Our soldiers have, unfortunately, suffered a substantial number of lower-limb battle injuries in recent years. That has spurred research efforts into innovative treatment strategies, such as powered orthotic systems. The goal is to develop devices that improve rehabilitation methods and results, and ultimately enhance the mobility in those suffering from combat-related, as well as civilian, injuries.
Whether you’re into ballet or hip-hop, the staging and special effects now play a major role in performances at many modern theaters and arenas. Behind the scenes, much of the action is thanks to state-of-the-art hydraulic drives.
Pneumatics is routinely used in medical devices due to the safety and cleanliness of compressed air. Applications range from driving small and simple handheld tools to powering large and complex operating-room equipment.
Most engineers, maintenance technicians, and plant managers recognize that clean, dry compressed air increases uptime and productivity of pneumatically powered equipment. Removing water, contaminants, and oil vapor from the air improves the performance, reduces the need for maintenance, and extends the life of cylinders and valves. And it ensures high product quality and eliminates defects when air is used as part of a manufacturing or packaging process. However, traditional desiccant and refrigeration air dryers can be bulky, costly, and maintenance intensive.
Keg filling is a critical process in breweries large and small. A machine that helps speed the process – aided by pneumatics – has recently been introduced by KHS, an OEM based in Dortmund, Germany. Its Innokeg Till CombiKeg is a compact keg washer and racker well suited for craft brewers.
Filters remove dirt, water, and other contaminants that, left unchecked, can hasten the demise of air-powered equipment. Many of the latest versions have high dirt-holding capacity for longer life, improved flow paths that lead to better energy efficiency, and can even alert users when they need maintenance. Here’s a look at some of the newest products on the market.
Energy-efficient pneumatic circuit design often involves mounting valves as close as possible to the actuator. Reducing the length of tubing between a valve and actuator — and with it the volume of compressed air required for each actuator cycle — can cut compressed air consumption by as much as 20%.
In today’s fast-paced world, consumer buying decisions are often made on the spot in just a few seconds. An eye-catching package among overflowing retail shelves and multiple options can make all the difference in steering a shopper’s choice.
Thus, marketers spend countless hours on striking designs, but converting them to practical packaging — that protects the product inside while being visually appealing — is the job of engineers like the ones at H.C. Moog GmbH, a machine-engineering company based in Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany.
The growing trend towards mobile healthcare and equipment for home use means medical devices must get smaller, lighter, and more durable. That has med-tech engineers looking to piezoelectric valves for pneumatic applications. Piezo valves offer advantages over solenoid valves such as smaller size, higher efficiency, and quieter operation, and they are well-suited for controlling flow and regulating vacuum and pressure.
Machine builders face a vexing problem when there’s a need to rotate large or unwieldy products in assembly, handling, and packaging applications. Engineers often must select and size an electric motor; evaluate direct, belt, or gear drives; find bearings that can handle the loads and give long life; and assemble the entire package and fit it into often-limited space.
A better option may be a guided pneumatic swivel module that provides a versatile, rotating drive for large and hard-to-handle loads.