There are two “new” generations on the labor market: Who are the people behind Generation Y and Z, what do they stand for and are they changing the working world? Some companies will have to change their behavior and structure, because these generations do have different demands towards their working places compared to those before.
The Hannover Messe starts on April 24, 2017, and we are again excited to see what awaits us. There is one specific topic that stands in the foreground: The lead theme of the Hannover Fair this year is “Integrated Industry – Creating Value”.
Without question, engineers have to deal with many important tasks in their daily life. Their responsibilities are always being extended with everything a top priority which increases time pressure: more and more projects need to be handled with increasing demands in less time but stable quality. In addition, smartphones, tablets and notebooks are pinging and blinking continuously. How is it possible to use working time efficiently despite these facts?
Friction springs are indispensible safety components in all fields of technology where suddenly occurring forces have to be taken up and kinetic energy absorbed, or where springs are required with relatively compact dimensions while also being able to sustain high forces. Expert friction springs are needed when it comes to the deceleration of moving masses in a quick, safe and precise manner.
Engineers need to consider several aspects for selecting the appropriate coupling such as the type of installation, primary and secondary connection, available space of installation, ease of mounting and dismounting as well as maximum rotational speed and resilience of the coupling. To compensate physical parameters or changes that are not obvious the safety factor, also known as safety multiple or safety coefficient, is taken into account.
Steel is an essential part of our everyday life and especially in mechanical engineering an indispensable material. We would not be where we are today without it. Through research the areas of applications are broadening, new types of steel are developed and cover even more areas. It is astonishing how many varieties are available.
In an increasingly complex working world simple processes can be performed by machines, numerous data sources and cross-functional targets such as sustainability and efficiency need to be considered. This leads to increasing demands on employees – a challenge also engineers are facing.
We have previously reported about various elastomeric materials and their properties as well as the applications they can be used for in the field of mechanical engineering. This article is in reference to the raw material natural rubber or caoutchouc. For example, did you know that its natural color is white? Or how many tons are produced and processed every year? Everybody knows caoutchouc, but very few are familiar with its properties and for which applications it can be used. Here are 10 facts about natural rubber you may have not heard about before.
Operators of cement plants worldwide face the challenge to create their systems more efficient and reliable. Even though the production and consumption of this material is quite stable in Europe, there is a continuously growing demand in Africa, North America and Asia. For this reason, production needs to be optimized and therefore all components which are part of the drive to guarantee constant operation, minimal downtimes and low maintenance costs.
Details are important for engineers. The smallest discrepancies may have major consequences in their job. Therefore being precise is essential. This applies for the design activity as well as for communication among colleagues: Describing faulty processes and listening carefully to descriptions are everyday tasks of engineers. For these tasks the dialogue is the most obvious tool – yet its importance is underrated.
Elastomers are polymeric materials which have the property of high elasticity. By virtue of this elasticity in combination with their damping capability, elastomers are the preferred material for use as transmission elements in elastic or highly elastic couplings. 
Topics as varied as Big Data, Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation, Crowdworking, Generation Y , Work 4.0 and 3D-printing have been discussed in 2016, and many of these will have significant influence on the working world over the next few years. This also applies to mechanical engineering. We would like to refer to three terms that have gained importance in 2016.
Especially in narrow spaces, couplings can only be inspected visually, because the coupling is hardly accessible with conventional measuring devices. Atypical operation noise or vibrations are generally the first signals that there is something wrong with the coupling.
Catching you up on market news – Augmented & virtual reality and 3D printing: how to make the inconceivable tangible
3D printing meanwhile offers outrageous possibilities also for mechanical engineering; some highlights have been presented at the formnext 2016. This technology used to be considered as expensive, limited and quite slow, but the rapid development in this field led to innovative and flexible systems for production. Other news we have been really enthusiastic about are further developed augmented or virtual reality systems which can improve processes in manufacturing industries.
One of the distinguishing properties of elastomers is their high elasticity. The main characteristics of elastomers present themselves, in particular when comparing them to steel. Below we would like to elaborate on the main properties of elastomers in more detail. Figure 1 shows the main characteristics of elastomers. They are able to combine spring properties as well as damping ability in one component.
When thinking of resonance and race tracks the most obvious link appears to be the roaring of engines. But, it actually covers a much broader scope, which has been exhibited by Renault’s clever engineers at Formula 1.
Engineers are mathematicians with technical expertise. They act factual, follow findings based on calculations and rely on proven concepts. This is the stereotype. But many engineers are already acting exactly as requested by analyses of future trends in working environments: data-based, creative, planning and solution-oriented. Soft skills will no longer be a nice option – but a necessity.
Maintenance and repair: Characteristics of gear couplings, steel disc couplings and (highly) flexible couplings
Couplings are not the most critical part of plants but they have to meet continuously changing requirements. Being reliable, efficient and robust is no longer enough – they should be easy to maintain in order to reduce costs and to avoid downtime. So for choosing the right coupling its characteristics in regard to maintenance and repair are playing a more important role.
One of the most discussed topics in mechanical engineering but still it is hardly tangible for many companies and engineers. This is most likely due to the fact that the idea behind the so called forth industrial revolution is well-known, but there exist many different opinions and approaches when it comes to the implementation. We want to have a closer look at the current situation in the market.
Couplings in drive lines are of particular importance because they transmit power between the input and output side, and compensate for inevitably occurring misalignments of the units. Like other machinery elements, couplings need to be serviced at regular intervals. Only if the coupling is optimally tailored to the requirements of the operating conditions and subject to regular maintenance, can it contribute to ensuring the operating reliability and efficiency of a machine or plant.
It’s Oxymoron Day again! And while sitting together to choose the most creative proposals for oxymorons among your submissions, we randomly bumped into interesting facts about group dynamics. Some of them were surprising, some just funny. Therefore in addition to the most favored word pairs: ten facts about teamwork – not only for engineers.
The demands made on the components in combined heat and power plants (CHP) are increasing. They have to be efficient, long-lasting and, in case of an emergency, must at least fulfill the safety requirements set forth by the Medium Voltage Guideline. Thomas Marterer, Product Manager at RINGFEDER POWER TRANSMISSION, explains how operators of CHPs can find the correct coupling for their plant: The coupling should withstand high temperatures and be neither torsionally too stiff nor too soft.
Maintenance is a key factor determining manufacturers’ success since it ensures preferably smooth operation. At the same time service and repair are significant cost factors. We wanted to get a more detailed picture and started researching. Some of the most relevant findings:
"The challenge to develop a highly flexible coupling is to design a coupling which has a particularly soft characteristic curve", explains Norbert Telaar, Head of Strategic Product Management at RINGFEDER POWER TRANSMISSION, the main task of his team. In the end they developed an innovation in coupling design.
Pursuant to the supplement to the Medium Voltage Guideline in 2013, the certification directives for co-generation plants have been adopted and the obligation to furnish evidence of compliance with the BDEW guidelines of 2009 is now also binding for co-generation plants. As a result, certificates have to be furnished for CHPs connected to the medium voltage grid with reference to their behavior in the event of a failure.
Combined heat and power units assist in securing grid stability, which particularly challenges their gensets
The amendment to the obligatory certification within the medium voltage guideline in 2013 catapulted combined heat and power units into a new league: they are now also in charge of stabilizing the dynamic German power supply network. This provides excellent opportunities for the technology, but it also means new obligations.
An oxymoron connects two contradictory terms. In the field of engineering this often means that the seemingly impossible has become possible. The same holds true for “flexible stiffness”. Learn what it is all about and let us know your personal favorite oxymoron.
Nowadays engineers are facing various challenges which can be solved by selecting the right coupling. Shocks, heat, cold conditions, efficiency and work safety: machines and their drives have to meet highest requirements.
The coupling is normally the softest element in the drive line, literally – but by no means the weakest link of the chain. Its configuration plays a decisive role for the functional capability of the driving and driven machine and for the reliability and lifetime of the entire drive system. The optimum adjustment of the coupling to the connected machine units is especially important in all cases where failures and breakdowns are not allowed to occur.
Bending stress, torque shock, natural frequency and resonance: all the machinery elements in drive systems – i.e. above all axes, shafts, bearings and couplings – must withstand such strains. The coupling plays a prominent system-influencing role which it continues to fulfill better and better due to advanced development.
Reciprocating engines in combined heat and power units: Is higher power without loss of energy efficiency possible?
The combined heat and power technology (CHP), in particular co-generation units, have long been a part of the industrial energy transition. However, the large potential of combined heat and power units is still underutilized. The reason for this, among others, is because of the properties of the installed drive technology: for instance, the non-uniform torque of reciprocating engines. New components promise more power with consistently good energy efficiency.
The cut-off date has passed. The new EU ATEX Directive is now valid. Manufacturers, distributors and operators should keep themselves informed, since the old certificates are no longer valid for any products that will be newly launched onto the market. There are also amendments pertaining to operators, who themselves set up a plant or an assembly from several components, for example, with a pump, coupling and engine. The user will then be considered as manufacturer and must know the exact properties of the components used, including the coupling.
Stiffness describes the ability of a body to resist elastic deformation. The transmission of power would not be possible without stiffness. However, there are events which should not be transmitted, such as torque peaks and shock loads. In order for a system to withstand such loads, it is damped. Engineers are confronted with the challenge to tune stiffness and damping in a vibratory system in such a way that reliable operation, essentially free of load peaks, is ensured.
Every vibratory system consists of an exciter and a mass with a force-transmitting medium in-between. Resonance is caused if this system is periodically excited with its natural frequency. In the field of mechanical engineering, resonance is an undesired phenomenon.
The robust drill on the robot arm of the Mars Rover Curiosity helps scoop rock dust on Mars – a milestone for researchers. A friction spring made of stainless steel dampens the forces generated during the drilling process and prevents any resonance phenomena.
Residential Elevators designs, manufactures and installs elevators for home use. So the company is always on the lookout for design enhancements that will keep its elevators moving with the least amount of maintenance.
Many power transmission applications, including gearboxes, require a reliable connection between a solid and hollow shaft. This type of connection, however, only works well if the solid shaft outside diameter and hollow shaft inside diameter have been properly machined to exact dimensional tolerances and finishes. These precision machining factors drive up costs and limit the design freedom of solid-to-hollow shaft connections.
Bending moments are an unfortunate fact of life in many power transmission applications. But pulley-and-drum systems have an especially high risk of failure when exposed to these moment loads.
Choosing the right coupling style for a servo application can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. A better understanding of application requirements such as torque, stiffness, rpm values and shaft misalignment details can help narrow your selection.
Northern Power Systems, a large United States manufacturer of wind turbines, needed a reliable, economical locking device for their systems. In the past, they tried different splined or keyed shafts, but found that these connection methods were too expensive and created a weak point in the shaft connection.
Locking assemblies and locking elements come in so many sizes and with so many different technical features that it can be overwhelming to find the right one for your application. That’s why we recently developed our online calculation tool that makes it easy to select the right product.
The Ringfeder Rapid Response Program has been up and running for the past several months. Customers have taken full advantage of this program, which makes our most popular metal bellows couplings and shrink disc locking devices available overnight.
As you probably know, compact friction springs improve damping performance and give off high kinetic energy in a wide range of mechanical systems. Wabtec Corporation experienced this first-hand when they used our friction springs in their mechanical couplers for trains.
Our new Rapid Response Program gives new meaning to the term quick coupling.
If you build or maintain shaft-driven equipment, you may not have the luxury of waiting weeks for your couplings to arrive. Now you don’t have to wait.
Motor shaft couplings have to strike a delicate balance when it comes to stiffness. On the one hand, they have to be rigid enough to transmit torque efficiently. On the other, they have to be flexible enough to handle any misalignment between the motor and the drive shaft. Our latest coupling design can help you strike that balance.
The big gearboxes that drive cable drums do not come cheap. Yet engineers often
make a design mistake that can shorten the gearbox’s working life. This mistake
involves the use of a rigid, direct coupling between the gearbox output shaft and the cable drum.
Heavy-duty shaft couplings have traditionally had a couple of defining design characteristics. For one, these couplings usually rely on keyed shaft connections. For another, they tend to be overengineered with regard to stiffness.
Keyways aren’t the only way to couple heavy-duty motor and gearbox shafts. In fact, keyways aren’t even the best way when you consider the alignment and installation difficulties you’ll encounter when installing keyed shaft couplings that may weigh thousands of pounds. A better alternative is to use couplings that employ a mechanical shrink fit around the shafts.
RINGFEDER POWER TRANSMISSION Group has expanded its offering of heavy-duty couplings with the acquisition of TSCHAN GmbH, a leading supplier of non-shiftable mechanical shaft couplings.
Ringfeder Power Transmission's new RfN 5571 series of flange couplings for heavy duty applications offer easy installation and have higher torque capacity than standard press fits.