The LT7 Lasertube machine, capable of 3D cutting, features a 3kW fiber laser that provides a broad working range for round, square, or rectangular sections up to 6" diameter. Special sections and open profiles can also be processed.
Loading chains are extracted from the rear standard bundle loader, providing flexibility to load a single bar or open section. The loading and unloading systems adapt to accommodate short and long parts with tube supports throughout the process.
At the end of each production batch, the LT7 automatically configures itself for the next batch for quick changes in production and higher productivity – swapping between round, square, special, and open profiles without manual adjustments. The machine’s mechanical rigidity allows high levels of acceleration without compromising accuracy.
The Vortex Dynamic Filter (VDF) cyclone filter removes sludge and impurities from machine tool coolant without using paper filters. When installed on a CNC lathe or machining center, the VDF can filter particulates as small as 10µm from lubricants, removing about 95% of potential contaminants.
Nearly doubling coolant life leads to higher machine uptime, and eliminating paper filters sheds a consumables cost and reduces time spent changing filters. For machinists using magnetic filtration, the VDF can collect non-magnetic particles such as grind wheel abrasives and aluminum swarf.
The system, available in various configurations, includes the cyclone filter, a self-priming pump, filter stand, and interconnecting piping with options for manual or automatic sludge cleanout.
Jacobs Taper Rigid ER collet chucks use premium, through-hardened steel, precision ground to provide 0.0002" or better total indicator reading (TIR). Available with Jacobs taper #1, #2, #33, and #4, the holders are primarily used in drilling. Compatible with standard Jacobs taper spindles, they accept standard ER collets. The chucks are available in an ER16, ER20, ER32, and specials.
Several LMS 4.0 apps support advanced Industry 4.0, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity.
Production Schedule App (PSA) – Manages production orders, processes; production orders can include part types, quantity, delivery date; processes orders statically by sequence or dynamically by delivery date
Part Tracking App (PTA) – Logs part tracking data in assembly line; loads program data as workpieces enter cells; adapt, configure data structure with Microsoft Excel template; define workpiece lists
Production Monitoring App (PMA) – Records production, operating data; determines, visualizes system availabilities, downtimes; detects system weaknesses, optimizes production
Predictive Planned Maintenance App (PMA) – Intelligent maintenance planning, generates maintenance logs (under development); self-learning system registers station wear curves, plans maintenance to reduce downtime
Info Board App – Displays machine data, operating states on mobile devices, computers, connected televisions; supports remote monitoring
The TCB503HQ 4-channel power amplifier for car audio resists power surges, improving reliability. It supports 6V operations suitable for vehicles equipped with start-stop engine technology, suppressing popping sounds that occur when power voltage fluctuates.
A built-in filter improves resistance to extraneous high-frequency noise and prevents generation of abnormal noise. A clip-detection signal controls the volume and tone control circuit, improving sound quality.
Advanced adaptive driving beam (AADB) headlights leave high beams turned on all the time in connection with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Existing adaptive driving beam (ADB) technology keeps high beams on but blocks portions of the high-beam light that is directed at the car in front. Many ADAS systems use cameras for detection, so higher light output improves performance by better identifying road signs and potential hazards.
However, ADB cannot always respond to rapid movements of other vehicles, such as vehicles overtaking from behind and vehicles making quick turns. By combining camera, radar, navigation system, and steering-angle sensor data, AADB technology offers a higher level of precise light control. AADB collects information on lanes and assesses information on vehicles overtaking from blind spots, road-condition information, and curvature data on curves.
The stAK50h unsealed connection system delivers signal and Ethernet connectivity in automotive body electronics, safety and driver assist systems, and infotainment devices and modules.
Eliminating the need for two connection systems for signal and Ethernet optimizes space and design flexibility. The USCAR-2-compliant system expedites validation time for Tier 1 automotive manufacturers making design changes and launching new vehicle models. The stackable header design eliminates custom tooling, engineering, and validation time.
With through-hole style unsealed headers and hybrid connectors, the single- to multi-bay stAK50h system meets industry-standard footprints based on 0.50mm, 1.20mm, and 2.80mm terminal sizes. The hybrid system is available with 12- to 56-circuit receptacles and can be used in applications ranging from low-current signal (5A) to high-power applications (30A).
Headers and receptacles are color-matched for quick identification and easy assembly. The connector position assurance (CPA) latching feature prevents accidental disengagement.
Thermoelectric module (TEM) producer Ferrotec is expanding its automotive offerings, targeting electric and autonomous vehicle applications. Specific applications of Ferrotec-TEM technology include cooling systems for computer systems and electronics without autonomous cars and cooling laser devices for light detection and ranging (LiDAR) systems favored in autonomous modules.
“Ferrotec has a 36% share of the global thermoelectric module market,” says Takayuki Hachida, general manager of TEM sales. “We expect our thermoelectric modules to find wide ranging applications in the automobiles sector.”
Ferrotec thermoelectric modules offer control to less than 0.1°C. TEMs consist of plate-like semiconductor Peltier-effect devices – passing electric currents between two different metals, sandwiching bismuth telluride semiconductor plates, to move heat between junctions.
Self-driving shuttles begin service in Columbus, Ohio
Low-speed shuttles operated by Ann Arbor, Michigan-based May Mobility began service in Columbus, Ohio. Vehicles began testing routes throughout September, October, and November and were set to begin accepting passengers in December.
The all-electric vehicle is set to move passengers along the downtown Scioto Mile loop. The vehicles will have a panoramic glass roof and a four-seat inward-facing configuration for passengers to sit in the rear of the vehicle.
An operator will oversee the operation of the vehicle and can take control of the vehicle at any time, if necessary.
“Cities are seeking cost-effective transportation services that will improve congestion in urban cores, and self-driving shuttles can offer a huge relief,” says Edwin Olson, founder and CEO of May Mobility.
The downtown shuttle is the first of a three-phased deployment that will be managed through the public/private partnership and will eventually include shuttles deployed to multiple routes. May Mobility, state, and local transportation groups are calling the service a research project to test the possibilities of automated services. The project will evaluate the abilities of the technology to operate on public roadways in Ohio in all weather conditions and will help the project partners better understand the infrastructure required to implement and support autonomous driving.
The iNAND AT EU312 EFT automotive embedded UFS flash drive (EFD) supports advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles. Based on the established UFS 2.1 interface, it delivers high capacities and up to 2.5x the performance of e.MMC-based products, while maintaining automotive-grade quality and reliability.
Connected vehicles require fast and reliable data storage in increasingly higher capacities to support the vast amounts of data being generated, analyzed, and accessed by digital cluster, infotainment, 3D map and navigation, telematics, ADAS applications, and augmented reality. The EU312 EFD operates in vehicle-to-everything (V2X) environments that are constantly generating and streaming data for real-time and off-line data analytics.
Make it lighter. Make it smaller. Make it more efficient. And make it reliable. Oh, and did we mention, don’t sacrifice performance? Today, automotive engineers and project managers must produce powertrains that deliver optimum fuel efficiency and long-term reliability without sacrificing performance. Meanwhile, global initiatives to reduce emissions and improve energy conservation have expanded the role of hybrid powertrains. Working with hybrids presents additional challenges, as engineers must combine gas and electric systems inside the limited space afforded by modern, aerodynamically designed frames and bodywork.
In response, auto designers have initiated comprehensive lightweighting programs combined with compact powertrain designs. Engine and transmission housings are smaller and made with lightweight metal alloys. The geometries of ports and passages that carry critical fluids within powertrain housings are more complex, and ports are closer together, with thinner walls.
Sealing ports inside thinner, lighter base materials pose several challenges:
Stresses that sealing elements apply to base materials
Using enough force to properly set seals while minimizing effects on surrounding systems
Production factors: potential contaminants from manufacturing processes; time, resource requirements for port machining, sealing element installation
Reliability, warranty costs, quality, consistency of sealing elements; related production costs for sealing solutions
Greg Kozlowski, application engineer at metal-to-metal sealing and flow control products producer SFC Koenig has worked with major automotive manufacturers to provide critical sealing solutions for drilled ports in a wide variety of compact, lightweight alloy powertrain applications.
In the past, Kozlowski explains, products such as cup plugs, ball plugs, and threaded fasteners (screw plugs) were the most common methods of sealing ports. Those low-cost solutions, however, are not suitable for thin-wall applications. The high-stress installation forces needed to seat a cup, ball, or screw can deform and crack the surrounding material. Also, screws require tapping the port and may need sealant application, adding production steps that can lead to contamination from debris or sealant entering the fluid system.
Many low-cost plugs have less-precise production tolerances, resulting in part-to-part size variation. In a high-volume production environment, where port diameters are drilled to exact tolerances across multiple assemblies, size variation in the sealing plugs can prove costly. A plug that is too small will leak, and one that is too large may damage the base as it is installed.
“Customers who relied on cup, ball, or threaded fasteners have realized these products are no longer appropriate,” Kozlowski says, adding that more-advanced sealing methods, such as Koenig Epander expansion-style plugs, are taking the lead in providing low-stress sealing solutions in compact, lightweight engines and transmissions.
Expansion plugs employ an expandable, serrated outer shell that is activated by a pre-assembled, metal ball or mandrel. The plug is positioned in the port and then set into place by pushing the ball or pulling the mandrel into the shell with a hand-held or automated tool. The shell expands radially, causing its serrated edges to press against the port wall, creating a leak-proof metal-to-metal seal with evenly distributed pressures.
“In addition to their low-stress capabilities, expander plugs are generally easy to position and install, with precisely controlled stroke distances,” Kozlowski notes. “They’re especially valuable for deep or angled ports, or for complex port layouts where alignment is difficult or additional machining is not possible.”
Installing plugs without detriment to surrounding materials is critical when working with today’s lightweight metal alloys and thin-wall ports. Kozlowski points out that expansion-style plugs are manufactured to precise tolerances, allowing for tightly controlled stresses on surrounding materials, while providing a proven leak-proof seal.
Engineers can further adjust the pressures applied to port walls by slightly increasing the diameter of the port bore, relative to the expander plug. If the resultant port bore diameter is not larger than a specified limit of the shell’s expansion range, a secure seal is typically possible.
“We take a collaborative three-level approach in working with customers to arrive at a reliable and cost-effective sealing solution for low-stress applications,” Kozlowski says.
Level 1: Apply off-the-shelf products from standard inventory for the lowest-cost solution. If installation stress levels are too high, the engineering team may recommend design adjustments to the base component, such as increasing port bore diameters to allow the standard solution to work.
Level 2: Use a custom solution based on a minor design derivative of the standard sealing product to meet application requirements.
Level 3: SFC Koenig engineers can develop a completely custom part using Expander technology.
Even with advanced sealing technologies, engineers must be vigilant when specifications call for installation of a plug in thin-wall ports, especially when ports are located near other fluid pathways or moving parts. A slight deformity in a port wall can protrude into a neighboring section, causing misalignment of moving components, premature wear from friction, and restrictions in fluid transmission, Kozlowski says.
The company’s engineers recently developed a custom solution, working with a major automaker, to seal ports in an aluminum alloy transmission housing that contained a bearing shaft. Due to the position of installation and the stress requirements, engineers designed a custom expander using a low-stress pin design instead of a ball. This custom solution created a reliable seal with very low stresses on port walls – sealing ports in the housing and preventing sidewalls from deforming and interfering with the bearing shaft.
Testing is essential when developing such sealing solutions.
“We work closely with customers to thoroughly test solutions before making any recommendations,” Kozlowski says. “When we receive designs and specifications from the customer, we go through an extensive evaluation process. We begin with theoretical testing and modeling. We identify potential products that meet application requirements and calculate the effects of installation and the expected performance. If our theoretical tests are successful, we move to practical tests. We work with customers to source base materials and test the performance of the sealing products in the alloys the customer will be using in final production.”
Any plug that relies on friction and outward pressure to form a seal will apply stress to the base material. To minimize stress and maximize seal performance, there are limits to how thin a port wall can be to maintain its integrity during plug installation and subsequent pressurized operation. According to Kozlowski, “Installations in applications with wall thicknesses that are less than 65% of the bore diameter can be achieved, but they require special consideration.”
Application engineers often conduct destructive tests on base alloys to identify the physical limits of the sealing product and the base materials. Destructive tests that take materials to their limits help engineers understand and optimize long-term reliability of sealing solutions. This is important because a leaking seal, especially across an entire product line, can lead to increased warranty costs for automakers.
Engineers also must consider production costs in their specification process. Scrapping components damaged during seal installation adds time and material costs, so low-stress expansion seal technologies can reduce waste by lowering scrap rates.
One-piece plugs arrive ready for installation with a flexible tolerance range up to 0.12mm for pull-style Expander plugs and up to 0.10mm for push-style plugs. While advanced sealing technologies typically cost more per part than the traditional cup, ball, and screw methods, costs are offset by the reduction in waste and production time.
“The No. 1 objective of all sealing methods is providing a reliable, leak-proof seal,” Kozlowski explains. “While our Expander plugs provide a variety of benefits in lightweighting projects, at the end of the day, it’s all about seal effectiveness and reliability. Koenig Expander plugs have a field failure rate of less than one part per million (ppm), with more than 3 billion parts installed.”
Advances in sealing technology and the ongoing development and re-engineering of the smallest system components contribute to success in modern vehicle lightweighting and space-saving programs. As engineers continue to collaborate to find the best methods of designing and manufacturing assemblies with lightweight alloys and compact designs, automakers can expect to achieve the goals of reduced emissions, energy conservation, and optimum vehicle performance.