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.


Articles from 1997 In May

Drone Patrol

Drone Patrol

You cannot sink a battleship with a UAV."* This remark, attributed to the operator of a Pioneer unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during the Persian Gulf War, relates to the rather haphazard method used to recover the ship-launched aircraft. Operators at sea tried to fly them into deck-rigged nets--and not always successfully.

Nevertheless, the unassuming UAV was something of an unsung hero. In a theater where laser-guided bomb hits vied with fiery Patriot missile launches for air-time on CNN, Pioneers droned dutifully behind enemy lines attracting little attention from press or foe. The plucky little (463 lb) robotic planes flew over 300 sorties performing reconnaissance, artillery spotting, damage assessment, and other missions collecting information people previously risked getting shot at for.

The exploits of Pioneers (and their shortfalls) were inspirational to Hugh Schmittle, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Freewing Aerial Robotics Corp., College Station, TX. Then based in Maryland, Schmittle and his colleagues were devising the mathematical models behind a radically new kind of UAV, a plane whose wings would literally shift with the breeze while the body pivots to vary the direction of engine thrust. These characteristics promised to provide an aircraft with unparalleled stability and extremely short take-off and landing (ESTOL) performance.

Designers labored to turn these concepts into AutoCAD geometry. The result is the Scorpion, a revolutionary UAV now ready for production at Freewing's brand new Texas facility. The buzz proceeding the Scorpion was considerable: Design News gave Schmittle an Excellence in Design award for the "Tilt-Body" prototype in 1994. The current version has attracted a partnership agreement with Matra Defense to develop as the Marvel. Intended for the French navy, this UAV's ESTOL characteristics enable it to land on frigate helipads. No net required.

Tilting toward the future. According to Schmittle, the Tilt-Body concept as applied to UAVs imposes a number of considerable design challenges. Chief among them are the additional degrees of freedom, which necessitate a completely new autopilot and teleoperation system. Conventional fixed-wing aircraft have six degrees of freedom: roll, pitch, yaw, and acceleration on each axis. The Tilt-Body has eight degrees of freedom.

"We needed extensive computer modeling and wind-tunnel testing to come up with the dynamic equations to describe the plane," Schmittle says. A new UAV design requires engineers to tackle all the problems of an aircraft program plus all the problems of a robotics program. "The math models are needed to develop the flight software used by the operator control units."

In order to understand why Freewing seemingly complicates the issue with all that tilting and floating, one has only to look at the Scorpion's performance. The freewing, which pivots in the pitch axis, provides stability for the aircraft during transition phases of flight. These occur as the body is tilted to produce thrust vectoring for small-area launch and recovery and for low-speed flight.

"Just watch the hands of conventional UAV operators," says Matt Majernik, test-pilot at Freewing and a former U.S. Army UAV operator and flight-instructor himself. "When they're on autopilot, the hands are nice and steady. But when they're controlling the aircraft directly, the hands are really working. The freewing automatically compensates for wind gusts and can never stall the airplane. This makes the Scorpion a much smoother UAV to handle at all speeds."

The Scorpion's 50-hp Rotax engine provides a top speed of 173 mph. Much of the transit portions of a mission are handled by the autopilot, which has access to GPS navigation data. Thrust vectoring results in on-target loiter speeds of 63 mph and the ability to land with a very steep angle of attack typical of helicopters. Operators can land the Scorpion on a 60-meter strip without any special arrester gear. A good head wind--such as those encountered by ships at sea--enables near-vertical launch and recovery.

The mechanics of Tilt-Body operation in the Scorpion involve only three moving parts and are relatively straightforward. A single carry-through shaft passes through the center body, providing a hinge for the free-floating freewing. The landing gear and aft boom assembly, cross-connected by a torque tube, attach to the main body by a jack-screw. This component, powered by an electric motor from Motion Systems Corp., operates a control horn that moves the booms up and down via the torque tube. Dynamic pressure from airflow in flight forces the booms to remain horizontal and the carbon-graphite body is what tilts. The tractor-mounted engine tilts along with it, providing vectored thrust.

"Most of the components of the Scorpion are off-the-shelf," Schmittle says, adding that Freewing's policy is to tackle only one R&D problem at a time. "Modeling flight dynamics proved challenging enough."

The military is just one source of potential UAV customers. Freewing currently is exploring how its Tilt-Body aircraft might be used for powerline/pipeline inspection, agriculture support, disaster assessment, fire survey, security, and search and rescue.

Schmittle reports he was approached by the owner of a tuna fleet operating out of Guam. The captains currently employ MD-500 helicopters from their fishing boats to search for tuna. The fleet experiences an average of one fatal crash a year, and an alternative method of tuna spotting is being sought. One possible solution involves operating Scorpions from the fleet's helipads instead.

Problems of scale. Many UAVs are designed as working craft to perform specified tasks. These guided vehicles are finished products, and aeronautical engineers developing them have many strategies at their disposal to make them air-worthy. The UAV's geometry can be maximized for performance.

However, one breed of UAV designer does not have so many options. Before full-scale aircraft are built, it is common practice to design, construct, and fly sub-scale models. Model-makers are constrained by the requirement to make their UAV act like the full-scale version it represents.

According to Bob Parks, principle at Intuitive Solutions, a firm specializing in contract-built test aircraft, designers of sub-scale models are faced with two important scaling laws: Reynolds numbers and dynamic scaling.

"Butterflies and 747s react to air very differently," Parks says, indicating that differences in size, weight, and speed can render spurious any conclusions drawn from flights of sub-scale models. "Designers have to be careful about taking test flights at face value."

A Reynolds number is a nondimensional parameter representing the ratio of the momentum forces to the viscous forces in fluid flow. According to Parks, it is more important for a model to have a similar Reynolds number to the full-scale aircraft under development than it is to look like the finished product. This is because a Reynolds number is better indicator of eventual performance than appearance.

Dynamic scaling refers to how the model appears to behave if observed at a speed appropriate to its size. In other words, Park says, if a video of the test flight of a 1/2 scale model is played back at half-speed it should appear to fly like the full-scale version.

"Reconciling Reynolds numbers and dynamic scaling is very challenging," Parks said. "Sometimes all you get from a test flight is a general feeling that you're on the right track."

Parks adds this general lightness of being is more valuable than it sounds: It's often harder to get a scale UAV flying properly than the real thing. This comes back to dynamic scaling. Servos actuating control surfaces on full-size aircraft have a more leisurely time frame in which to operate compared to their smaller cousins.

"There are aircraft you can fly from the cockpit that you can't fly from the ground," Parks says. "If you can make something work in the model it's a pretty good indication it will work in the real world."

Occasionally, however, the stars converge just so and it is possible to make direct comparisons between sub-scale and full-scale aircraft. A case in point is the so-called Mars Airplane, an aerial robot intended to fly through the air of the Red Planet on a future mission. Parks designed the scale model of the Mars Airplane, and it happens that the Reynolds number of the full-scale version in the thin carbon-dioxide-dominant atmosphere of Mars and the Reynolds number for the sub-scale model flying in the nitrogen-prevalent air here at home were about the same.

Parks designed his model using Ashlar Vellum. He had to work out a series of accordion folds that would enable the model to fit inside a can measuring 2 feet by 1 foot. This craft would then have to unfold and start flying on deployment. "We tried to accomplish this unfolding process aerodynamically, but we couldn't quite get it," Parks reports. "In the end, we had to resort to using little springs."

What is perhaps the world's biggest and most expensive UAV is now under development at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works in Palmdale, CA. The X-33 VentureStar is a half-scale prototype of a possible follow-on to the Space Shuttle. The X-33, powered by a linear aerospike propulsion system, is designed to reach speeds up to Mach 15 and altitudes up to 50 miles. It also will fly autonomously, lifting off like a rocket and landing like an airplane.

Flight tests are scheduled to commence in 1999. A significant portion of the current development work involves creating the guidance and control hardware and software that will see the prototype off and back down again. The plan to go with autonomous control must come as something as a relief to would-be operators: The X-33's $941 million pricetag suggests there would be a sweaty palm on the joystick.

*Actually, it's been done

..In September 1943, Admiral Carlo Bergamini of the Royal Italian Navy led a fleet of three battleships, six cruisers, and eight destroyers toward Malta to surrender. A special unit of German maritime bombers, alerted to the move, sortied from Southern France to intercept. The unit was equipped with a new type of weapon: radio-controlled flying bombs. UAVs, if you will.

The attackers released their payloads between 12,000 and 19,000 feet. Crews directed the winged, armor-piercing bombs via control units on the loitering bombers. One of the UAVs struck the flagship, Roma, penetrating deep into the interior before the warhead detonated. The battleship went down with nearly all hands, including Bergamini himself.

Source: Engage the Enemy More Closely; The Royal Navy in the Second World War by Correlli Barnett (W.W. Norton & Company, NY, 1991)

UAV pioneers

The Pioneer was the first UAV deployed by the United States in numbers. Developed by AAI Corp. in cooperation with Israel Aircraft Industries, Ltd., the Pioneer can be equipped with high-quality video, a variety of sensors, and GPS navigation equipment.

In addition to the Gulf War, Pioneers have supported U.S. forces in Africa, the Pacific Rim, and the Mediterranean. The developers have formed a jointly owned company, Pioneer UAV Inc., Hunt Valley, MD, to market the Pioneer to other customers, including industry.

The Old South spawns new materials

The Old South spawns new materials

In the region where Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia lie, a scenic rolling landscape attracts thousands of tourists each year. However, if you look deep into the hills and valleys of this region you will discover a hidden material trove. Open the treasure chest, and here's what you will find: Eastman Chemical, Kingsport, TN; Marion Composites, Marion, VA; Alltrista Zinc Products, Greenville, TN; Amoco Polymers, Alphretta, GA; and M.A. Hanna, Suwanee, GA. And this metals/composites/polymers Pollyanna has a lot going for it.

Material-making paradise

This reporter's Technology Tour had its origins in Kingsport, TN. There, sprawled along the banks of the Holston River are some 500 buildings that make up the 1,200-acre Eastman Chemical complex, said to be the largest one of its type in the world.

If you like a job where you can vacation at company campgrounds, join in square dancing at the company gymnasium, and go to free movies at the company theater, this chemical compound is the place to work. There hasn't been a sweeping layoff at the company in nearly 50 years--even during the late 1980s and early '90s when Eastman Chemical's then parent, Eastman Kodak Co., was cutting the work force by 40,000. To top it off, Eastman Chemical won the coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1993.

With this as a backdrop, it's little wonder that the company turns out pioneering polymer products that attract loyal customers. Some of these include:

  • EastacrylTM acrylic polymer.

  • Eastalloy(R) alloyed polymers.

  • Eastar(R) PETG and PCTG copolyester.

  • Eastapak(R) PET polyester.

  • Estoflex amorphous polyolefins.

  • Spectar(R) polyester/copolymer.

  • Tenite(R) celluosics (thermoplastic olefins).

  • Thermx(R) synthetic resins, copolyester plastics.

Eastman Chemical is equally proud of its technical support to customers. A recent entry into this support network is the company's World Wide Web site ( that allows users to communicate directly with technical service representatives via e-mail.

Called Eastman Link, the new service directs technical service questions to subject-matter experts in appropriate product groups. "Many sites require users to go through a webmaster when directing inquires to the company," explains Tom Deaderick, Eastman technical service representative. "Our link is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Corresponding through the Internet is often preferred by overseas customers."

The site also features a material search engine that helps users find the exact plastics products for the application. "Rather than designing our site solely on Eastman products and our organizational structure, we designed it to provide customer-oriented information," adds Carol Kinsey, Eastman Webwizard. "This user-friendly approach means the user does less searching to find the exact product that meets the specs."

The Performance Plastics section of the web site contains a technical data sheet, design guides, press releases, and other product information. General information about Eastman on the site also includes financial and employment information.

Keeping armed forces alert, sheltered

Travel east about 60 miles on Interstate 81 and you arrive at the quaint little community of Marion, VA. Just off the Interstate nestles Marion Composites, a bustling company that has an impressive history in developing crucial defense materials.

In fact, for more than four decades when it was still a part of Brunswick Corp.'s defense business, Marion Composites has developed advanced composites technology for the aerospace industry. This experience encompasses aircraft, missile, and ground-based radomes; aircraft control surfaces; engine nacelle components; inlet plenums; fairings; equipment-bay doors; primary helicopter structures; pylons; fuel tanks; and shipboard reflectors. Commonly used materials include: graphite, glass and quartz for laminates, as well as toughened epoxies, low-void condensation polyimides, and cyanate esters for resins. Honeycomb and foams encompass closed-cell thermoplastics for sandwich structures. In addition, ceramic slip casting and cocuring are employed, along with oven and autoclave curing.

The Marion team complements a complete designing, tooling, engineering, manufacturing, testing, and products support facility for prototype or production of these advanced composite structures. Fabrication methods include prepreg lamination, filament winding, autoclave/oven curing, compression molding, sandwich bonding, ceramic processing, and CNC contour machining. The ISO 9001-certified facility is also MIL-Q-9858 approved and its Nondestructive Inspection (NDI) ultrasonic operations are recognized by the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program.

However, one of the company's newest products is also one of its best moneymakers--shelter systems, particularly a relocatable hospital for battlefields, disaster scenes, or other emergencies. Not only does the system provide complete integration of operating equipment, it includes support subsystems, environmental controls, and power generation capabilities.

As a relocatable mission facility, a shelter must be designed with the structural integrity to withstand environmental extremes and man-made threats. For example, a Marion shelter system can overcome temperature extremes that range from -65 to 125F. Some are hardened to provide protection to the crew against small-arms fire, chemical/biological contamination, nuclear blast effects, and high-altitude electromagnetic pulses.

The operating room shelter is only one part of a relocatable hospital system. Other shelters might include X-ray, pharmacy, patient examination, post-operative recovery, central material supply, and an eight-bed ward. To provide a complete 50-bed system, the shelters are supplemented with tents to serve as added support facilities.

A mint of a company

Head south on Interstate 75 for about 60 miles after you hit the Tennessee border, and you will soon reach Greenville, home of Alltrista Zinc Products Co. Its history lies in producing lids used with the famous Ball Mason Jars. However, Ball spun off seven of its divisions in 1952, including Zinc Products, into Alltrista Corp. The division's motto could very well be "a penny made is a penny earned." Each year it turns out millions of penny blanks for the U.S. mint.

Another major group of customers for Alltrista is battery makers. In fact, the firm is the sole source supplier of battery cans to such producers of zinc/carbon batteries as Rayovac and Eveready. Other key products include: automotive trim, electrical fuse strip, and architectural materials.

Zinc's unique anti-corrosion properties and durability have made it an ideal successor to more expensive or less capable metals. For example, zinc inhibits rusting making it ideal for use on ships, bridges, and coastal structures. It's in this latter capacity that zinc excites Ed Tejsa, vice president of marketing & sales, about the material's expanding uses.

Steel reinforcement (rebar) in concrete is generally protected from corrosion by a stable oxide film on its surface. This film is formed by the chemical reaction between the highly alkaline concrete porewater and the steel. Corrosion is negligible until the protective layer becomes saturated with chloride ions or by carbonation, thus lowering the pH of the concrete.

Typically, corrosion develops as a result of wet-dry tidal cycling of saline water. It can be found on piles constructed of concrete with low resistivity and/or high permeability. Because the solid corrosion products occupy a much larger volume than the parent metal alone, internal stresses are created, leading to cracking and delamination along the plane of steel.

Alltrista believes it has found an economical solution to this problem in its LifejacketTM protection system. The galvanic protection technology has as its base the installation of two-piece, snap-together jackets lined with expanded zinc mesh. Each jacket assembly comes with a minimum of eight non-conductive standoffs per face. These standoffs secure the zinc mesh in place, while achieving the optimum position of the jacket in relation to the piling.

Each half shell is e-quipped with a presoldered No. 10 AWG copper strand lead wire with HMWPEinsulation. All soldered connections are double-coated and sealed with coal tar epoxy or other materials approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The jacket assemblies are packaged and shipped directly to the job site ready to install.

Various configurations of the galvanic zinc anodes have been successfully used to provide cathodic protection in the tidal zone of steel-reinforced concrete structures. Studies conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation have shown that the zinc anodes configured in the simple fashion of the Lifejacket system can provide long-term cathodic protection. These systems represent an attractive alternative to conventional cathodic protection based on their low installation and maintenance costs, ease of installation in the field, and by their reliable, self-regulating performance.

Engineered for success

Continue south on Interstate 75 another two hours and you arrive at Alphretta, GA, home of Amoco Polymers. The engineering plastics producer plays a key role in parent Amoco Corp.'s sprawling petroleum and chemical business activities. In fact, the group lays claim to being the second-largest polypropylene producer in the world.

On the polypropylene menu are: AcctufTM Impact Copolymers, with a balance of impact and stiffness properties, and AccproTM Enhanced Polymers, specialty products with high heat deflection temperature (HDT) and improved thermal aging stability.

On the engineering materials front are resins based on sulfone, amideimide, polyester, and polyphthalamide formulations. Among them:

  • Udel(R) polysulfone, a tough, rigid amorphous thermoplastic.

  • Mindel(R), a series of modified polysulfones that combine hot-water resistance and dimensional stability.

  • Radel(R) sulfone polymers with improved toughness and a 400F/204C HDT.

  • Amodel(R) polyphtalamide, semi-crystalline engineering polymer that bridges the cost-performance gap between tradition thermoplastics (polycarbonates, nylons, polyesters, and acetals) and higher-cost specialty polymers (liquid crystal polymers, polyphenylene sulfide, and polyether imide).

  • Xydar(R) liquid crystal polymers that exhibit high strength at extreme temperatures and have an inherent resistance to virtually all chemical, weathering, radiation, and burning.

  • Torlon(R) polyamideimide that has an HDT above 532F (278C) and resists creep, wear, and chemicals, but can still be injection-molded.

  • Kadel(R) engineering thermoplastics with a proprietary formula that features an HDT of 619F (326C) and low smoke and toxicity properties.

Amoco doesn't provide these resins without an assist to the customer. Any sale includes strong sales service and technical support. This includes a team of engineers, chemists, and technicians that can provide expert advice on material selection, technical training, and product testing.

The company can cite many leading-edge applications that have developed because of this technical service/resins combination. For example, UITC Armament Corp, Portsmouth, NH, incorporated Amodel PPA in its Night Stalker laser-sighting products to help them deliver "bullseye" accuracy; while Aquabound, a Surrey, British Columbia, equipment designer, fashioned a lightweight, long-lasting, easy-to-assemble yak paddle from the same material; and United Technologies Automotive, Dearborn, MI, realized savings of 20% in labor costs and 35% in weight by switching to Amodel PPA for its ABS pump and motor assembly.

Painting a colorful future

Journey a short distance from Alphretta and you arrive at M.A. Hanna's Color Technical Center in the bucolic setting of Suwanee, GA. Here, technicians continuously test the performance characteristics of new resins.

The work involves studying the interrelationship of pigments, resins, and additives under melt conditions; duplicating the customers' processes to understand their dynamics; anticipating new technological challenges; and developing new products to fill existing and future needs. The result, says Benjamin D. Berkman, vice president of market development programs: "A range of technical capabilities that address the most rigorous customer requirements on a timely, thoroughly individualized, and cost-effective basis."

The center is part of the M.A. Hanna Color operations, which, in turn, is part of the fast-expanding M.A. Hanna Co., headquartered in Cleveland. Businesses within the fold include: North American Plastics (comprised of M.A. Hanna Color, M.A. Hanna Engineered Materials, M.A. Hanna Resin Distribution, Compounding Technology Inc., and Southwest Chemical); International Plastics (which includes Wilson Color, Th. Bergmann, Victor International Plastics, M.A. Hanna Asian operations, Hanna Su Xing joint venture in China, and Hanna de Mexico); M.A. Hanna Rubber Compounding; and Cadillac Plastic.

What issues forth from this diversified organization are proprietary or custom-formulated materials. For example, a color concentrate developed for the Chrysler Neon, which eliminated the need to paint the bumper to match the car, won M.A. Hanna Color an award from the Society of Plastics Engineers for the "Most Innovative Use of Automotive Plastics for Exterior Applications."

Such success has only spurred M.A. Color to introduce several new product technologies developed through the Color Technical Center. One, EDGEGLOTM colorants, are designed to enhance the color along the edges of plastic and places where the surface is etched. A second, PPROTINT, is a line of light-fast, non-bleeding color concentrates that maintain the clarity of clarified polypropylene. The colorants contain no dyes and often have better light stability when compared to competitive products. With such trailblazing research, it seems likely that M.A. Hanna will be the recipient of many more awards.

Cyber contacts

You can reach the following companies mentioned in this article on the Internet. Please tell them that you were referred by Design News .

Direct-drive linear motors are general purpose

Direct-drive linear motors are general purpose

By taking advantage of new manufacturing processes that reduce cost while improving performance, Kollmorgen Motion Technologies Group has introduced a new line of standard-model, direct-drive linear motors. Evolved from customer-specific designs, the PlatinumTM Direct Drive Linear (DDL) Series will replace traditional mechanical assemblies such as belts and pulleys, ball screws, racks and pinions. The consistent demand for linear motors across a wide range of markets," comments Director of Engineering John Floresta, "is requiring that these motors become standard general-purpose devices that are less costly, have the highest possible performance, and are easier to implement, both mechanically and electronically."

To achieve these objectives, the Platinum DDL Series motors consist of two constructions. The Ironcore motors feature a high-rated force-per-frame size, and a patented anti-cogging design without the need for magnet skewing. Peak force of the Ironcore motor is 300 to 8000N (67 to 1800 lb-force). Alternately, the ironless motors have no attractive force between the coil and magnet components. They also exhibit zero cogging for smooth operation. Peak force of the ironless motor is 120 to 800N (27 to 180 lb-force).

Matching the Platinum DDL with Kollmorgen's ServostarTM digital amplifier," Floresta adds, "ensures maximum system performance."

Kollmorgen Motion Technologies Group, 201 Rock Rd., Radford, VA 24141, 540-633-4124.

Product News

Product News


NAiS(R) brand FPO shirt-pocket PLC offers a small 3.5-sq-inch footprint and total volume of 8.5 cu inch. The ability to fit into existing panel space cuts user cost. The FPO system consists of 10, 14, 16, or 32 I/O control units with relay or transistor outputs and up to three similar-type expansion units.

Expansion modules are plugged into a control unit with the ability to mix-and-match output types; maximum I/O is 62 with relay-only outputs and as many as 128 transistor-only outputs. The control unit includes a run/program switch, run/program/alarm indicator LEDs, and a RS-232C programming port. Each expansion unit contains I/O terminal connectors and I/O status LEDs.

Aromat Corp., 629 Central Ave., New Providence, NJ 07974, FAX (908) 771-5658.


FXos micro PLC works from a 24V dc source and is available with either relay or transistor outputs. It delivers a switching capacity of 2.5A/point for the relay unit and 0.5A/point for the transistor output module. FXos is available in 10, 14, 20, and 30 I/O sizes. The CPU unit includes four high-speed counters; hardware interrupts; a built-in run/stop switch for mode switching; and an analog potentiometer adjustment for changing the value of a timer, counter, or data register.

Mitsubishi Electric Automation Inc., 800 E. Business Center Dr., Mt. Prospect, IL 60056, FAX (847) 298-0678.

Dust/particulate remover

Magnum ForceTM system eliminates static and removes dust and particulate from flat or contoured surfaces. It incorporates a high-velocity blower and high-penetration air knives to direct a continuous stream of clean air over a surface for neutralizing static and cleaning a variety of materials. By using blowers instead of compressed air, Magnum Force can reduce operational costs by 30 to 70%.

Simco, 2257 N. Penn Rd., Hatfield, PA 19440, FAX (215) 822-3795.


THERMX LG431 liquid crystal polymer offers a heat-deflection temperature of 290C, is inherently flame retardant, has excellent dimensional stability, low shrinkage, and no flash characteristics. Injection-molded applications include circuit-board connectors, datacom and wireless connectors, and healthcare applications.

Eastman Chemical Co., Box 431, Kingsport, TN 37662.


BMS-1210 Series low-cost direct-drive brushless servomotor is frameless and can be applied in a wide variety of applications requiring high torque in a compact package. Originally applied in a smart-munitions fin actuator system, the BMS-1210 utilizes a Hall sensor-ring assembly for commutation and eight rare-earth permanent magnets. The motor produces a peak torque of 228 oz-inches and a continuous torque rating of 70.14 oz-inches at stall. Designed for 28V dc operation, windings are also available to accommodate other voltages.

Kollmorgen Motion Technologies Group, 201 Rock Rd., Radford, VA 24141.


Standard line of miniature precision brushless dc motors are offered in sizes 5 through 30. These long- and short-design motors feature standard mounting with no metric components. The off-the-shelf line includes motor speeds to 100,000 rpm, temperature ratings to 150C, minimal cogging, a wide variety of coil winding voltages, and designs for harsh environments.

Transicoil Inc., Box 9011, Valley Forge, PA 19485, FAX (610) 539-3400.

Load cell

MLC Series miniature high-capacity compression-only load cell/force sensor features a low-profile compact size for a wide range of portable and dedicated applications up to 33,000 lb. The load diameter is slightly convex for accurate load distribution. Low deflection through design, results in fast frequency response.

Transducer Techniques Inc., 43178 Business Park Dr., Temecula, CA 92590.

Optical coatings

Two- and four-channel WDM capabilities, either through finished fiber-optic components or fiber-optic filter, are available. The WDM component/filters are made to customer specifications.

Precision Optics Corp., 22 E. Broadway, Gardner, MA 01440.


Electroforming offers new approaches for designing microcircuits, both rigid and flexible; challenging designs in small household appliances; toys and games; automobiles; home electronics; and other consumer products. To accommodate severe space constraints, conductor and space widths down to 5 microns are achievable in single or multilayer circuits.

Dynamics Research Corp., 60 Concord St., Wilmington, MA 01887, FAX (508) 657-7765.

Absolute encoders

Multiplexed, scalable, absolute encoders convert up to 16 shaft inputs to BCD or binary information, corresponding directly to the shaft angle with an accuracy of plus or minus 1 point in 3,600. There are no deficiencies such as limited-life brushes, light sources, brush noise, ambiguities, and limited resolution. Channel selection is via a binary address, and any output scale factor can be provided. Cable runs of up to 1,000 ft between the transducers the and electronics package can be used and multiple shafts can be encoded by adding another transducer. The encoders are suitable for severe electrical (EMI) and physical environments.

Computer Conversions Corp., 6 Dunton Ct., East Northport, NY 11731.


Series TF turbine flow sensor for industrial, commercial, and laboratory flow applications can be used with clean gases or clean low-viscosity liquids, depending on the model. A turbine wheel and electro-optical detection are used to convert flow rates into a linear 0 to 5V dc signal for recording and datalogging, with plus or minus 3% accuracy and plus or minus 3% linearity. This compact 1-lb sensor is constructed of premium-grade wetted parts, including a 40% glass-filled polyphenelene-sulfide sensor, Ryton fittings, a sapphire bearing, and a Viton O-ring. The unit operates from 12.5 plus or minus 2V dc power supplies.

Dwyer Instruments Inc., Box 373, Michigan City, IN 46361, FAX (219) 872-9057.


Model HI-Q111 smart display/controller features serial input, ASCII characters, 4-digits 0.6-inches-high 7-segment format with all segments and decimal points fully addressable, 0-9 numerals, and limited alpha characters. The user has control over every digit to display custom messages. 256 addresses are software programmable and baud rates of 1,200 to 9,600 are selectable. The 8-bit microcontroller controls the display and has room to accommodate custom software/hardware such as analog or digital signal with linearization. The small package snaps into the panel with connections made through screw terminal connectors at the rear of the unit.

Otek Corp., 4016 E. Tennessee St., Tucson, AZ 85714, FAX (520) 790-2808.


Standard and self-tracking pulleys are available with a maximum width of 180 mm and maximum diameter of 640 mm. They come in a variety of materials including aluminum, for high-stock applications; steel, for high-torque applications; stainless steel, for high-torque applications that cannot tolerate rust; and delrin/nylon, for light-weight and rust-free operation. The pulleys are available with or without flanges, bores, hubs, or keyways.

BRECOflex Co. L.L.C., Box 829, Eatontown, NJ 07724, FAX (908) 542-6725.

Roller chain

D.I.D.(R) low-noise roller chain has a triple-structure roller design with a middle roller made of a special rubber compound. Initial contact with the sprocket is made by the rubber roller, lowering chain-operating noise by up to 10 dB. Wear life and tensile strength are the same as a standard chain. The chain is available in size 40 to 80, in either carbon steel or nickel plated.

Daido Corp., Box 6739, Somerset, NJ 08875, FAX (908) 805-0122.

Engine cleaner

Kreen internal engine cleaner keeps automotive engines running smoothly with a four-way cleaning power that reaches the upper cylinder, crankcase, lower piston rings, and valve stems. By dissolving the carbon build-up on valve stems the cleaner can improve engine pick-up and increase total gas mileage. Kreen also softens carbon and dissolves gum, which allows piston rings to expand freely and restore compression. Applications include automotive and construction equipment, lift trucks, cars, trucks, and lawn mowers.

Kano Laboratories Inc., 1000 S. Thompson Lane, Nashville, TN 37211, FAX (615) 833-5790.

Dip Control Station

The Dip Control Station provides controlled immersion of a mandrel or other product format in the desired solution or coating material. This single-operator station is for manual applications or R&D requirements. The unit can be incorporated into larger automated systems or customized if required. The dip quench cycles are controlled independently in both directions. Four potentiometer dials on the front panel control the dip and quench speed setting. Each leg of travel is set by an individual dial. A timer with digital display provides variable dwell at the bottom of each cycle.

Medical Device Mfg., 1020 N. Lemon St., Orange, CA 92867, FAX (714) 532-5798.

Programmable logic controller

Programmable logic controller (PLC) meets the needs of OEM machine builders. The Modicon TSX Micro is a competitively priced, space-efficient PLC that offers high-speed, large-memory, modular I/O, multitasking, and distributed intelligence. To maximize performance, the PLC has inputs with programmable filter times, interrupt inputs, and fast outputs. Binary instructions execute in as little as 15mus. Scan time is 2.85 mS for 4k boolean, plus 0.15 mS per each additional 1k.

Schneider Automation Inc., 1 High St., North Andover, MA 01845, FAX (508) 975-9400.


ICEPAK 2.0 thermal management modeling package uses Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to analyze air flow and thermal distribution in enclosed spaces, particularly those containing electronic components. The ICEPAK design environment allows engineers to reduce design costs and time-to-market on high-performance electronic systems. Physical modeling features include internal radiation, compact heat-sink object, and an allowance for fan swirl. To simplify model construction, usability features include dynamic group movement and snap-on functionality.

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

Servo motor

LFD-S-6 brushless linear servo motor has 4,400 lbs of peak force and a water-cooled 1,800 lbs of continuous force. Features include encapsulated coil windings, effective water cooling, an iron-based assembly, and a continuous force-per-coil area of more than 3.5 N/cm 2 (5 lbs/inch2). This motor is suitable for machine tool and general-automation applications requiring very high force. Thermistors offer additional protection against unintentional overheating of the motor coils. Microcontroller I2t optional-protection circuitry provides overcurrent protection in a panel-mountable package.

Anorad Corp., 110 Oser Ave., Hauppauge, NY 11788, FAX (516) 435-1612.

I/O subsystem

Model 2220 high-resolution I/O single-module subsystem features input threshold triggering. Bipolar ( plus or minus 10V) analog inputs offer 15-bit resolution and may be individually programmed to digitally filter incoming signals for increased stability. Two to 256 analog samples may be continuously sampled at update rates of 2.083 milliseconds. Eight bipolar analog outputs provide resolutions of 13 bits, with an output range of plus or minus 10V. Eight open-collector outputs are available for driving dc loads up to a 0.5A load with built-in over-current and short-circuit protection.

Control Technology Corp., 25 South St., Hopkinton, MA 01748, FAX (508) 435-2373.


Stevens Urethane thermoplastic polyurethane material is offered in blown-film and extruded-sheet, tubing, cord, and profile forms. For high-performance and critical applications, film and sheet can be manufactured in thicknesses from 0.001 to 0.125 inches. The urethane is available in durometers from 75 to 95 Shore A, and in a range of standard and custom colors, opacities, and surface textures.

JPS Elastomerics, 9 Sullivan Rd., Holyoke, MA 01040, FAX (413) 552-1199.

Vacuum breakers

Series VBM molded thermoplastic vacuum breakers for industrial applications protect enclosed tanks from collapsing or structural damage during draining or pumping, and prevent unwanted siphoning in a system. They also prevent vacuum from occurring in a system, which in turn can protect sensitive instruments and filters from damage. The diaphragm permits mounting in any position. The ability to reposition against the valve seat in the identical location each time results in dependable repetitive sealing.

Plast-O-Matic Valves Inc., 1384 Pompton Ave., Cedar Grove, NJ 07009, FAX (201) 256-4745.


Electrically and thermally conductive adhesives combine resins and hardeners with conductive filters to provide the conductivity required for high-temperature electronic and industrial applications. Electrically conducted adhesives filled with silver or nickel provide up to 650F continuous service, and are commonly used for EMI/RFI shielding, electroplating, and solder replacement. Thermally conducted adhesives, filled with highly conductive fillers, are suited for applications requiring heat transfer to 650F service, such as bonding heating elements, cooling coils, semi conductors, and ceramic substrates.

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


3D AutoTherm(R) FLOTHERM(R) interface for pc boards allows users to verify if PCBs are properly designed for the enclosure they are intended for, using the same database to do full-board and system-level analysis. For example, the user can fully validate the set-up of heat sinks and their impact on component placement and clearance for mounting before starting PCB routing and final layout.

Mentor Graphics Corp., 8005 S.W. Boeckman Rd., Wilsonville, OR 97070.

Dispensing/metering pump

The SV600 Series Model SV603 piston-pump handles high-purity and aggressive media, and operates several million cycles without maintenance. An O-ring pumping system seals the piston while allowing the pump chamber to fill. A flexible diaphragm isolates the liquid from any metal-operating parts. Wetted surfaces are polypropylene and either Viton or EPDM elastomers. Suited for use where repeatable precision is required in dispensing small volumes over time, the SV603 can handle liquids that are affected by or deteriorate metal in the fluid path, such as medical and hazardous environment applications.

Valcor Engineering Corp., 2 Lawrence Rd., Springfield, NJ 07801, FAX (201) 467-8382.

Coax contacts

Featuring VSWR less than 1.18 to 3.0 GHz, Series 31 size 8 coax contacts mate with more expensive constant-impedance contacts. A simplified three-piece construction delivers economical RF interconnection. Crimp/crimp technology eliminates the need for soldering and time-consuming cleaning procedures. The Series 31 contacts are available in right-angle, straight, and pc-board-mount configurations.

Retconn, 199 W. Pearl Rd., Torrington, CT 06790, FAX (860) 496-7307.


Master Bond EP30LTE adhesive offers reduction in the thermal expansion coefficient of epoxies and dimensional stability. This two-part epoxy system cures at room temperature or more rapidly at elevated temperatures. It's thermal-expansion coefficient is less than 12x10-6 inches/inch/C. Shrinkage upon cure is less than 0.0002 inch/inch. EP30LTE is recommended for applications exposed to repeated rapid environmental changes. This adhesive produces high-strength durable bonds to both similar and dissimilar substrates.

Master Bond Inc., 154 Hobart St., Hackensack, NJ 07601, FAX (201) 343-2132.

Step-motor technology

Step-motor technology for labeling provides flexible parameter setup via an operator terminal, a manual jog mode, synchronous and asynchronous labeling modes, automatic label setup, and standard I/O for control of peripheral equipment such as imprinters and counters. Missing label detection and correction can be accomplished without system interruption. Drive technology for inkjet systems requires no encoder or PLC. Flexible parameter input is accomplished through an interactive operator terminal, with manual jog and teach modes available. Up to 16 different products with 20 print positions, forward, and reverse, can be accommodated.

Berger Lahr Motion Technology Inc., 41170-A Joy Rd., Plymouth, MI 48170, FAX (313) 459-8622.


Mallory(R) orange-dip PHV and PHC Series high-voltage polypropylene film/foil capacitors feature a flame-retardant epoxy and are for high-voltage applications. The capacitors offer a very-low dissipation factor which means less heat loss resulting in higher operating efficiency and longer life. The PHV Series units have a pressed profile and are available in both 800V ac/1,800V dc and 900V ac/2,000V dc voltage ratings, with capacitances of 470pF to 0.015muF. The PHC Series capacitors feature a pressed-profile compact design for optimum utilization of pc-board space. They are available in both 450V ac/1,000V dc and 500V ac/2,000V dc voltage ratings, with capacitance values ranging from 220pF to 0.033muF.

North American Capacitor Co., 7545 Rockville Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46214, FAX (317) 273-2400.

Finger gripper

GF 40 rubber finger gripper features individual finger adjustment to fit the workpiece, including round, oval, tubular, or square shapes. With an air pressure up to 2 bar, the rubber finger gripper bends to surround the workpiece. This gripper is useful for transferring molded plastic or sheet-metal parts, incandescent bulbs, bottles, glasses, and delicate products such as fluorescent tubes and stem-ware. It can also be used for molded plastic parts where the rubber jaws will conform to the shrinkage of the part. The large knobbed rubber surface will not mar the surface.

Techno-Sommer Automatic, Box 5416, New Hyde Park, NY 11042, FAX (516) 326-8827.

Roller chain

D.I.D.(R) low-noise roller chain has a triple-structure roller design with a middle roller made of a special rubber compound. Initial contact with the sprocket is made by the rubber roller, lowering chain operating noise by up to 10 dB. Wear life and tensile strength are the same as a standard chain. The chain is available in size 40 to 80, in either carbon steel or nickel plated. Low-noise sprockets are also offered.

Daido Corp., Box 6739, Somerset, NJ 08875, FAX (908) 805-0122.

Programmable logic controller

A Micro3C programmable logic controller (PLC) features advanced remote communications such as the ability to 'talk' to any intelligent device with a protocol. Two communication ports are available, either can be used for communication with other devices, the RS-232 and RS-485. An eight-bit protocol is used to convey data between intelligent machines. Housing 5,000 built-in registers, the Micro3 can perform ASCII, binary, and BCD conversions for easier formatting of communication strings. This functionality is useful for modem communications, user-defined communication, and monitoring data.

IDEC Corp., 1213 Elko Dr., Sunnyvale, CA 94089, FAX (800) 635-6246.


For servo applications that require extremely precise positioning, low-backlash planetary gearing is offered. Integer gear reduction ratios are available from 4:1 to 100:1 with efficiencies of 97% for single-stage gears and 94% for two-stage gears. Direct, integral motor coupling allows simple mounting of the servo-motor.

SEW-Eurodrive, Box 518, Lyman, SC 29365.


Model 876 cryogenic accelerometer is for vibration measurement or monitoring applications requiring operation at extremely cold temperatures. Shear-plate construction provides optimal mechanical isolation from strain-induced inputs and thermal-shock transients. The accelerometer is suitable for event and vibration monitoring of valves and pumps employed in cryogenic service. The electrically isolated, double-case construction provides electrostatic shielding and minimizes power-line frequency noise caused by multi-point grounding.

Columbia Research Laboratories Inc., 1925 MacDade Blvd., Woodlyn, PA 19094, FAX (610) 872-3882.

Pressure switch

Model 31D electronic pressure switch is available in three pneumatic ranges from vacuum to 360 psi. The switch features a digital display of actual pressure, LED status indication, and adjustable hysteresis. It is suitable for resistive or inductive loads up to 1A, and switching points may be calibrated without applied pressure. A strain-gauge pressure sensor and solid-state output assure extremely long cycle life.

HERION USA Inc., 176 Thorn Hill Rd., Warrendale, PA 15086, FAX (412) 776-0310.


PT9150 industrial-grade cable-extension transducer provides position feedback signal for fork lifts, AGVs, and other materials-handling equipment that uses telescoping masts for retrieving materials stored on upper shelves to ground level. Perfect alignment is not required. Reliable and precise-position measurements are provided without the need for periodic adjustments. The PT9150 is accurate to 0.04% and repeatable to 0.02% full stroke. Its body is mounted to the stationary surface of the materials-handling equipment and its cable is attached to the top stage of the telescoping mast.

Celesco Transducer Products Inc., 7800 Deering Ave., Canoga Park, CA 91304.


The XLdp transmitter enables precise, reliable measurement and control of very low pressure and gas flows. A variable-capacitance sensor with a micromachined, ultra-thin, silicon diaphragm deflects only microns. The Si-Glass sensor is composed of sputtered metals and glass molecularly bonded to silicon, with no epoxies or other organics to contribute to drift or mechanical degradation. The transmitter is built of flame-proof NEMA 2 stainless steel and certified at 0.25 and 0.5% accuracy. Repeatable measurement and control of gas flow is possible as low as 30 fpm in most industrial, medical, or test applications.

Dresser Industries Inc., Instrument Div., 250 E. Main St., Stratford, CT 06497.

Binding posts

5-Way(R) binding posts offer a selection of red, white, blue, yellow, black, or green color rings. These rings are embedded in the thumbnuts to assure ready-circuit and polarity identification. All current-carrying parts are made from gold-plated, finely machined brass to provide maximum conductivity and resistance to corrosion. Miniature fluted-nut types are rated for 15A, 1,000V working, and standard hex-nut and fluted-nut types are rated for 30A, 1,000V working. Plastic parts offer resistance to corrosive atmospheres, heat, oil or grease, abrasion and impact, and chipping and cracking.

Warner Electric, Linear and Electronics Div., 383 Middle St., Bristol, CT 06010, FAX (860) 582-3784.


Machined spring #228 accommodates metal expansion in electrical connections. Made from a single piece of corrosion-resistant 303 stainless steel, this component provides thermal growth compensation, electrical continuity, and desired end configurations. A flexible section can be calibrated to meet most design requirements.

Helical Products Co. Inc., Box 1069, Santa Maria, CA 93456, FAX (805) 928-2369.

Strain reliefs

Independent of insertion into the chassis, Lockit strain reliefs self-lock into the cable. This completed sub-assembly can then be installed with fingertip pressure into the application's mounting hole. The strain reliefs protect the lifeline of electric/electronic products by absorbing the forces of push and pull that may be exerted on the flexible power cord. A rectangular design eliminates the possibility of part rotation under forces of twist.

Tally Inc., Box 99, Kenilworth, NJ 07033, FAX (908) 245-3238.


Power-Core rollers are non-hygroscopic, quiet running, and shock absorbing. They retain their dimensions and tight-bearing fit in all weather conditions, do not wear out either cam or rail, and have low rolling resistance for long life. An internal metal core is optional to dissipate heat generated in highly loaded riders. Replacing metal rollers with bronze bushings allows the roller to run directly on the shaft. Long-life performance can be calculated to determine static and dynamic loads, rotational speeds, and still times under load.

Intech Corp., 250 Herbert Ave., Closter, NJ 07624.

Cartesian robots

XM3000 Series cartesian robots feature 1- x 12-inch cycle times of 0.5 seconds, with XY axes repeatabilities of 0.015 mm (0.0006 inch). Ac servometers reduce maintenance, 3-D path control provides continuous path motion, and a smaller floor-space to work-envelope ratio reduces overall robot-arm footprints. Each model is controlled by SRC-310 robot/workcell controllers programmed in SPEL for WindowsTM to increase productivity. This unit is expandable to 256 I/O via plug-in modules. XM3000 robots are for small-part transfer, material handling, assembly, and other factory-automation applications.

Seiko Instruments USA Inc., Factory Automation Div., 2990 W. Lomita Blvd., Torrance, CA 90505, FAX (310) 517-8158.

Process meter

Dynapar brand S428 intelligent process meter housed in a 1/8 DIN package is field configurable to accept one of four input types while also providing key process monitoring features. Offering maximum flexibility, a single unit can display dc voltage, dc current, thermocouple, or RTD input signals. The four-digit 0.56-inch-high LED display, available in red or green, is quickly and easily scaled via its front panel. Features include maximum and minimum valve capture, elapsed alarm-time display, and process variable offset. Applications include liquid-level sensing, flow rate, and roll diameter.

Danaher Controls, 1675 Delany Rd., Gurnee, IL 60031, FAX (847) 662-6633.


ARH Series of dc/dc converters for use in space and other radiation-hostile environments are designed to withstand a total dose of greater than 100K Rads(Si), and dose rates of 1E11 Rads(Si)/Sec. They exhibit no upset or latch-up at an LET of greater than 83 MeV-cm2/mg. Features include output regulation to no load, up to 30W output power, 18 to 50V dc input range, output short-circuit protection, and external synchronization.

Lambda Advanced Analog Inc., 2270 Martin Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95050, FAX (408) 988-2702.

Encapsulated cartridges

Presto(R) encapsulated cartridges simplify air-system assembly because they are designed for simple installation into a single-diameter soft metal or thermoplastic cavity without using special tools. A positive-stop shoulder keeps the cartridges from being pushed too far into the cavity. The cartridges are available with color-coded release buttons to match Parker Parflex(R) J844 tubing to eliminate assembly errors. Presto cartridges are available in sizes 1/8 through 1/2 inch O.D. and accept nylon, polyethylene, polyurethane, and soft-metal tubing. A positive tube stop provides a consistent insertion depth on all cartridge sizes.

Parker Hannifin Corp., Fluid Connectors Group, 17325 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44112.

Lugs and splices

Type LCAF flared-barrel one-hole copper lugs and Type SCSF flared-barrel copper butt splices are for flexible and extra-flexible copper cables. Both feature a flared-barrel end that permits easy insertion of flexible cables and virtually eliminates "turned-back" wire strands. The color-coded barrel design provides simple identification of the proper die size. An inspection hole assures proper cable length insertion and the copper lug tongue contains a stamped part number and stud size for easy identification. Lugs and splices are for use by MROs and OEMs in industries such as locomotive, oil drilling, and panel shop.

Panduit Corp., Terminal Div., 17301 Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park, IL 60477, FAX (815) 485-5839.

Pneumatic valve

Series 590TM directional-control air valve is corrosion proof and protected against the effects of immersion, making it suitable for washdown applications. Features include 24V dc operation, plug-in electrical connections, flow of Cv 0.8, modular valve banks, integral flow controls, and operation with or without line lubrication.

The Rexroth Corp., Pneumatics Div., 1953 Mercer Rd., Lexington, KY 40511, FAX (800) 489-4188.



16-bit chips operate at 2.0V

Ideal for portable, power-hungry applications that require high performance, the 16-bit TLCS-900/L1 microcontroller series operates down to 2.0V. Other applications that could benefit are instrumentation control, test equipment, medical instruments, and data acquisition. The parts are based on the 900/H core, which designers optimized for C code efficiency. This core is also compatible with Toshiba's 16-bit TLCS-900 family, which, in turn, accepts code written for the 8-bit TLCS-90 controller family. This way, designers can use existing application software when migrating from one chip generation to the next. Other TLCS-900/L1 features include: a 10-bit ADC with external trigger, 3-channel UART, micro DMA controller, and 11 timers. On-board memory ranges from 96 to 128 kbytes of ROM and 3 to 4 kbytes of RAM.

Toshiba America Electronic Components,

TrackPoint controller available to OEMs

IBM's TrackPoint(R) technology debuted in its ThinkPad(R) notebook computers as a miniature "joystick" in the middle of the keyboard that functioned as a cursor controller. Now it's available to other OEMs in a microcontroller. ROM microcode that implements the pointing technology is embedded in Philips Semiconductors' TMP754, a derivative of the venerable 8-bit 80C51. The device enables the press-to-select feature, which replaces the functions of the left button on a mouse. The ROM is larger than the current program requires to let IBM add more features in the future. Non-PC applications for the TMP754 include PDAs, surgical equipment, wheelchair controllers, game joysticks, and industrial machinery.

Philips Semiconductors,

8-bit controller fits 8-pin package

Microchip has developed what it claims are the world's smallest 8-bit microcontrollers with integrated ADCs. The 8-pin, one-time-programmable, 4-MHz controllers offer 1,024 or 2,048 words of program memory along with 128 bytes of user RAM. Other features include: six multiplexed I/O pins, 35 single-word instructions, 1-musec instruction cycle, LED driver, and watchdog timer.

Microchip Technology Inc.,

4-bit controllers boast 10-bit ADC

A new series of microcontrollers from Panasonic sports an on-board, 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The feature makes the 4-bit parts suitable for such precision management applications as remote controllers, battery chargers, fire alarms, cameras, and LCDs. Specs of the 18-member family include: 1.8 to 5.5V dc operating voltage, frequency up to 8 MHz, 15 to 54 I/Os pins, 2 to 16 kbits of ROM, 128 to 512 nibbles of RAM, buzzer outputs, watchdog timers, and 100+ instructions.

Panasonic Industrial Company, Semiconductor Div., FAX (201) 392-4652.

Real-time control goes ROMless

Two new members of the ST10 16-bit microcontroller family--the ST10R163 and ST10R165--offer maximum interrupt-response times of less than 1 musec. The ROMless devices are based on a 10-MIPS CPU core that employs a register-based architecture. Registers are implemented as windows on a 1-kbyte block of very fast internal static RAM. By exchanging a register pointer, the parts can achieve the high-speed context switches required to meet the multitasking and fast interrupt requirements of real-time embedded applications. The devices suit control applications with high software content, such as ISDN telephone systems, point-of-sale terminals, and automatic teller machines.

SGS Thomson Microelectronics,

32-bit chip suits products low-power

A new low-voltage 32-bit microcontroller from Motorola is ideal for high-end communication, consumer, and industrial applications requiring low-power operation. In fact, Motorola itself is using the 68338 in its Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular phones to extend battery life. Based on the 68020 architecture, the 68338 operates from 2.7 to 3.6V at 14.4 MHz; at 3.0V, typical power consumption is 100 mW. A built-in real-time clock enables the device to keep time while the microcontroller is shut down, thus further lowering overall power consumption. Additional features include: high-level-language support, fully static operation watchdog timer, configurable timer module, serial communications interface, 12 programmable chip selects, and 55 I/O pins.

Motorola, Advanced Microcontroller Division,

Brakes & clutches adapt to users' needs

Brakes & clutches adapt to users' needs

Design engineers like yourself use clutches and brakes to solve a myriad of real-world problems. Today's clutches and brakes, often supplemented by control electronics, offer performance unavailable to engineers only a decade ago.

No more drift. Working with application engineers from Warner Electric Corp., engineers Gary Marsh and Mike Buttrill of BAE Inc., Dallas, TX, put together a closed-loop control system that automatically compensates for clutch/brake drift in the baggage-handling conveyor system at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

The conveyors that form the backbone of airport baggage-handling operations must meet demands for non-stop operation, precision, repeatability, and accuracy. Furthermore, system throughput requirements typically change as air traffic volume at an airport changes. At DFW's Terminal 2E, a belt conveyor system carries output-bound passengers' bags to piers to await loading onto planes. The bags pass through a scanning station, and six scanner heads sweep each bag, looking for a bar code. Upon receiving the baggage identification data, the baggage-handling control system identifies the correct divert point.

Downstream from the scanning station, the outbound conveyor system consists of an upper and a lower line. On each line, twenty pusher arms divert bags down chutes to other conveyors that lead to loading piers. Originally, the pusher arm system used limit switches and cams to control each pusher arm's arc of movement. Unfortunately, this approach led to some problems. "Using a purely mechanical approach to the design of the pushers resulted in drift problems, " explains Les Sanders, supervisor of facility maintenance at American Airlines. "During periods of high-frequency cycling, the clutch/brake units would heat up, and their accuracy would begin to suffer. Sometimes a pusher arm would return to its proper zero position without a hitch, at other times it would drift out of position."

The same problem occurred when maintenance personnel installed new friction facings in a clutch/brake. During the seating-in period, the unit's performance could vary. "As the throughput demands of our operation here increased," says Sanders, "so did the frequency of drift." He points out that drift/cycle can prove nearly immeasurable, but cumulative drift can become critical. After drift reached a certain point in the old system, a pusher would cycle back to an incorrect zero position. The pusher could wind up so far out of alignment that bags struck it as the conveyor moved them along. Result: an unscheduled interruption in operations until workers set matters right.

Anticipating the need for higher performance from the system in the near future, Sanders and his colleagues at American Airlines turned to BAE Inc. in search of a design solution. Gary Marsh, Mike Buttrill, and the other members of the BAE team set out to find the best means of automatically compensating the drift experienced by each of DFW's 40 pushers. "What we needed was a clutch/brake that could recognize those occasions when it was drifting, then correct itself without requiring operator input," explains Buttrill.

Warner electric application engineers helped the BAE team select a control system that employs a fully programmable closed-loop position control, an electromagnetic clutch/brake, a clutch/brake control, and a shaft encoder. The positioning control, a Warner Electric CBC-1500AH, continuously calculates a brake actuation point to minimize error from cycle to cycle. Encoder feedback closes the position loop by supplying the controller with pulses proportional to load motion. This feedback enables the CBC-1500AH to determine the optimum brake actuation point.

A marker input from the encoder provides data needed by the controller's autohome feature to find the user-defined zero position when powering-up. Users can program the new control system for use in either incremental or absolute modes of operation; onboard potentiometers provide dual-channel torque adjustment for soft starts and stops.

"Even when we're handling bags at the rate of 80 bags per minute per pusher," reports Sanders, "the positioning controls get the pusher arms back to the correct zero position at the end of every cycle. And we've essentially cured the problem of accidental contact between the pusher arms and the bags on the conveyors."

Off the ropes. A few years ago, intense competition from servo- and step-motor systems forced makers of electromagnetic friction clutches used in business machines like copiers, printers, and fax machines to look to their knitting. With the introduction of low-inertia servomotors, most clutch makers feared a significant decrease in demand for their products. Also, the popularity of steppers with low-cost controls did little to warm the hearts of electromagnetic clutch builders.

As Alabama's legendary football coach Bear Bryant said long ago, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Manufacturers of electromagnetic clutches here in the U.S., faced with a hard-nosed challenge to their technology, sized up the competition, dug in, and got going.

Barry Bistis, president of API Deltran, Amherst, NY, says changes in office machines drove his company's redesign of small clutches. Markets wanted smaller, lighter, faster office machines. "The way systems are designed now, there's no longer just one big motor drive and heavy clutches running different parts of the machine. There are steppers and different types of motors within the machine that power subsystems."

These changes created a situation in which clutches in business machines typically see low inertial loads. Thus the clutches used in new office equipment these days usually are 26- and 36-mm OD sizes. Deltran makes its models CS-08 (26 mm) and CS-11 (36 mm) for such equipment.

Consolidation of clutch functions into the two most common sizes made manufacture in the U.S. practical, says Bistis. In machines manufactured in Japan, "many times you'll find a half-dozen or more clutches on a machine," he explains. "For the most part those clutches aren't necessarily the same. As a matter of fact, it's very rare that they would be the same."

At API Deltran, success depended upon consolidating the abilities of these disparate clutches into a few common designs. This approach enabled the company to raise the volumes of particular components and therefore reduce their unit cost.

Because of the lower inertial loads on them, today's office-machine clutches must dissipate less energy than units formerly employed in such equipment. By designing small clutches so that they comfortably handle the energy dissipation required of them, and by using new materials in the clutches, engineers at API Deltran extend unit life rather dramatically. In the past, low-cost clutches typically didn't survive one million operational cycles. These days it's not unusual for clutches to provide more than 10 million maintenance-free cycles.

Changes in materials used in new low-cost clutches significantly improved their performance. "Particularly some of the bearing materials, and the integration of bearings into substrates on parts, for example TeflonTM coatings on parts," says Bistis. "The bearings now used are made of high performance plastics that provide much longer life." Even in thrust bearings, long made from MylarTM, high-performance plastics reduce wear and extend life.

Coil redesign in small clutches, which might appear routine to outsiders, also has advanced. In many of API Deltran's small clutches, engineers integrate connectors into the coils. Forming terminations into the bobbin assembly makes it possible to wind coils on high-speed machines, and permits automatic assembly rather than hand-assembly. This design also makes it possible to eliminate time-consuming hand soldering.

What reward has API Deltran achieved after putting forth all this effort on low-cost clutches? "We became not only competitive but, in this country, the leader in the area," Bistis proudly claims.

Pushin' pasta. An electric clutch protects a variable-speed ac motor on a conveyor that carries finished pasta products, and also smoothes operating cycles. A. Zerega's Sons, Inc., in Fairlawn, NJ, uses a Totally Enclosed, Non-Ventilated (TENV) Stearns(R) Super-Mod(R) clutch, made by the Stearns Div. of Rexnord Corp. and especially suited to food industry applications.

America's first pastamaker, Antoine Zerega, founded A. Zerega's Sons and, in the 1890s, introduced semolina milled from durum wheat to the U.S. Today, the company produces pasta for private brands and the firm's own Columbia brand.

On A. Zerega's Sons' production line, after the extrusion and forming of short products like bow-tie, spirals, or shells, pasta travels through long drying ovens on belt conveyors. When it leaves the oven, another belt conveyor transports the pasta to a bucket elevator that loads a packaging machine's hopper. Because the bucket elevator stops and starts as necessary to maintain the product level in that hopper, the feed conveyor must also stop and start, to prevent spillage.

During this process, one of the conveyors, equipped with a motor and a variable-speed ac drive, switched on and off at least 45 to 50 times every hour to control the feed. Larry Filato, maintenance manager at A. Zerega's Sons, knew this process represented an inefficient use of the ac drive. And he believed that the screwy duty cycle could cause premature drive wear or even failure.

To deal with the problem, Filato placed a clutch between the motor and drive. Unfortunately, it proved excessively noisy and failed after a few months. He then upgraded to the Super-Mod TENV SM 50-1040 clutch, which has operated quietly and reliably for more than a year. "Even if the clutch does cycle a lot," says Filato, "it's going to prevent wear and tear on the ac drive, and that's the most expensive part of the line."

Rated at 16 lb-ft static torque, the C-face unit is designed for superior thermal capacity. Its cast-aluminum housing meets IP54 requirements and prevents dirt and moisture from affecting clutch operation. An integrally cast magnetic body and endbell function as a large heat sink, while an unusual fan creates bi-directional air movement within the clutch to stabilize its internal temperature.

"We put the clutch on over a year ago. When the line runs, it cycles about once a minute. All we've had to do is blow the dust off it with an air hose now and then," says Filato. "The plant is open 24 hours a day, and we only shut down on Christmas and New Year's Day, so it takes a lot of wear and tear."

Compact vehicle brake. Tow tractors, the vehicles that haul material to and from aircraft, require components that can fit into confined areas. A disc brake designed for mounting on steering and drive axles enables PDI Ground Support Systems, Inc., Cleveland, OH, to offer builders of tow tractors the first front steering axle system equipped with compact disc brakes. Manufactured by Northwestern Motor Co., Eau Claire, WI, the tow tractors come in two versions: military and commercial.

Made by Tol-O-Matic, Inc., Hamel, MN, the QC-220 hydraulic disc brake used on both versions of the tractor delivers high braking torque in a small package. It's a member of a family of calipers that range in weight from 3 to 4.5 lbs, and have replaceable pads and two pistons instead of one to conform to the unit's low profile. The 220 Series brakes come rated to 1,500 psi and use standard EPR seals (Buna-N seals are optional). Tol-O-Matic offers the standard 220 Series brake with round pads that have a wearable volume of 1.66 cu-inches. To improve life, the QC 220 contains 3.612 cu-inches of wearable volume.

"Most tow-tractor manufacturers have a very tight envelope in which the front steering axles, wheels, and tires operate," says Irwin Haber, president of PDI Ground Support. "When you put disc brakes into the product, you're forced in many cases into using a larger wheel and tire." Unfortunately, the larger wheel and tire reduce the vehicle's turning angle to less than 55 degrees. That's a significant disadvantage when the tractor must maneuver around aircraft and other equipment out on a flight line.

Until the QC-220 came onto the market, compact disc brakes were not available for use on PDI Ground Support's low-profile steerable axles. The new brake allows PDI to put disc brakes on an axle capable of maintaining a 55-degree turning angle for use in tight areas.

"This is the first tractor front axle with compact disc brakes," says Haber. The quick-change disc pads require minimal disassembly during maintenance, saving time and money for the vehicle's user. More conventional designs employ drum brakes, and servicing drum brakes is more expensive than working on the new Tol-O-Matic disc brakes.

Baggage conveyors/sorters, pasta production machinery, office machines, a tow tractor for airlines (and the military)--all very different applications. But in each of them, clutches and brakes play an important role, helping these very different types of equipment work more efficiently and survive for longer periods.

Les Gould contributed to the preparation of this article.

Moving baggage, Texas style

Controlled by clutch/brake units, baggage pushers divert bags to the appropriate loading pier at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. By automatically correcting for clutch/brake drift, the Warner Electric control system prevents downtime and ensures efficient baggage sorting.

During operation, as a pusher arm swings through its arc and returns, the CBC-1500AH reads encoder data. It enables the control system to accurately determine the position of the pusher arm at the end of every cycle. If the pusher arm has not returned to its proper zero position, the control system calculates the arc of movement necessary to correct the arm's position. During the next operating cycle, the control system corrects the drift, and the arm returns to the specified zero position.

To reduce any jerkiness that might result from comparatively large corrections, users can program the control system to base its calculations on an average of several cycles. If large corrections don't present problems, the control can be programmed to base corrections solely on the previous cycle.

Microcontrollers reach the masses

Microcontrollers reach the masses

The use of microcontrollers in all kinds of systems is growing by leaps and bounds, says Sanghi--especially as replacements for mechanical control.

Design News: Microcontrollers are used in "embedded" control. What does that term mean?

Sanghi: The literal meaning of "embedded" is "hidden." It's a hidden control. Most end users are usually not aware that there's a microcontroller at work. A microprocessor is essentially a high-performance CPU engine used to manage and control data. A microcontroller, on the other hand, manages events such as turning switches on and off, controlling functions, or reacting to changes in a system.

Q: What are the advantages of replacing an electromechanical system with a microcontroller?

A: There are significant advantages. The first is reliability. Mechanical components on the average have an order of magnitude less reliability than electronics. The chips we make will work for 20 to 50 years. You can also dramatically increase system performance and ease of control, and create competitive differentiation by adding features with the help of a microcontroller. For example, a purely mechanical system would be a coffee maker. But you can add a microcontroller to it, and now you can make the coffee maker keep the coffee at a given temperature, have it turn on right before you wake up, and have it shut off after a certain time.

Q: What types of features do microcontrollers enable?

A: Microcontrollers extend a product's feature set and add the ability to have more pushbutton controls. An average automobile today has about 25 microcontrollers. A high-end car has in excess of 50. They're all adding to a driver's comfort, safety, or convenience. You can have a simple mechanical carburetor control, but the electronic control is more efficient, better for fuel ignition, better for the environment. You could have a totally mechanical thermostat that you have to adjust when the car is too hot or too cold. But many cars today have electronic microcontroller-based thermostat controls. In my car you can set the temperature to, say 72 degrees. I don't have to adjust fan speed or turn off the heater to turn on the air conditioning--it happens automatically.

Q: Any drawbacks or reasons not to use a microcontroller in such an application?

A: If the electromechanical application is too simple in scope, then there would be little benefit in using a microcontroller. Take a seat belt or turning on your automobile headlights--that's the same routine application that has to be executed in a simple manner all the time. There is no decision to be made. A microcontroller is good when there is a decision to be made based on sensing the environment.

Q: How difficult or easy is it for someone trained as a mechanical engineer to design in an 8-bit microcontroller?

A: A dramatic number of mechanical systems are going to electronic, solid-state embedded control. As a result, mechanical engineers are constantly coming across the issue of how to integrate a microcontroller. The mechanical engineers should look at this trend and prepare to stay competitive in the industry by acquiring some electrical engineering skills or hiring some electrical engineers or building relationships with electrical engineering consultants. When migrating a design from an electromechanical to a microcontroller solution, using an electrical engineer is wise to do the job right.

Q: What are the advantages of field-programmable microcontrollers?

A: Microchip pioneered cost-effective field programmability. After you write the code for a product, you can simply buy field-programmable microcontrollers and program the code in a part within a matter of minutes and start to use it. For traditional microcontrollers, you have to wait 10 to 12 weeks to order mask ROM-based parts. That slows down the development process and makes it frustrating for an engineer who's not used to writing code because if he makes an error, there's a very costly cycle to fix that error.

Q: What do design engineers need to know about microcontrollers?

A: Microcontrollers are really quite easy to learn as long as the engineer understands the basic concept of programming. Engineers also need to learn about the various microcontroller peripherals and how to apply them to the application. Most microcontrollers are differentiated by the peripheral set. You could take one microcontroller architecture and do 20 to 30 devices by altering the peripheral set.

Engineers mine the online world

Engineers mine the online world

If you believe everything you hear about the Internet, then you probably think it's a wild festival of video and sound, populated by Generation X hackers and interminably "wired" multimedia developers. Like all media-fueled stereotypes, these images overlook the Net's more important but less salient features. Foremost: lots of serious work is being accomplished over the Internet, and engineers are both significant users and primary beneficiaries.

Nothing since the introduction of CAD is expected to have such widespread impact on the way engineers work. "The Internet is a competitive advantage," says Dr. John Gebhardt, chief scientist at InterCAP Graphics Systems, Annapolis, MD. "If you're using it, your transaction times are going toward zero and you're accelerating your time-to-market."

Daratech, an industry analysis firm in Cambridge, MA, estimates that the Internet is expanding at 10% a month. Web-site name registrations at the InterNIC exceed 1,000 a week; worldwide, several tens of millions are on the Net, and Design News' ( own figures show roughly 50% of engineering CAD users have access to the Inte

Show Preview

Show Preview

NPE 1997, the triennial trade show dedicated to the plastics industry, is also the world's largest plastics event. This year, the show is expected to attract 75,000 visitors from 90 foreign countries and more than 1,500 exhibitors, spread over one million square feet of space at McCormick Place in Chicago.

According to a study conducted by the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI), 75% of all exhibitors at NPE 1997 will introduce new plastics-related products and services, including auxiliary and downstream equipment, machine components, primary processing machinery, and toolmaking/moldmaking. The balance of the other new products and services falls into the categories of plastic resin or molding compounds; processing techniques; plasticizers, stabilizers, or other additives; CAD/CAM/CAE/CIM; packaging materials or techniques; robotics; and composites.

Also on hand: more than 100 experts who will conduct presentations about current and future trends in the plastics industry. The 20 planned conference sessions will include presentations specifically devoted to various aspects of new technology as they concern materials, molding, composites, machinery and equipment, controls, packaging, thermoforming, recycling, training, and business.

The three-day conference "presents a unique continuing education curriculum for the tens of thousands of people who will be attending NPE 1997," explains Larry Thomas, president of SPI. "The presentations will provide people with valuable information they can use to compete and succeed in both the domestic and international marketplace."

NPE is sponsored by SPI, a trade association of more than 2,000 members representing all segments of the plastics industry in the United States. SPI's operating units and committees are composed of resin manufacturers, distributors, machinery manufacturers, plastics processors, moldmakers, and other industry-related groups and individuals.

For more information on NPE 1997 and SPI see their website at:

NPE 1997

Show products

Static removal

Magnum ForceTM system eliminates static and removes dust and particulates from flat or contoured surfaces. By using blowers instead of compressed air, the system can produce 30 to 70% lower operational costs. It can be used wherever a clean, controlled, medium-to-high-velocity air stream is needed to blow off static discharge, particulates, or dust from product surfaces in preparation for the next step in the process. Magnum Force is constructed of extruded aluminum with adjustable air-stream blade and cast-aluminum flanged ends, a design that provides flexibility and precise air volume control and a velocity range at discharge of 4,500 to 27,500 fpm by using a blower.

SimcoBooth N4782 2257 N. Penn Rd. Hatfield, PA 19440 FAX (215) 822-3795


4WRTE Series 3X proportional directional control valves are presented in four different sizes with flows to 423 gpm and working pressures from 4,600 psi/315 bar for the size 10 to 5,100 psi/350 bar for sizes 16, 25, and 32. The valves mount on standard ISO, NFPA, ANSI D-05, D-07, D-08, and D-10 interfaces. Type 4WRTE valves, with integrated electronics are well suited for closed-loop controlling of position, velocity, pressure, and force.

The Rexroth Corp. Industrial Hydraulics Div. Booth S407 2315 City Line Rd. Bethlehem, PA 18017 FAX (610) 694-8467


2-Ear clamps are for factory maintenance or heavily vibrating equipment. A one-piece design offers a positive, tamper-proof seal without damage to the hose. Installed on air, fluid, and steam lines, the clamps assure adequate closure and compensate for tolerance variation in hose sizes.

Oetiker Inc.Booth E9605 Box 217 Marlette, MI 48453 FAX (517) 635-2157

Test stand

EZ-250 test stand is a versatile, motorized test instrument designed to perform tension and compression measurements up to 250 lb, on specimens up to 20 inches long. Critical peak force readings are sampled at 5,000 times per second when used with AccuForce(R) III or IV force gauges. Some of the user selectable parameters include upper- and lower-force and travel limits, platen speed, cycles, and communications options. Once programmed, the EZ-250 can perform cycle tests; transmit gauge, cycle count, and travel readings; and zero the force gauge, automatically.

AMETEK US Gauge Div.Mansfield & Green Products Booth 8343 8600 Somerset Dr. Largo, FL 33773 FAX (813) 539-6882

Control systems

A redesigned line of oil systems offers improved heating, cooling, and controlling capabilities. The vertical design provides increased efficiency, while requiring less floor space due to a smaller footprint. A cool-oil-reservoir design eliminates thermal shock by isolating the cooling circuit from the heating circuit, and incorporates a continuous-flow heat exchanger for increased heat-transfer areas, resulting in increased cooling capacity.

Mokon Booth S2702 2150 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, NY 14207 FAX (716) 874-8048

Computer workstations

The booth will feature computer workstations that can access product presentations, industry-specific presentations, CAD drawings, design analysis software, and AlliedSignal Plastics' site on the Internet. A team of technical support and commercial sales representatives will be available at each workstation to walk attendees through the presentations and answer questions.

AlliedSignal Plastics Inc. Booth S2523 Box 2332 Morristown, NJ 07962 FAX (201) 455-3507


Wood-fiber-filled plastic, WOOD-COM, can be made of either waste wood, paper, or newsprint. In addition to wood fibers, biofeedstocks such as jute, kanef, and sisal can be combined to produce a variety of plastic composites. WOOD-COM is produced on a twin-screw extruder and pelletized as feedstock for plastic processors. The wood-fiber used is a post-industrial waste and the wood is the by-product of window, door, plywood, furniture, and millwork manufacturers. It is segregated by species and processed into flour. Weight reduction is an important benefit of the WOOD-COM material, because wood is lighter than plastic or other fillers, it reduces the weight of final products.

Natural Fiber Composites Inc. Booth E9763 103 Water St.Baraboo, WI 53913 FAX (608) 356-8084

Bonding guide

A comprehensive design guide for bonding plastics serves as a reference for engineers designing with plastics. In addition to general design guidelines, the book examines the properties and adhesive test results for more than 30 of the most commonly used resin families. For each selected plastic, the guide provides information such as associated trade names, general description, typical properties, and application areas. The book also correlates adhesive shear strength and performance with a specified base resin, including various formulations that include additives and fillers.

Loctite Corp. Booth E11241 1001 Trout Brook Crossing Rocky Hill, CT 06067 FAX (860) 571-5465


Model KIA capacitive proximity switch detects the level of plastic materials in loader tubes. In loader tube applications, the proximity switch must operate so that it does not sense the empty tube, but does reliably detect the presence of material in the tube. This requires that the sensitivity setting be midway between the point where the switch just senses the empty tube and the point where it just senses material in the tube. With the KIA, the sensitivity range required in loader applications is distributed over multiple turns of the potentiometer. The user can determine when the switch just detects the tube and the material, and then position the potentiometer midway between the two. The unit is available in four configurations: two-wire ac/dc normally open, two-wire ac/dc normally closed, three-wire dc, and two-wire dc quadronorm.

ifm efector inc. Booth E-8042 805 Springdale Dr.Whitel and Business Park Exton, PA 19341 FAX (610) 524-2010

Hot-air oven

MiniClean system is a compact, bench-top, hot-air oven that removes solidified plastic from nozzles, filters, spinnerets, and other small metal parts. Plastic is converted to a harmless, non-polluting vapor in approximately two hours.

Seghers Dinamec Inc. Booth E11541 3114 Emery Circle Austell, GA 30001

Engineering News

Engineering News

Legislation pushes fastener limits

Newton, MA--A pilot suddenly loses control of his plane and crashes, killing hundreds of people. The cause is traced back to the main rudder power-control unit and, among other parts, a defective internal bolt on one of the unit's bearings.

Fastener failure in critical applications such as this fictional one and concern over the safety of the general public prompted Congress to draft the Fastener Quality Act (FQA) in 1990. The intent of the law was to reduce the risk of product malfunction by prohibiting substandard fasteners from being sold in the U.S. Some members of the fastener industry say the Act, signed into law in November 1996, may actually have harmful effects. They warn of ineffective technology, higher costs, and longer lead times for manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.

Currently, the FQA requires all fasteners to be inspected, tested, and certified to its specific regulations prior to sale. In addition, any organization involved in testing fasteners manufactured according to a consensus standard (such as SAE, ASTM, and ISO) must be accredited by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)-recognized accrediting body.

The law cites NIST's own National Voluntary Accreditation Program (NVLAP) as the first accrediting body. Among the outside organizations applying to NIST for approval as accrediting bodies are the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA; Gaithersburg, MD) and the National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program (NADCAP) of the Society of Automotive Engineers' (SAE) Warrendale, PA-based Performance Review Institute (PRI).

Both organizations see the FQA as a positive step toward assuring product quality. "The law will lead to a much more controlled industry where issues such as bogus parts and illegal fasteners entering the country will get a much higher level of scrutiny," says Arshad Hafeez, NADCAP program director at PRI. "In the long term, an organized and managed fastener industry will benefit the public at large."

Many fastener companies are already lining up for accreditation, although no accrediting bodies have officially been recognized as of press time. Peter Unger, president of A2LA, says the organization has received well over 200 applications. That's out of 450 labs NIST estimates will need to receive accreditation.

But applying for accreditation does not necessarily mean these companies agree with the Act. In fact, many members of the fastener industry see the FQA as a serious setback. Charlie Wilson, technical director of the Industrial Fasteners Institute (IFI; Cleveland, OH), believes the law will disrupt technological development in the industry. The problem: The Act does not reflect the progress the fastener industry has made in the 10 years since the FQA began its way through Congress.

The law was based on a final inspection system for quality that is now obsolete for most mass producers of parts. Over the years, companies have come to understand that if they control the manufacturing process, they don't need to spend time and money on final inspection. "Process control means you make the part the same way every time," says Bruce Meade, manager of corporate metallurgical services at fastener manufacturer Camcar/Textron, Rockford, IL. "As long as the process is being controlled, the product that comes out of the machine at the end should be of good quality, and inspecting it is really less of an issue."

Under the FQA, companies that have invested heavily in trying to achieve that objective would find themselves forced to step back technologically in time. "We have very serious concerns that if the FQA is put into place it could end up strangling our industry and pushing us back 10 years in terms of quality assurance," says Wilson. "It will put everyone in a lose-lose situation."

Wilson cites the progress that has been made in reducing part defects. Ten years ago, 10,000 to 20,000 non-conformances existed for every million parts produced. Thanks to modern process-control technology, he says, that level has decreased considerably, in some cases below 100 parts per million.

Time and money. "The Act is going to be a significant change in the way we do business, and we'll see dramatic increases in costs associated with it," cautions Camcar's Meade.

Now, a customer can authorize shipment of a lot that has not been completely tested, expecting that it will pass based on previous performance. The FQA would forbid release of such a lot, regardless of customer request. The result: longer lead times. The biggest concern is with corrosion-resistance testing, such as salt spray, which could require as many as 500 or 1,000 hours in a test chamber.

"The FQA will cause lead times to increase significantly," says Meade, "but not just from new testing requirements." It's not uncommon for blueprints to arrive with insufficient information, he ex-plains. "We already take great pains to make sure we have all the information we need, but with a federal law hanging over our heads, getting a verbal approval from a customer will no longer be enough. Those situations will now require written confirmation of changes."

And detail is going to become even more critical, he says. With prints in a foreign language, for example, it won't be enough for someone in the office to translate the information. "We'll have to get an English version from the customer, or a valid technical translation from an outside company. All of which will add to the time factor," Meade notes.

Another problem: The law will apply to all lots, whether 50,000 final pieces or 10 fasteners created as prototypes. Safety concerns for the general public do not come into play for prototypes not destined for an end product, yet manufacturers would still be required to produce every fastener as though it were covered by this law. "This means our ability to turn around samples and prototypes in a timely fashion will be affected as well," says Meade.

High stakes. In addition to longer lead times and costs incurred through increased testing, the law brings with it a range of other expenses say opponents: potential fees for workshop attendance to fully understand the law, payment for changes in paperwork to comply with FQA regulations, internal expenses associated with preparing for accreditation, fees paid to the accrediting body, plus a $925 payment to be on NIST's list of accredited laboratories.

"There is already a perception that the law will be very very expensive, and there is some merit to that," admits PRI's Hafeez. "But if people look at it in the long term,say five years from now, they'll see this was a good investment."

But the FQA itself may actually prevent some companies from realizing its benefits in five years. For example, smaller fastener manufacturers that cannot afford the expenses related to complying with the law could be forced to shut down, says Camcar's Meade. Intentional non-compliance could garner individuals a $250,000 fine, $500,000 for corporations. Both would also be subject to five-year jail terms.

Building efforts. Fastener manufacturers aren't the only ones opposed to the current law. At a NIST meeting held in February, automotive and aircraft companies and other major consumers of fasteners testified that it was imperative to make changes to the FQA. Auto industry representatives estimated the law could potentially add $15 to $22 to the cost of fasteners for each automobile.

Regulation amendments that would recognize and allow for the use of process controls have been proposed, and NIST is expected to make a final decision on what it deems acceptable by early fall. The deadline for full compliance with the current FQA is May 27, 1997, but an extension is expected to May 1998 to enable a sufficient number of laboratories to be accredited for testing.

For now, the fastener industry waits. There are no certainties, says Bruce Meade, except, perhaps, for this: "The law is going to affect us dramatically, our customers, our suppliers, and just about everybody who's associated with fasteners."

Updates on line

For a more in-depth review of the Fastener Quality Act, check out the NIST web site. Information can be accessed at

You can find FQA updates and answers to commonly asked questions at Camcar/Textron's web site. Go to and look under the "What's new" section.

The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation also provides updates, along with information on how to attain accreditation. Visit its web site at

Plastic radiator moves closer to market

Detroit--A licensing agreement between DuPont and Toronto-based Cesaroni Technology will bring developmental heat exchangers and contoured radiators made of thermoplastic resin one step closer to reality. The agreement allows Cesaroni to make, use, and sell the nylon-based heat exchangers in the marine and military markets.

"Using a thermoplastic resin instead of metal for heat exchangers and radiators offers designers tremendous packaging flexibility, while providing corrosion resistance, weight savings, impact resistance, and recyclability," says Bruce Babcock, DuPont nylon heat exchanger business manager.

The heat exchanger uses no fins, but relies on a large, wetted surface area for convective heat transfer to cool engine fluids. A modified nylon 66 resin is used to construct the flexible exchangers.

Design News booth showcases hot new products, trends

Chicago--In March, engineers from around the world gathered to view the latest in engineering technology at the National Design Engineering Show housed at McCormick Place. Design News celebrated NDES by showcasing a collection of the most interesting technologies to appear in the magazine during the months prior to the exhibition.

Visitors to the booth tried their hand at the pinball game "Attack From Mars." De-signed in AutoCAD, chor-eographed via software, and CPU-driven, this game em-ploys dot-matrix displays, MIDI-generated sound, anda crazy mix of electromechanical toys to capture its players. Proof that today's games rely on much more than traditional electromechanical parts, At-tack from Mars features more than 1,000 components.

Try to envision an opaque material that, at the flick of an electric switch, turns transparent. 3M Corp.'s "Privacy Film" did just that in the Design News booth. Not a polarizing film or LED-based design, this new product pro-mises to revolutionize applications such as bus windows, automotive sunroofs, and vi-sors for training firemen and pilots.

Also making an appearance at the booth: Numonics Corp.'s Interactive FlipChart (IFC). Though it looks like a standard paper flip chart, the unit connects to a user's computer via a serial cable. A cordless digitizing marking pen sends information from the paper to the computer, immediately capturing data for later use. The novel device won the magazine's Best Product of the Year award.

SensAble Technologies was on hand with haptic devices that add the sense of feel to CAD. If a flower vase appears on your computer screen in 3-D, for example, the devices would let you feel the curvature of the vase's surface, both on the inside and out.

The more daring NDES attendees stopped by Design News' booth for a ride on Max-Flight's virtual roller coaster. Passengers sel-ected a sequence of nine track sections featuring im-possible physics. A virtual track for a visual frame of reference and 360-degree roll and pitch motion made the ride a little too realistic for some.

Indy driver database established

Warren, MI--Engineers at GM's Delphi Interiors, Human Factors Ergonomics Group, working with the GM Motorsport Group, re-cently developed a database comprising measurements of Indianapolis racecar drivers. The measurements establish the dimensions of the typical Indy driver.

To develop the database, engineers made anthropometric measures of about 40 Indy drivers using a manually operated FaroArm(R) articulated measurement arm with seven degrees of freedom. "You touch the probe wherever you want to take a data point, and the software will construct the geometric features from the data," explains FARO Technologies Inc. Applications Engineer Dan Perreault. Operating one switch on the probe establishes a data point, another switch tells the arm's controller that data collection is complete.

In this application, "if you're measuring a human being, you'll typically set up a coordinate system on the person," explains Perreault. "Maybe you'll take a point on each side of the pelvis and then on the head, and that sets up a reference system, and all the measurements will be relative to that system."

Users can save measurements to IGES, ASCII, or other file formats. The portable device provides an accuracy of plus or minus 0.007 inch for single-point repeatability and plus or minus 0.012 inch for linear displacement. Usable "out of the box," the FaroArm comes with a software utility package that handles basic data collection along with probe offsets and similar information. Different models of the FaroArm range in price from $14,000 to about $75,000, according to Perreault, depending on the size, reach, and accuracy the user demands. The company offers a series of arms providing 6, 8, 10, and 12 feet of spherical working volume.

Data gathered by Delphi Interiors human-factors engineers included 12 basic body measurements, plus any unique physical attributes of the drivers. Engineers then determined the maximum, minimum, and median of each measurement. Results indicate that the typical Indy driver is slightly smaller than the average person.

Data profiles developed at Delphi Interiors will help engineers enhance driver comfort in Indy racecars by designing better seats. Also, more effective placement of body restraints within racecars, made possible by referring to database information, should make racing vehicles safer.

Material locks in lock's strength

Crete, IL--When designing its new series of composite padlocks for safety lock-out applications, American Lock Co. needed a material that could stand the test of time. It found that material in a long-glass-reinforced polypropylene composite.

"We chose Verton(R) MFX composite because it provides twice the strength of other plastics currently available for the industry," says Philip Settecase, American Lock's vice president of sales and marketing. "It's a nonconductive material, and one that's lighter in weight and less costly than metal." LNP Engineering Plastics, Exton, PA, supplied the composite for this application.

Padlocks made from the Verton composite have the same color options and imprinting capabilities as American's established line of solid-body aluminum locks. One key feature, says Settecase, "is the custom engraving on the front and back sides of the lock. Anodized aluminum inserts--permanently affixed at the point of manufacture--can be laser engraved with an employee's name, ID number, or logo."

Composite components use grows in automotive arena

Detroit--A total of 106 new Sheet Molding Composite (SMC) components are debuting on passenger cars and trucks during the 1997 model year. That's the latest finding from the SMC Automotive Alliance (SMCAA), a trade group that monitors industry trends.

The group reports that over one-quarter of the 438 SMC components currently on vehicles are new this model year, representing a 43% increase in components announced in 1996. The breakdown reads like this: 37 new parts on cars; 13 new parts on light trucks, vans, and utility vehicles; and 56 new applications on heavy trucks.

"Although body panels like hoods, decklids, and fenders represent about 85% of the SMC applications currently on cars and trucks, there are 38 new SMC structural components in 1997--more than triple the number in 1993," reports Jim Grzelak, SMCAA chairman.

The restyled Jeep Wrangler roof uses the first pigmented SMC, which eliminates the need to paint the roof's interior. "That significantly cuts costs and eliminates manufacturing operations," Grzelak adds.

GM's first production electric car debuts with all of its major body panels made from low-density SMC, a very lightweight material with a specific gravity of 1.3--compared with 1.9 for conventional SMC and 7.8 for steel. In addition, about 30% of the aluminum-intensive Plymouth Prowler's exterior panels are SMC. This includes the rear quarter panels, front fender, front quarter extensions, windshield surround, rear valance panel, and fuel fill door.

In heavy trucks, Kenworth's newly introduced T-2000 Class-8 has about 1,000 lbs of SMC, representing the largest single use of the material. Parts include: hood, cab door assembly, aero- and mid-roofs, bumper, storage doors, firewall assembly, side deflectors, and A and D pillars.

"SMC's design flexibility and light weight helped Kenworth create a very aerodynamic truck with a dramatic hood slope that improves the driver's forward visibility," Grzelak explains. "Drag coefficient was improved by 69%, and fuel economy was enhanced by 3%."

New SMC structural components include: a fascia support for the Buick Regal and Olds Cutlass Supreme; grille opening reinforcements on the Ford Windstar minivan; and valve covers on the 5.4l engine on the Ford F-Series light trucks.

Design News banquet rewards engineering achievement

Chicago--For the 10th consecutive year, Design News bestowed its Engineering Achievement Awards on the best and brightest engineers during National Manufacturing Week. The event, which featured a black-tie banquet at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, was a highlight of the National Design Engineering Show last March.

Paramount among the award recipients was Bernard Dagarin, the chief engineer for the Jupiter atmosphere probe that the Galileo spacecraft deployed in 1995. Dagarin was voted Engineer ofthe Year by the readers of Design News. The Hughes engineer successfully guided the project through disasters and setbacks, including the elimination of the SpaceShuttle as a launch vehiclein the wake of the Challenger disaster, requiring significant revisions in design.

Many participants in and observers of the Galileo program said Dagarin's leadership maintained the resolve of a staff nearly demoralized by the delays incurred by the redesign effort. Scientists regard the data acquired by the Jupiter probe as essential to unlocking the secrets of the solar system.

As Engineer of the Year, Dagarin designated the University of Alabama, Huntsville to receive a $20,000 donation provided by the Torrington Co., primary sponsor of the award since its inception.

According to Torrington's marketing communication manager, Milanne DiElsi, the company's involvement with the Engineering Achievement Awards is an integral part of its year-round support for advanced engineering, research, and education around the country. "This program enables us to join other industry leaders in carrying an im-portant message of support to students and young engineers," Di-Elsi says.

Exploration of inner space--the ocean depths--is the vocation of Graham Hawkes. His work developing revolutionary submersibles for science, industry, the military, and the under-ocean-going-public earned Hawkes the Special Achievement Award.

An aviation enthusiast growing up, Hawkes brought a barnstormer's spirit to the Special Boat Section of the Royal Navy out of college. His attempts to stir up the backwater state of small underwater craft met with resistance, so he struck out on his own. Today, more than 70% of all manned submersibles are Hawkes' designs.

NTN Bearing Corp., sponsor of the Special Achievement Award, donated $15,000 to Florida Atlantic University on Hawkes' behalf. A supplementary award went to Brunel University in the UK.

Ken Dabrowski, Ford's vice president for quality and process leadership, received the Engineering Quality Award for his work in getting people to out-of-the-way places. Dabrowski supervised the development of the toughest, best engineered vehicles in the world. His pursuit of quality has helped make best-sellers of the F-150 and Ranger pickups, and the Explorer sport utility.

Schneeberger Inc. will present a $15,000 grant to the University of Detroit-Mercy in Dabrowski's name.

Also honored was David Parish, engineer and president of Omnitech Robotics Inc., for his standardized kits that convert vehicles for remote control. Parish went to Bosnia to oversee the installation of his robotics systems into U.S. Army mine-clearing tanks as part of Operation Joint Endeavor. His technology protects the lives of soldiers working to protect the lives of others, and so Parish received the Excellence in Computer-Aided Design Award.

Microsoft, sponsor of the award, presented a $5,000 prize to Parish, and donated $5,000 to the University of Colorado, Boulder in his name.

The achievements of many other engineers were recognized as well. And Design News presented awards for the best products of the year, as determined by a panel of experts.

System ups engine power

Warren, MI--Borg-Warner Automotive Air/Fluid System Corp. and Solvay Automotive Inc. have unveiled an air-intake system that helps improve torque and fuel efficiency for Chrysler's new 3.2 and 3.5l aluminum V-6 engines. The secret: a a fusible-core injection-molding method and an advanced long-runner/short-runner valve system that creates a manifold with improved air flow.

Solvay Automotive provides the fusible-core injection-molded manifold. The lost-core process involves molding a part around a metal core, which is then melted away, leaving a manifold with a smooth inner wall. This, in turn, lowers friction and increases air-flow efficiency.

Borg-Warner assembles the throttle body assembly, manifold tuning valve, and short-runner valve system to the manifold. The manifold tuning valve broadens the mid-range torque band. The short-runner valve system increases high-speed power. Integration of the short-runner valve results in an "active" manifold. The final air-intake system ships to Chrysler's Trenton, MI, engine facility.

Single chip records and plays back human speech

San Jose, CA--ChipCorderTM series chips from Information Storage Devices (ISD) provide personal-electronics designers with record functions and realistic-speech playback on a single 3V chip. The key feature is direct analog storage of voice and audio signals into the on-chip memory without intervening analog-to-digital converters. Analog input and output allows direct interfacing to a speaker and microphone, obviating digital-signal-processing circuitry for encoding and decoding. The nonvolatile memory eliminates using battery power for memory retention.

The chip records from one to four minutes of speech, depending on the sampling rate. The best sound quality is with audio input sampling at the highest rate, 8 kHz.

Joe Jarrett, applications manager for ISD, notes that the ChipCorder offers more storage per cell than digital binary chips. "Digitally you'd need eight cells per sample, but we're storing a sample in a single cell with lossless 8:1 compression," he says. "We take the sample, then write its voltage level to the cell. This gives the equivalent of 8-bit accuracy in a single cell for 256 cell levels."

More sampling time allows for more features. Ability to implement both answering-machine and voice-memo functions on a single chip led Motorola engineers to use the ChipCorder in its StarTAC 8600 cellular phone, which has four minutes of record time.

In addition to cost and being a single-chip solution, the extensive analog storage for human-voice-like output was a deciding factor in selection of the ChipCorder for the latest Model 1580 radar-laser detector from Whistler (Chelmsford, MA). "It's a neat little chip that does real audio recording," says Senior Development Engineer Craig Autio. The detector receives intelligent-highway-transmitter warning and advisory signals, which are decoded as one of 64 safety messages. The ChipCorder speaks the message to the driver in a female voice.

Because the ChipCorder sports a four-pin serial interface, it is easier to integrate and occupies less circuit-board real estate than parallel-addressed chips with more pins. Three of the pins are for voice recording and the user interface connected to the system microcontroller. The last pin is available for other control functions.

Panel integrates car controls

Pittsburgh--After the warm reception given to the integrated control panel (ICP) for the 1996 Ford Taurus, the automaker wanted a similarly sculptured part for its 1997 Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer. The solution: insert-mold decoration using film technology from Serigraph Inc., molding and assembly technology from Key Plastics Inc., and a polycarbonate film from Bayer Corp.'s Polymers Div.

The new ICP incorporates the controls for the radio/cassette, HVAC system, rear defroster, and clock into a single oval-shaped bezel that embodies four colors, different textures, and a low-gloss look.

"Insert-mold decoration gives manufacturers flexibility in design and colors, as well as a durable product," says Jan Livingston, group leader for in-mold decorating research and development at Serigraph, West Bend, WI. "There's no post-mold decorating, so labor costs can be reduced. You also tend to get a lower rejection rate compared to techniques that often have registration problems."

The manufacturing process starts at Serigraph, where Bayer's Makrofol(R) DE 1-1 polycarbonate film is screen printed with a proprietary elastic ink system. The film, a special graphic-quality extrusion grade, offers tight gauge control and excellent mechanical and thermal properties.

Once screen printed, the film is thermoformed to get an intimate fit to the molding cavity. Serigraph then die-cuts the printed film and sends it to Key Plastics, Novi, MI, where an automated system inserts the film into the mold, aligning the film with the part's 24 openings. A polycarbonate resin is shot behind the film, which bonds to the surface of the material and forms an integral part. The finished ICP measures 11x7 inches and has a thickness up to 3/4 inch.

"We've gotten a very good bond of the film to the plastic with no adhesion loss," reports Doug Carmer, Key's product engineering manager.

Society cites plastics design winners

..Two applications--both of which use engineering resins from BASF Plastics--have received 1997 design awards from the Society of Plastics Engineers. The SPE's 1997 Industrial Plastics Product Design Award was given to W/C Technologies Corp., Troy, MI, for its PF/2 Energized Flush toilet system, which uses Ultradur B thermoplastic polyester. And Kimball Office Furniture, Jasper, IN, took home the Consumer Plastics Product Design Award for its office chair, which uses Ultramid nylon.

At the society's Annual Technical Conference in Toronto, Canada, SPE President Jay L. Gardiner presented the awards during a luncheon on April 29 at the Toronto Convention Center. The SPE says the criteria judges used in selecting the winners were design integrity and innovation, environmental benefits, value to the marketplace, appearance, and manufacturability.

BASF provided both award winners with close technical support throughout the development of the products. Assistance included: structural analysis work in designing the molded parts, flow analysis to optimize the physical properties, processing assistance during molding trials, and product modification to optimize material properties and appearance.

Plastic hangers improve skate's performance

Lincoln Park, NJ--By placing its wheels in a "V" pattern, the designers of this professional roller hockey skate enable wearers to perform quick, hockey-style braking and 40 to 50% tighter turns than they could make on standard in-line skates. Furthermore, the design gives the TST-2000 better stability than a conventional skate, according to Michael Delia, senior vice president of V-Formation Inc., the skate's manufacturer. Patents are pending.

Rugged hangers molded from DuPont Zytel(R) 80G33L nylon resin support the skate's wheels. Attached to a metal sole plate, each hanger supports an axle that holds a wheel tilted at 16 degrees from the vertical. Alternating hangers face in opposite directions, setting the wheels at opposing angles in the form of a "V".

"The V configuration provides two centers of gravity," explains Delia. Two of the skate's four wheels always remain perpendicular to the ground during turns for greater control and maneuverability.

DuPont engineers helped V-Formation select Zytel 80G33L, a glass-reinforced formulation, and optimize the hanger design to withstand impact loads, vibration, and stresses caused by braking and turning.

"The original prototype had three sides that didn't hold up well to stress or impact loads," says Bill Marks, a design specialist at DuPont Engineering Polymers. "We helped V-Formation develop a four-sided design that can withstand higher stress." The new design also includes an integral molded recess that shields the wheel axle against ground contact during sharp turns.

V-Formation's tests show that when molded in Zytel 80G33L the design resists impact forces as high as 2,000 lbs. The material also provides good energy absorption to dampen vibrations, improve stability, and reduce fatigue. Introduced to the commercial market last winter, TST-2000 skates come with double-stitched leather boots and retail for $350.

Transducer grabs wheel data

Farmington Hills, MI--Developed to measure road load force and torque on a wheel, the six-component Model 32051 force/torque transducer from RS Technologies, Inc. measures three forces and three moments on an auto or truck wheel. It captures longitudinal, lateral and vertical forces, along with turn-over moment, wheel torque, and turning moment.

At the heart of the system is a six-axis strain gage transducer element. David Miller, manager of sales and marketing at RS Technologies, describes it as a proprietary version of a strut-type design. Users mount the sensor between a driving hub and tire. When excited, it produces an analog output signal. In the RS Technologies' system, an analog data recorder captures transducer output. A relay-activated shunt calibration circuit allows system checkout before use. Nonlinearity and hysteresis of the Model 32051 are plus or minus 0.5%, and it can operate at temperatures from -25C to 150C.

Engineers employ an integral angle position encoder to provide speed and position monitoring for ABS/traction-control studies and differential performance analysis. The angle position encoder generates up to 2,880 pulses for resolution to 1/8 degree.

Electric supercar uses closed-loop cooling

Hethel, Norfolk, England--A prototype all-electric Lotus Elise, powered by two internal, oil-cooled, brushless dc motors, weighs just 875 kg. Simulations predict a 30 to 70 mph time of five seconds for the vehicle and a range of 120 miles.

Made by Zytek Automotive Ltd., the motors are mounted on lightweight aluminum single-ratio Zytek gearboxes. Each weighs 13 kg, and the two together produce a total of 200 bhp (brake horsepower), or 150 kW. A closed-loop, pressurized cooling system for the motors employs a conventional transformer oil that flows through slots in the stator laminations, and over the windings. This approach re-moves heat produced in the stator windings by I2R losses. Zytek claims the motor is the first production EV motor to use this technique to cool critical components.

Power for the motors comes from a 300V nickel cadmium battery pack. Engineers selected nickel cadmium technology to ensure steady voltage throughout most of the discharge cycle. Recharge to 95% of capacity will require 60 minutes. An electronic control system made by Zytek coordinates all power-related functions and provides both regenerative braking and traction control.

Vehicle running gear, bodywork, and the extruded and bonded aluminum chassis are retained from the standard Elise. In the future, passen-ger compartment heating will be provided using heat from the motor cooling oil, which is cooled by the standard Elise radiator.

Engineers canonize a new saint

by John Lewis Northeast Technical Editor

Santa Barbara, CA--In Leslie Charteris's first book about the Saint, Simon Templar drove a long and beautiful car known as the Hirondel. In the 1960s, Roger Moore chose Volvo's P1800, making it one of Templar's most renowned cars. This year, the latest Saint flick stars Val Kilmer and puts the modern day gentleman thief behind the wheel of another Volvo--the C70.

Available in North America in late 1997, the C70 will cost about $43,000. It offers fun-to-drive performance and a new look for Volvo: This time Volvo kept the toy, and threw away the box! The upright and assertive grill, with the traditional diagonal band, remains in tact. But it merges smoothly into a bonnet characterized by a "V" extending from the grill to the windscreen pillars.

Unlike the smooth straight sides of the S70 sedan and V70 wagon, the coupe's corners turn in. Sloping body lines cheat perspective, making the full length apparent only from side-center view. The C70 appears shorter than the 850--the platform for all above-mentioned vehicles--but is actually 2 inches longer.

A hint of cab-forward design places the window's base closer to the front and further refines this car's departure from traditional Volvo styling. Another bold statement in form is the way the sharply sculpted sides extend over the wheels and sweep inward near the doors.

A turbocharged (with intercooler) transverse 5-cylinder, in-line, all-aluminum engine propels the C70 from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. Although a four-speed automatic transmission is available, the full synchromesh five-speed gearbox really lets you play in the broad torque range.

The front suspension employs spring struts with integrated shock absorbers and forged aluminum lower wishbones that maintain stability under heavy braking. A delta-link rear suspension with twin steering links gives some rear-wheel steering compliance when cornering and helps counteract oversteer.


..Dimensions and weight:

  • Wheelbase 104.7 inches

  • Max. length 185.8 inches

  • Max. width 72.0 inches

  • Max. height 55.1 inches

  • Ground clearance 5.6 inches

  • Drag coefficient 0.29

  • Track front/rear 59.8 inches

  • Turning circle 39 feet

  • Curb weight 3325-3410 lbs

  • Gross weight 4140-4190 lbs

  • Weight distribution f/r 61/39%

  • Cargo capacity 13.1 ft3

  • Fuel tank volume 70 liters

..Performance (manual)

  • 0-60 6.9 sec

  • Max. speed 155 mph


  • Type B5234T3

  • Max. power 236 bhp at 5100 rpm

  • Max. torque 243 lb-ft at 2700-5100 rpm

  • Capacity 2319 cc

  • Bore 81 mm

  • Stroke 90 mm

  • Compr. ratio 8.5:1

  • Cylinders 5

  • Valves 20

  • Fuel system Motronic 4.4