Products

Optical Encoders

US Digital, Vancouver, WA, has introduced high-resolution versions of miniature optical encoders to its existing E4T line. The high-resolution optical encoders operate at 400 and 500 cycles per revolution (CPR) resolutions. Specifically designed for robotics, medical, automation applications, the E4Ts deliver position and velocity feedback, while fitting NEMA motors as small as size eight. Using state-of-the-art transmissive optical sensing technology, the new resolutions represent an increase of up to a 38 percent in available CPR and now support applications requiring up to 2,000 pulses per revolution. The E4T line of encoders is available in both single-ended and differential signal outputs for applications where noise immunity is critical.

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Coreless Power Supply

Powerbox, Gnesta, Sweden, has released a buck-converter module that uses a new coreless technology platform to power medical and industrial equipment operating in very high magnetic field environments such as magnetic resonance imaging machines. Using the latest technology in high-frequency switching topologies and digital control with proprietary firmware to optimize efficiency and voltage regulation, the GB350 buck-converter module can operate safely when exposed to high radiation magnetic fields of 2–4 Tesla. It delivers an output power of 350 W, and when higher power levels are required, it can be paralleled using an interleaving mode, thus reducing electromagnetic interference. The coreless power unit is controlled by a digital processor that manages the complete power unit from switching parameters (e.g., dead-time and duty-cycle optimization) to output voltage characterization.

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Finishing Mills

Emuge, West Boylston, MA, has introduced new cut and form solid carbide finishing end mills. A patented tool geometry performs two functions — cutting and polishing in one operation, generating significant manufacturing time and cost savings. The tools' dual functionality is attributed to a unique design that incorporates three cutting edges to remove material and three burnishing edges to compact the material, producing polished mirror surfaces as fine as 0.08 m Ra. These high-performance tools are ideal for trimming 2D contours in nonferrous materials such as aluminum and copper. The end mills are available in stub length and standard length designs, with cutting diameters of 6, 8, 10, and 12 mm. Tools are offered standard.

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Thin-Film Heaters

Minco, Minneapolis, MN, has launched a new line of thin-film heaters. The SmartHeat SLT heaters offer a convenient alternative to traditional heating and temperature control devices, providing self-limiting control at prescribed temperatures as well as self-tuning capability in dynamic environments. Using a patented polymer compound, the heaters pinpoint exactly when and where heat is required, without the use of traditional feedback loops and regulating electronics. The control mechanism is inherent to the polymer inner-lay material at every point across the heater's surface. At the specified temperature control point, the resistance increases exponentially to prevent overheating and to promote thermal uniformity. The design simplifies the end-use device's design, condenses the product design and development cycle, and reduces total system cost.

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Custom Foot Switches

Steute Meditech, Ridgefield, CT, offers customizable off-the-shelf medical-grade foot switch designs that have no tooling or engineering development costs. The foot switches address many medical device OEM requirements, including consoles, actuator styles, and selectable actuating forces, as well as carrying handles, footrests, graphic options, special cable styles, and connectors. Each design is optimized for functionality, user comfort, and aesthetic appearance and is certified to all relevant medical device standards and directives. A two-minute video on the company's web site explains how the foot switches are made.

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Position Hinge

A new position hinge from Reell Precision Manufacturing, St. Paul, MN, integrates One-Way torque technology to achieve reliable holding force in one direction while enabling easy adjustment with virtually no resistance in the other. The lightweight but strong MH-18 molded nylon hinge is suitable for vertical adjustment applications where components must be positioned and held against gravity and then repositioned upwardly as needed. The hinge uses ReellTorq® clip technology to deliver precise and consistent torque with a fully qualified life of 20,000 cycles. The position hinge features a conventional door-hinge mounting design and can be supplied with 4 N-m (35.4 lb-in), 6 N-m (53.1 lb-in), or 8 N-m (70.8 lb-in) of constant holding torque with minimal free play throughout a full 270 range of motion (configured for either forward or reverse torque direction).

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Continuous Duty Motors

Comprehensive standard continuous-duty motors and drive product platforms from ABM Drives, Loveland, CO, facilitate the design and manufacture of drives for medical applications. A modular design process allows for cost-effective, low-volume production runs. Helical gearboxes increase motor output torque and reduce output speed, and high-grade helical gearing with ground-tooth flanks guarantee quiet operation and precise power transfer. Helical gearboxes are highly efficient and offer efficient gear reduction. Shaft-mounted versions of the helical gearboxes are available.

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Single-Element Force Sensor

Tekscan, Boston, MA, has released a new off-the-shelf single-element force sensor. The A502, which is the company's largest off-the-shelf FlexiForce™ sensor, offers a 50.8 × 50.8 mm (2 × 2 in.) square sensing area. The sensor is available in a 0−222 N (0−50 lb) range, specified with Tekscan electronics. The model is linear through a much lower range of 0−22 N (0−5 lb) and can measure loads up to 444.8 N (10,000 lb). The sensor is paper-thin at a thickness of just 0.2 mm (0.008 in.). It can detect and measure a relative change in force or applied load, detect and measure the rate of change in force, identify force thresholds and trigger appropriate action, and detect contact and/or touch.

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Fast-Curing Silicone

A one-part acetoxy type silicone system from Master Bond, Hackensack, NJ, meets USP Class VI specifications for biocompatibility and ISO 10993-5 testing for cytotoxicity. MasterSil 910Med is a translucent paste that withstands many sterilization methods, including liquid sterilants, gamma radiation, and EtO. The silicone delivers high flexibility and has an elongation of 400–600 percent, which imparts reliable thermal cycling and mechanical shock resistance. It is serviceable over a broad temperature range (–75° to +400 °F). It is also a competent electrical insulator with a volume resistivity of >1015 Ω-cm. The single-component system cures at room temperature and has a tack-free time of 10–20 minutes. Curing is based on the humidity level, where the higher the humidity, the faster the cure.

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Rapid Insert Molding

Proto Labs, Maple Plain, MN, has launched an insert molding service, expanding on the company's rapid injection molding offerings. This new capability can produce 25–10,000 insert-molded parts in 15 days or less. Insert molding is the process of overmolding thermoplastic material around a preformed component (an insert) to create a finished part that incorporates multiple materials. The inserts are generally metal parts that are used to reinforce the mechanical properties of the plastic part. The metal inserts are placed into the mold to form the part. A variety of components are manufactured with insert molding.

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