Mobile Friendly   |   Online Version   |   Add to your Safe Sender list
Tech Insider

The latest information for design engineers and engineering management

February 16, 2012
Death knell for lead-acid batteries
How servos and steppers stack up
Your next table lamp could be a laser
Fingerprint-activated switch provides biometric protection
Customizable stringpot
Automation components


Death knell for lead-acid batteries

In historical terms, the death of the flint tool, cooking by dung, and other bygone technologies occurred rapidly because several factors conspired to bring in better alternatives. So it is with lead-acid batteries.
This huge industry faces an unspectacular future in vehicles - their main use. Granted, conventional car and truck sales are still increasing thanks to China and other emerging nations, however, every month another threat appears that constitutes a serious nail in the coffin for an industry that has served the world well for over 100 years.

Read Full Story

Solenoid Pump Offers Greater Design Flexibility and Cost Savings
The Lee Company's new LPL2 Inert Solenoid Pump was designed to offer greater design flexibility and significant cost savings to the medical and scientific industries.
The LPL2 pump features a revolutionary port head design that allows tubing connections and manifold mounting. This enables the designer to test the fluidic system using connections to soft 1/16" tubing, and then once the system design has been finalized, the same pump can be manifold mounted using standard O-rings.

How servos and steppers stack up

Engineers who work in motion control often start out using a relatively simple approach involving stepper motors to synthesize moves. Steppers are appealing in that their controllers can be simple and inexpensive, at least for undemanding tasks. And most steppers run open loop, needing no position or velocity feedback to hit their targets.
The problem comes when the application demands appreciable torque and relatively fast speeds. Stepper motors can handle a range of torques and speeds that overlap those of more-expensive servomotors, but the economics for the stepper approach often don’t work out.

Read Full Story

NEW - Free Multiphysics Presentations CD
Over 400 contributions to the all-new Worldwide Edition of the COMSOL Conference CD are now available! This compilation features over 700 papers, posters and presentations that illustrate your colleagues ground-breaking research and projects in engineering simulations. Request your complimentary copy

Your next table lamp could be a laser

Combine blue, red, green, and yellow laser light and you will get white light, but perhaps a white light you wouldn’t want illuminating your living room. It’s long been thought that the extremely narrow band of wavelengths generated by the four lasers would create a harsh white light consumers would find unpleasant and uncomfortable. But researchers at Sandia National Laboratory wanted to see if this was indeed true.

Read Full Story

Selecting Cables For VFD Applications
Variable frequency drives have an Achilles Heel. Even though the VFD itself is protected against damaging electrical conditions, the drive's power cables can fail when subjected to heat or voltage levels greater than their insulating layers can tolerate. Power cables can also be irreparably damaged by heavy mechanical loads or corrosive environmental conditions. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid VFD cable failures--and the ensuing downtime--by paying attention to cable design. This technical paper from Lapp outlines the key design features engineers should consider when picking reliable cables for VFD applications. Download whitepaper

Fingerprint-activated switch provides biometric protection

The Harmony XB5 Biometric Switch from Schneider Electric USA, Palatine, Ill., could be the ultimate in security for industrial applications, using fingerprints to identify authorized technicians and workers. And authorized users would never have to worry about losing their key card or forgetting a password, which reduces costs and delays for the company.

Read Full Story

Gaining the competitive edge—the biggest advantage of IMTS 2012!
Get the technology you need to compete more effectively at IMTS—92% find new products or ideas to use—and 90% visit companies not currently calling on them. At IMTS, more than 1,100 of the world’s best manufacturing technology providers will demonstrate their newest and best. Initiate new partnerships. Visit the largest industrial trade show in the Western Hemisphere—McCormick Place, Chicago, September 10-15. Be There! For details, visit

New Products

Customizable stringpot

The slim and compact SG1 stringpot comes with a 10K-Ω potentiometer that provides a voltage divider output signal proportional to the position of the spring-loaded measuring cable. It has a stroke range of 80 in. (a 120-in. version is coming), and operates at 0 to 160°F.
The SG1, constructed with a rugged polycarbonate body, a high-cycle plastic hybrid potentiometer, and a durable spring-loaded stainless-steel measuring cable, has been designed for tight spaces, complete with a generous measuring cable misalignment and free release tolerance.
Electrical connection options include the M12 connector, a 40-in. pigtail, or solder terminals directly on the SG1 pot. To withstand wet IP67 environments, the M12 connector and pigtail options provide an O-ring-sealed cover. Additionally, the M12 connector option comes with a field-installable mating plug and a 13-ft cordset is available.
Celesco Transducer Products

Automation components

The New Horizons in Automation Version No. 30 catalog contains over 100 pages of the latest state-of-the art products, including programmable logic controllers, smart relays, enclosures, process measurement and control devices, motion-control sensors, human-machine interface, pushbuttons, proximity sensors, relays and timers, and wire connection. A user-friendly index is available for easy product search.
Omega Engineering Inc.

News from MD

Today's Additive Manufacturing: Injection molding, living hinges, overmolding and more
Sponsored by: Objet
Date: Febbruary 23rd, 2012
Time: 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT

During This Webinar You Will Learn:
  • Exposing the real range of 60+ materials
  • How are companies using these materials for testing?
  • See over-molding successes for 3M, Devicix and Sanford
  • How Digital Materials may be your next production part
  • How VistaTek is using additive manufacturing to grow injection molding

Register today!

Click Here for a list of archived Machine Design webcasts.

Featured Links

Polyurethane Belts for OEM Applications - From Material Options to Tech Specs
Round belts, round cord, flat belts, materials issues, application information and design/engineering aids are all available at with no registration required.

Cut-, abrasion- and chemical-resistant, EnduroFLEX XM/CRXM Cables exceed 20 million flex cycles. Quotes in 24 hours. Custom cable in 5 days or fewer. No minimums.

About Us     Privacy Policy     Terms of Use