on Windows 95/98/NT. Both single-set and network installations are available.

TolStack Inc.
Box 964
Eden, UT 84310
FAX (801) 745-1676.

Mold CAE software

Moldflow Plastics Insight (MPI) is an integrated suite of CAE analysis software that allows users to optimize plastic part and mold design and machine processing conditions during the design stage. Programs include such features as a fully integrated and consistent environment for midplane, FUSIONTM and 3D tetrahedral meshes, intelligent analysis wizards, and web-based communications capabilities.

Moldflow Corp.
91 Hartwell Ave.
Lexington, MA 02421
FAX (781) 674-0267.

Chemical reactions on the Internet

[email protected] gives engineers access to pre-solved computational fluid dynamic (CFD) flow simulations from the FLUENT software coupled with PFD Reaction software for prediction of the reactor system chemistry. [email protected] focuses on simulation of chemical reactors where complex chemical syntheses are carried out.

Fluent Inc.
10 Cavendish Ct.
Centerra Resource Park
Lebanon, NH 03766
FAX (603) 643-3967.

CAE software

ST-ORM software takes input parameter uncertainties into account when performing CAE calculations. The CAE software generates a statistical cloud of analytical results that depicts physical reality. This technology allows design engineers to evaluate the robustness of their testing to determine what testing criteria and manufacturing tolerances are required to meet performance specifications.

EASi Engineering Inc.
2025 Concept Dr.
Warren, MI 48091
FAX (810) 467-2414.

Graphics designer suite

iGrafxTM Designer suite helps users create technical graphics as well as web and presentation graphics through Microgra Designer(R) and Picture Publisher(R). The Designer suite will import and export 55+ file types from the most common platforms including DWG, DXF, DGN, CGM, IGS, EPS, PDF, PSD, TIF, GIF, JPG, and VSD, allowing users to leverage existing files from within the company and from creative agencies outside. Users can create any type of technical illustration, plan, or schematic with industry-standard page templates for ANSI, ISO, and DIN and tools for creative as well as CAD standard drawing methodologies.

1303 E. Arapaho Rd.
Richardson, TX 75081
FAX (972) 994-6227.

Computer adaptor

For the international traveler, the 10W PSA-10A adaptor measures 85 3 54 3 19.8 mm small enough to fit neatly in a shirt pocket. When needed, the user flips out the integral connector and plugs into any standard 2-prong NEMA wall outlet. A 1m-long cable with a standard 2.1 3 5.5-mm coaxial plug provides power. The PSA-10A, intended for computer, computer peripheral, and portable instrument applications including laptop computers and portable fax machines, incorporates 90 to 264V ac universal input.

Phihong USA
48607 Warm Springs Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94539
FAX (510) 445-1678.

Real-time collaboration

ActiveProjectTM 5.0 allows live web conferencing and application sharing so global project teams can stay informed without traveling. No knowledge of HTML or web programming is necessary. ActiveProject web sites serve as a bi-directional portal for all team members, proving tracked communications and secure, easy access to project information regardless of a user's location, application, or platform. Documents, CAD files, schedules, spreadsheets, photos, database queries, and other Web-enabled applications can be drag-and-drop published.

Framework Technologies Corp.
23 Third Ave.
Burlington, MA 01803
FAX (781) 270-5023.

ESD plastic

Semitron(R) electrostatic dissipative (ESD) 520 HR plastic has a tensile modulus of 800,000 psi and a heat deflection temperature at 264 psi of 520F. With a surface resistivity of 10+10 to 10+12 ohms/sq, the material minimizes the risk of cross-talk. Plastic stock shapes are available for semiconductor manufacturing, testing equipment, and other critical ESD components.

DSM Engineering Plastic Products Inc.
Box 14325
Reading, PA 19612
FAX (610) 320-6868.

Gary Chamberlain picks material products


These resins could change the rules about the traditional balance of high-impact polystyrene properties. A patented technology for the production of high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) will result in the marketing of a family of resins called STYRONTM A-TECHTM advanced technology polystyrene. The products will balance various properties, such as toughness, gloss, stiffness, or flow not previously available in polystyrene, says Dow Global Market Manager Jeff Denton. He predicts that customers will realize better overall value in injection-molded, extruded, and thermoformed parts with the resins. Applications include: appliances, toys, consumer electronics, and packaging.

The Dow Chemical Co.
Customer Service Group
Midland, MI 48674
FAX (517) 636-3368.

Electronics film

PEN 2000-127 glossy black grade of Kaladex(R) PEN film can deliver aesthetic and functional advantages in flexible circuit substrates, loudspeaker parts, and other components. Used on one side of flexible circuits, the film provides a visual cue for proper assembly and can improve heat dissipation. For loudspeakers, offers appearance benefits, while providing a barrier against heat and moisture. UL relative thermal index (RTI) values are 180C for electrical and 160C for mechanical.

DuPont Polyester Films
Box 80027
Wilmington, DE 19880.

Enhanced digitizer/analyzer

The LSA1000 enhanced waveform digitizer/analyzer has increased bandwidth (from 750 MHz to 1 GHz), and features two input channels with 1 GSample/sec digitizing rate on each channel. An acquisition memory option allows selection of up to 4 Mbytes of memory per channel. A sequence mode enables deadtime between acquisitions to be 0 msec, and users can choose between ECL or TTL external triggering. An integrated 10/100Base-T Fast Ethernet interface facilitates computer communication. A 96-MHz PowerPC processor performs many standard waveform analyses onboard that would previously been done on the host computer. Applications include data acquisition, analysis, and test systems.

LeCroy Corp.
Embedded Signal Analysis
700 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977
FAX (914) 578-5985.

Low-pressure transducer

The Ashcroft(R) XLdp is a sensitive variable-capacitance transducer with a micromachined silicon diaphragm. Deflecting only microns, it enables measurement and control of very low pressure and gas flows as low as 30 ft/min. The silicon-glass sensor is made of sputtered metals and glass molecularly bonded to silicon, with no epoxies or other organics to contribute to drift or degradation. Applications include energy management, medical, industrial, and aerospace, such as operating-/clean-room pressurization, leak detection, and combustion airflow.

Dresser Industries
Instrument Div.
250 E. Main St.
Stratford, CT 06497
FAX (203) 385-0357


Model 355B03 ICP(R) ring accelerometer features a low-profile ring configuration with through-bolt mounting to permit installation in confined locations and achieve the desired location of the 10-32 electrical connector. Housed in titanium, the miniature 5/8 3 0.4-inch unit is hermetically sealed and electrically ground-isolated, and weighs 10 gm. The high-output, shear, piezoceramic sensing element generates 100 mV/g through a frequency range of 0.6 to 12,000 Hz, while built-in, low-noise electronics allow operation from constant-current signal conditioners.

PCB Piezoelectronics Inc.
Shock and Vibration Sensors Div.
3425 Walden Ave.
Depew, NY 14043
FAX (716) 684-0987.


Hot and colored capillary thermostats provide a temperature control solution for a variety of commercial and consumer heating and refrigeration applications. Available in manual or automatic reset models, the hot and cold capillary thermostats have UL, CSA, and VDE approval, and are available in a selection of preset temperature ranges and differentials.

Selco Products Co.
709 N. Poplar St.
Orange, CA 92868
FAX (714) 712-6222.

Pc-board shielding

EZ Peel shielding cans have removable lids for access to board-level components. The shields have solid, scored tops, allowing them to be peeled off without damaging the board or contents and eliminating desoldering. A simple hook scriber or tweezers, inserted into a small starter hole, removes the lids with 1.5-lb force. A flat or self-locating metal lid is soldered in place to reseal the cans.

Instrument Specialties
Box 650
Delaware Water Gap, PA 18327
FAX (570) 424-6213.

Rick DeMeis picks electronic products


ULTRAstickTM heat-conducting interface uses a handheld applicator to apply the solid, silicon-free material to both heat sink and electronic component surfaces. At 60C, the material undergoes a phase change to a liquid that displaces air and fills voids in the contact area. The material replaces thermal greases for applications in digital and power electronics, where, the company says, it provides 20% better thermal conductivity and long-term reliability, due to lack of migration typical of greases. Mounting pressure can range from 5 to 200 psi.

Aavid Thermal Products
143 N. Main St.
Suite 206
Concord, NH 03301
FAX (603) 223-1738.

Jean Young Gonzalez picks electronic products


Micro Path Series B non-contact, laser linear encoders operate in reflection. Their design provides 10-nm resolution with 4-resolution digital selection; 2-nm repeatability; high pitch and yaw tolerances; differential quadrature outputs to 20 MHz; and accuracy of plus or minus 1.5 micron. Point source diffraction effects are used to sense displacement, accomplished with a minimum of components. Position measurements are oblivious to stage run out, atmospheric effects, and scale contaminants. Applications include microscopy, fiber optics, optical recording, IC test equipment, inspection equipment, and metrology.

86 Gibson Rd.
Templeton, CA 93465
FAX (805) 434-2845.

MEMS accelerometers

LF Series single- and three-axis accelerometers are plus or minus 1 and 2g accelerometers with dc to 100 Hz bandwidth. A noise floor of 100 mg/Hz delivers resolution on very small signals. The devices integrate bulk micromachined, triple-silicon-layer capacitive sensing elements (having total noise from 1.2 to 1.5 m grms) with signal conditioning ASICs. Operation is on 5V dc or 8 to 30V dc unregulated. Applications include inertial measurements, vibration sensing, automotive testing, and precision tilt/sway and orientation measurement.

41 E. Daggett Dr.
San Jose, CA 95134
FAX (408) 324-4840

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.