Mechanical Components Blog

The Mechanical Components Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about parts, tools, and hardware such as bearings and bushings, tools and testing, materials and industrial hardware. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Protect Your Machine and the Environment by Ditching External Lubrication

Posted August 19, 2018 12:00 AM by erathburn
Pathfinder Tags: bearings igus triboplastic

Did you know that Triboplastic bearings made of high-performance polymers are increasingly being used in applications all over the world? Designers and engineers have been relying on the self-lubricating and maintenance-free plastic bearings as a long-lasting and cost-saving alternative to metallic bearings. Plastic bearings are used in a wide range of applications, from bicycles and printers to packaging technology and agricultural machinery.

So why are engineers turning to Tribo? By using Triboplastic bearings instead of metal bearings, users can save up to 40% in purchase costs. They also save by eliminating the need for external lubrication. Machine downtimes are significantly reduced due to the self-lubricating and maintenance-free properties of the bearings.

Check out the infographic below for a summary on the environmental and functional benefits of avoiding external lubrication.

3 comments; last comment on 08/20/2018
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Introducing the Smallest Wave Springs on the Market

Posted October 15, 2017 12:00 AM by Hannes
Pathfinder Tags: smalley wave spring

The question you’re asking shouldn’t be “how many miles did I ride” or “how many steps did I take”, but “how did someone make a wave spring that small?” From medical devices to electronics, the world around us is getting smaller. As engineers around the world keep designing smaller and smaller assemblies, the question becomes, “where can I find the smallest and most compact components to support my designs?"

Smalley has the answer with our newly expanded Crest-to-Crest Wave Spring Series. Our popular C (imperial) and CM (metric) Series have been expanded; standard sizes are now available from stock all the way down to .188” and 5 mm in diameter. Our Wave Springs reduce operating height by up to 50% with the same force and deflection as coil springs and allowing ours to fit in small applications other springs can’t. This makes them ideal for tight radial and axial spaces and are designed to satisfy your precise operating conditions.

How small do you need? Our engineering and manufacturing teams are always continuing to push the coiling limits; we’re able to design a custom solution for your application down to .157” or 4 mm in diameter with No-Tooling-Charges™. “Ask Smalley™” is not just a slogan, it’s what we do best. We will answer your design questions and provide you the best solutions that will work for your applications.

Editor's note: This is a sponsored blog post from Smalley.

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Safely Engineering Theme Park Rides

Posted August 11, 2016 10:27 AM by HUSH

After this year’s string of ride malfunctions, I may not make my annual pilgrimage to one of the several amusement parks within a few hours’ drive.

I belong to an online rollercoaster forum, so I’ve seen the recent headlines. Coaster trains stuck. Coaster trains derailing. Coaster parts malfunctioning. Coaster trains colliding. More coaster trains stuck. Some estimates are as high as 45,000 injuries from amusement park rides each year in the United States.

And then, this past weekend, the tragic story of a 10-year-old boy decapitated on the ride Verruckt, located at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas. Two women riding with the boy were also hurt. The incident occurred when the raft of the ride crested on a bunny hill, which is an unusual feature for a water slide.

Rollercoasters and other thrilling amusement park rides are meant to stimulate riders fear and excitement, but return them safely to the ground. Each ride takes substantial engineering to build and maintain, so when something goes horribly wrong, as it did with Verruckt, the ride’s engineering is closely reviewed.

Verruckt opened in 2014 as the tallest and fastest waterslide in the world. Riders are strapped into rafts that are sent down a 17 story plunge before cresting over a 50 foot hill, and finally descending to the braking pool below for exit.

Yet reports show that Verruckt’s debut was pushed back in 2014 because engineers discovered rafts loaded with sandbags would fly off the uphill on test runs (skip ahead in the video to 0:30).

At the time, Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry, who designed the ride along with the park’s senior designer John Schooley, admitted to using rollercoaster calculations in the initial design. According to Henry, essential factors such as air and water friction weren’t accounted for.

Fixes included adding trim brakes to the first drop; reducing the slope at the bottom of the initial drop from 45° to 22°; an extra five feet added to the uphill; and rubberized friction pads to slow the raft and increase friction throughout the ride. To ensure the raft made it up the hill, water blasters were added to propel rafts up the last few feet. These fixes cost more than $1 million and set Verruckt’s opening date back by months.

There are rider rumors that prior to 2016 Verruckt changed some of the slide’s braking, as trim brakes were wearing out the rafts too soon, to more friction mats.

From the very beginning, park officials and engineers knew that they were likely pushing the safety limits of this water slide. It seems like a grave error from a waterpark that had itself dubbed the slide “safe dangerous.” I would be very surprised to see Verruckt open ever again.

(By the way, this week’s Olympics post is by BestinShow: The Hottest Tech in Olympic Cycling.)

3 comments; last comment on 08/15/2016
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Putting a New Spin on Bearing Research

Posted June 07, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Data that tells engineers how rolling bearings behave under high centrifugal forces is scarce. That situation will soon change, as Germany's Friedrich-Alexander University and Schaeffler Group co-developed a spin test stand and instituted research to study bearings under extreme loads. The collaboration then hopes to use the data to refine mechanical design and material choices, creating components that will lower energy consumption in machines, vehicles, and aircraft. On the test stand, bearings are exposed to 3,000x gravitational acceleration, or about 400x the load to which fighter pilots are subjected.

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Mechanical Components, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Mechanical Components today.

1 comments; last comment on 06/08/2016
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Fiber Reinforcement for 3D Printing

Posted March 05, 2016 12:00 AM by Engineering360 eNewsletter

Not so long ago, few would have predicted the integration of so many manufacturing technologies into 3D printing processes, the latest being fiber reinforcement. Engineers at the University of Bristol recently demonstrated a method that uses ultrasonic waves to position millions of microscopic glass fibers which are then cured by lasers in epoxy resin. The process, which is said to be fast and cheap - achieving print speeds of 20 mm/s - can be added to an off-the-shelf 3D printer (see video).

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Mechanical Components, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Mechanical Components today.

1 comments; last comment on 10/14/2016
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