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JUNE 2021 I SMT007 MAGAZINE 65 e HK Wentworth brand includes a vari- ety of products—conformal coatings, encapsu- lating resins, thermal interface materials—that are very complimentary to the Element Solu- tions portfolio. One of the things that Mac- Dermid Alpha brings to HK Wentworth—and their very technically capable line of prod- ucts—is access to a global commercial organi- zation that consists of sales and technical ser- vice professionals—with applications experts located all throughout the world to help our customers solve their most difficult manufac- turing challenges. Johnson: Well, that leads into my next ques- tion. Look out a year or so; what can custom- ers expect to see? What can customers expect to benefit from? D'Ambrisi: One of the messages that we've com- municated to both our new colleagues and the customer base at HK Wentworth is that we have done this before, and our approach is always very cautious. HK Wentworth is a tremendous organization; it's been very suc- cessful. It has not just a portfolio of products, but great people that support the organiza- tion. We want to make sure that we continue to take advantage of their strengths by tak- ing a cautious approach to how we integrate the organization into MacDermid Alpha. From a customer perspective, that provides some comfort that to know they're going to continue to get the same products from the same manufacturing plants made by the same employees in the organization that they have up to this point. Johnson: Well, this certainly is exciting news. D'Ambrisi: It certainly is. We're thrilled about it. Our executive chairman is very fond of say- ing that our most valuable assets walk out the front door every evening, and we believe the people at HK Wentworth will add to that capability. SMT007 Discerning buried items in granular material like sand is a tall order. To do that, a robot would need fingers that were slender enough to penetrate the sand, mobile enough to wriggle free when sand grains jam, and sen- sitive enough to feel the detailed shape of the buried object. MIT researchers have now designed a sharp-tipped robot finger equipped with tactile sensing to meet the challenge of identifying buried objects. In experiments, the aptly named Digger Finger was able to dig through granular media such as sand and rice, and it correctly sensed the shapes of submerged items it encountered. The researchers say the robot might one day perform various subterranean duties, such as finding buried cables or disarming buried bombs. Seeking to identify objects buried in granular mate- rial—sand, gravel, and other types of loosely packed particles—isn't a brand new quest. Previously, research- ers have used technologies that sense the subterra- nean from above, such as Ground Penetrating Radar or ultrasonic vibrations. But these techniques provide only a hazy view of submerged objects. They might struggle to differentiate rock from bone, for example. "So, the idea is to make a finger that has a good sense of touch and can distinguish between the vari- ous things it's feeling," says researcher Edward Adelson. "That would be helpful if you're trying to find and disable buried bombs, for example." Making that idea a reality meant clearing a number of hurdles. The team's first challenge was a matter of form: The robotic finger had to be slender and sharp-tipped. (Source: MIT News Office) Slender Robotic Finger Senses Buried Items Image courtesy of the researchers

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