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 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

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.