In the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, scientists from the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) investigate the genetic mechanisms underlying the rapid speciation of coral reef fishes.
The evolutionary process, in which animals form different species within a short period of time, often takes place in newly formed or geographically isolated habitats such as islands. There, the founder species encounter unoccupied habitats and lower selection pressure, favoring an emergence of species diversity. A well-known example is the Darwin’s finches of the Galapagos Islands.
However, species can also fan out rapidly in complex environments that are not isolated. Such cases, however, are little studied, even though they often occur in tropical habitats that harbor most of the animal and plant diversity on Earth.
The research group led by Oscar Puebla, a marine scientist at the ZMT and professor of fish ecology and evolution at the Institute of Chemistry and Biology of the Sea (ICBM) at the University of Oldenburg, Germany, took on hamlet bass to gain insight into the underlying mechanisms of rapid species splitting in coral reefs, a very complex habitat. To do so, the scientists analyzed the genomes of 170 individuals from reefs off Honduras, Belize and Panama.
Hamlet bass live in the coral reefs of the Caribbean, where they occur in numerous species with an amazing variety of colors and patterns. However, they are very similar in most other characteristics and in habitat and diet. At least some species are thought to mimic the color patterns of other reef fishes to have greater success in catching prey, because the prey considers the hamlet perch a harmless neighbor rather than a predator.
“Hamlet perch provide an excellent opportunity to study the genetic drivers of a rapid species split,” explains Oscar Puebla. Based on genome analysis, the scientists found that the split into 18 species likely occurred within the last 10,000 generations, even though the Hamlet perch family tree is about 26 million years old. That’s a splitting rate that is among the fastest in fish.
The research also suggests that the high variability in color patterns is generated by different combinations of alleles in a few genes that have a large effect on pigmentation. Alleles are gene variants that control the expression of a trait such as just the color pattern. Hamlet perch can exchange alleles between species through hybridization, which provides the opportunity to create a variety of color patterns. Such genome architecture allows for accelerated speciation, which would take much longer if it were based on new mutations. It appears to be very common in the animal kingdom.
“Our results allow us to better understand the process of species splitting. The number of species on Earth is a dynamic balance between evolution of new species and species extinction. Nowadays, we mainly worry about the extinction aspect, but species emergence must also be considered.”
– Oscar Puebla
Extruder for Continuous Battery Compound Processing
Two Coperion ZSK Mc18 twin screw extruders are part of the high-performance battery cell production facility planned by Cellforce Group – a joint venture between Porsche AG and Customcells Holding. Beginning in 2024, this new European production site will be a major force in Cellforce Group’s ability to serve the high-performance battery market segment for specialized automotive applications. The demanding manufacturing process will feature both state-of-the art extruders and highly accurate Coperion K-Tron feeders for the continuous production of battery compounds. With their high degree of flexibility, the two extrusion lines will be able to produce a variety of formulations. The continuous process structure ensures they are reproducible at consistently high product quality.
Quality and Cost Efficiency
The outstanding mixing properties of the ZSK twin screw extruders was a key feature in their selection for this process. Their throughput can be precisely controlled to achieve an optimal overall process. The high degree of automation reduces operating costs in comparison to labor- and personnel-intensive discontinuous processes and results in reproducible, continuously high product quality.
Markus Fiedler, Process Technology, Team Leader of Chemical Applications at Coperion, “The excellent mixing behavior of the ZSK twin screw extruders makes it possible to achieve the especially high homogeneity required for the formulation of these high-performance batteries, which contains a high percentage of silicon. Their modular construction also facilitates adaptation to new recipes. Thus, future optimizations, such as the elimination of toxic solvents, can be implemented quickly and without impacting quality.”
One important aspect in the design of the process in general as well as the individual components is the safe isolation of the manufacturing process. Painstaking containment designs prevent impurities and contamination from toxic materials in the workplace and the environment. For this reason, the extruder and the high-accuracy Coperion K-Tron feeders are designed to be dust-tight, fulfilling the highest requirements for maintaining purity of the product and safety of the work environment.
“We are pleased that Coperion has been given the opportunity to contribute to this project with our twin screw extruders, feeders and material handling systems, thereby doing our part to move the energy revolution forward a bit. The Cellforce Group production facility will be the cornerstone for further projects of this kind in Europe,” Martin Doll, Business Segment Manager for Chemical Applications and Batteries at Coperion.
“We’ve reached a milestone here with an innovative process in cell production that allows us to launch a cutting-edge technology in Europe, in terms of both quality and capacity,” added Dr. Markus Gräf, Managing Director of the Cellforce Group.
New technology functions for Sinumerik One simplify operation and increase productivity
Siemens is expanding its offering around the Sinumerik One “digital native” CNC. The new CNC generation from Siemens, which was introduced to the market in 2019, is also coming up with innovations in software and hardware this year. With the new Sinumerik V6.20 software, there are new technology functions for the Sinumerik One that simplify operation, reduce machine wear, and increase productivity. Siemens is thus demonstrating once again how the powerful Sinumerik One machine tool control system can be optimally used for digital transformation in a highly productive, flexible, and modular way.
With the new Y-turning function, Sinumerik One can now be used for machines that turn from the Y-axis, enabling up to 3 times the feed rate and resulting in increased productivity. New tool types were created for this purpose and all turning functionalities and cycles were adapted for these tools.
The Advanced Rapid Movement function is also one of the innovations in the technology functions. It enables time-optimized movement, which means that faster movements take place between machining operations. The part program does not have to be changed for this. Overall, machining can be up to ten percent faster. The function must be implemented together with the machine builder.
With Reduced Dynamic Mode, there is now a function that reduces wear on the machine and thus increases its availability. The NCK function enables the machine tool builder to automatically transfer the machine tool to reduced operation, for example if the axis becomes too warm. On the other hand, the machine can also be returned to full load. In this way, the Reduced Dynamic Mode enables individual operation in motion.
In the area of hardware, there are also innovations for the Sinumerik One that are designed to simplify operation: The new keyboards and Machine Control Panels (MCPs) are now available from 15 to 24 inches consistently to match the HMI. And the Simatic Industrial Thin Clients (ITCs) and industrial PCs are being launched with increased performance and a resolution of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels.
The new MCPs are also integrated in the digital twin of Sinumerik One (Create and Run MyVirtual Machine), so that the appearance and operation here correspond to the real CNC in every respect. In addition, the digital twin of Sinumerik One has been given new features that simplify engineering and work preparation. To mention just a few of the many innovations: The /3D option offers support for a second channel. In addition, each tool can be assigned an individual color, so that the ablated surfaces are color-coded depending on the tool used. The import of STEP format is an important feature especially for complex geometries of the clamping situation of a turning operation. Collision detection now also offers extensive functionalities such as the display of all collided bodies, NC program line and much more, so that the cause of collisions can be quickly investigated and eliminated.
Background information Sinumerik One
Sinumerik One plays a central role in the transformation of machine tools in the age of Industry 4.0, outperforming previous generations of controllers in terms of PLC and CNC performance in machine operation, cutting speed, and data capture and processing power. With its integrated Simatic S7-1500F PLC, it offers up to 10 times faster PLC cycle times. With the Simatic S7-1500F PLC, Sinumerik One is fully integrated into the TIA Portal engineering framework, enabling standardization of all engineering tasks for operators of larger plants. Sinumerik One is fully compatible with the previous Sinumerik 840D sl controller generation in terms of programming and operation. This makes the changeover to Sinumerik One even easier.
With Sinumerik One, Siemens offers the technology to easily create and work with digital twins of machine tools. Work preparation and engineering departments can also benefit from the digital twin. Siemens offers a comprehensive user interface for Sinumerik One that enables convenient, flexible, and efficient operation of machine tools across all technologies.
Use of torsionally rigid metal bellows couplings in Special high-speed test benchs
Special high-speed test benches are used to test bearings. In these tests, the effects of different lubricants on the sliding properties of the bearings in the endurance test are checked. The structural design of such a test rig must meet different requirements. The drive is subject to special conditions. In addition to a lateral force-free storage, the coupling is a not to be underestimated component. Essential features in this case are the absolute torsional rigidity, the good damping properties and, of course, the precise and almost powerless compensation of all offset errors between the shaft ends.
For such applications, torsionally rigid flexible couplings are generally ideal. The thin metal bellows have in addition to the balancing, also vibration-damping properties. The high flexibility of Jakob’s KSS couplings with its 2-wave bellows and straight adapter and the easy mounting option of the coupling through the use of cone bushings as a shaft-hub connection guarantee a safe transmission of all forces and torques, even with small shaft diameters and torques without additional feather key. The rotationally symmetric design ensures excellent, dynamic operating behavior, even at very high speeds. The high torsional rigidity and the very low restoring forces with shaft misalignment as well as the low moment of inertia characterize the coupling type. Torques from 25 to 2500 Nm are possible. Highest quality in processing and the materials used make the KSS couplings a reliable and economical component. It is used, in addition to the test stands as a highlighted example, also particularly often in servos and actuators.