Manufacturing remains a robust contributor to the U.S. economy despite a general perception that global competition and outsourcing have U.S. OEMs on the run. According to the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology, based in McLean, Va. ( ), manufacturing is a significant contributor to GDP, responsible for more than 70% of privatesector R&D, and has increased productivity more than 50% in the past decade far outpacing the much-vaunted service sector. And manufactured goods make up more than 60% of U.S. exports. Nonetheless, rising raw material and energy costs are making it tougher to maintain a competitive edge. These concerns are expected to bring more than 90,000 visitors to IMTS The International Manufacturing Technology Show, slated for Sept. 8-13 in Chicago. According to show organizers more than 15,000 new machine tools, controls, software, and subsystems will be on display, most aiming to help parts-makers improve efficiency and productivity. Real-time monitoring of cutting action at the tool face is one hot trend. These systems combine rugged sensors and high-speed servocontrols and actuators to measure cutting forces or vibration, and instantly compensate for any irregularities or imbalances. Researchers at Penn State, part of the show’s Emerging Technology Center, will demonstrate one such machine for grinding more-accurate parts from difficult materials such as hardened stainless steel, silicon, and ceramics. Similarly, a device developed at the Univ. of New Hampshire monitors tool wear, runout, and stability during cutting and estimates part quality on the fly. The wireless sensors workw with commercial toolholders. Other innovations include magnetic- field-assisted finishing that lets magnetic tools access surfaces hard to reach by conventional machining techniques. According to Univ. of Florida researchers, it produces nanoscale, mirror-finish surfaces on capillary tubes, bent tubing, and other free-form parts. And engineers at will showcase developments such as rotating turning tools that spin as
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Air springs contain a column of air in an elastomeric bellow or sleeve to provide suspension, isolation, or actuation. Commonly found in vehicle suspension systems, perhaps in conjunction with a coil spring, they are also used to insulate vibration in machinery and as linear or angular actuators.
Constant Force Springs
Constant force springs are a variety of extension spring. A strip of steel with a preset curvature is coiled tightly so that each turn of the strip rests on its inner neighbor. The spring is actuated in a pulling, liner motion with the deflection resistance originating from the material's stiffness and spring construction. Unlike other extension springs, a consistent degree of force is exerted despite the degree of deflection.
Flat springs are flat strips of material that, when deflected by an external load, store and release energy.
Power Springs and Spring Motors
Power springs and spring motors are rotational-drive springs that are wound tightly and mounted on an arbor. They are used in applications such as retractable reels, tape measures, and retracting seat belts.
Helically wound to oppose resistant forces, extension springs have consistent mechanical energy to return to its no-load, compressed position. The ends of the spring are attached to components intended to move apart, with the extension spring providing a reliable return force.
Topics of Interest
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