Mechanical Components

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

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

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

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

Understanding the “Black Art” of RF and Microwave Switching

Understanding RF, especially microwave switching, can be a challenge. In many cases, test systems have been compromised because a test engineer did not consider all the components of their test system: instruments, switching, cabling, Mass Interconnect (test fixture interface), fixture design, and so on. Each component has its own set of characteristics. With RF and microwave components, effects including insertion loss, VSWR, bandwidth, and so on all need to be considered as well.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Electronic Components, Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, RF & Microwave Electronics, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

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

Hardware Design of a High Dynamic Range Radio Frequency (RF) Harmonic Measurement System

Radio frequency (RF) circuit elements that are traditionally considered to be linear frequently exhibit nonlinear properties that affect the intended operation of many other RF systems. Devices such as RF connectors, antennas, attenuators, resistors, and dissimilar metal junctions generate nonlinear distortion that degrades primary RF system performance. The communications industry is greatly affected by these unintended and unexpected nonlinear distortions. The high transmit power and tight channel spacing of the communication channel makes communications very susceptible to nonlinear distortion.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Communications, Joining & Assembly, Mechanical Components, Antennas, RF & Microwave Electronics, Measuring Instruments, Test & Measurement

Eye Tracking Technology

Much debate surrounds the skills shortage burdening the manufacturing sector of aerospace and defense (A&D). Industry 4.0, the Baby Boomer retirement wave, and a lack of properly trained workers underpins this issue, and while it's widely acknowledged, there's no clearly defined way to address it.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Augmented/Virtual Reality, Cameras, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, MEMs, Detectors, Sensors

Using RISC-V to Simplify Data Logging in Space

Worldwide demand for low Earth orbit satellites is increasing at an unprecedented pace, driven by diverse needs such as faster and more affordable Internet access, and faster revisit rates with finer resolution for imaging data. The satellite payload instruments performing communications or imaging functions are becoming increasingly sophisticated and capable and require the collection of increasing amounts of telemetry data to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the satellite.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, Data Acquisition, Power Management, Thermal Management, Mechanical Components, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Semiconductors & ICs, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Instrumentation, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring, Test & Measurement

Metal Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing (AM) – the process of building up solid layers of material to form a finished solid part — is an emerging and exciting technical discipline. Also referred to as “3D printing,” many misconceptions exist about the capabilities and promises of the technology.

Posted in: Articles, Aerospace, 3 D Printing & Additive Manufacturing, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Rapid Prototyping & Tooling, Materials, Metals, Plastics, Machinery, Mechanical Components