Semicon West, the annual event focused on the technology and business of manufacturing in semiconductor, display, MEMS, and other related industries, will feature more than 1,400 exhibitors this year.

The event is divided into two parts that run back to back. The Wafer Processing portion of the show takes place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The exhibition runs July 14 to 16, and programs and events are held July 13 to 18. The Final Manufacturing portion is at the San Jose Convention Center; exhibition doors are open July 16 to 18, and programs and events run July 15 to 18.

New this year are a MEMS pavilion and conference, Technology Innovation Showcase, Fab Managers Forum, SEMI Technology Symposium, International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors Conference, and a program partnership with the International Society for Optical Engineering.

Check out www.semi.org to learn more about Semicon West.

High-temp magnets

Electron Energy Corp., Landisville, Pa., offers a new class of rare-earth cobalt magnets for high-temperature applications, such as those in deep space. When properly coated, the magnets can provide long-term service at temperatures as high as 550°C.

The company’s objective was to maintain a substantially linear extrinsic demagnetization curve at higher temperatures, while keeping the maximum possible energy product. A new symbol (TM) was introduced and is defined as the maximum temperature at which the extrinsic demagnetization curve of a magnet is a straight line. This is especially important to designers of minimum volume and weight devices. The straight-line curve is of even more value for dynamic or highly loaded applications that face high demagnetization forces.

Getting a grip on outdoor equipment

Trimming the hedges may be a little easier thanks in part to Test.Lab software and SCADAS III test hardware from Belgiumbased LMS International. The NVH testing platform helps Husqvarna, an outdoor-equipment manufacturer, deliver more ergonomic and quieter hedge trimmers, chain saws, brush cutters, and other products.

Using the testing system, Husqvarna can quickly identify the root causes of noise and vibration in its products. In addition, products are designed with shorter development cycles, while still complying with stringent legal requirements.

“Preparing test setups and executing test programs have become a lot easier and more productive,” says Bruno Erdmanis, senior measurement engineer for Husqvarna. “We connect the tachometer and investigate the impact of moving and rotating mechanics by measuring vibrations during engine runup, idle, and high speed. We can also access the resonance in crankshafts and other structures.”

LMS Test.Lab was easy to adapt to Husqvarna’s specific testing needs. “One push on a foot pedal is enough to trigger a new spectral measurement while operating a chain saw or a brush cutter with two hands,” says Erdmanis. “We can now validate any measurement on the spot, saving us the effort and time of redoing extensive series of measurements.”

Engineers can also quickly identify the exact circumstances under which equipment vibrates excessively. “We gain important insights from waterfall displays and data comparisons, as well as from on and off-line processing of frequency sections and acoustic orders,” Erdmanis says.

Flat out

A high-torque rotary motor from Penn State engineers can be configured in a variety of shapes, including one as flat and thin as a CD case.

In flat format, the motor might soon drive changes in the camber of airplane wings or fins, essentially shape-shifting the curvature of the wing or fin surface. In other formats, the motor could work in tight quarters where other motors can’t fit. For example, it could serve as the drive element in thinner, lighter laptops and other compact, portable consumer products.

Continue on page 2

Dr. Gary Koopman, professor of mechanical engineering and director of Penn State’s Center for Acoustics and Vibration, led the motor’s development team. He says the flat motor has a startingtorque advantage over conventional electric motors because speed isn’t required for high torque output. The prototype flat motor has reached a flat speed of 760 rev/min and a maximum torque of 0.4 N-m.

The motor translates the bending of PZT (lead zirconate titanate), an inexpensive piezoelectric that elongates when an electric field is applied to it, into the turning of a shaft. Bonding PZT to both sides of a tiny, flexible metallic strip creates an “arm” that can bend left and right in response to an electric field. Twelve arms are placed starfish-style around a central shaft, and when stimulated simultaneously, they bend in the same direction. A passive clamping system, either a ball-and-spring arrangement or a commercial oneway roller clutch, acts as a kind of turnstile that only lets the motion ratchet along in one direction, translating the bending into rotation of the central shaft.

According to Koopman, using passive clamping significantly improves performance and lowers the cost of the flat motor versus inchworm- type designs, which also use small oscillatory motions of smart materials but require precision machining.

Pump up your standards knowledge

The Hydraulic Institute has introduced a new 2003 Guide and Annual Subscriber Service for ANSI/HI Pump Standards, making it possible for users to receive the latest and most comprehensive pump standards as soon as they are published.

The 2003 Standards Cross- Reference Guide, along with a free 32-page Master Index, helps current users identify the updates they need. An annual subscription service ensures users receive all new and revised standards for the current calendar year in the format of choice: hard copy, CDROM, or new Web-based single or multiuser versions.

Copies of the Cross-Reference Guide and Master Index can be downloaded at www.pumps.org.

You’ve got the touch

With HoloTouch technology, operators can reach out and control a variety of electronic devices by passing their fingers through 3D holographic images.

Human interfaces using the technology from HoloTouch Inc., Darien, Conn., project colorful, larger-than-life, holographic images of keyboards or touchscreens into the air from the devices they actuate or control. An infrared detector or laser scans the plane of the holographic images, sensing which command has been selected and transmitting the operator’s choice to the equipment.

The technology can resist dirt, heat, moisture, shock, and other factors that interfere with the operation of human interfaces. Hygiene isn’t a concern because nothing needs to be touched to input commands. This is beneficial for medical devices, as well as high-traffic consumer devices such as ATMs and kiosks. The holographic images can only be read from directly in front of the device — an added security for devices involving the entry of sensitive information.

To learn more about HoloTouch, visit www.holotouch.biz.