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Elastomers and Rubbers - Is There A Difference?

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Rubber and elastomer are words commonly used to mean any material with rubber-like properties. Elastomer is shorthand for elastic polymer. Elastomers are viscoelastic: sticky, very elastic polymers (plastics). Natural rubber is an elastomer made from latex, a milky tree sap. Synthetic elastomers are made from petroleum. Rubber is frequently used to indicate elastomers that must be vulcanized or cured to be useful. What are elastomers and rubbers? Elastomers are best described as rubbery materials. Rubber originally meant natural rubber. Later on, elastomer became the word used to talk about synthetic rubbers. Most rubbery materials are now considered a type of elastomeric material. Elastomers are useful Liquid and gas handling systems require flexible, durable and reliable seals. Elastomers are perfectly suited for this type of use. Elastomers improve system service life by making them more reliable. They also reduce maintenance costs. Elastomers are flexible Manufacturers are able to mold elastomers into all kinds of shapes. Elastomers are bendable and twistable at room temperature. They are also very heat resistant. Their mechanical properties and overall good chemical resistance make them very useful. Some physical properties of elastomers and rubbers Permeability - Elastomers generally resist the passage of air, gasses, steam, water and fluids. Tackiness - Elastomers resist sliding on most other materials. This includes various fibers, metals and rigid plastics. Insulation - Elastomers tend to be good electrical insulators. They are also good insulators to heat and cold. Elastomers and rubbers have good mechanical properties that make them flexible but tough Good resistance to breaking when stretched Elastic Tear resistant Abrasion resistant Conclusion The duckbills and diaphragms of plastic diaphragm check valves are made of elastomers. O-rings and gasket seals are too. This is because of the unique physical and chemical properties of elastomers. Most design processes can benefit from a better understanding of elastomeric materials. ISM more

Solenoid Valve Quality in Arctic Can Impact Oil and Gas Applications

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Low ambient temperatures are prevalent in many oil and gas, hydrocarbon, refining and power applications. But these conditions can compromise the reliability of your mission-critical solenoid valves, which must be able to withstand extremely cold conditions—often unattended. Even low-temperature storage and processing lines can affect a valve’s material flexibility and seal integrity over time. To overcome these challenges, many fluid automation manufacturers offer specially designed products that can handle temperatures down to −60° C. These components also offer the right combination of low-power capabilities and certifications, guaranteeing they perform as expected—even in Arctic regions like Alaska and Canada, as well as the North Sea and Siberia. Choosing solenoid valves for extremely cold, remote environments require a look at the technologies that address the issues associated with low-temperature environments. This can guarantee the long-term success of oil and gas operations. Low Temperatures Affect Valve Performance Remote, low-temperature environments can degrade the performance of solenoid valves in several ways: Cold temperatures compromise seal integrity. Falling temperatures have a negative effect on the elastomers in the valve disc or diaphragm. These materials depend on their elasticity to provide an effective seal for the valve seat. As they get colder, elastomeric polymers shrink. They also become hard, brittle and glass-like when they eventually hit their glass transition temperature. Together, these changes prevent the disc from properly conforming against the seat—opening up the possibility of leak paths. Infrequent actuation can cause valve dormancy. In addition to compromised material flexibility, valves in harsh, frigid environments run the risk of dormancy, which occurs when the valve is operated at infrequent intervals or in low-cycling applications. When the valve’s O-ring seal stays in uninterrupted contact with the body or main spool of the valve for extended periods of time, the seal can adhere against grooves and other imperfections in the metal surface of its mating components. As a result, the valve—when finally actuated—responds slowly or not at all. Remote locations affect your power demands. A third important consideration for low-temperature valves is power consumption. Components that consume minimal power will lower your energy costs in remote locations, such as oil and gas transmission pipelines or extraction sites. Conventional valves in these kinds of applications may require heat tracing or protection—necessitating larger, more costly power supplies like battery charging systems or solar panels. Because low temperatures threaten valve reliability, it’s important to select high-quality components that avoid the challenges associated with extremely cold, remote environments. One way to do this is by evaluating each vendor’s reputation and record of reliability. One example of a technology that meets these requirements is the ASCO Series 381 valve, which provides reliable operation in extremely harsh, cold and corrosive environments, including those found on offshore and near-shore oil platforms Rated for air, inert gas and sweet dry natural gas, this rugged, 316L stainless-steel device features industry-proven low-power solenoid technology—making it a reliable choice for remote locations where minimal power consumption is necessary.  In particular, when assessing their solenoid valve offering, look for components that carry applicable approvals from global agencies, standards organizations and equipment directives. Examples include Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Explosive Atmospheres (ATEX). Selected constructions may also produce third-party certifications, such as Canadian Registration Number (CRN) and Safety Integrity Level (SIL) ratings. ASCO solenoids also carry UL, CSA, ATEX and IECEx approvals—allowing them to be used in arctic areas around the world. HYDRAULICS & PNEUMATICS more

Top Directional Control Valves

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Working with pneumatics or hydraulics can be rewarding. You want to ensure that the air and gas flows are steady so that the machines can do their job. That whooshing is reassuring, as long as you know the machine’s supposed to make that sound. But what will you do on the days that the machine doesn’t work? You’ll need to check the valves. You need to have the right valves to control air flow. Otherwise, too much pressure at the wrong time can cause an explosion, while too little pressure means that no work gets done. Valves open and close to regulate airflow, either partially or fully. You want a valve that doesn’t open or close abruptly, however, because the shock can cause damage to a machine. This is where directional control valves, come into the fray. These valves regulate the flow of liquids or gases in pneumatic machines to control work, often from different sources, and open and close rapidly. They determine in which direction the liquid or air will flow, into which chamber. As you can imagine, they are highly useful. Some types of directional control valves can shift positions quickly while opening and closing. This is especially useful for cylinders, which also change positions while in motion because the wrong position could lead to a broken part or even the engine failing. Others can regulate actuator speed, which is useful for customizing pacing on a project. How Does A Directional Control Valve Work? To open and close, a directional control valve consists of a spool and a cylinder at the basic level. The spool is either sliding or rotary; sliding means that it rotates based on a set of cylindrical grooves, while rotary indicates that the valve rotates based on a set of spherical grooves. As the spool rotates, the valves open and close. Directional control valves use different types of energy to open and close. You can use manual, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, or solenoid energy depending on the model and their specifications. Manual valves rely on gears and wheels to function, which is why they tend to wear down the fastest. Our Recommendations For Directional Control Valves How do you know which valve is right for you? Many factors come into play. Size is one; how big or small does the valve need to be, relative to the machine? You need to know what can and cannot fit into the system. Budget is another factor; the more complicated the valve, the costlier each individual unit will be. There are also different types of valves: discrete, digital, and proportional. Discrete valves are the most basic, that focus simply on changing positions to conform to the established pneumatic system. They use a spool to manipulate liquid flow into a maximum of three separate directions. These valves are best for when you have a relatively simple machine, and only need a few different paths for liquid or air flow. We recommend that discrete valves are a good starting point, especially when you have a tight budget for parts and repairs. Digital valves have more parts and more flexibility. While they only operate in the “on/off” function, they use three parts to seal pathways efficiently when they are closed. When you want a strong seal, these are a good idea. A check valve is the simplest digital type, which prevents backflow and thus prevents congestion of air or liquids while a valve is open. You can get more complicated if you wish, depending on the design of the machine and what you want the directional control valve to accomplish. What about proportional control valves? They work best in systems that require varying pressure and flow for different tasks. The valve uses solenoid forces to determine the direction of fluids and gas, as well as the pressure levels. With that said, because they accommodate various pressures and flow directions, proportional control valves are best for machines and systems that don’t have abrupt changes. They adjust slowly. The number of ports also can determine what kind of valve you need. Ports define if your valve is one, two or three-way in terms of direction. You can manage multiple directions if you have more ports, but then you are paying for more specialization. Definitely, double-check your budget. SMC PNEUMATICS more

What Is Cracking Pressure?

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What is check valve cracking pressure? Cracking pressure is the minimum upstream pressure required to open a check valve enough to allow detectable flow. Detectable flow is when the check valve allows a small but steady flow of liquid or gas to pass through the valve body and out through its outlet port. A check valve’s cracking pressure is a technical specification and is usually provided as psi or psig (pounds per square inch or pounds per square inch gauge) or bar (the metric equivalent of psi and psig) or both. A more precise way to describe check valve cracking pressure is to say that it is a measure of the pressure differential between the valve’s inlet and outlet ports when flow is first detected. An inexact but informative way to test cracking pressure A simple air pressure test is an easy way to estimate the cracking pressure of a spring loaded check valve. It involves attaching a pressurized air line with a control valve and a pressure gauge to the inlet side of the check valve. The check valve is then placed in a container filled with water. The pressure of the air coming into the check valve can be gradually increased using the control valve. The cracking pressure of the valve will be about the same as the pressure gauge measurement when there is detectable flow through the check valve. Detectable flow will be the first small but steady stream of bubbles to come out through the outlet port of the check valve. This is obviously a very rough-and-ready approach and cracking pressure quality control testing rigs are much more rigorous and carefully designed. One thing a simple air pressure test clearly demonstrates is what it means to say a check valve’s cracking pressure has been reached because there is detectable flow. On a related point, this is also useful for understanding where the phrases “bubble tight seal” and “its shutoff is bubble tight” come from. What is a bubble tight seal or bubble tight shutoff? To describe a check valve seal as bubble tight is to describe the sealing ability of a valve. If a closed check valve is air pressure tested for backflow, any leaking around the valve seals will causes bubbling up through water similar to the case above. A bubble tight seal produces no bubbles. The key takeaway from this is to realize that there is a significant difference between a check valve’s flow rate at detectable flow and its flow rate when it is fully open. This is an important difference to be aware of when “sizing” a check valve for a specific application. Size the check valve for the application Choosing the right check valve size for an application helps prevent premature check valve wear and failure. It also helps ensure the check valve and the application perform as expected. Sizing check valves is different from sizing many other types of flow control and shutoff valves. The best operating results are usually when a check valve has been sized for the application and not for the pipe or tubing size. In a majority of check valve installations, normal operating conditions will produce a fairly steady flow. For this situation, a check valve will usually be considered properly sized when this flow keeps the valve between about 80% open and fully open. Sizing check valves becomes more complex when an application has a range of normal operating flow rates. In this case, the best check valve size choice will probably be when, at the lowest operating flow rate, the check valve opens up between about 80% open and fully open. Determining which is the right check valve and especially choosing its size might be a little tricky. It will probably involve getting and testing samples in real operating conditions. The good news is that spring loaded or spring assist check valves are designed with a wide range of very specific cracking pressures. ISM more

A Wind Energy Case Study: Envision

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Imagine a world where every single person has access to clean, secure and affordable energy. With recent technological advancements in the wind energy industry, that picture may not be too far off.   The global wind turbines market registered a market value of $44.74 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow to $47.83 billion in 2022, according to Global Data. This is largely due to the increased activity within the Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe & Middle East regions. In the U.S. alone, wind energy is set to grow 36 percent, with a 69 percent drop in costs between 2009 and 2018. These global investments in wind power are spurring the industry on to rapid growth. Wind farms are helping power markets around the world prioritize self-sufficiency, energy security and the need to address issues surrounding climate change. Increased global investments in smart energy solutions, such as wind turbines, make sense. Smart wind turbines are one of the most effective technologies used to generate renewable power, producing more energy while reducing maintenance costs. In fact, some new wind turbines feature exclusive technology that includes sensor-enabled controls to optimize their performance and energy generation in harmony with the environment. Envision, a smart energy solutions company headquartered in Shanghai, is at the forefront of this industry innovation.   “We are creating wind turbines with a brain,” explained Lei Zhang, founder and CEO of Envision Group. Using hundreds of sensors, advanced control algorithms and AI predictions, Envision’s technology lets wind turbines accurately perceive their own status and environmental conditions to ensure maximum power generation and longer service life. This software-defined turbine approach surpasses the technological limitations of traditional wind turbines while boosting wind power generation efficiency by 15 percent. Empowering Wind Energy Innovations In bridging the gap between digital and physical energy systems, Envision is driving a global transition to smart, clean and abundant energy. As a result, wind farm operators benefit from greater visibility and control over environmental and other external factors that can impact turbine performance. But this innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. “In the wind business, it’s all about quality, reliability and cost-efficiency,” said Kane Xu, Global VP, Envision, India. “When you think about turbines sitting in rural areas—on mountaintops or in the ocean—there must be a quality system in place that enables you to achieve the highest levels of performance.” To usher in a new era of renewable energy, Envision sought a partner to support the company’s go-to-market strategy at unprecedented speed and scale. That’s when Envision turned to Jabil.   For engineering and production at such a high scale, it is essential for companies to have a New Product Introduction (NPI) system in place to increase work efficiencies. The implementation of NPI management systems helps companies manage employees’ work progress and the manufacturing process flow. Envision had many moving parts in designing wind turbines and creating a seamless supply chain strategy. But with Jabil’s help, Envision launched its own NPI management system with full power production testing, value engineering and complete supplier management. Unlocking Innovation through Collaboration By 2030, wind energy will account for nearly 15 percent of global electricity generated, according to Frost and Sullivan. As the wind energy economy becomes stronger, markets are beginning to emerge across the world, specifically in Mexico, Brazil, Russia and India. Due to a decline in wind energy costs and the minimal risk for developers, India is the most ideal country for expansions. Since the country is the second largest territory for Envision, aggressive expansion plans drove the strategy to align localized supply chain and manufacturing resources. In its desire to expand to other regions, the Envision team quickly realized the importance of a localized supply chain strategy. The close collaboration with Jabil and a shared culture of innovation resulted in the decision to open a new India-based manufacturing facility dedicated to Envision.   In only five months – a record-breaking speed in the manufacturing world – Jabil stood up an entire factory with the ability to produce up to 300 wind turbines annually. “For Jabil’s industrial and process engineering teams, building this capability at this large a scale and this fast is something we hadn’t done before,” said Scott Gebicke, global head of Jabil’s energy, industrial and building group. “We did it together with Envision.” Additionally, the opportunity to handle manufacturing and assembly in India led to additional cost efficiencies, enabling Envision to reduce the cost of making wind turbines by up to 30 percent. “The team did a great job to ramp the new factory from producing zero to 50 wind turbines in just three months,” Zhang said. The future of wind energy is strong. In addition to onshore wind farms, there’s also a massive opportunity for offshore wind farms, and the potential for power generation on the open seas is even greater than on land, where uneven geography slows the wind. From massive wind farms spanning across the great plains to mini-wind turbines used to power a single home, the wind power industry will only gain momentum. Smart energy solutions will soon become the norm and retaining energy will become easier and safer for the environment. JABIL more

Benefits of 3D CAD Modeling for Today’s Mechanical Engineer

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3D CAD modeling turns 51 years old in 2020; it’s sure come a long way. But CAD is about so much more than design and drafting: it enables true product engineering. Let’s look at some of the ways that 3D CAD modeling benefits mechanical engineers today. Engineering Calculations Math makes the difference between design and engineering. We can now write equations in our models so that dimensions can be driven by other dimensions and parameters. If the model ever changes, these relations update automatically, ensuring that the product always meets our design intent. Our CAD models can send dimensions and parameters to engineering calculation software included with the CAD software, which then performs functions, programs, and solving operations on those values. The engineering calculation software then sends those values back to CAD to drive model geometry. We’re building real engineering knowledge into models. Design for Manufacturability (DfM) The first time I designed a part in industry, my boss sat me down. “Dave, this part meets all the functional requirements, and you’ve come up with an interesting solution. The problem is, we can’t manufacture this.” It was an eye-opening moment. Fortunately, CAD software now comes with manufacturing options. Design engineers can set up machining models to see if their designs require too many setups, use incorrect tooling, include unnecessary operations, or otherwise prohibit the part from being made. CAD software can also examine model linear and geometric tolerances to determine how those values will impact yield. We can determine what percentage of components will meet inspection requirements and see how changes to tolerances affect quality. Injection molding processes can be simulated from within CAD software before any machinery is set up or molds are created Optimization You gain a competitive advantage when your products are optimized for their function and perform better than those of your competitors. You often want them to be as light as possible and strong as necessary. Humans are really good at finding solutions that meet requirements, but computers can iterate rapidly to find the best possible design. Here are a few examples: Behavioral modeling enables us to create features that perform measurements. We can then create studies in our models to drive those measurements to desired values by modifying model dimensions as well as maximize or minimize a goal. Changes to model geometry automatically recalculate our measurements and studies, ensuring our designs simultaneously meet requirements and are optimized. Simulation analysis enables both validation and optimization of our designs. For given loads and constraints, we can characterize what the model experiences in terms of stress, displacement, temperature, modal frequencies, cycles to failure, and other quantities. Then we can calculate the best values for model dimensions for those load cases. As examples, Creo Simulate is built into the Creo Parametric platform, eliminating the need to export models. Creo Simulation Live is integrated directly into the modeling environment, allowing analysis to be performed simultaneously with design. Generative design technologies, including topology optimization, find the geometry shape that meets specified requirements for its operating environment, using the least amount of material. They're perfectly suited for 3D printing applications, but can also suggest the most ingenious design for traditionally manufactured parts. Between behavioral modeling, simulation analysis, and generative design, today’s engineers have multiple tools for creating the best possible products. Real-time simulation helps mechanical engineers instantly see how stress and other characteristics of a model will respond when the design changes. Augmented Reality Today’s engineer can quickly publish designs to augmented reality (AR) servers, and within minutes view their models overlaid onto the real world via tablets and headsets. This power to visualize products in their potential operating environments provides unprecedented insight into how customers will respond to and interact with them. AR can also be used to conduct design reviews, plan manufacturing, and support technicians during builds. This kind of product insight with real-world superposition and supplemental information has never been available to production before, and we’re just beginning to understand the potential. AR makes models more portable than ever. With just a link, mechanical engineers and stakeholders can launch a 3D model on mixed reality headsets, like Microsoft’s HoloLens. Conclusion CAD software no longer simply replaces the drafting boards of yesterday. These advances have evolved 3D CAD from simply defining geometry to creating smart models. CAD software partners with engineers to perform more and deeper design tasks that they couldn’t otherwise achieve. PTC more

Galvanized Steel Sheet: Key Information Everyone Needs to Know

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The modern construction industry involves the usage of reliable and high-quality materials. These include steel sheets with special protective coatings. As you may understand, it is referred to the galvanized steel sheet. What is a galvanized steel sheet? Galvanized steel is a type of rolled metal products or an ordinary steel sheet coated with a protective layer of zinc against moisture penetration and exposure to air. Such a protective coating can be applied just on one or both sides or of the steel sheet. The thickness of the protective coating may vary depending on the further area of application of the galvanized steel sheet, as well as on the expected humidity degree of the environment. Galvanizing Methods: Galvanic method – the process of applying zinc on a metal surface using an electrolyte solution. Galvanizing using high temperatures – coating a metal (usually iron or steel) with a zinc layer by dipping the product in a bath with molten zinc at a temperature of about 460°C. Galvanizing using low temperatures – coating a metal surface with a special composition containing zinc powder. Sherardization – a galvanizing method which involves the usage of zinc powder (processing takes place at high temperatures from 300 to 450°C) or zinc vapor (at a temperature of 800-900°C). Zinc spraying – the process of pollinating metal with zinc using a special technical gun. Gas-dynamic galvanizing – applying zinc coating using supersonic jet stream. Classification Standards of various countries in the field of technical requirements for galvanized products determine its brand and size assortment. The main classification features for galvanized sheets are: area of application (profiling, cold forming, fabrication of metal structures); the chemical composition of the coating material (pure zinc, or such alloys as zinc-iron, zinc-aluminum, aluminum-zinc, zinc-magnesium, etc.); thickness/weight of the galvanized protective coating. Application Due to the breaking strength, ease of installation, durability, and resistance to corrosion and aggressive environments, galvanized steel sheet has become widespread in many industries and manufacturing sectors. Galvanized steel sheet is often used in roofing, due to its light weight. Moreover, this material serves as the basis for the production of additional elements for roofs and facades, forced ventilation systems, ducts, gutters, downspouts, and is also used for the manufacture of various structural elements and parts used in almost all areas of industrial and civil engineering construction. Also, the galvanized steel sheet is commonly used in the manufacturing of profiled sheeting, metal tile, or metal siding. In addition, the galvanized steel sheet can be used for the construction of silos, temporary storage facilities, or agricultural silages. In practice, galvanized steel sheet is used literally everywhere: its elements are present in many structures around us, for example, in ships, airports and railway stations, billboards, cars, stairs, cornices, fences, and other metal structures. Main Advantages: Galvanized steel has several advantages: Long operating period. The minimum period of use is 10 years. The uniqueness of metals combination. The zinc coating interacts perfectly with a metal base. During the usage, the material does not crack, exfoliate, rupture, and split off. Absolute environmental friendliness. Zinc is a natural material, and therefore, it does not emit harmful toxins. So, it can be actively used in residential premises. Wide range of applications. Simplicity in installation and the subsequent repair. Aesthetic appearance. After dismantling, old galvanized sheets can be reused. The correctly dismantled galvanized sheet fully preserves its technical features and initial properties. Affordable price. The galvanized sheet is considered a cost-effective building material. STEEL AVAILABLE  more
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