Cicoil cables help NASA robotic arm for Mars

Cicoil High-Flex Cables are allowing NASA to perform critical, extreme environment robotic tests, in preparation for the Mars Exploration Program.

02/08/2010


Cicoil High-Flex Cables are allowing NASA to perform critical, extreme environment robotic tests, in preparation for the Mars Exploration Program.

Cicoil High-Flex Cables are allowing NASA to perform critical, extreme environment robotic tests, in preparation for the Mars Exploration Program.

Cicoil High-Flex Cables are allowing NASA to perform critical, extreme environment robotic tests, in preparation for the Mars Exploration Program. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), scheduled to launch in 2011, is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term robotic exploration of the red planet. Mars Science Laboratory is a rover that will assess whether Mars' environment can support, or has supported, microbial life. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability."

Essential to the mission is the MSL's Robot Arm that holds and maneuvers the instruments that help scientists get get closer to Martian rocks and soil. Running the arm is a custom-formed Cicoil cable assembly conducting power, signals and video from the instruments to the main electronics within the rover's body. Cicoil's six-inch wide custom flat cable is now in rigorous testing at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.

Control Engineering :

- Embedded in space: LDRA tools for Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Space Program ;
- Position sensors tough enough for space flight ;
- Draper Lab helps automate International Space Station ; and
- Spectrometer orbits the moon .

 

ith the extreme flexibility of the robotic testing. Because Cicoil cables are designed to last tens of millions of continuous flexing cycles, they will withstand the the extreme testing being performed on the MSL Robot Arm.

In addition to fit and flexing issues, the Robot Arm is undergoing extreme environmental testing, including high heat, freezing cold, sand, salt, fog, and water. One of the key tests is to test while being exposed to blowing, red "Mars Sand," which is an-extremely fine, abrasive sand found on the surface of Mars. Cicoil's silicone cables are designed to operate in this type of extreme environment, which is critical to the successful testing of the new Mars Science Laboratory.

Cicoil uses a process of encapsulating conductors in silicone that renders them unaffected by severe vibration, G-Forces, shaking motion, extreme temperatures, water, shock and the rigors of supersonic flight. Cicoil's specialized silicone jacket functions as a shock absorbing material, completely surrounding and supporting each individual component. Cicoil cable does not require a clamping system (which is typically utilized with PVC, Polyurethane and Teflon jacketed cables) because the conductors cannot creep out of the silicone encasing them.

Cicoil now has thousands of cable assemblies operating in the most demanding military/aerospace applications, such as missile gimbal & guidance systems, commercial aviation fuel control systems, fighter aircraft precision navigation & targeting systems, and space vehicle flight control & communication systems. All these applications are mission-critical, requiring Cicoil cable assemblies to perform flawlessly during exposure to temperature, shock, and vibration extremes.

Cicoil's quality system is certified to ISO 9001, including the Aerospace AS9100 standard, cable assembly technicians are certified to IPC J-STD-001, and IPC-620, for cable soldering and crimping. 100% of Cicoil cables are electrically inspected for all point-to-point and electrical values, ensuring that each and every cable assembly meets 100% of the quality standards required by the most critical application. www.cicoil.com

 

mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

Also read the Control Engineering automated vehicle blog .

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering , www.controleng.com.





No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me