Recent Patents on Mechanical Engineering (v.10, #1)

Meet Our Editorial Board Member by M. A. Al-Nimr (1-2).

Recent Patents on Active Self-Ligating Brackets for Orthodontic Treatment by Jingang Jiang, Xiaowei Guo, Ying Qiao, Yingshuai Han, Yongde Zhang, Xiaoyang Yu (3-11).
Background: The self-ligating bracket is widely applied in clinical orthodontics treatment. The self-ligating bracket includes passive self-ligating bracket, active self-ligating bracket and interactive selfligating bracket. The active self-ligating bracket fixes the archwire into the archwire slot through the spring piece or the lock tongue. As the active self-ligating bracket can save the operating time and shorten the treatment time, it will be the inevitable trend in the future clinical orthodontic treatment.

Objective: To provide an overview of recent active self-ligating brackets, introduce their respective structural characteristics, and foresee the future development of active self-ligating brackets.

Method: This paper reviews various representative patents about active self-ligating brackets. The structural characteristics and applications of the typical active self-ligating brackets are described and analyzed.

Results: The structural characteristics of different types of active self-ligating brackets are summarized and compared. The current problems and the future development trend of the patents on active selfligating brackets are foreseen.

Conclusion: Active self-ligating brackets have important practical significance, and play an important role in improving the orthodontic treatment effect. Moreover further improvements are needed in the structure and reliability of the active self-ligating bracket. More patents on the active self-ligating bracket should be invented according to the different application requirements.

Recent Advances on Rapeseed Metering Devices by Rui Yang, Pengcheng Zhai, Qingxi Liao (12-17).
Background: With the development of modern agriculture, metering devices are being widely used to accelerate the speed of planting and to provide an accurate sowing. Moreover, the seed metering device is very important since China is one of the important agricultural production countries. Especially, rapeseed metering device is desired for accurate planting because the rapeseed is so small that it is difficult to control in the planting process.

Objective: Thus, rapeseed metering device design and analysis have become an important topic for researchers and engineers to provide a useful method.

Methods: This paper aims to review various patents of metering devices which have been extensively studied in the recent years. Moreover, we focus on the recent developments on the rapeseed metering models and new designs, including the new structures and design theories.

Results: The new rapeseed metering devices are more useful and effective to obtain accurate sowing.

Conclusion: Recent patents and research articles on metering devices are investigated to illustrate the development of the rapeseed metering device designs.

Background: In recent years, the rapid increase in the development of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System technologies (GIS) have led to the development of GPS/GIS applications.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to provide an overview about the recent researches and patents on advanced technology in GIS/GPS-based transportation systems.

Methods: The analysis of literature and patent is employed in this study.

Results: The common problems in four categories of GIS/GPS-based transportation systems are analyzed and the solutions are provided by analyzing the research papers and current patents.

Conclusion: It is suggested that future work should cover wider areas, and combine GPS/GIS technology with other technologies. Finally, some suggestions are provided for the four categories of GIS/GPS-based transportation systems.

Recent Advances in Driverless Car by Yongde Zhang, Weixi Zhang, Jintao Bi (30-38).
Background: In recent years, with the development of economy and technology, the number of car ownership and road mileage has been gradually increased. A series of problems which the traditional car cannot solve got increasingly prominent. Automotive intelligent technology is gradually being applied, and the technology makes the car easier to operate, and safer to drive.

Objective: To provide an overview of recent driverless cars and introduce its basic technologies, respective characteristics and developments.

Method: This paper reviews various representative patents related to driverless car technologies.

Results: The development of driverless car technology and related patents is briefly reviewed. Five basic technologies about driverless car are concluded. The main problems in its development are analyzed, the development trend is foreseen, and the current and future developments of driverless car are discussed.

Conclusion: Driverless car has important practical significance, and plays an important role in promoting the technology innovation in automobile industry. Further improvements are needed in the aspects of regulation, intelligence and security of the driverless car. More patents on driverless car should be invented.

Research Status on Frictional Vibration and Noise of Mechanical Brake by Chaoxun Guo, Jiusheng Bao, Yan Yin, Shanguo Yang (39-50).
Background: Brake's frictional noise and vibration occurs commonly in the braking of mechanical devices. The noise pollutes the environment and disgusts people. The vibration damages the mechanical parts, weakens the braking performance and shortens the life of brake.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to provide an overview on the brake's frictional noise and vibration, and to analyze how brake's noise and vibration come about.

Method: In this paper, the categories of brake's noise and vibration are introduced as low frequency noise, low frequency squeal and high frequency squeal. The coherent factors with brake's vibration and noise are analyzed from three aspects: friction properties, braking conditions, mechanical factors. The generation mechanisms of brake's noise and vibration are summarized from four aspects: stick-slip, sparslip, negative friction-velocity slop, and mode-coupling. The analysis methods: experimental analysis method and finite element analysis method are discussed based on recent researches and patents.

Results: Referring to articles and patents, corresponding measures for reducing brake's noise are provided specifically: surface modification, damping increase, structure optimization and developing novel magnetic- friction compound disc brake.

Conclusion: Recent studies and patents definitely promote the study of brake's noise and vibration. For further studies, random factors should be considered in exploring the generation mechanisms of brake's noise and vibration. Multi-source compound brake technology may be a useful and effective way to reduce brake's frictional vibration and noise.

Background: Deep micro-holes are important structures which are widely used in many engineering fields. However, deep micro-holes machining, especially on difficult-to-cut materials, has always been a problem. The Electrochemical Micro Machining (EMM) process is a good selection for the fabrication of deep micro-holes on difficult-to-cut materials, and various relevant patents and scientific papers have been discussed.

Objective: In order to realize the fabrication of deep micro-holes, an electrochemical drilling process with high-efficiency is introduced.

Method: Firstly, a numerical simulation of the gap flow field is carried out. Simulation results show that with the increase of the electrode rotating speed, the gas film, which has a good insulation effect around the electrode increases rapidly, thereby eliminating the taper and improving the machining localization significantly. At the same time, the enhanced mass transfer is performed well, which can improve the machining efficiency significantly. Secondly, the influences of some predominant parameters such as rotating speed, feed rate, applied voltage and pulse frequency on machining localization were analyzed.

Results: Finally, a row of deep micro-holes with no taper, which have a diameter of less than 400μm, an aspect ratio of more than 10, are fabricated successfully on the nickel-based superalloy.

Conclusion: It is proved that the use of the micro electrochemical drilling process with a high-speed spiral electrode for fabricating deep micro-holes has considerable potential and broad application prospects.

Background: Hard rock fragmentation is still an issue to be solved in coal mining, roadway construction, oil drilling, etc. Development of new methods and technologies are desired to overcome the existing problems of hard rock fragmentation, such as low efficiency, severe wear of conical pick, high cutting dust concentration.

Objective: A novel multiple high-pressure water-jets assisted cutting head is developed in this paper, whose aim is to improve the hard rock fragmentation performance by the cutting head efficiently.

Methods: Patent of the developed high-pressure water-jets assisted cutting head integrates several high-pressure water-jets onto the carbide tip of conical picks, and the tension action due to water pressure in the rock crack is expected to promote the rock fracture by the mechanical tool.

Results: According to the theoretical model, the reduction ratio of hydraulic pick force is determined by the rock fracture toughness under Mode I fracture, the water pressure in rock crack, the crack length, the crack length acting by water pressure, etc. The reduction ratio of cutting torque is over 30% when the rock compressive strength is lower than the water-jets pressure.

Conclusion: The ratio between the rock compressive strength and water pressure can be regarded as an index to estimate the rock fragmentation performance using the developed cutting head, and it can be used to determine the water-jet pressure according to the rock compressive strength.

Background: Broken belt arrest has become a hot topic in the fields of conveyor belt protection technology in the recent years. Recent studies and patents have found that there are few researches on hydraulic buffer system applied to belt arrestor for downward belt conveyor (HBSBADBC).

Objective: The purpose of this study is to research the dynamic properties of HBSBADBC and discuss the effect of the system parameters on buffer properties of HBSBADBC.

Methods: In this study, a hydraulic buffer system is applied to the belt arrestor. The operating principle and the mathematic model of HBSBADBC is presented and built, respectively. Furthermore, the simulation model of HBSBADBC is constructed based on MATLAB/Simulink. Finally, a simulation example with five different cases is provided.

Results: The experiment results show that the buffer properties of hydraulic buffer system can be changed or even improved with the change of system parameters such as piston diameter, piston rod diameter, relief valve spool diameter, spring stiffness and spring pre compression.

Conclusion: In the buffer stroke rang, designing smaller piston diameter, larger piston rod diameter, larger relief valve spool diameter, softer spring and greater spring pre compression conduce to more preferable buffer performance for HBSBADBC.

Background: Due to the recent surge in high-rise buildings and airport truss, demands for high-altitude cleaning have become more and more strident, bringing many opportunities and much potential for the development of the industry. The technology insufficient of current patents of high-altitude cleaning robot causes difficulty in obstacle climbing and balance adjusting, and generates high costs. Patent analysis is an important tool for industry planning and technique forecasting. As one of the methods of patent analysis, data mining will be of high priority.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to find out potential high-altitude cleaning techniques and products, to point out the direction of innovation for general enterprises.

Methods: In this paper, first, data mining is used for patent analysis. An analysis framework with the combination of basic patent analysis and knowledge map is constructed. Multi-dimension analysis and TRIZ knowledge base are integrated into the knowledge map in order to analyze the competition status, development trajectory and technique opportunities of high-altitude cleaning industry.

Results: According to the directions in the knowledge map, eight technology evolution rules and inventive principles of TRIZ and a new scheme of air cleaning robot with the advantages of light weight, flexibility and self-adaption are created in this paper.

Conclusion: The future techniques and products include ultrasonic cleaning, visual real-time remote control, double-face or multi-face cleaning, tracks with variable structures and cleaning head based on the effect of “rotating double curved surface”. Through vacuum chamber, the goals of automatic absorption, dust collection and cleaning, and self-balancing can be achieved.

Patent Selections: by . (83-85).