Cutting-Edge Additive Manufacturing Equipment and Supplies for Engineering the Future
Improvements in the throughput of additive manufacturing (AM) processes are essential to realize cost-effective, on-demand production. AM service bureaus seek to maximize print speed to achieve a shorter lead time. The build rate (speed) of an AM machine is critical to the economics of AM. Advances in the rate of AM processes decrease part cost by increasing machine productivity and reducing required capital investment. These facts create an opportunity for a new AM product which will greatly accelerate build rate. Airwolf 3D proposes to build a high-throughput print head system. Airwolf 3D has the experience to manufacture this product and has a proven track record for inventing and successfully bringing AM products to market, such as its: HD 3D Printer, AXIOM 3D Printer, EVO Manufacturing Center, HydroFill Water-Soluble Support filament, WolfBite Print Bed Adhesives and Jam-Resistant Print Heads. With long build times most often cited as the barrier to widespread use of 3D printing, the high speed and accuracy of this new product may serve as a catalyst to wider adoption of material extrusion technologies in the medical, aerospace, and automotive sectors where throughput and qualification are crucial requirements.
Hong Kong, Kowloong
3D morphing for underwater mobility
This technique is based on multistable shells which are developed by nanotechnology, surface mechanical attrition treatment (SMAT). The shape transitions of the bistable or multistable shells in the structure brings volume change to adjust buoyant force in the water and enables the submerging and surfacing without weight change of the structure. Functional device can be attached to the submerging and surfacing system to achieve specific functions, such as underwater environment profile monitoring, hydro location, etc. This technique is originally designed for water environment monitoring applied in inshore coastal waters, especially for carols. In contrast to conventional approaches, such as using cable wired devices, autonomous underwater vehicles, divers, etc., this wireless system is cheap and simple, which can achieve submerging and surfacing movements automatically. The operative parameters can be setup on water surface remotely or nearby. Data collected underwater can be transited when the device is on water surface.
In-situ, 3-D high resolution x-ray images of the well bore will provide accurate imaging allowing location and characterization of well casing or cement defects allowing remedial cement/sealant repair. A novel, compact, high-energy electron accelerator is used to create an intense high energy x-ray source. A rotating permanent magnet, target, and pencil beam collimator combined with directional x-ray detectors will provide data for creating 3-D tomographic images of casing, cement, and rock. The system has capabilities well beyond those of present ultrasonic techniques and can provide high resolution images through multiple steel well casings, cement layers, and surrounding rock structure. The accelerator production of x-rays gives a 20-fold increase in photons over conventional x-ray tubes and an order of magnitude increase in photon energy.
SRF e-beam accelerator for metal additive manufacturing
High Power electron beams are a key element of 3D metal additive manufacturing. New accelerators and guns capable of higher energies and higher average power can enable larger melt pools, speed production, and all application to be extended to larger components. Superconducting Radio Frequency (SRF) cavities can achieve high acceleration gradients and be conduction cooled via high thermal conductivity materials such as high purity Aluminum - in thermal contact with the external surface of the cavity. This approach can eliminate vessels used to maintain cryogenics gases or liquids such as Helium in direct contact with the cavity outer surface. The accelerator will be transformational, demonstrating the first article of a new class of robust, mobile, cost effective, CW accelerators based on Superconducting Radio Frequency (SRF) technology that employ NO liquid cryogens. The accelerator will operate at a three order of magnitude over existing pulsed machines, thus drastically improving throughput. The accelerator can accommodate several modes of operation with flexibility to rapidly change the electron beam current and energy.
Longitudinally Joined Cavity
Radio-frequency cavity resonators are commonly made from electrically conductive material and consist of a chamber or series of chambers interconnected by openings, with chamber size typically ranging from 1 centimeter to 1 meter and chamber shape depending on desired resonance conditions when excited by 0.1 to 10 GHz electromagnetic waves. When the openings are aligned, the resonator can be used to accelerate charged particles along the alignment axis to very high energy, for production of x-rays, irradiation or bombardment, food sanitization, catalysis of chemical reactions, polymer cross-linking, medical treatments, and other uses. Importantly, oscillating electrical currents, which are excited by the accelerating waves, tend to run along the interior walls of the resonator in the longitudinal direction defined by the axis of acceleration. Closing half-cavity pieces with a longitudinal seam, or closing several such part-cavity pieces with multiple longitudinal seams, avoids interfaces that obstruct oscillating currents, which improves the efficiency of operation. A vacuum seal may be produced by welding, brazing, soldering, or other bonding techniques, as appropriate for the choice of electrically conductive material.
Thermo Electric Interconnects
Technology: Georgia Tech inventors have developed a new method for connecting thermoelectric legs to a thermoelectric device. This method focuses on the positioning of thermoelectric legs on a TE device and the length of the legs. Using printing techniques, the leg length is optimized to obtain maximum power output. Additionally these printing techniques are used to control the geometry and positioning of the legs. This has resulted in a more closed packed, less free space, TE device with increased power density and performance.
Stiffness Trimming of High Q MEMS Resonators
Technology: Georgia Tech inventors have developed a new method to permanently trim the resonance frequency of a low-loss micromechanical silicon (Si) resonator by exposing isolated thin-film dots upon the resonator to the radiation of a focused ultra-violet laser beam. The thin-film is deposited through a shadow mask on the surface of the resonator prior packaging (see Figure 1). Executed at wafer level and with resonators encapsulated in vacuum, this approach enables to trim upward or downward the frequency of packaged resonators in a single shot without introducing additional energy dissipation that would lower the quality factor (Q) of the resonator. Both 2D flat and 3D curved resonators can be trimmed with this approach (see Figure 2). Furthermore, this localized trimming approach supports mode shaping. For example, the frequency separation between Coriolis-coupled modes can be cancelled while both modes are further aligned to reduce quadrature signals. Upon exposure to a laser beam which passed through a transparent capping layer, the thin-film dots heat up, diffuse in Si, and reach the eutectic composition (see Table 1 for a list of materials that form a binary eutectic with Si).
Cable-Driven Four-Bar Link Leg Mechanism
Four-bar leg mechanisms utilize a four-bar system to create a mechanism with one independent movement to control the entire system. These mechanisms are desirable for high force applications because the force can be distributed across the four different components but it only needs one actuator, the component responsible for controlling movement in the system. Current systems require an actuator for each four-bar leg, which can add significant weight to a system, and are typically placed outside of the four-bar leg mechanism, adding bulk. This four-bar leg mechanism uses a cable system to control the movement of the leg, which works in conjunction with a spring mechanism to allow to movements in opposite directions. Two four-bar leg mechanisms are linked together through a single cable whose movement or change in length can be used to actuate each leg independently or in conjunction. Actuators are confined within the system and allow for both symmetrical and asymmetrical movement of the legs in unison. Linking the two leg mechanisms also reduces the loads experienced by each component of the mechanism by distributing contact forces across the entire mechanism.
Assistive Stairs Utilizing Energy- Recycling Technology
Technology: These novel assistive stairs are an inexpensive, effective option for stair use by applying the principle of energy recycling. The objective with this technology was to design energy recycling assistive stairs (ERAS) that store energy during stair descent and return it to assist the user during stair ascent. Each ERAS is a single stair step designed to be placed on an existing step, with each module equipped with its own latch, sensor, and set of springs. When the tread is fully lowered, it contacts an electromagnetic latch at the bottom and pressure sensors detect foot placement during both ascent and descent. Energy stored in the springs are released back to the user as they ascend the steps. With stair descent being just as energy-demanding and challenging for older adults with a large risk for falls, ERAS’s are able to assist with the descent process as well. When the springs are removed or their motion is locked, ERAS modules do not recycle energy and are therefore equivalent to a normal set of stairs.
Self-Decontaminating Filter Medium or Materials
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed self-decontaminating structures based on porphyrin-embedded, target imprinted, porous, organosilicate sorbents. The materials rapidly sequester targets as a result of the affinity of the sorbent structures. Catalysis proceeds upon stimulation of the porphyrin moieties through illumination or by an applied current. This potential for dual stimulation provides the opportunity for utilization of the materials in sunlit or low light environments. Catalysis in aqueous solution and under ambient conditions in the absence of liquid water has been demonstrated. Target selectivity can be controlled through selection of porphyrin and sorbent characteristics. The spectrophotometric characteristics of the porphyrin catalytic component also offer the potential for self-reporting materials. Attachment of the materials to fabrics and surfaces has been demonstrated using standard techniques. The advanced materials have been proven to be effective in air filtration applications as well as wearable protective materials.
Room Temperature Laser Magnetometer
This novel laser magnetometer could outperform existing technologies at room temperature operation. The technology involves pumping a laser at its threshold and combining this with a radio-frequency (RF) drive, which addresses a magnetic resonance in the laser medium and suppresses lasing. A magnetic field to be measured then shifts the resonance and the laser threshold allowing the laser to turn on with a particular laser strength which allows the magnetic field to be determined with high precision and high contrast. Results to date show the feasibility of using this laser threshold magnetometer (LTM) to achieve outstanding sensitivity for static as well as oscillating magnetic fields up to frequencies of about 1 MHz. A key feature and advantage is that the device can be operated at room temperature. This is a significant technological advantage over standard SQUID sensors, which need to be operated at cryogenic temperatures (below 10K). Operating at room temperature is particularly important in medical applications such magnetoencephalography (MEG) because it improves safety and ease of operating procedures. This technology is cost-effective, highly portable and more sensitive than existing technologies with its primary advantage being that it can be used at room temperature.
Transforming metallic wastes into high-value micro- and nano-materials
Currently, extracting or recovering metals from wastes involves either a smelting or chemical leaching step followed by solvent extraction and/or reduction. Smelting is a thermal, energy-intensive and not environmentally benign process (typically produces sulfur dioxide fumes). Chemical leaching also requires the use of toxic chemicals (strong acids/caustic solutions). Since these processes target a specific element, they have limited versatility. We developed a process that accounts for the mechano-chemical properties of metallic alloys or multi-materials to separate and recover each element individually. Our process significantly lowers energy consumption during the separation process as well as decr ease the toxicity of the recycling processes. We termed our solution SCRAPS for Shear and Chemical Reactivity Assisted Process for Separation. Using SCRAPS, Sep-All currently provides high purity copper compounds powders and catalysts in the form of micro- and nano-particles (MNP) recovered from brass, copper and bronze wastes. Sep-All is also dedicated to provide a novel supply stream of critical materials by recovering them from electronic wastes. Critical materials have i) high supply risks (production from mining operations in monopolistic countries), ii) unique properties or low interchangeability. We currently manufacture indium (critical material) compounds powders and catalysts in the form of MNP.
Mobile drone robot for solar panel surface cleaning and cell defect inspection
Most of the conventional cleaning systems for photovoltaic panels are fixed to an array of photovoltaic panels which reduces economic efficiency in terms of facility costs and maintenance. Some developed and utilized facilities are middle and large cleaning systems which are difficult to apply to environment with high density or high level of height. Comparing to conventional technology, firstly, the present mobile drone robot system is innovated product that are consist of components with running, cleaning, and steering functions in an integrated mechanism part. Secondly, it is possible to stably autonomously clean the solar panels of various inclined planes (0 ° to 65 °), and this system includes a drone that can move over between the array of solar panels. Also this cleaning dorne is able to takeoff vertically and landing on the slanted panel surface as well. Third, in order to adapt to the various sizes of the photovoltaic power stations, the robot and running cleaning flight were constructed as modules. Fourthly, it has the function of simultaneously inspecting the surface defect of the solar panel and the defect of the inner cell.
3D Audio Capturing Microphone Array
Capture and reproduction of 3D audio is becoming increasingly important for various applications. Currently, binaural (2 ear-shaped microphones), hemispherical (2-14 tetrahedral arranged microphones) or spherical (24-32 microphones mounted on a spherical baffle) microphone arrays are used to capture 3D sound. The spherical array offers several advantages over the other geometries, but its geometry is bulky, limiting its potential in commercial applications. Our researchers have addressed this limitation by developing an array with reduced dimensionality and size that offers the same functionality and benefits of the spherical array. Our researchers have developed a compact array arrangement and custom DSP algorithms for enhanced 3D sound capture and delivery. The new array configuration consists of multiple co-centered circular rings, with directional and omnidirectional microphones placed on a 2D plane. Specific alignment of the microphones (to each other and along the rings) enables the directional microphones to measure the pressure gradient and vertical harmonic components of an impinging soundfield, whilst the omnidirectional microphones measure the sound pressure and horizontal harmonic components of that soundfield. The two microphone types working together in this arrangement, enables the array to extract full 3D soundfield information; information which is utilized by DSP algorithms for various sound refining processes.
Magnetic negative stiffness damper
Magnetic negative stiffness damper (MNSD), as a passive device, can achieve a vibration suppression performance comparable to that of active control. Moreover, its passive operation mode does not require any power supply, sensing or feedback controllers. Compared with existing passive negative stiffness device, MNSD adopts a completely different magnetism principle. A passive MNSD can provide symmetrical negative stiffness integrated with damping in a compact and simple configuration. Its mechanical properties can be easily designed by adjusting magnet properties and arrangement. The passive operation mode of MNSD, together with its compact size and simple design, makes MNSD a promising vibration suppression technique with high performance, cost-effectiveness, reliability and practicability. It has a great potential to replace conventional active or semi-active vibration suppression/isolation systems for various civil, mechanical, and aerospace structures.
IIoT-based Smart Robotic Fulfillment System
The product redefines the order fulfilment process with the conversion from man-to-goods to goods-to-man picking and replenishment process. It transforms from traditional, labor-intensive and low technology warehouse to modern, unmanned and high technology fulfillment center. PolyU has developed advanced swarm intelligent algorithms to provide autonomous and self-coordinated Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs). By applying the “Swarm Robot Strategy”, UGVs are assigned with specific role (i.e. division of labor) in the order fulfilment operation. This helps to increase productivity and efficiency of the fulfilment center. “Rack Defragment Optimization” approach is adopted to pre-organize the racks’ location to reduce UGVs’ traveling distance. Therefore, the productivity and fulfillment rates are enhanced. The product offers a “Simulation Mode” for top-management to model, analyze, plan and predict future situation and supports decision making on investment of spaces, labors and equipment for fulfilment center. In response to the growing demands from the e-commerce, the product is capable to handle enormous amount of orders efficiently and effectively in short period of time. With the help of the product, it provides a comfortable and safe working environment for operators and the utilization of labor can be optimized to solve the labor shortage in logistics industry.
A Functional Textile-based Thermal-stimuli Drug Delivery Apparel System
This research focuses on how “second-skin” apparel and skin interact with each other to serve therapy functions. The relation between the thermo-stimulated drug-delivery system and the textile will be studied for the development of healthcare apparel for patients whose disease are typically realized by applying ointment or dressing to the skin.Based on previous work done by PI team, a functional textile-based thermal-stimuli drug delivery apparel system is conducted that involves an architecture of chitosan/hollow fibres/conductive fibres (materials, structure and layering system). It could be achieved using two approaches: a) modification of the proposed fiber-based drug carrier or b) architecture of a fiber-based drug textile and wearable thermal textile system. Thus, the research plan and methodology are divided into three milestones: 1) optimize the newly developed fiber-based drug carrier in terms of the preparation process, pattern structures of the hollow fiber, skin-fiber transdermal interactions, and evaluation; 2) design and produce the proposed textile-based thermo-stimulated drug-delivery apparel; and 3) evaluate the medical performance subjectively and objectively. Tests and evaluations will be performed to validate each stage. The results show the significant advantages if compare to traditional methods.
Graphene assisted modification of porous materials for enhanced acoustic absorption
The technology is based on a discovery that specifically composed interconnected laminar graphene structures inside large pores of foam to provide significant acoustic absorption especially at lower frequencies. This invention describes the fabrication process of a new graphene assisted structure with superior mechanical, thermal and electrical properties.