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Six technologies that will banish your bugaboos

Six technologies that will banish your bugaboos

It's a new year and a new century, so maybe it's time for a new approach to solving problems that have plagued product development for what seems like forever.

In the following article, Design News editors describe some of the innovations and trends in computer productivity tools, electronics, fastening/joining, fluid power, materials, and motion control/power transmission that will emerge this year to make engineers' lives easier.

Of course, there are many more than we can cover here, but this report contains information on some of those that seem most significant. We'll be covering the other innovations throughout the year, so watch for that coverage in the magazine and on our web site, www.designnews.com.


FORECAST 2000 FASTENING/JOINING/ASSEMBLY

Fasteners to get smaller, lighter, stronger

They'll also handle heat better

Driven by demands from the computer, telecommunications, and automobile industries, fastener suppliers in 2000 will release smaller, lighter, more durable fastening and adhesives products.

All three industries are also insisting that prices stay down, says Bob Alyanakian, Global Director of Engineering for Southco (Concordville, PA).

"That's a message we've heard for years," he says. "We need to add additional features without adding cost. And engineers now are looking at the total installed cost of a latching or fastener system, not just the cost of an individual component."

So for automotive needs, Southco will release new, lightweight fasteners made of plastic instead of metal. The company says it will provide strong, low-cost fasteners for the computer industry, and durable fasteners for telecommunications applications both indoors and out.

The computer industry is demanding products to help protect sensitive hard drives and disks from manufacturing damage. Among offerings from other companies, Adhesives Research (Glen Rock, PA) will release a strippable, electronically clean adhesive, used in labeling, assembly or sealing of hard drives. The adhesive, called ARclean, reportedly has negligible content of VOC (volatile organic compounds), which can harm unprotected disks.

Responding to calls from the automotive and other industries for products that withstand higher temperatures, Loctite (Rocky Hill, CT) will introduce a new anaerobic threadlocker that will withstand up to 400F, so it can be used in today's smaller, lighter applications. Previous generations of the product, used in place of mechanical lockwashers to hold nuts and bolts together, could withstand only 300F, says Mike Shannahan, manager of OEM marketing.

"As components get smaller and smaller they generate more heat, with smaller areas, so there's a need for higher temperature performance," Shannahan says.

For large-volume, fast-cure plastics assembly needs across all three industries, Loctite is releasing a one-component, light-curing cyano- acrylate. This FLASHCURETM solves the problem of using light-cure adhesives with UV-inhibiting plastics, since it will cure in 3 to 5 sec with either visible or UV light, he says. It can also be used with metal or rubber substrates.

And in another move toward low-cost assembly, manufacturers can expect to see a new line of standard-size barbed studs. The studs them- selves are headed, press-fit fasteners for use with plastics and soft metals, with ringed barbs running completely around the shank of each piece, says Brian Hamilton, general manager of the Solid Pin Division at Spirol (Danielson, CT), which will produce one version. Similar barbed studs have been used for years, he says, but they've never been available in standard sizes. The new line at Spirol will offer #2 through #16, at 1.4 to 6 mm diameter, making them available faster and in lower volumes.

New products

Screws

These precision shoulder screws are used as close tolerance spacers and bearing surfaces in many applications, for a lower price than other options. Screws are available in various English and metric dimensions, and in materials including brass, steel, and stainless steel, with dozens of metal finishes.

RAF Electronic Hardware, 95 Silvermine Rd., Seymour, CT 06483, FAX 203-888-9860, www.rafhdwe.com.

Connectors

The SN60MC metal connector nailer is designed for accurate fastening of various joist hangers, connector plates and straps, knee braces, and tie-downs. Its PrecisePoint(TM) hole-locating safety system extends the nails one half-inch from the nose of the guidebody before driving, to increase driving accuracy and prevent damage to framing and decking connectors. It will drive 1 .50-in. and 2 .50-in moisture-resistant, tape-collated nails with shank diameters of 0.131, 0.148, and 0.162 in.

Senco Products Inc., 8485 Broadwell Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45244, www.senco.com.

Adhesives

These new UV-curable products are designed for lamination of nameplates and other metallic, plastic and glass parts, and for the bonding of optical components and other transparent parts. Tra-Cast 243S01 is a clear, low viscosity photopolymer that cures rigid. Tra-Cast LX90054 is a more flexible version. Tra-Cast LX90059 is a screen printable polymer designed for the replacement of die cut embossed polycarbonate.

Tra-Con Inc., 45 Wiggins Ave., Bedford, MA 01730, FAX 781-275-9249, www.tra-con.com.

Adhesive Film

Scapa 702 is a clear, pressure-sensitive, double-coated silicone adhesive film designed to bond silicone foams and gaskets in automotive and industrial assembly applications. It withstands a wide range of application temperatures, from -20 to 400F, so it is suited for high or low temperature gasket sealing, precision die cutting, forming to intricate parts, and general purpose bonding. It can also serve as splicing tape to join silicone-coated papers or films.

Scapa Tapes, 111 Great Pond Dr., Windsor, CT 06095, FAX 860-688-7000, www.scapatapesna.com.

Epoxy

Loctite(R) 3567 is a reworkable underfill for use on flip-chip, BGA, and CSP assemblies. This epoxy-based liquid underfill will allow a flip-chip to be replaced after testing determines that the chip is defective, minimizing incidents where the entire board must be discarded. The adhesive cures in 5 to 15 min. when exposd to temperatures of 150 to 165C, and penetrates gaps as small as 1 mil. Defective packages are removed by heating the package and underfill for one minute at standard rework temperatures of 210 to 220C, then applying torque to the component.

Loctite Corp., 1001 Trout Brook Crossing, Rocky Hill, CT 06067, FAX 860-571-5465, www.loctite.com.


FORECAST 2000 MATERIALS

Vibration-reducing plastics will stop all that quivering

New thermoplastics will provide dampening with no real change in modulus

If the prospect of unwanted vibration gives you the shakes, take heart. The Year 2000 will see the introduction of new engineering thermoplastics formulated specifically for vibration dampening.

While engineers have long been able to lessen vibration transmission through careful part design and, in some cases, by choosing stiffer materials than the application would otherwise need, these new thermoplastics take another approach. They contain additives intended to boost their vibration-dampening characteristics over unmodified versions of the same materialand do so without any significant change in modulus.

Several such materials from GE Plastics (Pittsfield, MA) will debut this year. The first ones will be vibration-dampening grades of the company's Noryl polyphenylene oxide (PPO). According to Noryl project leader Kristie Dolan, the proprietary vibration dampening technology works with all types Noryl, including glass-filled, unfilled, and flame-retardant grades.

Dolan reports that the new vibration technology provides a "significant increase in dampening performance" as measured by the amplification factor (Q). The lower the Q, the better the material controls vibration. Tests conducted by GE Plastics show that a 20% glass-filled standard Noryl has a Q of 19-25, while a 20% glass-filled vibration grade with the same modulus would have a Q of under 13. ABS, by contrast, comes in with a Q of roughly 23 to 35. Other physical and mechanical properties remain nearly the same.

Vibration-dampening Noryl is slated for availability by mid-year in sampling quantities, says Dolan. She expects the first applications to come in business equipment parts, especially the gears and drive components of computer printers. And because the vibration-dampening technology works with new high-heat Noryl grades, she adds, automotive underhood applications present another opportunity for the new materials.

Similar vibration-dampening technology will likely appear in other GE materials this year. According to Bob Gallucci, GE Plastics Steinmetz Fellow, recent lab work shows that the vibration-reduction technology can also be applied to the Valox thermoplastic polyesters (PBT), including glass-filled, unfilled, and flame-retardant grades. The technology will also be applied to Xenoy PBT/polycarbonate and to Enduran mineral-filled PBT. All these new grades exhibit a "capability to give reduced sound and vibration transmission compared to our standard grades," Gallucci reports. Because they are so new, though, GE has limited data on just how well they will perform in the field and is looking for validation partners.

The first of these vibration-resistant PBT products will closely resemble the company's standard Valox 420, a glass-filled grade. "While its mechanical performance does not exactly match that of Valox 420, it has similar attributes that should allow for use in a range of applications," Gallucci reports, citing enclosures for mechanical and electronic devices as a good application fit. Another forthcoming grade will be based on the company's Valox K4560, a hydro-resistant grade for underhood connector applications.

Physical and mechanical properties of a New Valox

Vibration Grade (glass-filled PBT)
HDT @ 66 psi, F 415
HDT @ 264 psi, F 370
Notched Izod, ft-lb/in. 2
Un-notched Izod, ft-lb/in. 12
Tensile Strength., kpsi 14.5
% Elongation. 6
Flex. Str., kpsi 21.6
Flex. Mod, kpsi 980
Specific gravity 1.52


FORECAST 2000 POWER TRANSMISSION/MOTION CONTROL

Linear motor stages to take flying leap forward

Vendors are finding clever new ways to provide faster speeds, smaller sizes

Despite the many benefits of linear motors, including high speed and high positioning accuracy, the fact that they are not a direct replacement for rotary motors has been problematic for engineers, and a limit to faster growth of the technology.

Hoping to make the transition easier, and the technology more accessible to new users, more and more vendors are packaging linear motors into complete motion systems.

But several companies are taking the concept to the next level, and coming up with ways to substantially improve upon the acceleration, packaging size, or other aspect of their designs. That is the case with two relatively small West Coast companiesboth systems integratorswho are already generating some serious buzz over products they've recently introduced.

Screaming speed, small size. With speeds to 5m/sec and 4-g acceleration in both axes, the KAOSTM multi-axis linear servo stage from Bell-Everman (Goleta, CA) represents not just a step, but a flying leap, forward for high-speed pick-and-place, pipetting, and testing applications. The secret? A small moving mass, says Michael Everman, co-founder of the six-year-old firm. Conventional multi-axis stages consist of a stack of linear motors, making for a big moving mass that typically requires a large motor on the bottom stage. In contrast, Bell-Everman's patented design incorporates multiple independent carriages on the same primary axes.

In contrast, Primatics focused on optimizing the size of its linear motor stage. "The biggest complaint we were hearing from customers was how big the size of their linear stages became after adding an external cable management system. So we decided to integrate the cables into the stage itself," says Kyle Thomson, director of sales and marketing for Primatics (Corvalis, OR). He is describing the internal cabling system, called Prima-FlexTM, which mounts directly to the carriage of the company's new PLG110 linear motor stage. Thanks to the novel cabling system, it is the first stage of its type to feature a 600-mm travel length in a 4-inch-wide package. Coming up with a cable design that could survive the alternating tension and compression forces was no easy task. "Round cables aren't designed for flexing applications. The trick was using high flex flat cables, like the type used in high-speed plotters," says Thomson.

But that's not all. In the coming year, expect to see many new product offerings along these lines from other component and motor makers.

New products

Servo linear motor

At only 50-mm high, NEAT's Impulse stage offers linear motor performance in an extremely low profile. The brushless servo linear motor can be sinusoidally commutated and achieves 5G acceleration with 100nm repeatability with a high resolution linear encoder. Maximum torsional stiffness is 0.2kg-m/arc-sec with standard travel distances of 150 to 350 mm. Enclosed cables minimize particle generation. New England Affiliated Technologies, 620 Essex St., Lawrence, MA 01841 www.neat.com .

Linear motors

New this year is Anorad Corp.'s multi-axis platforms with X and Y axes travels of up to over 20 inches with flatness to plus or minus 2 microns per inch. Driven by Anorad linear motors, the stages provide constant velocity and high throughput. Linear encoders enable the system to hold an accuracy of plus or minus 12 microns at the work point. The Theta axis permits the Z/spindle assembly to be tilted to a work angle of +15 to -1 degree. Anorad's CNC2000 provides motion control of the four axes. Anorad Corp., 110 Oser Ave., Happauge, NY 11788 www.anorad.com.

Iron core motor

Bayside's iron core motor stages feature a unique flexure design that automatically adjusts the beraing preload for optimum performance during thermal expansion and high accelerations. High-speed model uses recirculating bearings for high speed and accelerations and a high-accuracy model uses hollow crossed roller bearings for high accuracy, low noise, and low friction. Compatible with Bayside's linear motors provide continuous forces up to 38 lb in a compact package. The linear motors feature a stackable, end-to-end, modular design and a patent-pending electronic cooling system. Bayside Motion Group, 27 Seaview Blvd., Washington, NY 11050 www.baysidemotion.com

Linear motor

Aerotech's ALS20000 linear motor stage offers travels from 100 to 600 MM 9 to 24 inches) and accuracy to plus or minus 1 micron with acceleration to 39 m/sec2. Speed capability ofo up to 1000 mm/sec (40 inches/sec). Suitable for clean room applications. Aerotech, Inc., 101 Zeta Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15328 www.aerotechinc.com

Brushless servo motor

Baldor offers an enclosed positioning stage featuring a brushless servo motor with forces up to 480 lbs and speeds to 200 inches/sec. A single bearing positioning stage features travel lengths to 144 inches. Baldor Electric Co., Box 2400, Fort Smith, AR 72902 www.baldor.com

Linear servo actuator

Trilogy's linear servo actuator incorporates a patent-pending linear encoder module technology that uses the same magnetic field as the magnet track to generate the position feedback. The technology requires no scale, no tape, and no glass to achieve 5-micron resolution and plus or minus 5 micron repeatability for LM 110, 210, 310 motors and 7-micron repeatability for LM 410 motors. Standard lengths for actuators are every 2.4 inches up to 118 inches for T1, T2, and T3 models using steel bases. T4 actuators have a 3.36-inch incremental length. Trilogy Systems, 141 W. Bay Area Blvd., Webster, TX 77598 www.trilogysystems.com.


FORECAST 2000 ELECTRONICS

More ways to beat the heat

Innovative heat sinks pull more heat using smaller packages

Ah, entropy! Do anything, and you create waste heat.

Nowhere is this more evident than when pushing electrons along a conductor and through devices. Smaller product packages and greater power densities are making it difficult for electronic product designers to keep ahead of heat buildup. But, just when you think there's nothing new, thermal-management developers have come up with more efficient ways of extracting heat.

The AALLMetal heat sink's fins are cold formed to their base via a proprietary method. The shape and process minimize potential air gap formation, which can increase thermal resistance, and cut the need and effort of epoxy bonding.

Aavid Thermal Products (Concord, NH) has introduced its AALLMetal heat sinks that feature fins bonded to the base without the use of any epoxy or other fillers. Thermal resistance is comparable to epoxy-bonded heat sinks but without the labor and materials of using such a gap filler.

Conductivity throughout the part is equal to that of a solid extruded-aluminum heat sink. Thus, the piece can similarly be machined, handled, and finished as a single piece aluminum extrusion.

Advantage. But Aavid engineers say the AALLMetal design really shines in being able to accommodate tall fins, with densities up to 10 fins per inch of width. Extruding just can't push high aluminum fins out through a diebeing limited to an extrusion ratio (fin height to fin spacing) around 12:1 for short sinks (longer AALLMetal heat sinks go up to at least 25:1). That's why designers developed bonded finswith the new design providing up to two to three times the cooling surface of conventional aluminum-extrusion heat sinks.

Pins are in. Another heat sink innovation is highlighted by Barry Dagan, technical director of Cool Innovations (Concord, Ontario, Canada). In contrast, Cool Innovation's UltraCool II series of heat sinks uses cylindrical metal pins as the heat-dissipating elements press-fit into a base. The pins and bases are either aluminum or copper and can be combined.

The configuration gets its best performance when used in impingement cooling, where a fan blows cooling air down from the top of the sink and through the pins. Technical director Barry Dagan adds that the pins are optimized as to length and diameter for a given application, in order to achieve turbulent flow. Here, increased mixing brings more cool air into contact with the large pin area for improved heat removal. While pins allow omnidirectional cooling, impingement cooling is 15-25% more effective, Dagan notes. With slower airflows, pins are spaced wider so the array is less of a flow barrier.

Finally, design engineers can mount the pins directly on electronic components without a separate heat-sink base. Dagan says such housings are made with a slight extra thickness to allow insertion of the pins directly into holes machined into the surface.

New products

Bonded-fin heat sinks

AALLMetal bonded-fin heat sinks use a unique joining configuration that does not use any epoxy or gap-fillers in the fin-to-base joint, allowing the parts to be machined like standard aluminum extrusions while providing comparable thermal performance. Extrusion ratios of 35:1 and greater are available with custom fin densities up to 10 fins per inch, for two to three times the cooling surface of extruded heat sinks. Company claims lower cost and faster delivery than for traditional bonded-fin heat sinks. Applications include microprocessors and power semiconductors.

Aavid Thermal Products: www.aavid.com.

Pin-style heat sink

The UltraCool II family of heat sinks uses an aluminum or copper base and specially shaped aluminum or copper pins. Flexibility in design and thermal performance is provided by varying base thickness, footprint, pin lengths, pin density, as well as material combinations. Th pins allow omnidirectional cooling airflow but function best in the impingement mode where air is forced down onto the pins and out the sides of the pin array. Special applications include direct mounting of pins to electronic packages such as power supplies and amplifiers.

Cool Innovations: www.coolinnovations.com.

Thermal interface material

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

Aavid Thermal Products: www.aavid.com.

Electrically conductive adhesive

Electrically conductive epoxy adhesive was designed for stencil and screen printing applications. Loctite(R) 3883 is a medium-viscosity, heat-curable, silver-filled epoxy that is both electrically and thermally conductive. The low ionic grade, smooth paste forms durable bonds that provide a ground path from the chip to the substrate. Appropriate for attaching temperature-sensitive components, providing electrical interconnections on non-solderable substrates such as plastic and glass, for repair/rework of interconnections, and for high frequency shielding.

Loctite: www.loctite.com.

Thermal interface gel

For thermal management in building electronic equipment, manufacturers often use thermally conductive gels. Now there is a gel with a non-tacky top surface--to avoid attracting dust--and a sticky bottom side, for easy installation and removal. The HeatPath GTQ 1540 thermal interface gel is soft and conformable with low thermal resistance and low compression force, the manufacturer claims. It comes in a range of pre-cut shapes on rolls and sheets, in standard thicknesses from 0.25 to 1 mm.

Raychem: www.raychem.com.

Resettable fuses

PolySwitcha surface-mount polymeric positive temperature coefficient (PPTC) resettable fuses are 45% smaller with the same hold-current ratings as previously available models. The fuses also trip up to 50% faster (0.02 sec at 5A, typical) than comparable devices with similar performance. Six PPTCs in the series range from 0.05 A at 30 V to 1 A at 6 V within an industry-standard 1210 footprint (3.2 [x] 2.5 mm). The devices are wave solderable. Applications include computers, industrial process control, and consumer electronics.

Raychem: www.raychem.com.

Temperature controller

Model 5C7-350 controls temperature using thermoelectric modules. This single mode controller can be used for heating or cooling applications. The internal power stage is rated up to 7.5A over 12-24 V dc (additional external heat sinking allows operating currents in excess of 10A). A control temperature range of -20 to 100C is attained using the companies TS67 Series thermistor. The 5C7-350 has a proportional/integral control algorithm and both the proportional bandwidth and integral rate are adjustable for optimizing individual thermal systems.

Oven Industries: www.ovenind.com.

Thick-film heaters

Thick-film heaters allow OEMs to save space and ensure increased heat transfer and faster heat up, according to the company. Certain types can fit around obstacles. Heaters feature conductive ink and insulating material layered over a substrate, such as quartz, stainless steel, alumina, or beryllium oxide. Stainless substrates provide a corrosion-resistant heating surface, while quartz heaters are suited for use in aggressive chemicals. Applications include those needing fast heater response and thermal uniformity.

Watlow Industries: www.watlow.com.

Temp monitor, fan controller

THMC50 is a local/remote temperature monitor with two 3.3-V supply voltage supervisor circuits and an 8-bit, 0 to 2.5V digital-to-analog converter. The device is designed for temperature sensing and fan control using a two-wire SMBus serial interface. The THMC50 provides maskable interrupts for under/over temperature condition with default or user adjustable limit values. Applications include personal computers, and telecom and network equipment.

Texas Instruments: www.ti.com.


FORECAST 2000 SOFTWARE

Internet to increase value of engineering models

Purchasing, marketing, and other departments will have access to design data

Discussions of ease-of-use are passe. Time, growing familiarity with the software and the constant efforts of developers have made it less important in software selection.

Today, "hip issues" are web training, on-line help, and Internet-based collaborative engineering, all of which are expanding the use of engineering models.

Today, design engineers use CAD/CAM/CAE and PDM technology, exclusively for product development. Tomorrow, this same technology will evolve into tools for product commerce. Using the Internet, these tools will be used not only to develop products like this automobile designed using Unigraphics, but also to let customers look under the hood, fly through the interior, and even take a virtual test drive before they make a purchase.

Departments will move away from sharing drawings in order to show design intent and begin trading 3D files, predicts Martin Hard- wick, president of Step Tools, Inc. (Troy, NY), developers of STEP translators for CAD. People spend a lot of time translating 3D models into drawings that many people don't even know how to read, he says. With the speed and ease of the Internet, 3D models will be passed along throughout the enterprise.

The Internet adds tremendous value to design data, says Greg Smith, president of Immersive Design (Acton, MA), developer of IPA animation software. Anyone will be able to take the CAD model, view the product in 3D, and see how it works, Smith says. "This will provide a whole new way of looking at downstream information so that designs will go beyond manufacturing into sales, accounting, and marketing."

Unigraphics Solutions (UGS, St. Louis, MO), developers of CAD/ CAM/CAE/PDM software, will undergo a makeover to accommodate this trend. "UGS is moving from its CAD/CAM roots," says John Mazzola, president and CEO, and embracing more product commerce solutions. "Today the company supports 'concept-to-market,'" he says. Version 16 with predictive engineering is a good example of this. The company plans to leverage its technology into sales, installation, and product support. In other words, engineering models will not only drive design and manufacturing, but also other fundamental de- partments including sales, marketing, and technical support. "We will focus on applications that require the collaborative access to virtual products. And the Internet will be the platform for these applications," he says.

For instance, he continues, today one can buy a car over the Web by looking at a picture or, at best, a video. In the future, potential buyers will view the 3D engineering model of the vehicle from any angle just as the engineer does; place the car on a mountain or in an urban setting; configure it with options and color; fly-through the interior, all from their PC, Mazzola predicts. The Internet and engineering model will help buyers with routine maintenance questions or offer graphical owner-manual instructions as such mundane tasks as how to set the clock.

Now for software to make those 3D models. Alibre, Inc. (Richardson, TX) will enter the CAD market this year claiming to be the first MCAD package that is marketed, sold, and supported via the Internet. Targeted at 2D users and bottom-tiered suppliers, the software will cost approximately $100 a month or $1,000 a year. Alibre also offers users the ability to communicate with suppliers, manufacturers, and customers with only a browser. Engineers will be able to work on the same model at the same time in a secure session that is moderated by a leader.

New products

PDM software

Windchill enterprise management software is growing up. PTC added several modules targeted to help businesses and engineers deal with an "e-commerce new-world order." The Product Planning Factor offers a database where a generic design of a product such as a turbine or transformer resides. The customer inputs his or her requirements into the database and an engineer at the supplier company modifies the "generic product" with the personalized information. Next year, PTC plans to add a service module to connect customers directly to on-line technical help so suppliers, manufacturers, and users will be able to communicate problems and glitches over the web for immediate support of a product throughout its lifetime. Parametric Technology Corp. 128 Technology Dr., Waltham, MA 02154; FAX: (781) 398-6000; www.ptc.com.

Collaboration software

With WebEx, an Internet-based collaborative product, businesses can communicate with suppliers as well as customers in real time. Engineers can design files, make corrections, and have virtual worldwide meetings. As a service, WebEx allows engineers to trouble shoot their CAD problems with CADKEY technicians immediately via the Internet. For example, if the surfaces of a CAD model are imported into CADKEY inaccurately, CADKEY technicians can view the problem on the user's computer and help him fix the trouble, says Robert Bean, CADKEY's president. This increases productivity for the user by providing quick fixes to CAD dilemmas. CADKEY Corp. 33 Boston Post Rd. West, Marlborough, MA, 01752; FAX: (508) 229-2121; www.cadkey.com.

Internet CAD software

GS-Design, an aerospace-grade CAD system, is a high-end solid modeling 3D CAD system designed from the ground up for use over the Internet. Originally developed at Lockheed Martin, engineers can model large assemblies and manage an almost limitless number of design configurations. With its web-based, three-tier client/server/database architecture, GS-Design allows real-time, concurrent, collaborative design. The program manages revision and configurations and provides secure central storage of design data. The program offers high-end capability on a low-end budget. GS-Design is available to rent on a month-to-month subscription basis over the Internet. CollabWare Corp., 477 Shoup Ave., Ste. 105, Idaho Falls, ID 83402; FAX: (208) 552-4703; www.collabware.com.

Build-to-order service

SupplierMarket.com launched version 2.0 of its online trading exchange, which focuses on matching buyers and sellers for tier-2 and tier-3 build-to-order manufacturing parts. New enhancements include parametric search capability, increased ease of use for self-registration and first-time users, e-mail notification and chat capability for RFQs, and enhanced bidding activities. In addition, users of the site will be able to check the status and track their order through a partnership with Efinity, Inc. Efinity, a Web-hosted supply chain provider, will link its site to SupplierMarket.com to provide seamless entry to the user for order status inquiries. SupplierMarket.com, 1601 Trapelo Rd., Waltham, MA 02451; FAX: (781) 466-8438; www.suppliermarket.com.

Model healing

3Dmodelserver.com, an Application Service Provider, translates and heals 3D solid models. This web site allows engineers to import and export 3D CAD models so they can be healed and improved on-line, minimizing the task of manually fixing errors found in translated files. A transaction-based application allows users to translate and repair IGES and SAT files. The service automatically analyzes and then corrects inaccuracies in a model's geometry by leveraging Spatial's ACIS 3D toolkit with its translation and healing technologies. No extra hardware or software is required, though an IGES reader is needed for IGES files. Spatial Technology, 2425 55th St., Ste. 100, Boulder, CO, 80301; FAX: (303) 544-3001; www.spatial.com/3Dmodelserver.


FORECAST 2000 FLUID POWER

Quiet is the once and future watchword

OSHA and heightened customer expectations are silencing pumps and other devices

Fluid power equipment manufacturers have long recognized noise as an issue, but never more than now. In addition to OSHA regulations limiting workers' exposure to sound levels, noise also affects the perception of products. That's why some of the fluid power industry's biggest companies are making noise reduction a priority for the year 2000 and beyond.

Parker's PV plus axial piston pump design emphasizes low sound levels and the incorporation of an integral ripple chamber. Further sound enhancement is achieved through the design of a lower natural
frequency housing.

"In the past, the customer was mainly concerned with pump performance, durability, and cost," says Costas Christofi, an engineer and the Noise and Vibration Group Leader at Bosch Automation Technology (Racine, WI). "With the increased awareness of sound and the advent of improved technology, the customer expects a quiet product," he says.

Some of the tools Bosch now uses for studying, understanding, and reducing noise levels include digital signal processing, experimental and modal analysis, pump modeling and simulation, finite element analysis, and a hemi-anechoic chamber. "I believe that noise levels of fluid power products will continue to decrease in coming years," says Christofi.

"Noisy products are not quality products," says John Jones, a research and development manager with Parker Hannifin's hydraulic pump motor division. "Low sound equates to smooth, balanced operation," he says.

Examples of Parker Hannifin's efforts at reducing sound levels in the year 2000 products include El Paks, power units with overhead reservoirs for improving pump fill and reducing the potential for cavitation and noise. Also, the company's new PV plus axial piston pumps have ripple chambers that act like accumulators and reduce out-pressure ripple. Engineers at Parker used Pro/ENGINEER (Parametric Technology Corp., Waltham, MA) software for optimizing the pump housing stiffness. Reducing stiffness reduces natural fre- quency of the housings and, consequently, reduces noise levels.

Noise levels also affect the performance of workers in factories. John Hearne, an electrical engineer and Technical Operations Manager for Stanley Electric, Inc. in London, Ohio understands how noise impacts workers at the company's automotive lighting products plant. "We had to shout when talking to one another. We knew it was only going to get worse, so we started looking at ways to reduce noise levels," he says.

One way Stanley Electric solved its noise problem was by using Vickers integrated motor pumps (IMP) on the plant's injection molding machines. Using IMPs instead of conventional air-cooled motor pumps reduces airborne noise by eliminating the need for cooling fans. An IMP's hydraulic fluid removes heat as it flows through the electric motor, around the rotor, stator poles, and windings. Eliminating the fan allows Vickers to shroud its pump with insulation that reduces noise levels.

"We no longer require use of ear plugs in our plant," says Hearne. "Morale is better too, which affects stress levels and productivity." Stanley started with one IMP several years ago. He converted the remaining pumps to IMPs in 1999.

Expect more attention to the reduction of noise levels in fluid power products in the future.

New products

Gear pump

P315 and P330 gear pumps use dual flank contact (DFC) gears that reduce flow ripple amplitude and increase pulse frequency by maintaining constant contact on both faces of meshed gears. The result of this technology is reduced downstream noise in other system components that tend to amplify noise resulting from the flow ripple. Commercial Intertech, P.O. Box 239, Youngstown, OH 44501. FAX (330)-746-8011. www.comintertech.com.

Silencers

AS exhaust silencers are encased in plastic and have an open surface area of polyethylene inside that reduces noise on pneumatic valving and components. Available sizes include 1/8- to .50-inch NPT and BSPT threads. The lightweight silencers also cost less than metal silencers, according to the company. Parker Hannifin Corp. Pneumatic Division, 8676 E M-89, Richland, MI 49083; FAX (616) 629-5385, email: [email protected].

Quiet motor pump

The Integrated Motor Pump (IMP) combines a conventional AC induction motor cooled with system hydraulic oil and a Vickers hydraulic pump, either fixed-vane or variable piston type. The pump is housed in a sound-reduction enclosure that reduces dB ratings to less than 70. Eaton Corporation, Vickers, 2425 W Michigan Ave., Jackson, MI 49202; FAX (248) 853-1711,www.vickers.com.

Axial piston pump

PV plus is a series of 350-bar pumps. They have internal rear covers that act as ripple chambers, accumulate output pressure ripples, and thereby reduce sound levels. Optimized pump housing reduce natural frequencies and noise. The PV plus also has an air-bleed valve that shortens start ups and quiets system operation. Parker-Hannifin Hydraulic Pump Motor Div, 100 Parker Dr, Ostego, MI 49078; FAX (423) 787-2404, www.parker.com.

Out-of-phase gear pumps

This company's Stealth pumps use out-of-phase gears. The offset teeth of the gear sets produce separate flow ripples within a pump section that offset one another, thus reducing the amplitude of the flow ripple from the pump section. Commercial Intertech, P.O. Box 239, Youngstown, OH 44501; FAX (330) 746-8011, www.comintertech.com.

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