Vibration-isolating stands

The Class 100 cleanroom-compatible 500AP Series is available as modular mounts or leg stands with braces and casters for optical tables. Internal trifilar and quadfilar pendulum systems isolate horizontal vibration. Stands incorporate automatic leveling and feature low natural frequencies — 1.25 Hz along the horizontal axis and 1.50 Hz along the vertical. Isolation efficiencies of 98% (horizontal) and 95% (vertical) at 10 Hz and above are possible. Trifilar leg stands support 500 to 2,000 lb; quadfilar mounts support 250 to 1,000 lb.

Kinetic Systems Inc.
(617) 522-8700
kineticsystems.com

Shock-absorbing jaw couplings

EK Series couplings feature torque capacity to 25,000 Nm and a maximum bore diameter of 170 mm, with larger models in development. Available with split clamping collars, conical clamping systems, or keyway and setscrew connections, three new sizes enable backlash-free, vibration-damping power transmission. Specialized versions are available for spanning longer distances and compensating for larger misalignments.

R+W America
(888) 479-8728
rw-america.com

Stainless steel shock absorbers

Self-compensating, V4A stainless-steel industrial shock absorbers are suitable for food processing and packaging applications, as well as medical, marine, electronic, and other demanding industries. Thread sizes range from M14 × 1.5 to M64 × 2 with energy capacity from 175 to 30,000 in./lb per cycle; load capacity ranges from 2 to 93,600 lb. As part of the new V4A family, PMC 150-600 Protection Series shock absorbers feature a protective cap made of PTFE Teflon that hermetically seals the damping system against environmental elements.

ACE Controls Inc.
(800) 521-3320
acecontrols.com

Research aims to reduce noise in hydraulic systems

Noise — a familiar problem in fluid power — negatively impacts operator hearing, blurs communication, and increases mechanical fatigue of components and machinery. Help is on the horizon: Researchers at Georgia Tech, with funding from the Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), are developing a voided polymer lining to be applied to noise-control devices used in fluid power systems. Researchers built a prototype silencer that incorporates the new lining, which has the same basic effect as a pressurized liner. In testing, the silencer exhibits 25 dB of transmission loss from 200 to 3,000 Hz and performs much as a bladder-style silencer. Engineers with applications in mind that could benefit from this research are encouraged to visit ccefp.org, project 3B.1 or e-mail Dr. Stelson, CCEFP Director, at kstelson@ccefp.org.

Shaft alignment system

The TKSA 60 wireless laser shaft alignment tool is rated to IP65 for use in harsh environments. This user-friendly system features a step-by-step alignment process, from preparation and inspection through correction and analysis. A handy toolkit includes two measuring units, a handheld display, two shaft fixtures, adjustable chains, rods, measuring tape, screwdriver, UBS cable, and more. The system displays real-time values and directions for misalignment correction, plus an estimate of extra energy use due to misalignment.

SKF USA Inc.
(866) 753-7378
skfusa.com

Mountaintop observatory faces heavy winds, punishing vibration

Atop the Chilean Andes is no place for sissies, nor fragile components. Temperature extremes and high winds call for rugged devices able to withstand these environmental onslaughts, especially when the components are part of an international astronomical observatory. Case in point: Satellite supplier Vertex Antennentechnik GmbH will provide 25 antennas to the Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) astronomical observatory under development in the Chilean Andes. Vertex ensures that each piece of its antenna assembly is rugged enough to handle the mountaintop environment 16,500 feet above sea level, where temperatures can drop to -20° C. High winds subject the antenna array to excessive vibration on a regular basis, so all components must be specified to ensure they can withstand these vibration levels.

Among these components are dimensional gauging probes, critical to ALMA's temperature compensation system. After facing some problems with probes too delicate for the Chanjnator Plateau climate, Vertex commissioned Solarton Metrology, Gastonia, N.C., to design a customized model sturdy enough for use on the antennas. The probes are vital to the temperature compensation system, which is used to maintain the antenna array's accuracy by adjusting for any dimensional changes in the 12-meter-diameter antennas due to solar heat. Probes feed information back to a control unit that continually adjusts antenna positions. Solartron's probes feature a specialized silicon gaiter and PFA-jacketed cable to withstand the extreme operating conditions.

The antennas have surfaces accurate to less than the thickness of a human hair and can be focused to pick out a golf ball from nearly 10 miles away. When fully installed, they will feature reconfigurable baselines ranging from 15 meters to 16 kilometers and will achieve resolutions as fine as 0.005 arcsec at the shortest wavelengths — 10 times better than the Hubble Space Telescope.

When completed in the early 2020s, the ALMA project will include 66 antennas from partners in North America, Europe, and Asia. North American partners, led by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, are providing the 25 antennas designed by Vertex. ALMA will serve as the leading astronomical instrument for observing the “cool Universe” — the molecular gases and particles that constitute the building blocks of the planets, stars, and galaxies. The project will combine signals from the antennas spread across the Andes and synthesize them with the sharpness of a single gigantic antenna.

For more information, contact Solartron Metrology, a unit of Ametek Inc., at (800) 873-5838 or solartronmetrology.com.