Scenes from Pack Expo 2014 By Lee Teschler | November 7, 2014 Ametek’s Precision Motion Control operation showed a cutaway of a Nautilair variable-speed brushless dc blower. Visible here are a 400-W dc motor, the impeller, and the drive electronics. The pre-mix burner blowers help max out combustion efficiency of boilers and furnaces. Pack Expo wasn’t all work. Numatics Inc., B&R Automation, and Enfield Technologies hosted a get together for customers that, among other things, included a hand-rolled cigar demonstration. Ice Tech Inc. demonstrated its dry ice cleaning technology with this classic Harley partly covered in plastic foam. Dry ice is used to blast off the covering while leaving the parts beneath the foam unscathed. An application more typical than taking foam off Harleys is cleaning molds or PU mixing equipment. Another example of push-to-lock connector technology could be found on Ethernet switches from Molex. Industrial Ethernet connections were one of the big themes of Pack Expo. To speed up the connection and disconnect process, the devices let uses just push on threaded connectors to make a secure connection. The technology is called Direct-Link and it makes NEMA 6 and IP67-rated connections One interesting device in the Schneider Electric booth is this batteryless pendant. Its power comes from pushing the buttons, which force a magnet through a coil to generate a brief pulse of electricity that is enough to power a transmitter that is sensed by nearby electronics. One trend evident on this modular PLC from Schneider Electric is the use of QR codes on industrial gear. The code, circled in this image, is typically scanned by a service tech and provides a link to manuals and other support documentation. The other processor in this image is Schneider’s safety processor. Schneider Electric came up with a way to quickly mount a display and its electronics to a panel. Basically, the display connects to its processor or other electronics via a connection designed to fit standard hole size common to enclosures. Then the panel and electronics mate through the hole for a quick installation. Automation supplier Festo flew its BionicOpter around McCormick Place for about 3 min. at a time. Modeled after dragonflys, the the device can fly in all directions, hover and glide without beating its wings. The wings each weigh about 1.7 g — anything heavier would deflect too much, said Festo engineers doing the flying. Four motors at the wing joints control the deflection amplitudes. The wings move in and out slightly to adjust an integrated crank mechanism to vary the deflection between approximately 80 and 130 degrees. The swiveling of the wings determines the thrust direction. Nine servos in all power the device. Jamie Hyneman of the Discovery Channel show MythBusters is now working with actuator maker Bimba Manufacturing on research and development ideas. Hyneman, shown here chatting with Design World Executive Editor, Leland Teschler, also helped Bimba debut its IntelliSense platform for predicting maintenance needs in pneumatics. Molex showed industrial switch points that eliminate the need to screw-in connections to sensors or other industrial electronics. The push-to-lock Direct-Link switch ports use what’s called Ultra-Lock technology for making quick push-on connections. The switches and push-connections are NEMA 6 and IP67-rated so they can withstand dusty environments, low pressure wash, and submersion. Filed Under: Packaging
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