Analytical diffractometer manufacturer utilizes high-precision worm gear assembly in instrumentation; saves assembly time with reports of increased accuracy, longer field service life on equipment
Roscoe, IL - Forest City Gear supplies brass worm gear assemblies for a variety of high-precision applications, but few approach the level of accuracy and repeatability requirements of one longtime customer, Bruker AXS, a Madison, Wisconsin manufacturer of various analytical instruments for the pharmaceutical industry and other markets. Bruker's purchasing and materials manager, Dave Schumacher, explains why.
"We had a gear set being manufactured by another supplier and then inspected by Forest City Gear (FCG). The results were not what we needed for our equipment, as the FCG testing quickly revealed. We worked closely with their engineering and production staff to achieve our required standards. Since that time, we've received better overall product quality at a lower cost. Plus, because of some innovations suggested by the FCG engineering team, we've achieved faster assembly times, better accuracy and longer service life in the field on our equipment."
The brass worm gear assemblies provided by Forest City Gear are used to position certain optics and shutters on the D8 Series of analytical diffractometers built by Bruker. These systems are typically found in research labs and R&D facilities at academic institutions as well as industrial locations. The systems manufactured by Bruker AXS address a wide range of analytical applications, including phase identification, phase quantification, texture, stress, single crystal diffraction, small angle x-ray scattering, high-throughput screening (HTS), microdiffraction, reciprocal space mapping, non-ambient characterization, high-resolution x-ray diffraction, reflectometry, gracing incidence diffraction, indexing and structure solution, to name a few.
Such flexibility in use requires an equally adaptable instrument to suit the task at hand, as Schumacher explains. "Anyone whose day-to-day work involves pushing the limits of analytical research and science is dependent on instrumentation that can handle many changing requirements. The flexibility of our systems allows them to handle it all. The smallest and largest samples and sample amounts, inhomogeneous or oriented samples of complex shape geometry and possibly samples with heavier weight are very often the keys to being able to perform any analysis at all."
Some of the key components on the D8 series of diffractometers include the patented Bruker automated laser-video alignment system and the patented HI-STAR area detector. The combination of these two components enables simple precision alignment of sample features for instant analysis in snap-shot or movie mode. The peak to background ratio of the data collected is close to the theoretical limits, owing to the unique sensitivity of the HI-STAR detector. The FCG worm gear sets are utilized on these systems for the precise alignment and positioning of the incident beam. The proper alignment of a system starts with the incident beam, so the gear movements must be extremely accurate and highly repeatable.
The D8 Apex II series of instruments is another system where the FCG gears are used. The APEX II line of chemical crystallography solutions combines the best of worldwide Bruker development to give users the tools for single crystal structure determination. Designed with the customer in mind, these instruments feature easy to use, state-of-the-art software, plus the fastest, most sensitive low-noise APEX II detector. These features, combined with the most precise and flexible goniostats available, provide the best data possible, quickly and reliably, to the academic lab or industrial research facility.
Typically, the types of gears used on this equipment are designed in-house by Bruker's mechanical engineering team. As Dave Schumacher recounts, "Early in our relationship, we met with the FCG engineers and quickly appreciated their expertise in gear design. We frequently use that expertise to help us solve problems in our own designs. Every supplier to Bruker must prove their ability to supply us quality product, on time and at the agreed price. Critical mechanical components such as gear sets require prototypes and we've consistently been impressed by the levels of quality and careful engineering at FCG." He also noted Forest City Gear performs all the rigorous inspections necessary to comply with the production protocols at Bruker.
Bruker AXS is a pioneer in the x-ray diffractometer industry, with numerous patents and awards to its credit, including the prestigious R&D 100 Award for GADDS, the first general diffraction system with 2D detectors, as well as the recent Pittcon Editors' Gold Award for the SMART X2S, which produces automated 3D crystallographic structures.
Forest City Gear, a leading gear supplier to various industries such as aerospace, automotive, business equipment, instruments, military and even the Mars Rover project for NASA, was founded in Rockford, IL in 1955 by Evelyn and Stetler Young, parents of the current CEO, Fred Young. The company is ISO 9000, AS 9001 and ISO 13485 (medical) certified. Forest City Gear consistently ranks among the top job shops and especially gear manufacturers operating in North America.
Tom Christenson, customer service representative from FCG for the Bruker account, comments, "We provide these high-precision worm gear and worm shaft sets to Bruker, with the highest degree of attention to detail in every stage of our design, engineering, production, inspection and product delivery system. Knowing the end use of our products on this customer's equipment keeps us constantly on guard for any irregularities in our operation."
For more information on this story, please contact:
BRUKER AXS, INC.
5465 East Cheryl Parkway
Madison, WI 53711
Attention: Dave Schumacher or Brian Michell
FOREST CITY GEAR CO., INC.
11715 Main Street
Roscoe, IL 61073-0080
Attention: Everett Hawkins, Director of Sales