Looking Back 05/06/2010

May 3, 2010
Tape-laying machine automates wing construction: The Typhoon Eurofighter will use many composite parts, including its high-performance wings

10 YEARS AGO — 2000
Tape-laying machine automates wing construction: The Typhoon Eurofighter will use many composite parts, including its high-performance wings. British Aerospace will make them with a 10-axis, gantry-type contour tape-laying machine from Cincinnati Machine, Cincinnati.

The machine heats and lays 3 to 6-in.-wide thermoset tape along curved paths to create complex geometries. A compaction shoe helps the machine maintain uniform layups on edges, corners, and reinforced areas. The machine’s 42-ft X axis and 14-ft Y axis are large enough to handle the wing assemblies. The machine carries 25-in.-diameter tape reels that hold 2,600 to 2,900 ft of tape.

30 YEARS AGO — 1980
Onboard oxygen generator simplifies aircraft logistics: During missions, military crews must breathe oxygen, which is carried as a volatile liquid in bottles that must be replaced every few hours of flight. Oxygen is a consumable item which, along with fuel and ordnance, determines the craft’s range and/or loiter time. A new aircraft oxygen-generation system will make it easier for supply and maintenance men, as well as safer for the flight crew. Designed and built by Bendix Instruments and Life Support Div., the unit filters out unwanted elements in engine-bleed air and supplies oxygen-rich gas to the crew.

50 YEARS AGO — 1960
Unbreakable glass-fiber lamp: Shock won’t harm an unusual bulb created by Dura-Test Corp., North Bergen, N.J. The bulb is glass fiber of exceptional fineness and translucence, developed by Corning Glass Works. The material allows more freedom of shape so a cooling chamber can be built into the bulb to let its filament operate at a lower temperature and, thus, last longer. A silicone adhesive in the bulb’s construction means it can be dunked into ice water without damage. The new glass-fiber model (left) and an ordinary light bulb are shown after a 5-ft drop.

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