Manufacturing & Prototyping

Critical Communications Break Out of the Analog Mold

Once firmly rooted in its analog origins, critical communications is now steadily evolving to provide enhanced situational awareness. The latest public safety and military communications (MilCom) radios are more versatile and reliable, supporting ad-hoc networks to improve or enable connectivity. With higher-data-rate capabilities, critical communications solutions can send and receive high-resolution images, videos, and other types of data-intensive content. At the same time, they provide higher-quality voice communications while maintaining security. To ensure communications and interoperability, they still can support analog communications as a failsafe. These myriad capabilities are possible through the ongoing adoption of new technologies, ranging from digital public safety standards and modulation formats, to technologies like wireless local area networking (WLAN) and Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Wireless, Data Acquisition, Defense, Imaging, Video, Manufacturing & Prototyping, RF & Microwave Electronics

Coating Technology Enables Effective Missile Countermeasures

Heat-seeking missiles have been in use against both rotorcraft and fixed wing aircraft since the mid-1950s, and countermeasures to deceive their guidance systems have been employed for nearly as long. Typically, countermeasures operate by generating a strong infrared signature which confuses the missile tracking system. At the heart of these systems is some form of powerful infrared emitting source. Often this source requires optical coating(s) to perform wavelength filtering needed for optimum operation. However, both the mechanical configuration of the thin film filter coatings used and the operating extremes to which they are subjected present challenges for the manufacturer.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Machinery, Mechanical Components

Eyes in the Sky: HD Ethernet Cameras Take Flight Test Imagery to New Heights

There is increasing demand for high-quality High Definition (HD) video for airborne applications such as Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI). Ideally, such new camera solutions can reduce the weight and difficultly of installing wiring, and enable data to be coherently combined with image data. Ethernet cameras can address these needs with built-in compression and multiple output streams. Additionally, as Ethernet-based networks have become an attractive choice for FTI applications, we see increased requirements for integrating Ethernet-based cameras with FTI data acquisition equipment, network recorders, and telemetry systems as this removes duplication of wiring and devices.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Defense, Cameras, Imaging, Video, Manufacturing & Prototyping

Machining Titanium Aero-Frames

The rise of titanium for aerospace applications has been well documented in recent years. Equally, the challenges associated with the efficient, productive and high-quality machining of this popular material, have also been a topic of debate and scrutiny. Of course, every machine shop wants optimized performance from its cutters when milling titanium, but this can prove less than straightforward without the right technology and know-how in place. Today, however, thanks to a breakthrough in this area, things are beginning to change.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Machining, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Industrial Controls & Automation, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials, Metals, Joining & Assembly, Machinery, Mechanical Components

Getting the Most Out of Industrial CT Scanning

Quality assurance and flight certification of critical aerospace parts and assemblies have reached new levels of sophistication in recent years. Leading aerospace and defense manufacturers worldwide now consider computed tomography (CT) scanning to be an essential part of their non-destructive testing (NDT) toolkit. Far more powerful than the CT used to scan the human body, industrial CT can penetrate almost every material, from superalloys to lead, revealing hidden details that previously could only be found by cutting and destroying finished parts.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Machining, Aerospace, Defense, Imaging, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Industrial Controls & Automation, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Ceramics, Composites, Materials, Joining & Assembly, Machinery, Mechanical Components, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Simulation Software, Software, Inspection Equipment, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement, Testing Procedures

Aerospace Work Platforms — More than Meets the Eye

For maintenance personnel in the aerospace industry to do their jobs effectively, they need to be able to get physically close to the equipment they are working on. This statement sounds obvious, but in order to meet this requirement, it is very important to utilize quality work platforms. Although most people are familiar with the basic uses of work platforms, there is not always much thought given to everything that goes into their design and fabrication.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Machining, Aerospace, Defense, Design, Industrial Design and Human Factors, Consumer Product Manufacturing, Contract Services, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Industrial Controls & Automation, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Metals, Machinery, Mechanical Components

Underwater Drone Technology

Finding ways to overcome physical limitations so that humans can dive deeper and stay underwater longer has been an ongoing quest. Back in the 15th century, Leonardo Da Vinci drew sketches of a submarine and a robot. Had he thought to combine the two concepts, he would have created a prototype of an unmanned underwater vehicle, or underwater drone. Instead, the world had to wait another five hundred years.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Communications, Defense, Power Management, Power Supplies, Cameras, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Motion Control, Power, Robotics, Sensors, Instrumentation, Transportation

Thermoplastic Composites to Play Enhanced Role in Next-Generation Aerospace Applications

Advanced thermoplastic composites-and their emergence as prominent materials for future aerospace applications–are sparking a flurry of activity from aerospace manufacturers, designers, component producers and formatters.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace Manufacturing and Machining, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Thermal Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Composites, Materials, Plastics, Mechanical Components

Using Ruggedized Test Equipment to Solve Jet Engine Problems

A jet engine is the very definition of “mission-critical.” A critical failure could cause a serious accident that endangers hundreds of lives. To prevent this from happening, manufacturers perform extensive testing on jet engine components, systems, and manufacturing processes.

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Defense, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Data Acquisition, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

An Introduction to PCM Heat Sinks

With the exception of thermal storage heat sinks, the term heat sink is a misnomer. Standard heat sinks for electronics cooling are actually heat exchangers, taking the heat from the electronics, and transferring it to a fluid, either air or coolant. Phase Change Material (PCM) heat sinks are the only heat sinks that actually act as a (temporary) sink for heat. They are emerging in the thermal management realm to solve thermal problems in systems where active solutions cannot be used. When there is no place to dissipate the heat generated by electric components, a PCM heat sink is capable of absorbing the generated waste heat [1] .

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Thermal Management, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials