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16 PTC’s Creo rebrands, unifies CAD

suite but will it change the game?

28 Innovate or Else conference

showcases winning strategies

46 Electrified VW Beetle from BC traverses Canada in 14 days

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Autodesk® Inventor® software creates a single digital model that enables you to design, visualize, and simulate your products. Inventor helps you to reduce product costs and get innovative designs to market faster. Learn how Inventor can take your designs beyond 3D at autodesk.com/beyond3d.

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Image courtesy of ADEPT Airmotive (Pty) Ltd. Autodesk, AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document. © 2010 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.


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Contents | Volume 56, No. 6

IN THE NEWS

8

8 8

8

Manitoba’s Kor Ecologic debuts hybrid Urbee Creaform acquires Genicad Opus acquires Canadian consultancy Endress+Hauser invests in Saskatchewan

8

Columns 16 CAD Report PTC’s Creo Elements rebrands, unifies 3D product line, but will it change the game? 34 Shop Talk New design technologies, advanced high strength steel and improved manufacturing processes promise impressive automotive weight reductions.

10

Siemens PLM unveils Solid Edge ST3

10

PWC signs contract with Aramco

38 Fasteners & Adhesives Savings Bonds: Quebec-based bus maker cuts vehicle assembly time and production costs using adhesives in place of fasteners.

12

Canadian innovators score top CES engineering award

40 Idea Generator Product news covering the latest in motion control, switches, sensors and machine vision.

12

BPR third Tetra acquisition

14

SMEs to get product development assist

20

Features 20 Sic Transit

Altair Engineering software and design talents craft the next generation of fuel efficient transit buses.

24

24 Robo-Doc READER SERVICES Annual Subscription Rate In Canada: $52.00 Outside Canada: $99.00

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www.design-engineering.com

Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Surgical System takes high precision motion control into the operating room.

28

28 Innovate or Else

Forward-looking conference showcases tools, technologies and practices critical to the future of product development. 46 Canadian Innovator Electrified VW Beetle travels coast to coast in 14 days with only minor snags.

Online

46

WWW.DESIGN-ENGINEERING.COM

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Canadian Manufacturing Careers: Search and apply for 100s of targeted engineering jobs across Canada, or find the skilled people you need. November/December | 2010

5


6 EditorialViewpoint

The EV Decade

www.design-engineering.com

F

or more than a century, electric vehicles have struggled to gain any significant hold on the global automotive market. But, as the beginning of a new decade draws near, it’s not too much of a stretch to think that the 20Teen’s will be the decade when electric or hybrid vehicles began sharing the road with traditional vehicles in equal numbers. In the States, the Obama administration has committed more than $20 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to help spur the development and production of electricity cars. Putting the fiscal responsibility considerations aside, the move throws a considerable amount of momentum behind a market segment that has been slowly building for the last 10 years. Since the launch of the EV1 in 1996, North American perception of electric vehicles has transitioned from an automotive curiosity to dream car. This optimistic view goes against industry expectations that, by 2020, only 1 in 20 vehicles on the road (approximately 3-5 percent of the market) will have some form of non- or partially-gasoline fueled engine. The major factor hampering broader adoption, reports say, is that EVs are still too expensive for the bulk of car buyers. In addition, range anxiety, a lack of recharging station infrastructure and the fact that lithium batteries can’t match the power density of gasoline contribute to limited sales growth. As a result, the nay-sayer argument goes, the EV will continue to be a “green-washed” luxury car, bought principally by six figure incomes earners who want to flaunt their eco-superiority. However, it’s hard to ignore the enthusiasm of major carmakers for this once independents-only market segment. For example, former gas-guzzler king, General Motors Co., proudly presented its Chevy Volt late in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show where it won the “Green Car of the Year” award. For its part, Ford plans to produce five hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric and battery electric vehicles by 2012, including a fully electric Ford Transit Connect in 2011 and an electric version of the Ford Focus, slated for next year. Foreign manufacturers’ alternative vehicles on display at the Auto Show included Hyundai’s new Elantra and Kia’s mid-size hybrid sedan, the Optima. In addition, Honda, Volvo, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen all showed off future electric vehicles they plan to bring to the market. While many of these cars may have list prices at the upper end of the spectrum, there are incentives in play. Factor in the US$7500 tax credit for purchase of an alternative energy vehicle and the Volt’s price tag, for example, drops from US$41,000 to US$33,500, putting it in line with traditional fuel sedans in its class. As to range anxiety, University of BC’s Ricky Gu (profiled on page 46 of this issue) recently made headlines by traversing Canada in a electrically converted VW Beetle. With no gas-powered support vehicles in tow, the engineering student navigated from one recharging station to the next on his two week expedition. There are still problems left to be solved before EVs take over the road, including power grid capacity, battery efficiency and potentially high cost of ownership. But as electric vehicle’s number increase, market forces will drive solutions and hopefully re-energize an industry that came dangerously close to running out of gas.



Mike McLeod

@

I enjoy hearing from you so please contact me at mike.mcleod@de.rogers.com and your letter could be published in an upcoming issue.

November/December | 2010

www.design-engineering.com

Publisher Alan Macpherson (416) 764-1534 alan.macpherson@de.rogers.com Group Editorial Director Lisa Wichmann (416) 764-1491 lisa.wichmann@rci.rogers.com Editor Michael McLeod (416) 764-1555 mike.mcleod@de.rogers.com Technical Field Editor Pat Jones, P. Eng. Directory Editor Jessica Badali jessica.badali@de.rogers.com Art Director Kathy Smith (416) 764-1542 Production Manager Natalie Chyrsky (416) 764-1686 natalie.chyrsky@rci.rogers.com Circulation Manager Celia Ramnarine (416) 764-1451 deokie.ramnarine@rci.rogers.com Junior Web Producer Jessica Mirabelli (416) 764-1316 jessica.mirabelli@rci.rogers.com ROGERS PUBLISHING LIMITED President and Chief Executive Officer, Brian Segal ROGERS BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHING Senior Vice-President, John Milne Vice-President, Financial Publishing, Brand Extensions & Online Services, Paul Williams Director of Audience Development, Keith Fulford (416) 764-3878, keith.fulford@rci.rogers.com Executive Publisher, Industrial Group, Tim Dimopoulos, (416) 764-1499, tim.dimopoulos@rci.rogers.com CORPORATE SALES General Manager, Corporate Sales, Sandra Parente (416) 764-3818, sandra.parente@rci.rogers.com WEB General Manager, Online Operations, David Carmichael (416) 764-3820, david.carmichael@rci.rogers.com RESEARCH Senior Director, Rogers Connect Market Research, Tricia Benn (416) 764-3856, tricia.benn@rci.rogers.com EVENTS General Manager, Conferences & Events, Stephen T. Dempsey (416) 764-1635, steve.dempsey@mtg.rogers.com Publications Mail Agreement #40070230 ISSN number: 0011-9342 Subscriber Services: To subscribe, renew your subscription or to change your address or information, please visit us at www.rogersb2bmedia.com/dsen. Subscription Price: Canada $52.00 per year, Outside Canada $99.00 US per year, Single Copy Canada $8.00. Design Engineering, established in 1955, is published 6 times per year except for occasional combined, expanded or premium issues, which count as two subscription issues. Rogers Publishing Ltd., One Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto, ON, M4Y 2Y5. Montreal Office: 1200 avenue McGill College, Bureau 800, Montreal, Quebec, H3B 4G7 Return undeliverable items to: Design Engineering, Circulation Dept., 8th Floor-One Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto ON M4Y 2Y5. Cornerstone Publishing Services Customer Service, 220 Yonge St., 8th floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4S 3G3 Mail Preferences: Occasionally we make our subscriber list available to reputable companies whose products or services may be of interest to you. If you do not want your name to be made available, please contact us at rogers@cstonecanada.com or update your profile at www.rogersb2bmedia.com/dsen. DE receives unsolicited features and materials (including letters to the editor) from time to time. DE, its affiliates and assignees may use, reproduce, publish, re-publish, distribute, store and archive such submissions in whole or in part in any form or medium whatsoever, without compensation of any sort. DE accepts no responsibility or liability for claims made for any product or service reported or advertised in this issue. DE is indexed in the Canadian Business Index by Micromedia Ltd., Toronto, and is available on-line in the Canadian Business & Current Affairs Database. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund (CPF) for our publishing activities. Our environmental policy is available at www.rogerspublishing.ca/environment


8 DesignNews Up Front Creaform acquires Genicad 3D scanner company, Creaform, announced it will acquire Genicad, a Québec City company specializing in engineering, digital and mechanical design, project management and technical drawing. The Genicad acquisition is the latest in a series of moves by the company over the past year, including the acquisition in January of InSpeck, a 3D human body digitizing company; the opening of three new offices overseas this past summer; and the launch in October of its MetraSCAN 3D scanner. www.creaform3d.com www.genicad.ca

Opus acquires Canadian consultancy Opus International Consultants acquired Canadian-based engineering consultancy, Dayton & Knight Ltd. The acquisition will add 90 staff and four offices to Opus’ operation in Canada, bringing the total number of offices in North America to ten with a total staff number of 150. Dayton & Knight’s president and CEO, Sean Brophy, will continue with the company as president. The merged company will trade as Opus DaytonKnight Ltd. and will work alongside the other existing Opus offices in Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Calgary, Fredericton and Detroit. www.dayton-knight.com www.opus.co.nz

Endress+Hauser invests in Saskatchewan Endress+Hauser Canada Ltd., Canada’s second largest process automation company, has expanded into Saskatchewan. The company says it decided to launch a Saskatchewan office due to a growing list of regional customers. The company has appointed Derek Unger as its first employee and account manager, based in the Saskatoon area. Before joining Endress+Hauser, Unger held a series of positions in sales and service in the industrial and instrumentation sectors. www.ca.endress.com

November/December | 2010

Manitoba’s Kor Ecologic debuts hybrid Urbee

I

n the tradition of the Zenn electric vehicle from Toronto’s Zenn Motors or the Kestrel from Edmonton-based Motive Industries, Calgary-based Kor Ecologic unveiled the Urbee–a two-door hybrid electric/ethanol prototype that gets more than 200 mpg highway and 100 mpg city–at the SEMA Auto Show in Las Vegas. At a combined highway/city fuel efficiency of 150 mpg, the vehicle’s fuel cost is approximately 2 cents per mile, one third that of a Toyota Prius and only a fraction of an SUV. The project is one of the 30 vehicles selected for this year’s Progressive Auto X-Prize competition. With a standard hollow tube roll-cage frame, the small two passenger vehicle is unique both its aerodynamic qualities and body construction material. According to 3D prototyping equipment company, Stratasys, the Urbee is the first car to have its entire body 3D printed by additive manufacturing processes. All exterior components – including the glass panel prototypes – were created using Dimension and Fortus 3D systems at Stratasys’ digital manufacturing service–RedEye on Demand. “Urbee is also the only practical car we’re aware of that can run solely on renewable energy,” says Jim Kor, senior designer and project leader for the Urbee project and the owner of Kor Product Design. “Our goal in designing it was to be as ‘green’ as possible throughout the design and manufacturing processes. FDM technology from Stratasys has been central to meeting that objective. FDM lets us eliminate tooling, machining and handwork, and it brings incredible efficiency when a design change is needed. If you can get to a pilot run without any tooling, you have advantages.” In addition to its build materials, the Urbee maximizes its aerodynamics to reduce drag. For example, its roof is only 40 inches off the ground and places occupants as close as possible to present a streamlined cross-sectional profile. In addition, the three-wheel vehicle uses high pressure motorcycle tires for its front tires to reduce rolling resistance. The Urbee is the inspiration of Kor Ecologic and a small group of design engineers who have been developing the vehicle for the past 10 years. Although the project has received funding from the Vehicle Technology Center (VTC) and the Manitoba Conservation Innovation Fund as well as donations from local and North American suppliers and manufacturers, the Urbee has been largely self-funded. To date, the team says it has invested approximately $750,000 into the first prototype. Their hope is that it will receive enough future funding to produce 10 Urbees for thorough road and safety testing in prep for future mass production. www.urbee.net www.stratasys.com www.design-engineering.com


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DesignNews Up Front Pratt & Whitney Canada signs contract with Aramco Pratt & Whitney Canada has signed a multiyear Fleet Management Program contract with Aramco Associated Company, an affiliate of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company. Under the terms of the contract, P&WC will provide engine support for the Saudi Aramco-operated AgustaWestland AW139 fleet based in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Aramco is one of the world’s largest oil companies and manages the world’s largest proven conventional crude oil reserves. www.pwc.ca

SNC-Lavalin acquires Nucleonex SNC-Lavalin announced the acquisition of Nucleonex, a specialized nuclear safety consulting engineering firm located in Montreal. Nucleonex specializes in nuclear safety analysis, licensing support and regulatory affairs, risk management,

November/December | 2010

Siemens PLM unveils Solid Edge ST3 Siemens PLM Software announced Solid Edge software ST3 that includes a broader scope for its synchronous technology as well as enhancements for simulation and design data management, among others. For example, Solid Edge ST3 now provides the ability to work with both synchronous and non-synchronous history-based features in the Ordered design with synchronous editing: The same design environment. In integrated design approach lets users preserve addition, ordered features in existing ordered designs but selectively move existing models can be selec- features to synchronous features when edits are tively moved to the synchro- needed outside the creation method. nous environment. Synchronous technology has also been extended so that it is pervasive throughout the product. Along with support for part modeling and sheet metal design delivered in earlier versions, synchronous-based models can now be used directly with all assembly applications, such as piping, frames, wiring and assembly features. A synchronous-based part-to-part associativity now lets users establish and alter design intent before, during or after the assembly design process.

www.design-engineering.com


Easiest to configure system you’ll ever meet Use the technology built into the Productivity3000 programmable controller to make your job easier. Build systems with up to 33 total base groups - one local and 32 remote (Ethernet). Each base group can have up to five local (USB) bases for over 115,000 possible I/O points. The convenient USB port on each remote slave module lets you program and monitor from any remote location. One click is all it takes to auto-configure all I/O hardware connected to the system, including up to 64 AutomationDirect AC drives on the Ethernet I/O network, saving you hours of setup. And most analog modules are software configurable with easy dialog boxes. The FREE Productivity Suite software makes it all possible! Read more, watch free videos, and download the FREE software at:

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12 DesignNews Up Front environmental qualification, plant life cycle management and training simulator updates. It is also known for delivering nuclear safety studies and services and for providing operations support to nuclear utilities. www.snclavalin.com

BPR third Tetra acquisition. Tetra Tech, Inc. has acquired BPR, a scientific and engineering services firm with approximately 1,600 employees, based principally in Quebec. BPR provides multidisciplinary consulting and engineering support for water, energy, industrial plants, buildings and infrastructure projects. This is Tetra Tech’s third acquisition in Canada, following EBA Engineering Consultants in August 2010 and Wardrop Engineering in January 2009. www.bpr.ca www.tetratech.com

®

Beyond the modeling application, Solid Edge ST3’s integrated simulation includes new torque and bearing loads, user defined constraints and new ways to connect assemblies such as bolt and sheet metal edge connectors. On the data management side, ST3 incorporates Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to extend collaboration to a wider range of CAD and non-CAD users by expanding project management, business analytics and social media capabilities. In addition, a standalone bill-of-materials (BOM) editor lets users create product structures that can be opened in Solid Edge, Teamcenter or Teamcenter Express. www.plm.automation.siemens.com

Canadian innovators score top CES engineering award Of the hundreds of consumer products unveiled annually at CES, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, only a few garner the convention’s coveted Design and Engineering Award. For the 2011 show in January, three Canadian companies have snagged the top honour. The first is Vancouver’s Recon Instruments, which has been named a CES honouree for its Transcend product, otherwise ordinary-looking ski goggles that contain a micro LCD display. Together with a built in GPS system, the small screen presents real-time feedback such as current speed, latitude/longitude, altitude, vertical distance travelled, total distance travelled, chrono/ stopwatch, a run-counter, temperature and time. Skiers can also download the stored data to a computer to view and analyze their runs overlaid on satellite imagery. Highlights can also be uploaded to the company’s online community, HQ Online, where the skiers can share their stats.

CAPABILITIES • Manufacturer of Zinc die castings, aluminum die castings, plastic moldings, steel stampings and finished products/assemblies • In-house design/engineering • Rapid prototyping • On-going research & development projects • Use of 3-D simulations • Matching international competitiveness in capability, product development and quality • Work with customers to reduce costs through greater efficiencies to existing parts, less inventory (just-in-time)

Toll Free: 877 678 0846 Toll Free Fax: 877 678 0847 www.fasco.ca email: sales@fasco.ca November/December | 2010

www.design-engineering.com


14 DesignNews For those who want superior sounds to go with the HUD display, Montrealbased Sonomax Technologies Inc. will be showing off its award winning SOUNDCAGE BASS product at CES. According to the company, Soundcage is the first off-the-shelf earphones that custom mould to the user’s ear canal. In addition, low profile, ergonomically-shaped earhooks provide added stability to produce earphones that, the company says, are comfortable but never fall out. To power this tech gear, Ottawa’s Ecosol Solar Technologies took the consumer product trade-show’s engineering prize for PowerTrip, an eco-friendly portable charger. Compatible with most mobile devices, the PowerTrip features a built-in 6,000 mAh battery that’s charged either from a wall socket or through a USB port and can be topped up through its solar PV panel. Sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards have been recognizing achievements in product design and engineering since 1976. Products entered in the award program are judged by a panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and members of the media to honor design and

November/December | 2010 7PLNT15928.indd 1

engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products across 35 product categories. All three Canadian products will be on display at the 2011 International CES, which runs January 6-9, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. www.CESweb.org/Innovations

SMEs to get product development assist The Government of Canada announced that the University of Ottawa will receive $750,000 to partner with small- and medium-sized enterprises in southern Ontario on activities such as applied research, engineering design, technology development, product testing and certification. The award is part of the larger $15-million Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative, which is designed to bridge the gap between research and commercialization between Ontario’s post-secondary academic institutions and small- and medium-sized enterprises. The University of Western Ontario, University of Waterloo and University of Guelph, as well as Queen’s University and Conestoga College, have also received similar funding in recent months. www.feddevontario.gc.ca

www.design-engineering.com

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16 CADReport

Goodbye Pro/E, Hello Creo PTC rebrands and unifies 3D product line as Creo Elements, but will it change the game? By Ben Eadie

I

n late October, at a dramatic launch event held in Boston, Mass, PTC finally unveiled Creo Elements (aka Project Lightening)—a new CAD product line-up the company said would “Change the industry for the next 20 years.” In the lead up to the official announcement, there was a mix of doubt and excitement surrounding the mystery product from users, analysts and press alike. Opinions ranged from negative views such as “They are just going to rebrand stuff and make it bigger than it really is” to the more positive such as ‘Wow, this technology is going to flip the competition on its head.’” Ultimately, Creo Elements may fulfill both expectations. In one sense, PTC’s Creo is a rebranding of its major CAD products: Pro/E is now Creo Elements/Pro; CoCreate is now referred to as Creo Elements/Direct and ProductView has become Creo Elements/View. On a deeper level, Creo represents a melding of these separate apps, which formerly had their own distinct user interfaces, code bases and data file formats. Now, all the Creo Elements applications share a common ribbon interface to improve usability, the company says. “Sure we spent millions telling you how good they [Pro/Engineer, CoCreate, etc.] were, but they were hard to use,” said PTC president and CEO Jim Heppelmann at the launch event. “We’ll admit that because what we have now is really easy to use.” Does a ribbon bar make a product easy to use? Yes and no. It does help visually present the right tools at the right time and not confuse users with a sea of commands. But, being on the right track with the interface is not enough to say that the product is easier to use as this is the most subjective part of

any CAD/PLM system. What one user sees as easy, another may find painful and kludgey. Some long-time Pro/E and CoCreate users may not like it, but I’m guessing the majority of new and non-traditional users will. In addition to the unified interface, Creo applications will also share a common data file. Formerly, Pro/E and CoCreate had their own respective formats that had to be translated from one to the other application with all the associated challenges. On the new platform, a single Creo CAD file can be opened and edited using any of the Creo Elements applications. As way of explanation for the company’s major product shift, Heppelmann told attendees that, in recent years, CAD software has become mature, even stagnant, as companies pushed out incremental improvements in their respective products but avoided facing fundamental issues. “The biggest problem is ease of use,” Heppelmann said. “Choose any parametric modeler on the market and you won’t accomplish anything for a week because they are all too complicated. The second problem is interoperability. We all know you can’t work effectively with a partner whose using a different tool.” In addition, he said that innovation has been bled out of the industry due to vendor lock-in; once customers invest their designs in proprietary file formats, it doesn’t matter what new features CAD companies come up with because it’s too painful for customers to switch. Finally, he said that modern products commonly have hundreds if not thousands of assembly options but there’s no way for designers to model every possible configuration.

AnyRole Apps To surmount these problems, PTC pitched four key concepts underlying Creo design philosophy—AnyRole Apps, AnyMode Modeling, AnyData Adoption and AnyBOM Assembly. With AnyRole Apps, PTC is diverging from the traditional monolithic “all in one” development model to a modular application framework. The concept is that within any manufacturing firm, there are many job functions that need access to 3D data. Most users, however, don’t need a complicated parametric modeler to do their jobs. For example, a sales engineer would be better served by an intuitive explicit modeling application to quickly rough out a design with a client. Similarly, the CAE analysts needs only With Creo’s AnyMode Modeling, users can design in 2D, 3D direct, or 3D parametric as a tailored FEA application rather than Pro/E well as share and edit that data across any mode. with an analysis module tacked on. Other so-

November/December | 2010

www.design-engineering.com


18

CADReport with the release of Creo 2.0 in the fall of 2011. This new strategy is a refreshing change from the “It can do everything” bloatware mentality rampant in this industry. I once purchased a package deal from another CAD company simply to get access to one its small parts that couldn’t be purchased on its own. That experience left a sour taste in my mouth because I was spending an atrocious amount on software I didn’t need. I imagine PTC is banking that many other companies have gone through the same distasteful experience. AnyMode Modeling Data flow can be troublesome, especially when moving designs from 2D sketches to un-constrained 3D models or moving parametric data to a direct editing environment and back again. At the launch event, PTC demonstrated parametric models opening in a direct editing environment to have existing features modified and new geometry added. More impressively, these designs were then reopened in parametric Creo Elements/Pro with its data in tact and the alterations highlighted, which could then be individually accepted or discarded.

Creo’s AnyData Adoption allows users to incorporate data from any CAD system.

called “casual CAD users” include managers, documentation writers and marketing personnel. In the Creo environment, each of these roles are provided with dedicated tools that can all share and work with a single Creo data file. At present, PTC has developed eight Creo Element applications for 3D parametric modeling, 3D direct modeling, 2D sketch, analysis and visualization, among others. Eventually, the company said it would offer 30 or so such applications

November/December | 2010

www.design-engineering.com


6342 3.375x4.875.qxd:4391 v2.qxd

CADReport 19 This would certainly clean up the flow of the data between design team members and makes it more user friendly, allowing easy flow from concept to the final product and documentation. AnyData Adoption According to PTC, Creo will be able to work with any data from other 3D/2D software packages. For instance, if a supplier provided a 3D model in a different file format, you wouldn’t have to ask for a generic model or a translated file that never seems to work well if at all. In most of those cases, you’re left with ‘dumb’ model that can only be used as a re-creation reference, amounting to a large investment in time and effort. Companies also wouldn’t have to invest in expensive file translators or worse a second CAD package. PTC says Creo incorporates a feature recognition process that will facilitate modifications to imported data right away without rework or re-creation. How well this works, however, is yet to be seen. During the launch demo, it was mentioned that in some cases models will be bi-directional, meaning that changes made to the non-native model in the Creo environment can be propagated back to the original file format. Where this capability will be truly powerful is handling legacy CAD data. This data would not have to be re-created from scratch, opening the possibility of easily switching from any CAD system to Creo. If this feature turns out to be as easy as PTC made it seem, it will be a major development in the industry. AnyBOM Assembly Need to make a custom made product? Multiple variations of a complex design can be a nightmare at best. Serial numbered configurations just add another layer of complexity to this already convoluted issue without a CAD expert there to make the changes. Now, with AnyBOM Assembly, users can drive a unique product through a configuration manager that pushes back to the Creo system and can make a 3D model assembly based off of a table with little or no expert intervention. This part of the system was never fully demonstrated at the launch event, so I am not sure if this really new. The real innovation in something like this will be in the back end and how easy it is to set up a configuration manager for a product. Overall, is Creo ground breaking? Will it really change the way CAD will be used? For that answer, the industry will have to wait until the official release of Creo 1.0 scheduled for summer of 2011. Then we’ll see if PTC’s actions live up to their words. But, given PTC’s proven track record, I see this product having large potential to tackle some of this industry’s longest standing problems and stimulate some competition for a stale market that desperately needs it. DE http://creo.ptc.com

Ben Eadie is an Aeronautical Engineering Technologist and owner operator of Calgary-based MountainWave 3D Design Services. He is also a prolific CAD industry blogger, developer and podcaster. www.design-engineering.com

8/2/10

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November/December | 2010

Page


20 SustainableDesign

Sic Transit Altair Engineering software and design talents craft the next generation of fuel efficient transit buses.

By Mike McLeod

T

ransit busses may not be the sexiest of transportation options but their critical importance to the daily commute of millions of North Americans is undeniable. According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), 1500 public transportation agencies in the U.S. and Canada provide bus services. In 2006, the North American bus fleet totaled 83,000 and the numbers have climbed since then, with approximately 4,700 new bus orders in 2006 alone. Overall, Americans took more than 10.3 billion trips in 2007 and ridership continues to expand at more than two times population growth. The increased demand has left bus manufacturers with a 1- to 2-year order backlog, forcing many transit authorities to push in-service buses past their typical 12-year lifespan. To meet operating budgets, transit authorities receive roughly US$26 billion annually from government sources. But, for all their utility, buses get notoriously bad fuel mileage. According to fleet records, even best-in-class conventional buses get approximately 3.5 mpg on a 8.3L diesel engine. Of course, it’s the strain put on the engine from constant stop-and-go drive cycles that limit the efficiency of any conventional bus’ powerplant. To improve efficiency, bus manufacturers have implemented different techniques, which revolve around supplementing

November/December | 2010

the core diesel engine with an assisting power source to help get the 27,500 lbs. bus to speed, without having to burn a fossil fuel. Electric motors paired with rechargeable batteries and regenerative breaking mechanisms have been the most common option to date. Electric hybrids, however, have one critical limitation, says Mike Heskitt, executive VP of engineering at Altair ProductDesign, a subsidiary of CAE software company, Altair Engineering. “Electric hybrids cost a lot more to buy and require at least one expensive battery replacement in the 12 year life of the bus, so you essentially eliminate the savings from fuel efficiency,” he says. “If it’s a design that costs more to run, then you really have to ask yourself if that is a sustainable business model.” Since 2005, Altair ProductDesign, in partnership with Michigan non-profit technology association AutomationAlley and funding from the U.S. Federal Transit Authority and the Department of Transportation, have been developing the BUSolutions program, an initiative that aims to design, manufacture and commercialize an advanced bus platform with twice the fuel economy of standard diesel buses but costs 30 percent less than electric hybrids. “We knew that if we applied our automotive technologies to the transit industry, we could make some significant gains in making the a bus that was lighter, easier to maintain and lowered cost of ownership,” explains Heskitt. “At first, we were looking to demonstrate our processes on this segment. But, eventually, we decided to build a physical prototype to demonstrate the benefits.” Underlying those development processes is ProductDesign’s ability to leverage Altair HyperWorks to not only validate design but drive it based on the engineering parameters required by the system. For the design of the BUSolution platform’s aluminium framework, the company relied on Altair’s Opti-Struct software to optimize the model based on engineering requirements. The result, says Heskitt, is an often non-intuitive structural design that’s lighter and more efficient than a conventional design approach would normally create.

www.design-engineering.com


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22 SustainableDesign “What we are able to do is package all the bus’ systems where they naturally want to be and then use the topology optimization in Opti-Struct that let’s you layout the structural architecture in the best load pass for your package,” he says. “What you end up with is a minimum mass architecture.” In addition to the optimized structural design, another factor in the BUSolution prototype’s favour is its reduced curb weight. At 25,800 pounds, it’s approximately one tonne lighter than a convention bus due, in large part, to its 100 percent aluminium chassis. Not only does the material save considerable weight, but its properties also allowed the engineers explore unconventional design possibilities, Heskitt says. “The chassis uses aluminium extrusions with wall thicknesses all tailored to provide lightweight optimized design,” he says. “With extrusion, you can also design in a lot of integrated, multi-function features that ultimately makes your assembly less complex later.” The final component to achieving the prototype’s goals, says Heskitt, is the replacement of electric with a hydraulic assisted system developed by Parker Hannifin. With these systems, a high-pressure hydraulic accumulator captures approximately 70 percent of the breaking energy. When the bus accelerates again, the stored pressure is channelled through a hydraulic motor/pump that provides forward momentum and allows the diesel engine operate at its efficiency sweet spot. “If you look at the hydraulic technologies, these fundamen-

November/December | 2010

Altair ProductDesign used Altair’s CAE software Opti-Struct to optimize the design of the BUSolutions prototype’s all aluminium chassis.

tal components have been in the construction industry for years,” he says. “The cost increase is minimal and there really isn’t a big maintenance cost; you have to replace the bladders in the high pressure tanks, but they’re only $200 each.” In addition to the lower cost of ownership compared to electric hybrids, Heskitt says the higher purchase cost of a hydraulic hybrid bus is projected at US$50,000 more than standard diesel bus ($300,000) as opposed to $500,000 or $480,000 for parallel and series electric hybrids, respectively. At present, the BUSolution program has completed its first demonstrator prototype which will begin fuel economy testing in the spring in preparation for the bus’ official unveiling around the summer of 2011. www.altairproductdesign.com

www.design-engineering.com


e T /d ES : U LE com EQ P e. R AM tit c TOA S elo s .u w w w

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24

MotionControl

Robo-Doc Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Surgical System takes high precision motion control into the operating room.

S

ome of the more complex surgeries today are routinely being performed using Sunnyvale, CA-based Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s da Vinci Surgical System. This technology has helped surgeons overcome the limitations of manual laparoscopy in order to extend the benefits of minimally invasive surgery to the broadest possible base of patients. In robotic-assisted laparoscopy, the surgeon sits at a stereo console and remotely controls endoscopic instruments via a patient-side robot. The system consists of three distinct components, which includes the surgeon console, patient-side cart that holds the instruments and the image processing equipment. The 3D visualization provides depth perception, and the wrist-like articulations of the miniaturized instruments improve surgeons’ dexterity and range-of-motion. The system also improves control by reducing hand tremor and providing motion scaling. The ergonomic instrument-hand-eye alignment and intuitive instrument movement can reduce surgeontraining time in comparison to using manual laparoscopy. The da Vinci Surgical System The da Vinci System requires up to five small (<1 cm) incisions for insertion of the two surgical manipulators and a camera. The patient-side cart holds the instruments docked to the patient and surgical assistants stand over the patient. Meanwhile, the surgeon can operate while seated across the room at the console, where the look and feel of the open surgery is replicated but with added precision. The surgeon performs movements using masters (which help translate surgery motions). The robotic masters are controlled by the surgeon through wrist, hand and finger movements, just as with a typical open surgery. A full range of optional EndoWrist Instruments are provided for the system. These instruments are designed with seven degrees of motion that exceeds the dexterity of the November/December | 2010

human wrist. Each instrument has a specific surgical mission such as clamping, suturing and tissue manipulation. The patient-side cart houses the two robotic arms and one endoscope arm, which duplicate the surgeon’s movements. System options are available for a third robotic arm, allowing surgeons to utilize an additional endoscopic instrument and further enhance surgical capabilities. The laparoscopic arms pivot at the operating port, eliminating the use of the patient’s body wall for leverage and thereby minimizing tissue and nerve damage. Supporting surgical team members install the correct instruments, prepare the port in the patient and supervise the laparoscopic arms and tools being used. Sophisticated Actuation The da Vinci Surgical System incorporates the height of motion control technologies so that every motion provides the smooth, accurate movements reminiscent of a skilled surgeon - even at slow, calculated speeds. Over the past few years, as technological advances continue in the motion control industry, Intuitive Surgical has continued to upgrade its da Vinci System. Today, each da Vinci S HD System contains over thirty motors manufactured by Maxon Precision Motors, located at the heart of each manipulator. “While there are many options available on the market, Maxon Motors have consistently met our demands for performance and quality, and been a strong partner in the success of our product,” said Mike Prindiville, manager of manufacturing engineering for Intuitive Surgical. Through a series of feedback controls, the motors and encoders receive inputs from the surgeon, are translated in real-time through the console electronics and provide output signals to the motors in the manipulators. In turn, the manipulators exert forces back through the console electronics to the surgeon’s hands. The motors are designed with rare earth magnets in their stators and incorporate an ironless rotor design that eliminates magnetic cogging, even at slow operating speeds. The motors www.design-engineering.com


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26 MotionControl also offer good power density and smooth rotation, both of which are important to the Intuitive application. The motors used on the surgeon’s side cart are called masters to distinguish their dual role. The slave side, or manipulator motors, require the same precision, but also needed to be able to be backdriven while an assistant surgeon moves the end effectors into position. The motors also exhibit low hysteresis at the instrument tips. Sophisticated Training Although the prevalence of robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery has increased tremendously, training opportunities are relatively limited. Because comprehensive practice and experience is necessary in order to develop proficiency with a sophisticated tool such as the da Vinci System, developing training aids for robotic surgery will be critical in helping meet the demand for the advancing technique. At the Nebraska Biomechanics Core Facility in the HPER Biomechanics Laboratory at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, a group of PhD students worked with the Robotic Surgical Laboratory at the university’s medical center to develop a computer training program for robotic surgery where new surgeons can learn how to use this advanced technology. Two training platforms were developed with National Instruments LabVIEW graphical programming software. The first is designed for monitoring and recording a surgeon’s performance during a training program and ensuring that the surgery is performed using the correct movements. This training platform also incorporates visual real-time feedback to show trainees how much force they apply on the training task or animate tissue. This visual feedback helps trainees reduce tissue damage inflicted during the procedure. NI LabVIEW was also used to create a working environment for training in virtual reality. This second training platform offers flexibility to conduct research by collecting data and adjusting training tasks in the virtual simulator via Ethernet. Virtual robotic surgical training opens a new realm of possibility where multiple surgeons can train simultaneously using software instead of actual medical equipment and provide problem-based training protocols for new surgeons to learn robotic surgery. All of the information from the robotic surgical system is acquired by connecting with the dVSS via TCP/IP. The National Instruments USB-6009 data acquisition board was used to connect to the electromyography system and electrogoniometers to acquire physiological measurements such as muscle activations and joint angles from the surgeons. With this system, researchers and medical personnel can objectively evaluate surgical proficiency before and after the robotic surgical training protocol. The da Vinci Surgical System is the only commercially available technology that can provide the surgeon with the intuitive control, range of motion, fine tissue manipulation capability, and high-definition, 3D visualization characterNovember/December | 2010

Through a few 1 cm incisions, the da Vinci’s two robotic arms perform surgery while a camera transmits 3D imagery back to the surgeon.

Through a series of feedback controls, the surgeon inputs are translated in real-time to the motors in the manipulators. In turn, the manipulators exert forces back through to the surgeon’s hands.

istic of open surgery, while simultaneously allowing the surgeon to work through small ports of minimally invasive surgery. The availability of sophisticated motors and other components that are designed and manufactured using the latest technologies allows such systems to enter the marketplace. The da Vinci Surgical System is based on foundational robotic surgery technology developed at SRI (formerly known as Stanford Research Institute). Intuitive Surgical later formed relationships with IBM, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Heartport, Inc. to further develop the da Vinci System. The FDA has cleared the da Vinci System for a range of general, thoracic, urological, gynecological, head and neck and cardiac procedures in both adults and children. “On any given day, we rely on 10,000+ Maxon motors to deliver patient, surgeon, and hospital value all over the world,” said Maxon’s Prindiville. “Maxon motors have demonstrated a proven track record of reliability, low friction, and extended life. Each da Vinci System is tested for critical performance characteristics, including friction, backlash, and compliance profiles, and a wide range of sensor feedback monitoring.” DE www.intuitivesurgical.com www.maxonmotor.com www.ni.com www.design-engineering.com


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28

Forward-looking conference showcases tools, technologies and practices critical to the future of product development in Canada.

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he business conditions keeping manufacturers up at night are all too well known. The dollar at par, increased competition for emerging countries and weak U.S. demand all factor into the malaise plaguing Canadian manufacturing. As a result, they face a new playing field on which simply cutting costs doesn’t guarantee longevity. Instead, they are tasked with finding new ways to boost productivity, slash development time and expand product offerings. Against this backdrop, Design Engineering and MetalWorking magazines hosted the inaugural Innovate or Else conference at the Toronto Congress Centre in October. Over the course of the all-day event, Ontario engineering and metalforming industry representatives attended presentations tailored at exploring the cutting edge tools, technologies and processes critical to the future success of each discipline. For the conference’s keynote speaker, Al Diggins, president and GM of the Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, the key for manufacturers is to pool their resources and see themselves as a community rather than guarded competitors. Established 23 years ago in Owen Sound, Ontario, the not-for-profit organization is now the largest manufacturing consortium in Canada, which has dedicated itself to facilitating its 900+ members develop toward greater global competitiveness. “So how do you foster an atmosphere of continuous improvement and innovation?” asked Diggins. “What it’s all about is peer-to-peer networking, an open exchange of expertise and best practices: sharing and stealing legally. What we’ve learned as we’ve grown across Canada Al Diggins, Excellence is that sharing ideas and helping each in Manufacturing other isn’t a normal behaviour; it’s a Consortium learned behaviour, and we’ve developed November/December | 2010

ways to teach our members how to behave this way.” In 2010, the EMC hosted approximately 1,000 in person peer-to-peer networking events across Ontario and provides comprehensive training events on subjects including lean, quality assurance, safety and other issues key to improving competitiveness. The consortium also leverages the collective intelligence of its members to “crowd source” solutions and provides them for members in the organization’s growing online archive of manufacturing-related forums. “We provide a place for our manufacturers to go 24/7, 365 days of the year,” Diggins says. “For example, if there’s quality guy who’s in a pickle about something at 2 in the morning in Renfrew, Ontario, he will be able to find an answer to his problem.” Virtual Product Development In the first of the day’s presentations, Kerry Saumur, manufacturing sales development director with Autodesk Canada expanded on Diggins’ theme by focusing on how technology enables engineers and manufacturers to compete and grow in a global economy. According to Saumur, one of the primary barriers for manufacturers to innovate and develop new products is the risks and high cost associated with Kerry Saumur, creating physical prototypes. Autodesk Canada “In today’s day and age, there is a high cost to creating a physical prototype,” he said. “It can cost $100,000 to actually build a car for testing and $4 million for an aeroplane. The high cost comes not only from the materials and manufacturing of the prototype but also the time.” www.design-engineering.com


30 Instead, he stressed that today’s CAD systems can create digital prototypes that allow companies to conceptualize, model, validate and document new products totally within a digital environment, cutting time to market while driving out costs and inefficiencies from their processes. “Whether you are doing conceptual design, modeling a product in 3D, validating that design to see if you it will break or creating tech pubs or marketing materials, every thing propagates from a single data starting point," Saumur said. “The net result of keeping everything in a digital format, is an increase in productivity and innovation in your products because you’re not re-creating the geometry at each step. You’re leveraging what you’ve already done; you’re keeping that intellectual property all the way through and you're getting to market much faster.” Similarly, Rohan Bhalla, senior applications analyst for Siemens PLM Software reseller Designfusion, elaborated on the concept of digital design as an efficient method of product development by demonstrating the flexibility and power of “hybrid” modeling systems that allow designers to take advantage of the best of both 3D modeling environments. Rohan Bhalla, “A questions like ‘How do I design DesignFusion faster than my competition with my current design team?’ is a problem plaguing everyone out there,” Bhalla said. “To compete, a lot of customers in the industry are outsourcing their work to design houses so that they can get to market faster. The problem is that any time you get those designs from the design houses, any benefit you might have gained is quickly lost if you have to make changes to those designs.” Using hybrid parametric/explicit modeling software, Bhalla demonstrated how designers take advantage of the speed and flexibility of an explicit modeling environment, that allows intuitive push/pull geometry creation. Once roughed out, the parametric environment provides the precision and automation inherent in a feature-based system. Additive Manufacturing Of course, regardless of how sophisticated the 3D software environment, producing physical prototypes is a necessary component of any product development process. In his presentation, Fred Fischer, product marketing manager with Stratasys, said advances in 3D production machinery have significantly improved in recent years. In fact, the build materials alone have progressed to the point that more and more manufacturers are leveraging rapid 3D production machinery to not only test fit, form and function of new products but also fabricate them as well. “The benefit of additive manufacturing is really about time and cost,” he said. “When you can find those design changes early on, it is very effective to strip time and cost November/December | 2010

out of a development cycle. For example, as a product moves through the product development cycle, the cost of making a change grows exponentially as it moves through each development step.” Among those applications is the creation of manufacturing tools on the production floor to help produce enduse parts. In addition, additive manufacturing is being employed to replace Fred Fischer, more expensive machining and tooling Stratasys, Inc. applications. “In many cases, manufacturers can either defer or avoid altogether the cost making production tools,” he said. “There is also a substantial time savings as well. Often times, if you go outside the company to get a production tool, it can be weeks to months to get it created externally. That time loss can be eliminated with additive manufacturing.” Fischer said additive manufacturing also isn’t hampered by the limitations of traditional manufacturing techniques thus enhancing the design engineer’s freedom to optimize a part for ergonomics or usability rather than optimizing a part for manufacturability. “In addition to that, if there is not production tooling and the design changes, there aren’t the same penalties to make that change,” he said. “If a company produces 10 parts, and finds out on the tenth part how to optimize that design, they don’t have to rework a tool. They can just update the digital file, print it out and they have almost instantly integrated that new design into their manufacturing process.” Finally, Fischer said that additive manufacturing makes the most sense when production runs are relatively low, part complexity is high and material strength doesn’t have to match that of metal. PD&D Research To underscore the points made by the previous presenters, Industry Canada economist William Nichol laid out the agency’s statistical data on product design and development (PD&D) in Canada, compiled in partnership with the Design Exchange and the Canadian Manufacturing and Exporters (CME) association. Launched in March 2010, the report (The State of Design: The Canadian Report 2010) benchmarked Canadian businesses against industry averages of PD&D investment, as well as a “Best in Class” analysis that highlighted the benefits of investing in PD&D. According to the report, PD&D investment in Canada by the manufacturing community totaled $38.6 billion in 2008, William Nichol, led by the industrial electronics, motor Industry Canada vehicle and chemical industries. www.design-engineering.com


31 “For North American firms, the top drivers for PD&D are meeting changing consumer preferences; shortening the time-to-market window; increasing product capabilities; and control of development costs,” he said. Canadian companies are meeting those challenges, Nichol said, largely through innovation within the PD&D process, including virtual development (CAD/CAE) and rapid prototyping technologies, as well as concurrent engineering processes. Which technologies used, however, depends on the industry and the size of the firm. For example, the report found that the aerospace industry focuses largely on virtual development but less so on rapid prototyping whereas industrial electronics shows the opposite trend. In addition, larger Canadian firms are more likely to adopt advanced processes than small firms. “For technologies, however, you don’t see this difference,” he said. “This speaks to the fact that there are far more cost effective solutions out there–not only for large firms but also smaller firms as well.” To assess the business benefits of adopting advanced technologies and processes, the report looked at four metrics: Improvement in product quality, improvement of satisfaction of client needs, new product features and reduced time to market. “The number of firms reporting improvement was quite large,” he said. “Regardless of business size, over 80 percent of Canadian firms report a significant improvement in the satisfaction of client needs and product quality while more than 60 percent reported improvements in product features and reduced time to market.” SR&ED While the benefits of PD&D are substantial, as the Industry Canada research illustrates, it still requires an up-front investment. For many, such a financial risk, especially for R&D work that may never produce a new saleable product, is unacceptable. However, there are resources to help Canadian firms off-set those expenditures. In his presentation, tax specialist Todd Louie from Sheldon & Milstein Tax Consultants Ltd., passionately extoled the benefits of Canada’s Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) program. Overseen by Revenue Canada, the program annually provides approximately $4 billion in tax credits to approximately 20,000 Canadian companies actively engaged in some form of R&D. Unfortunately, Louie said too many companies fail to take advantage of the program. “The problem is that, although the three criteria for eligibility laid out in the Income Tax Act are fairly clear, most companies can’t identify with them,” Louie explained. “The first criteria is that there must be a sought after advancement Todd Louie, in technology. That doesn't mean you must be successful; it Sheldon & Milstein just means you must be attempting to.” He added that many companies also miss-interpret ‘technology’ to mean the work of scientists in lab coats rather than manufacturers on the shop floor. However, he said the legislature intended the program to be available to small companies, who typically receive double the benefit amount of that of public companies and foreign subsidiaries. “The program is designed to reward companies that walk the extra mile to learn something that they didn’t know before,” Louie said. “To the extent that your company has undertaken to improve product design, without knowing conclusively beforehand how to resolve the problem, there is a strong probability that the SR&ED program applies to you.”

www.design-engineering.com

November/December | 2010


32 A Culture of Design Inevitably, products have to come to market. But, if an analysis of how end-users perceive a new product or, more importantly, how they actually use and interact with a product hasn’t been integral to the development process from the beginning, all that hard work may return very little in new revenue. In her presentation, Arlene Gould, the strategic director of the Design Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC) and the Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario (ACIDO), stressed that design isn’t window dressing; it’s a business strategy that can create “break through” product success by linking design to commercialization research. “We know that integrating the use of strategic design is key to the development of more unique and compelling products,” she said. “Also key are the simplification of complex technologies to make them more user friendly, creating userArlene Gould, centered products that meet the needs of users in a deeper DIAC/ACIDO way and customizing products for international markets.” To achieve these goals, Gould said that design isn’t a single stage of the product development process but a philosophy that should influence everything from market analysis at the beginning to marketing at product launch. “We believe it is absolutely critical to have the design intervention working at the opportunity phase,” she said. “We would like Ontario manufacturers and SMEs to think about the proposition of investing in a design relationship, so that the designer is one of your key strategic partners always helping to improve the next generation of products.” DE

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34

ShopTalk

Reducing Vehicle Mass New design technologies, advanced high strength steel and improved manufacturing processes promise impressive weight reductions. By Jody Shaw and Dr. Akbar Farahani

Along with the improvements to steel, improved manufacturing technology is another key to producing these levels of mass he automobile industry is facing numerous challenges today. reduction. Conventional manufacturing typically begins with At the top of the list is the need to reduce vehicle weight a steel blank, composed of one material and one thickness, which while maintaining crash safety and overall performance. is placed in a die and stamped into a particular shape. Today’s The weight reduction objective is driven by a few factors, not designs require a great deal of manufacturing flexibility, includleast of which are the upcoming federal average fuel economy ing the use of laser-welded blanks, a mix of shapes and different (CAFE) standards that mandate increased fuel economy and passes through machinery that varies reduced emissions. Other factors include new crash safety the strength level and thickness of requirements, increasing customer expectations for quality a component. and performance and the availability of new energy The key ingredient sources, such as electric/hybrid vehicles, plug-in in leveraging the mass technologies and fuel cells. reduction capability Recent research shows that using a new of the advanced steels design process incorporating unique and manufacturing optimization tools, more advanced technologies, however, is high-strength steels (AHSS) and the availability of new design optiadvanced manufacturing techmization tools, such as ETA’s ACP nology, can reduce mass by Process. The ACP engineering method 10 to 15 percent beyond the is a holistic product development process mass reduction previously with multi-disciplinary loading based on topology achieved with AHSS alone– at and geometry, grade and gage (3G) little or no additional total vehicle In Phase 2 of the A/SP’s Future Generation optimization. manufacturing cost. Passenger Compartment project, a combination of Once an optimal concept is identiOne important segment of the AHSS grade steel and CAE optimization reduced the fied, the ACP process generates further research on reducing vehicle mass mass of a typical vehicle compartment by 15-20%. design, analysis and optimization using was led by the Auto/Steel Partnerloading, manufacturing, material and ship (A/SP), as part of the Future Generation Passenger cost constraints. It then generates CAD data of an optimized Compartment (FGPC) project. FGPC used a design process concept design suitable for detailed design. called the Accelerated Concept to Product (ACP) Process, pioneered by Engineering Technology Associates, Inc. (ETA), The Recipe For Success the primary engineering contractor on the project. ACP uses The Auto/Steel Parnership’s (A/SP) FGPC project set out in design optimization technologies, which provides holistic 2004 with a goal of reducing the vehicle passenger compartdesign solutions resulting in the mass reduction. ment structure mass by 25 percent. Completed in 2007, Phase 1 produced a lightweight pasThree ingredients in reducing vehicle mass senger compartment using AHSS. The team also developed Advanced steels, such as the introduction of new AHSS grades, a conceptual optimization methodology, which realized a is a critical ingredient in the recipe for reducing vehicle mass. mass reduction of 30 percent when compared with a typical Alloy additions and precise control of steel’s crystalline struc- passenger compartment of the same vehicle class. ture have resulted in dramatic increases in strength combined The 30 percent reduction was achieved while maintaining with sufficient manufacturing capability for affordable manu- compliance with current and future (2015) crash/safety perfacturing, which improve a vehicle’s overall performance. formance, stiffness and durability regulations. A series of Whereas the average tensile strength level of mild steel sensitivity studies proved the robustness of the design through measures about 270 megapascals (MPa), high strength low its ability to accommodate variations in the vehicle’s curb alloy (HSLA) steel, introduced in the 1980s and 1990s, mea- weight and side impact barrier height. sures about 450 MPa. The new AHSS grades, introduced a FGPC Phase 2 began in 2007 as the research group sought decade ago, measure between 800 and 1500 MPa. to prove how conceptual ideas developed in Phase 1 could be

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November/December | 2010

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36 ShopTalk applied to a production vehicle. Using a 2008 OEM donor production luxury vehicle as the baseline product, the group set out to develop a concept design that reduced the passenger compartment’s structural mass by 20 percent. The results showed that the mass of the passenger compartment structure could be reduced between 15 and 20 percent with minimal increased costs. The program also proved that advanced joining technology (laser-welding or adhesive bonding) could increase the overall mass reduction to 20 percent. Sensitivity studies established the viability of the load paths and robustness of the optimized design. A New And Improved Recipe Building on the positive results with the FGPC project, the automotive group of the World Steel Association, WorldAutoSteel, began a further research initiative, called the FutureSteelVehicle (FSV) Pilot Program. This program is seeking to extend mass reductions to the 30 to 40 percent range with a more aggressive use of the mass optimization technologies of advanced steel, advanced manufacturing and CAE tools. The FSV pilot project investigated the possibility of larger mass reductions if manufacturing and packaging constraints expanded beyond today’s capability.

The FGPC project’s ACP Process incorporates extensive use of CAE tools, including its own FE modeling toolset, PreSys.

Using the A/SP lightweight front end structure (LWFES) as the donor vehicle, the team took a “clean sheet” approach. The results of the fully optimized rail design achieved a 39 percent mass reduction over the original donor vehicle’s design. The design process took advantage of ETA’s ACP Process, including the ability to generate a bandwidth of solutions that challenge those derived by engineering judgment. Additionally, the optimum load path, geometry, material and gage are unconstrained by historical assumptions, generating nonintuitive optimized shapes and component configurations. The baseline vehicle’s front end structure contains 13 components, with conventional steel stampings of mild and high strength steel with strengths of 300 to 450 MPa. The A/ SP AHSS Laser Welded Blank (LWB) solution uses AHSS steel of about 800 MPa in strength. It consolidates the 13 stampings into five stamped parts, reducing flange weight and increasNovember/December | 2010

ing overall structural integrity. The A/SP AHSS Hydroform alternative is a single tailored welded tube that consolidates all 13 components into a single unit that achieves structural integrity with no flanges. These two design alternatives used engineering judgment combined with design of experiment (DOE) optimization. The combination of AHSS and DOE design optimization achieved 23 percent and 32 percent mass reduction relative to the baseline, respectively, for these two designs. A cost assessment confirmed that manufacturing costs of these solutions are reduced with both the AHSS LWB (5 percent below the baseline) and AHSS Hydroform (6 percent lower than the baseline) solutions. The DOE optimization approach is constrained by the number of parameters that can be considered since computational requirements increase exponentially with the number of design parameters. As a result, practical computational constraints limit the number of design parameters that can be considered to 16. While the DOE approach achieved significant mass reduction, designers believed that an optimization approach allowing hundreds of design parameters could greatly improve the mass reduction. The WorldAutoSteel FSV pilot project optimized the same component using the anticipated next generation of AHSS steels currently under development – called Gen3 AHSS – plus an optimization approach within the ACP process that enables more than 100 steel grade, thickness and geometry parameters to be considered in the optimization process. As a result, the design optimization developed a very non-intuitive design, one that would not be anticipated based on engineering judgment. This approach increased mass reduction to 39 percent compared to the production baseline. Costs for the Gen3 version are not yet known. What is known is that the complex geometry that contributes to such impressive weight reduction would challenge manufacturing processes in place today. For example, pushing the steel gages to as low as 0.5 millimeter is theoretically possible because the steel can provide more than enough strength. The challenge arises from the considerable formability and manufacturability issues that arise when such steel gages are used, but the opportunities for affordable mass reduction justifies further study into these non-intuitive solutions. The FGPC project has shown that significant weight reductions can be accomplished with today’s technology. The research holds great promise of achieving even more dramatic weight reductions when we are able to address the manufacturing challenges. Only a concerted investment in new metal forming technologies will allow us to unlock the promise of weight reductions found in the new advanced steels, manufacturing technologies, and design technologies.  DE www.eta.com

Jody Shaw is the chairman for the FutureSteelVehicle initiative. Dr. Akbar Farahani is the VP of engineering and consulting at Engineering Technology Associates, Inc. www.design-engineering.com


DesignSolutions

37

New AGS Gas Springs readily available ACE Controls new line of AGS Gas Springs provide controlled motion for lids, hoods, hatches and more. Fixed force and adjustable models. Push and pull type designs. Variety of end fittings and mounting brackets. Priced right with QUICK DELIVERY. Made in USA. Contact: shocks@acecontrols.com Visit us at: www.acecontrols.com

Fast-Response Infrared Fiber Optic Thermometer/Transmitter Omega’s new, low cost fiber optic infrared thermometer/transmitter features a local display and two isolated analog outputs. The dual display indicates current plus min, max, or differential temperatures. The main electronics is in a NEMA 4 rated aluminum housing with built-in relay, alarm LED, and 4-position programmable keypad to adjust Emissivity (0.05 to 1.00) and high & low alarm set points. Price starts at $2480 Price starts at $2480. Contact: info@omega.ca Visit us at: www.omega.ca

Clever Ideas To Improve Production Efficiency! Look to Seal Master® Inflatable Seals. Solve difficult, awkward design problems with Seal Master® Inflatable Seals. Custom-build, fabric reinforced for strength, fully molded, these elastomeric seals and other pneumatic specialties offer flexible, close tolerance capability and resistance to compression. Use anywhere a positive seal is needed between opposing surfaces. Actuators and grippers are also featured. Design assistance is offered. Contact: info@sealmaster.com Visit us at: www.sealmaster.com

Dust Collectors Full Line Literature Guide This impressive guide outlines dozens of N.R. Murphy dust collectors, installations, capacities, styles and models. A must for any reference library. N.R. Murphy Limited has been in business over 65 years and has thousands of satisfied customers. “Dust Collectors are all we do; so get it done right the first time. Just Ask the Experts.” Contact: 4nodust@nrmurphyltd.com Visit us at: www. nrmurphy.com

Clippard Offers Miniature Pneumatic Products Catalog for Scientific/Medical Applications Clippard, a manufacturer of the most complete line of miniature fluid power products, has a 48-page catalog featuring products and services for professionals in the medical, pharmaceutical analytical and dental fields. Some of the many products include electronic valves for Oxygen-enriched environments, check and control valves, proportional valves, regulators, fittings, tubing and more. Request your free copy today! Contact: sales@clippard.com Visit us at: www.clippard.com/scientific-a

The domestic source for perfect meshing timing belts and pulleys BRECOflex CO., L.L.C. is announcing their new pulley catalog “B216” for made-to-order and stock pulleys. The new domestic “CNC” state of the art pulley manufacture allows for precise machining standards, leading to superior product quality and quick product availability. The company provides finished precision pulleys made-to-specification and stock pulleys with pilot bores, for immediate delivery. Made-to-order pulleys are available with a normal backlash, reduced backlash “SE” or zero backlash “0” tooth gap design. Contact: info@brecoflex.com Visit us at: www.brecoflex.com

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November/December | 2010


38

Fasteners&Adhesives

Savings Bonds Quebec-based bus maker cuts vehicle assembly time and production costs using adhesives in place of fasteners.

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force to the car occupants. Today, car body components are designed so that as much impact energy as possible is dissipated into deformation energy, rendering it harmless. Whereas bolted, riveted and welded joints can tear apart under heavy impacts, high performance industrial adhesives will still hold firm. In the event of an impact, the bonded metal structures fold up in such a way that the car body can absorb more energy when crumpling. Modern cars can contain up to 18 kilograms of adhesives. They are used not only to bond engine and body parts, but for almost every other kind of material in the vehicle as well. Adhesives fix windows and interior trim to car doors, provide a firm anchorage for brake pads and bond rubber vibration dampers to the car body, among other uses. Almost any kind of material—aluminum, plastics, high-strength steels, glass, rubber and textiles—can be joined using adhesives, without any adverse effects on the components. This is not the case with welding, where heating changes the specific characteristics of the material. And riveting and bolting methods require holes to be drilled in the parts, which damage the components and reduce their strength. Moreover, the use of one kilogram of adhesive can reduce the overall weight of the vehicle by about 25 kilograms because the greater strength of the bonded car body makes it possible to use thinner sheet metal materials, reducing weight and fuel consumption. Adhesive systems are also highly durable. Whereas conventional spot welds are prone to fatigue and plastic deformations when highly loaded, engineering adhesives distribute the load more evenly.

very successful vehicle manufacturer nowadays has to look for ideas that not only streamline production, but also create better looking, more durable, stronger and lighter platforms. For Drummondville, Quebec-based Girardin Minibus Inc., that has meant replacing traditional welding and rivets with adhesives. Since 1997, Girardin has been using adhesive technologies in its manufacturing processes instead of conventional joining techniques, to help meet the strict safety requirements for school buses without adding mechanical fasteners, which add weight and cost. Like most vehicle manufacturers, the company utilizes galvanized steel due to its corrosion resistance. While many adhesives bond well to galvanized steel under laboratory conditions, it is difficult to maintain long-term adhesion to this substrate. To evaluate the bond strength of its adhesive to galvanized steel and also the other substrate combinations, Henkel helped coordinate testing of its Loctite H8600 Speedbonder adhesive at a certified Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 221 test lab. The adhesive is now approved for Girardin Minibus designs. “This adhesive is really flexible in its ability to bond to all of our substrates,” says Pascal Fillion, an engineer with Girardin. “It has also significantly contributing to manufacturing simplicity.” This solution has allowed Girardin Minibus to consolidate to a single adhesive for most applications, which virtually eliminated the possibility of misapplication. In addition, thanks to its high shear strength, the adhesive cuts costs by reducing the number of rivets required, improves corrosion resistance and provides a stronger, safer solution than rivets or welds alone, the company says. Chemical bonding with adhesives has long since become a well-established technology in vehicle manufacturing and is increasingly replacing other joining techniques, especially mechanical fasteners. One reason for this is that bonded cars generally perform better than welded constructions. For example, adhesives are an ideal way to improve the crash behavior of car bodies. In the past, cars were designed so that they didn’t deform to any great extent in a collision. Since 1997, Quebec-based Girardin Minibus Inc. has used adhesives instead of The impact energy was transferred practically at full traditional joining in its manufacturing process to save on costs and vehicle weight. November/December | 2010

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In addition to better distributing loads, adhesives provide superior impact energy dissipation and moisture protection than rivets or wielding.

Unsealed seams also offer a path for moisture to penetrate. This was a problem facing one of the oldest and largest truck body manufacturers in the United States. The company produces a wide range of general-purpose and specialized bodies for service and delivery vehicles, including a line of ambulance bodies. Quality specialists had noted that skip-welding resulted in unsightly buckling of the outer skin, and that the spaces between welds represented a second path through which moisture could penetrate the joint. The entire welded-assembly design appeared to be problematic, and it was hoped that these problems could all be eliminated by switching to adhesive assembly. The adhesive bond between body panels and door frames is stronger than the welded connection. The redesigned ambulance bodies support 55,000-pound test loads (approx. 25,000 kg) on the roof and sides, exceeding federal standards by more than 200%. In addition, the full-length bond provides a watertight seal against moisture penetration. This eliminated the problems of paint separation and corrosion, and drastically reduced the ambulance maker’s warranty costs. This adhesive has brought another kind of benefit to Group Hesse, the oldest beverage trailer and truck body manufacturer in North America. Group Hesse, which now manufactures in Granby, Quebec, was the first in the industry to build a truck body entirely out of aluminum. To build the trailer, the frame was originally welded together and then the exterior walls were riveted on. This process was very time intensive and expensive. Here, Loctite Speedbonder H8000 was used to entirely replace the rivets for the front and rear exterior walls. “The next step for us is the drastic reduction of welds in our designs,” says Martin Barrette, chief engineer, Group Hesse. “We did many road tests with more extensively bonded designs and have gained a high level of confidence in the adhesive. It’s obvious to me that welds will be used less and less in our designs, being replaced by stronger, more efficient technologies.” DE

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40

IdeaGenerator Motion Control Servo System Myostat released its Tamagawa SV-NET Networked Servo System to the North American market. The closed loop AC servo motors are available in sizes from 14.5mm through to 220mm and are suitable for multi-access machines. Designed with resolvers for harsh environments, a high speed networking architecture and integrated brake options, the SV-NET provides optimal performance and a rich variety of commands in a compact and reliable servo system. The TBL-i mini servos with encoder, part of the SV-Net line, require 14.5mm square for installation and have a maximum speed of 6,000 RPM. www.myostat.ca

DC Electric Gearmotors Bosch i-Business Group released its AHC family of 12-24 volt DC electric motors, a group of fractional horsepower gearmotors. The motors can be used as industrial control motors or to power a diverse range of applications such as locking systems, garage door drives and various kinds of medical equipment. The Bosch AHC motors are available with and without Hall sensors, and also with and without a self-locking feature. Several AHC models are designed specifically for use as actuator motors. The actuator motors are equipped with a spindle. www.bosch-ibusiness.com

TCU Compensation Unit

Haydon Kerk Motion Solutions, Inc. introduced its SAA06 Motorized SplineRail Linear Actuator that combines both drive and guidance in a single, coaxial component. The SplineRail utilizes a Kerk rolled lead screw, supported by bearings and contained within a concentric aluminum spline, driving an integrated Kerkite composite polymer nut/bushing. The motorized version of the SplineRail uses the Haydon Size 17 single stack or double stack stepper motor. When mounted vertically, the SplineRail can also be used to simultaneously lift and rotate (Z-theta motion). Screw leads are available from 0.05-in. to 1.2-in. per revolution and include self-locking threads that can support a load without external power or breaks. www.haydonkerk.com

SCHUNK has released a TCU compensation unit that assists with the automatic insertion or gripping of precise components. The system consists of two base plates, which are connected with each other via elastomer pads. Therefore, the compensation unit can compensate in the X, Y and to some extent Z directions. An angular error or a rotational error can be corrected, if required. Depending on the size of the unit, the compensation path in X/Y-direction can be 2 to 4 mm and the compensation angle can be between 1.5° and 3.5°. Optionally, SCHUNK can equip the TCU with a pneumatic locking device, which locks the module rigid. This prevents the attached tooling or gripper from being moved during actuation of the handling system. www.schunk.com

Master Controller

High brightness HMI

ACS Motion Control has developed the SPiiPlus NTM, a standalone EtherCAT master controller that handles high-level machine control tasks such as application programs, communication with the host PC or HMI, safety and error handling and multi-axis motion profile generation. The SPiiPlus NTM can control up to 32 axes of fully synchronized motion, with all real time control tasks handled by slave drives. The SPiiPlus controls the following ACS slave modules: MC4Udc (up to 8 axis drive chassis for servo/stepper motors); UDMnt (up to 2 axis drive module for servo/stepper motors); SDMnt (up to 8 axis stepper drive module); PDMnt (up to 4 axis Pulse/Direction Interface module); and IOMnt (up to 32/32 digital I/O module). In addition, the controller can control any third party EtherCAT drive or I/O modules, which are qualified by ACS Motion Control. www.acsmotioncontrol.com

Schneider Electric’s Magelis XBT-GT High Brightness HMIs feature a 5.7-in., sun-readable touchscreen. The TFT 65K colour HMIs are suited for industrial and commercial machine control applications requiring readability in sunlight-exposed environments such as wastewater, car washes, cranes, transportation equipment and greenhouses. The screens feature strong backlighting at 1,000 cd/m2 and non-reflective coatings. In addition, embedded Ethernet connectivity and a web gate/server facilitate remote control and diagnostics. They also feature a 16 MB memory and a Compact Flash card up to 1 GB, as well as a USB port. The HMI is Class 1 Div 2 and CSA-certified. www.schneider-electric.ca

Linear Actuator

November/December | 2010

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42 IdeaGenerator Precision Gear Racks Atlanta Drive Systems, Inc. announced a class of precision gear racks that utilizes a carburized case-hardening process to increase the strength of the rack, including the tooth flanks and root. Further benefits include stronger mounting holes and hardened back and side surfaces. This allows the back surface to be used with cam follower roller bearings for guiding the axis. The racks are precision ground on the teeth and all sides to achieve accurate pitch deviation and parallelism. The rack mounting holes are optimized to insure the rack remains stationary under high forces. www.atlantadrives.com

CANopen Gateway HMS Industrial Networks has added 10 CANopen master gateways to its X-gateway line, which allow any CANopen enabled device with slave functionality to communicate with most other fieldbus or industrial Ethernet networks. The gateway series includes versions for fieldbuses including Profibus, DeviceNet, Modbus, ControlNet and for industrial Ethernet with Profinet, EtherNet/IP, EtherCAT and Modbus-TCP protocol. The CANopen X-gateways act as links between two industrial networks. On the CANopen side, they function as a master (manager) and as slaves (servers) on the uplink

November/December | 2010

network side. The implementation is based on HMS NP30 microprocessor and is certified by CAN in Automation (CIA) for full conformance to the CANopen DS 301 v4.0.2 standard. www.hms.se

Absolute Angle Encoder HEIDENHAIN introduced its RCN 2000, RCN 5000 and RCN 8000 series of absolute angle encoders that include greater mounting tolerances, optimized scanning and evaluation electronics with diagnostic functions. In addition, the encoders feature quick disconnect cables and a variety of hollow shaft diameters. According to the company, the encodersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; greater mounting tolerances are due to the stator couplingsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; better axial and radial deflection behavior, as well as torsional rigidity. Also, with a single-field scanning principle with a special optical filtering, the resulting position errors within one signal period are typically smaller by a factor of three to four compared to previous angle encoders. www.heidenhain.us

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IdeaGenerator 43 Sensors Food and Bev Sensors AutomationDirect introduced a line of food and beverage sensors. Compliant with the IP69K standard, the sensors withstand washdown conditions up to 212°F and are constructed of FDA certified materials. The PFM 12 mm and PFK 18mm proximity sensors come with shielded or unshielded stainless steel housings and a M12 quick-disconnect plug with gold-plated pins. The PFM series has a standard sensing distance of up to 4 mm and extended distance of up to 8 mm. The PFK series has a standard sensing distance of up to 8 mm and extended distance of up to 12 mm. The PFT 30 mm series of proximity sensors are available in four models with sensing ranges up to 22 mm. The VFK 18 mm and VFT 30 mm series proximity sensors feature half-inch micro AC quick-disconnect plugs with gold-plated pins. With complete overload protection, each series provides normally-open 20 to 140 VAC outputs. Two series of 18 mm food and beverage photoelectric sensors have also been added. The FF series photoelectric sensors are available in 30 models and four styles: diffuse, polarized reflective, through-beam, and retro-reflective (for transparent objects). Sensing distances range from 100 mm to 20 meters. www.automationdirect.com/

Industrial Wireless Omega’s new industrial wireless transmitters offer flexibility for process measurement applications, the company says. The transmitters are designed for a variety of applications, including temperature, infrared temperature, relative humidity, process transducers with standard voltage or current outputs, flow (pulsed frequency) as well as pH. Thermocouple, RTD, Infrared Temperature, RH, Ph, Process Voltage/Current and Flow/Pulsed Frequency Input models are available. The UWXL has a IP68-rated Industrial Enclosure, includes free software that converts a PC into a multi-channel chart recorder or data logger and is compatible with both of Omega’s UWTCREC and UWXL-REC wireless receivers. www.omega.ca

Position Sensor MTS Systems Corp. has expanded its list of available interfaces by developing an R-Series sensor compatible with EtherNet/IP devices. In addition to the new interface, the R-Series sensors are available in a variety of mechanical styles ranging from 25 mm to 20,000 mm. Position and velocity measurements can be provided for multiple locations on the sensor to ensure optimum control characteristics. The sensors also feature position-sensing www.design-engineering.com

resolution as low as 1 micron (0.00004 in). In addition to EtherNet/IP, interface choices include analog, SSI, DeviceNet, Profibus, CANbus, EtherCAT and POWERLINK. The sensors provide smart programmability, allowing configurations to be stored and recalled directly at the PLC / HMI to speed up set-up time. www.mtssensors.com

Wireless Instrumentation Control Microsystems, a Schneider Electric company, announced the manufacturing expansion of its Accutech wireless instrumentation product line to include acoustic monitor, level, I/O, pressure, temperature and flow instruments. Accutech wireless instrumentation are self-contained, battery-powered field units designed to monitor critical parameters and send the information wirelessly to a base radio which can then be integrated with a PLC/RTU or SCADA host system via ModbusRTU. Accutech instruments can be installed on the plant floor or in remote locations with extreme temperatures and humidity ranges. www.controlmicrosystems.com

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www.globalencoder.ca November/December | 2010


44

IdeaGenerator Rotary Position Sensors Novotechnik introduced its IPX series of rotary position sensors with unlimited mechanical movement. The new sensor is sealed to IP69K and has and 79 mm diameter housing size. The IPX series offers repeatability to 0.002% over measurement ranges up to 350°. The TX2 series is available from stock in single and fully redundant 2nd channel versions and an operating life of more than 100 million movements. Combining stainless steel shaft and anodized aluminum housing construction with a high IP rating make the IPX salt water resistant and splash proof. The TX2 series is also designed to operate under wide temperature conditions from -40 to +120°C as well as in the presence of high–humidity, dust, shock and vibration. www.novotechnik.com

Switches Tact Switch C&K Components has expanded its KMT Series of ultra-miniature tactile switches with the smallest available top-actuated, double-

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Asco Valve Canada Associated Spring Raymond Autodesk Canada Inc. Automation Direct Baldor Electric Co. Baumer Inc. Beckhoff Automation Berg Chilling Systems Inc. Canadian Standards Association Clippard Instrument Laboratory Inc. Cords Canada Ltd. Daemar Inc. Dimension 3D Printing Encoder Products Fasco Die Cast Inc. Festo Inc. GTC Falcon Inc. Henkel Canda Corporation HSBC Bank Canada Industrial Encoder Corporation London Life Master Bond Inc. Myostat Motion Control Inc. Nord Gear Ltd. Novotechnik Omega Engineering Inc. Parker Hannifin Inc. Proto Labs Inc. QuickParts Reid Tool Supply Company Rosta Inc. Schaeffler Canada Inc. Tsubaki of Canada Inc.

www.ascovalve.ca 13 www.asraymond.com 39 www.autodesk.ca 2 www.automationdirect.com 11 www.baldor.com 48 www.baumer.ca 19 www.beckhoff.ca 27 www.berg-group.com 45 www.csa.ca 10, 20 www.clippard.com 9 www.cordscanada.com 25 www.daemarinc.com 15 www.dimensionprinting.com 17 www.encoder.com 39 www.fasco.ca 12 www.festo.ca 21 www.gtcfalcon.com 42 www.loctite.com 23 www.hsbc.ca 47 www.globalencoder.com 43 www.engineerscanada.com 35 www.masterbond.com 19 www.coolmuscle.com 18 www.nord.com 7 www.novotechnik.com 32 www.omega.ca 3 www.parker.com 29 www.protolabs.com 33 www.quickparts.com 22 www.reidsupply.com 31 www.rostainc.com 14 www.ina.com 4 www.tsubaki.ca 41

November/December | 2010

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action tact switch. With its ultralow profile, the KMT5 is designed for applications that require an initial sensitive action followed by a tactile action, such as a shutter release on a digital camera or mobile phone. The switch features a lifespan of approximately 300,000 electrical and mechanical cycles and has a height of 0.70mm (including the actuator). The switch also features a resistance to shock and vibration of 10 to 500 Hz and an operating temperature of -40°C to +85°C. The KMT5 The RoHS-compliant and halogen-free switches has an IP 57 rating. www.ck-components.com

Resistive Touch Screen NKK Switches announced its new FT Series of resistive touch screen user interface devices, available in resistive 5-wire, resistive 4-wire and digital versions. Resistive touch screens allow for choice of user input via finger, gloved finger or stylus. All models in the FT Series are toughened with films and coatings to avoid scratching and environmental deterioration. Tails use a conductive adhesive and connectors are designed to ensure reliability. Visual artifacts are eliminated via anti-Newton ring film. Screens are also resistant to static electricity and noise pollution. NKK’s digital FT Series touch screen is designed to replace a pushbutton panel or keypad when more complex tasks such as drawing are not required. www.nkkswitches.com

Ruggedized Switch Assemblies EASTPRINT Incorporated introduced custom ruggedized switch assemblies to meet military environmental specifications including NBC. The assemblies can include membrane and rotary types in virtually any shape, size, layout and finish with special actuation forces. Featuring polyester and Kapton circuits, Paralyne hard coatings, cast aluminum housings, EMI shielding and other required materials, sealed switches can be fabricated in thicknesses from 0.030-in. up, depending on the application. Available in sizes from 1 x ½-in. up to 9 x 12-in., including full size keyboards, the switch assemblies can be designed and built to ITAR compliance and meet specific military environmental specifications. www.eastprint.com www.design-engineering.com


IdeaGenerator 45 Safety Switches Honeywell announced that its line of MICRO SWITCH safety switches has received SIL 3 certification from SIRA, an independent, third party firm, making them suitable for a wide range of safety applications, including assembly, material handling, packaging, machine tools, conveying, metalworking and robotics. The certification means the product meets IEC 61508-2 standards for selling and designing in Europe. Any OEM, machine builder, system integrator or automation provider who needs to manufacture to a safety integration level, can now incorporate Honeywell’s SIL 3 capable safety switches into their designs. www.honeywell.com

Machine Vision Camera Controller PPT VISION released its IMPACT M-Series Embedded Vision System which features up to four asynchronously triggered cameras run on a single processor. The vision system allows each M-Series camera to be independently optimized with the appropriate speed,

resolution and size and allows frame rates up to 210 frames per second. Designed with high performance processing, the M-Series performs at more than twice the speed of most cameras, the company says. The series can be paired with any of the company’s 15 IMPACT M-Series camera models. www.pptvision.com.

Near-Infrared Cameras Baumer introduced its TXG14NIR cameras that enable better inline process and quality control, helping optimize solar cell wafer fabrication. With enhanced sensitivity in the near infrared (NIR), the TXG14NIR is qualified for automatic inspection of wafers for solar cells. Measuring electroluminescence (EL) using NIR imaging cameras permits the detection of fractures as well as failures in the crystal structure. The TXG14NIR camera provides high resolution images with 1392 x 1040 pixels. Structural defects within the wafer can be easily detected, enabling better quality control in any wafer handling process. www.baumer.com

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November/December | 2010


46 CanadianInnovator

An EV Goes Sea to Sea Electrified VW Beetle travels coast to coast in 14 days with only minor snags. By Treena Hein

M

any have driven across Canada with their families when young, visiting friends and relatives along the way. But only a very few have converted a 1972 VW Beetle to electric power and crossed the country with no back-up. Ricky Gu, engineering student and president of the University of British Columbia Electric Car Club (UBCECC), along with other UBCECC members and faculty advisor John Meech – take that honour. The team was the first to traverse Canada in an electric vehicle – a VW Beetle the club members converted themselves over a span of 12 months on a shoe-string budget. It took the team two weeks to travel the 6400+ km from Vancouver to Halifax. “We wanted to University of British Columbia Electric Car Club president Ricky Gu (third from left) raise awareness of electric vehicle (EV) tech- and fellow club memebers pose with their EV modified 1972 VW Beetle, which nologies and alternatives to fossil fuels,” says Gu. traveled 14 days and 6400 km across Canada. “At our major charge-up stops, we had as much media coverage as possible and interacted with community he says they would have purchased things like better tires and members.” a higher-voltage drive system to minimize copper loss. But let’s get down to basics. First of all, why a Beetle? “We The team set out with information on charging sites along chose it because it was the car that brought affordable personal the route, but Gu says it got a little harrowing when they transportation to the masses, and it was the best-selling vehicle discovered that some of these places didn’t always offer the design ever produced,” says Gu. “It's the perfect vehicle for us services they advertise. There were other challenges, like the to send the message that practical EV technology is here.” hilly terrain they encountered in northern Ontario following The team chose to install a three-phase AC induction motor slow tractor trailers. In that case, they managed to travel 208 for its reliability, efficiency and cost ($5000 was all they had miles on a single charge at around 37 mph. Their average trip for the entire drivetrain). “The AC induction motor is really speed was 42 mph. reliable as there are no brushes,” says Gu. “It also works well There were a few mechanical problems too. “In Alberta, for regenerative braking.” The install was simple, he asserts, we had a problem with the charger that was only running at basically mating the flywheel and clutch assembly to the half power because the vendor sold us the wrong connector,” output shaft of the motor via a rubber coupling that eliminated says Gu. Just before entering the Quebec leg of the journey, vibration and buffered out any misalignment. the car threw a half-shaft but it was easily fixed with wrenches Safety, however, was top of the criteria for the choice of in about 15 minutes. At the end of the journey, the Beetle was battery. They went with a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) placed snugly onto a train car and shipped home, while Gu unit, the only chemistry available in the lithium ion family and the rest of the team flew back to BC. that does not burn, explode or emit toxic fumes upon failure, Although they’ve proved a cross-Canada journey in a Gu says. Fully charged in four hours, it powered the car a modified EV is more than possible, the group isn’t done yet. whopping 550 km. “The battery management system was the They’re in the early stages of planning a much bigger trip most challenging part of the whole project, as it’s pretty much called 'Circuit the Continent Electrically' in which they in an the brain of an EV,” Gu says. “We also had to modify the EV would visit 90 cities across North America in 90 days. suspension to withstand the extra weight of the battery.” The “We’re also considering an entry in the next ‘Zero Race,’ which modified EV weighs in at 2800 lbs., which is about 100 pounds will probably be held in 2012,” says Gu. DE more than a 2007 Mini Cooper S. www.ubcecc.com There’s always room for improvement for any engineering project, and if Gu and his team would have had a bigger budget, Treena Hein is an Ottawa-based freelance writer. November/December | 2010

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