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Drone catcher

The proliferation of low-cost drones for hobbyists has led to a number of well-publicised incidents. The use of drones is now often forbidden by law around airports, sporting events and government establishments due to the risk of physical injury or use in committing crimes.  Policing has traditionally resorted to arresting the drone operator and/or seizing the drone and its cargo when it lands, as forcing the drone out of the sky while it is flying can be dangerous.

OpenWorks Engineering, a Northumberland-based product development company, has developed SkyWall100 allowing the user to physically capture a drone in mid-flight. The system allows the drone to be kept intact without the risk of damage to the drone or the surrounding area. This immediately eliminates the drone threat and its contents can then be analysed and used to as evidence in a prosecution.

The SkyWall100 is a man portable, reusable drone defence system using compressed air to launch a projectile containing a net and optional parachute to capture a drone. At the heart of the system is the easy-to-use SmartScope allowing engagement of static and moving targets using predictive algorithms. When a target is acquired the SmartScope adjusts its bearings to force the operator to redirect their aim to compensate for gravity and drone movement.

Igus Iglidur J plain bearings were selected for the pivots in the SmartScope because of their low maintenance and low weight when compared to conventional metal roller bearings. The Iglidur J plain bearings are designed for low coefficients of friction while running dry and their low stick-slip tendency. They are recommended for low pressure loads and can operate at high speeds.

To load a new projectile, a rear facing breach cap is opened by a 20-degrees rotation. When locked it must seal tightly (using a face O ring) against the air pressure during launch. Chris Down, managing director of OpenWorks Engineering explained how another Igus product was used to solve a problem. “Tightening this end cap by hand was very hard until we introduced the A160 material between two of the sliding aluminium faces. The tribo-tape was easy to apply and cut into a suitable shape.” Iglidur tribo-tape is lubricant and maintenance free and is ideal for use when the allowable space is very small. It offers a low coefficient of friction and best wear-resistance.

Igus

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Igus is the largest producer of reinforced plastic energy chains and injection-moulded polymer bearings. The range of polymer bearings includes Iglidur plain, Igubal spherical and Drylin linear bearings. They offer an excellent price-to-life relationship and are developed under the toughest conditions. They are oil, maintenance and lubrication free, low wear, resistant to dirt and dust, corrosion free and simple to fit. Igus also has the data to precisely predict the lifetime of these bearings within a specific application.

Energy chains are the umbilical cord of modern machines. They minimise downtime and protect, support and extend the service life of cables and hoses. The broad range incorporates more than 30,000 innovative, low-cost products. From the smallest ‘micro’ chain to the largest chain in the world, the E4.350, Igus energy chains are capable of long and short travel distances at high speeds in all axes.

Igus also has its own cable series, Chainflex, specially designed with energy chains in mind. They are highly flexible cables, offering a long service life and very small bending radii. A wide range is available, from small signal cables to large power cables, high-speed data cables and glass fibre-optic cables.

The company’s energy chains and Chainlflex cables can be delivered as a fully harnessed and pre-assembled Readychain system, cutting purchasing, warehousing and installation costs.

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