Mechanical Components

Broadband 1.2- and 2.4-mm Gallium Nitride (GaN) Power Amplifier Designs

The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has been working with Raytheon to design efficient, broadband, linear, high-power amplifiers and robust, broadband, low-noise amplifiers for future adaptive, multimodal radar systems. Raytheon has a high-performance, W-band, gallium nitride (GaN) fabrication process and a process design kit (PDK) that ARL used to design low-noise amplifiers, power amplifiers, and other circuits for future radar, communications, and sensor systems. After the first set of ARL and Raytheon designs was submitted for fabrication, test designs of broadband Class A/B power amplifiers were developed. While these designs did not get fabricated in the initial effort, they serve to demonstrate the performance, bandwidth, and capability of this GaN process and could potentially be fabricated in the future.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Electronic Components, Power Management, Power Supplies, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Semiconductors & ICs
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The FACE™ of Military Modernization

U.S. rival countries have been rapidly modernizing their militaries, with publicized advances that pose credible challenges to U.S. supremacy in all aspects of warfare: air, land, sea, space and cyberspace. On January 19, 2018 Secretary Mattis discussed the National Defense Strategy and emphasized the need to modernize key capabilities to address these threats. He stated: “To keep pace with our times, the department will transition to a culture of performance and affordability that operates at the speed of relevance. Success does not go to the country that develops a new technology first, but rather, to the one that better integrates it and more swiftly adapts its way of fighting. Our current bureaucratic processes are insufficiently responsive to the department's needs for new equipment. We will prioritize speed of delivery, continuous adaptation and frequent modular upgrades.”

Posted in: Articles, Aeronautics, Aerospace, Aviation, Data Acquisition, Defense, Mechanical Components, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Software
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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
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Panoramic Thermal Imaging Technology

SPYNEL sensors are passive wide area surveillance systems with automatic intrusion detection and tracking capabilities. The 360° thermal sensors offer 24/7 situational awareness by detecting and tracking an unlimited number of targets in real time, on land, air and sea. HGH Infrared Systems recently won a multi-million contract from a leading shipyard, to equip three new warships with the latest generation of SPYNEL panoramic thermal cameras.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Cameras, Imaging, Mechanical Components, Optical Components, Optics, Detectors, Sensors
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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
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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
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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
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Hydraulic Cylinder Position Sensor Technology

As the demand for greater control and functionality increases, position-sensor-instrumented hydraulic cylinders are becoming more important in the heavy industry, mobile equipment, and subsea worlds. Position sensors for feedback in hydraulic or pneumatic cylinders have typically used one of three technologies: Linear Variable Inductance Transducers (LVITs), variable resistance potentiometers (Pots), or magnetostrictive transducers (MLDTs). While other sensor technologies have occasionally been used in these applications, the focus of this article is a comparison among these three popular technologies. Ultimately, a user or systems integrator must determine the exact requirements of the application and which technology best satisfies them on a total installed cost versus performance basis. The strengths and weaknesses of linear variable inductance, variable resistance pots, and magnetostrictive sensors are all examined below, together with a feature-by-feature comparison chart.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Defense, Mechanical Components, Positioning Equipment, Power, Power Transmission, Data Acquisition, Sensors, Test & Measurement
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How FMC Developments Support Legacy and Next-Gen Data Needs

While FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card) celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, it continues to provide a variety of benefits to the embedded system developer. These include sustained implementation and deployment in new technologies. Additionally, the release of FMC+ provides improved design capabilities. However, with data rates always on the rise and shrinking form factors, the question arises: Why does FMC continue to be so popular and what has sustained it over the years?

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Fastening, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Data Acquisition, Sensors
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An Integrated Framework for Complex Radar System Design

Modern radar systems are complex and depend heavily on advanced signal processing algorithms to improve their detection performance. At the same time, the radio front-end must meet challenging specifications with a combination of available components, implementation technologies, regulatory constraints, requirements from the system, and signal processing. This application example shows how NI's Visual System Simulator™ (VSS) system simulation software enables radar system architects and RF component manufacturers to design, validate, and prototype a radar system.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Mechanical Components, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics
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