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Robot hot among surgeons but U.S. taking fresh look

April 9, 2013 6:10 pm | by Lindsey Tanner, AP Medical Writer | News | Comments

The biggest thing in operating rooms these days is a million-dollar, multi-armed robot named da Vinci, used in nearly 400,000 surgeries in America last year. But now the high-tech helper is under scrutiny over reports of problems, including several deaths that may be linked with it, and the high cost of using the robotic system. Is it time to curb the robot enthusiasm?

GE to acquire Lufkin Industries

April 9, 2013 3:44 am | News | Comments

GE and Lufkin Industries Inc. announced this week a joint agreement whereby GE will acquire Lufkin Industries Inc., a leading provider of artificial lift technologies for the oil and gas industry and a manufacturer of industrial gears, for approximately $3.3 billion. The move accelerates GE’s growth in artificial lift with solutions for a wider variety of well types.

Centrifugal pendulum reduces engine vibrations

March 28, 2013 9:34 am | News | Comments

Driving a car at low engine speed causes torsional vibrations that passengers perceive as a hum. A new type of centrifugal pendulum has been developed in Germany that helps reduce these vibrations. This device might be useful as automakers increasingly use engines with fewer cylinders which are prone to this phenomenon.

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Researchers seek to reduce deafening jet engine noise

March 25, 2013 11:59 am | News | Comments

Have you ever had a fighter jet fly over your home and the noise of the aircraft booms loud enough to rattle the windows? Imagine working on an aircraft carrier or air base, up close to the engines as they take off or land. Several U.S.-based research teams, with the support of the Office of Naval Research, have been tasked with finding a way to reduce that deafening noise as part of a three-year project.

Wireless sensor diagnoses “stressed” machines remotely

March 20, 2013 10:18 am | News | Comments

Singapore company Hoestar PD Technology is working with that country’s leading research organization, A*STAR, to deploy wireless piezoelectric sensors that will track vibrations and stresses that affect the health of machinery such as motors, pumps and generators. The size of a coin, the sensors increase productivity by saving time, reducing manual checking, and offering precision at detecting defects.

Thermal Barrier Coatings for Turbine Engines

March 19, 2013 3:24 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Innovnano, a manufacturer of high performance ceramic powder, has produced highly pure 4YSZ (4 mol% yttria stabilised zirconia), a thermal barrier coating material with exceptional properties for withstanding extreme temperature variations found in demanding operating environments. The patented manufacturing process delivers resilient coatings for improved turbine efficiency.

Carbon-Graphite Ball Valve Seat

March 12, 2013 3:37 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Metallized Carbon Corporation has announced the availability of carbon-graphite ball valve seats for use in valves designed to handle hot liquids or hot gases. The ball valve seats are available in more than 150 grades of Metcar’s proprietary carbon/graphite material.

Yeti helps conquer “abominable” polar hazards

March 4, 2013 2:45 pm | News | Comments

A century after Western explorers first crossed the dangerous landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic, researchers funded by the National Science Foundation have successfully deployed a self-guided robot that uses ground-penetrating radar to map deadly crevasses hidden in ice-covered terrains. Deployment of the robot—dubbed Yeti—could make Arctic and Antarctic explorations safer by revealing unseen fissures buried beneath ice and snow that could potentially claim human lives and expensive equipment.

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Researchers use combustible gases to power leaping machines

February 13, 2013 3:35 pm | by Peter Reuell, Harvard University | News | Comments

Engineers at Harvard University have already shown that their unusual “soft” robots can already stand, walk, wriggle under obstacles, and change colors. Now, using small explosions produced by a mix of methane and oxygen, these researchers have designed a soft robot that can leap as much as a foot in the air.

Magnetic shielding innovation improves ion beam rockets

February 13, 2013 12:19 pm | News | Comments

Electric rocket engines known as Hall thrusters, which use a super high-velocity stream of ions to propel a spacecraft in space, have been used successfully onboard many missions for half a century. Erosion of the discharge channels walls, however, has limited their application to the inner solar system. A research team at Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has found a way to effectively control this erosion by shaping the engine's magnetic field in a way that shields the walls from ion bombardment.

KAIST develops wireless power transfer tech for high capacity transit

February 13, 2013 9:51 am | News | Comments

Engineers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Korea Railroad Research Institute have designed a wireless technology that can be applied to high capacity transportation systems such as railways, harbor freight, and airport transportation, and logistics. The technology supplies 60 kHz and 180 kW of power remotely to transport vehicles at a stable, constant rate.

New waterjets could propel combat ship to greater speeds

February 6, 2013 8:19 am | News | Comments

The Navy’s fifth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Milwaukee, will be the first to benefit from new high-power density waterjets aimed at staving off rudder and propeller damage experienced on high-speed ships. Developed by Rolls-Royce Naval Marine in Walpole, Mass., the new Axial-Flow Waterjet Mk-1 can move nearly half a million gallons of seawater per minute, providing more thrust per unit than current commercial waterjets.

NASA testing vintage engine from Apollo 11 rocket

January 28, 2013 9:46 am | by Jay Reeves, Associated Press | News | Comments

Young engineers who weren't even born when the last Saturn V rocket took off for the moon are testing a vintage engine from the Apollo program. The engine, known to NASA engineers as No. F-6049, was grounded because of a glitch during a test in Mississippi and later sent to the Smithsonian Institution. Now, NASA engineers are using to get ideas on how to develop the next generation of rockets for future missions to the moon and beyond.

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On the ice: Trio of complex Antarctic science efforts reach milestones

December 21, 2012 1:06 pm | News | Comments

In the past week, researchers with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet Divide (WAIS) project, the Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling (WISSARD) project and the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) project each announced they had achieved these various milestones. In each case, the successes were based on innovative drilling technologies and promise to open new scientific vistas for Antarctic research.

DOE, NASA demonstrate simple, robust fission reactor

November 27, 2012 11:18 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers have built a new type of nuclear reactor that is reliable enough to be used on space flights. The prototype, which has been used to generate 24 W of electricity, relies on heat pipe technology developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1983. The fluid-based cooling system requires no moving parts and the reactor itself is based on a simply closed-loop Stirling engine.

Modular Drill Head

October 30, 2012 3:09 pm | Product Releases | Comments

Kennametal is now extending its KSEM PLUS range by introducing new KSEM PLUS B1 Heads with DFC guiding pads to deliver reduced cost per hole in difficult drilling conditions. The enhanced capabilities of the B1 Heads can handle drilling through stacked materials, inclined exits, drilling through cross holes, and interrupted cut conditions.

Hydrogen beam injector guides plasma physics research

September 27, 2012 6:39 am | News | Comments

The Madison Symmetric Torus, a leading piece of equipment in plasma physics research for more than 20 years, recently gained a new capability with the installation of a neutral beam injector. The addition allows University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers to delve further into the basic properties of plasmas, which are important in astrophysics research as well as numerous other applications.

100th shot for LLNL's 'gun in the desert'

September 27, 2012 3:50 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's JASPER gas gun has fired its 100th shot. JASPER (the Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research) is a key scientific tool for the National Nuclear Security Administrations Stockpile Stewardship Program and its experiments have enabled scientists to understand important properties and behaviors of plutonium and other special nuclear materials without conducting underground nuclear tests.

Astrophysicists get first images for Dark Energy Camera

September 17, 2012 7:08 am | News | Comments

When the Dark Energy Camera opened its giant eye last week and began taking pictures of the ancient light from far-off galaxies, more than 120 members of the Dark Energy Survey eagerly awaited the first snapshots. Those images have now arrived.

Damaged metal surfaces repair themselves

September 17, 2012 5:43 am | News | Comments

If recent research in Norway is successful, a coating filled with tiny lubricant capsules could come to the rescue when metal surfaces dry out and friction builds up. As part of a project at the Gemini Tribology Centre researchers are now testing whether it is possible—where two metal surfaces are in contact with each other—to apply a coating to surfaces formed of hard particles and capsules filled with liquid lubricant.

LHC collides protons with lead ions for the first time

September 13, 2012 5:53 am | News | Comments

This morning the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) collided protons with lead ions for the first time. This week's short run will give the experiments a first taste of proton-nucleus collisions before the main run in January to February 2013, the last LHC physics before the accelerator is shut down for maintenance.

U.S. research and development most prevalent in small number of regions

September 13, 2012 4:29 am | News | Comments

According to data from a 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey by the National Science Foundation, businesses perform the lion's share of their R&D activity in just a small number of geographic areas, particularly the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area and the New York-Newark-Bridgeport area.

Bendable crystals resolve properties of X-ray pulses

September 12, 2012 6:27 am | News | Comments

A frustrating flaw in a set of custom crystals for an instrument at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory inspired a solution for an important scientific challenge: how to accurately measure the colors of each individual pulse from a powerful X-ray laser.

Japanese research vessel sets a new world drilling-depth record

September 7, 2012 9:52 am | News | Comments

Scientific deep sea drilling vessel “Chikyu” has set a world new record by drilling down and obtaining rock samples from deeper than 2,111 m (6,926 feet) below the seafloor off Shimokita Peninsula of Japan in the northwest Pacific Ocean. “Chikyu” is designed to reach the deeper part of the Earth such as the mantle, the plate boundary seisomogenic zones and the deep biosphere.

'Seahorse' sees scallops in new way

September 6, 2012 4:45 am | by Jay Lindsay, Associated Press | News | Comments

A new underwater explorer hit the seas this summer, armed with cameras, strobes and sonar and charged with being a protector of sorts to a half-billion dollar resource—the Atlantic scallop catch. Developed by a former scalloper and researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the stainless steel Seahorse gives marine scientists a look at the seafloor they’ve never had before and offers uses beyond policing scallop grounds.

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