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AMI DODUCO's Metal Coating Process Used on the Cassini Saturn Mission

Published on 2004-08-13. Author : SpecialChem


PFORZHEIM, Germany -- AMI DODUCO, a Technitrol (NYSE: TNL) Company, offers a physical vapor deposition (PVD) metal coating process performed in a vacuum for a variety of applications, including space exploration. This process was used to apply the gold coating of the Cosmic Dust Analyzer in the Cassini-Huygens space mission to explore Saturn and its moon Titan. The gold layer is necessary for balanced heat distribution to sustain the integrity of the instrument under extreme conditions in space.

The Cosmic Dust Analyzer (CDA) is a direct sensing device used to measure the size, speed, and direction of tiny dust particles near Saturn and analyze their chemical make-up in order to help uncover more information about the origins of the universe. The CDA was constructed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin.

To achieve the instrument's low mass of approximately 17 kg., its housing was made of a plastic honeycomb material covered on both sides with aluminum foil. AMI DODUCO's PVD process was used to apply an adhesive gold layer about 0.2 micrometers thick to the entire surface of the housing with minimal temperature or moisture load.

This application was three years in the making. A series of extensive experiments in 1994 tested the viability and fail-safe functioning of the coating under the simulated stresses of launch and orbital flight. After passing the rigorous tests, the coating was applied to the housing of the CDA on the Cassini orbiter launched in 1997 and now orbiting Saturn.

"We are proud to be a part of this important multinational undertaking," said Karl-Heinz Funke, Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing of AMI DODUCO. "AMI DODUCO has developed a comprehensive knowledge base in metal coating technology over many years, and this project is a credit to the skill and dedication of our scientists and application engineers. The discoveries of the Cassini-Huygens mission will be of great interest to us in the years to come."

AMI DODUCO offers the PVD metal coating process to customers in the medical, sensor, electrical, electronic and automotive industries. This coating process can be used on a wide range of substrates, including plastic, glass and ceramics as well as metals. Other applications include radiofrequency (RF) shielding for electronic device enclosures, illuminated tubing to facilitate dental suction procedures or to reduce the risk of infection in urological catheters, and the printing of circuitry on electronic circuit boards.

Named for Giovanni Cassini, the first scientist to recognize dust in interplanetary space through his 17th century observations of the sun, the Cassini orbiter will orbit Saturn and its moons for the next four years. Cassini-Huygens is a cooperative project of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.

Headquartered in Export, Pennsylvania, AMI DODUCO is a global leader in electrical contact technology and fabrication. The company supplies contacts and assemblies, contact materials, thermostatic and laminated metal products, electroplating and surface treatment services, and precious metal refining and recycling to more than 3,000 customers. AMI DODUCO operates from locations in North America, Europe and Asia.

Cautionary Note: This message contains "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially. This release should be read in conjunction with the factors set forth in Technitrol's report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 25, 2004 in Item 1 under the caption "Factors That May Affect Our Future Results (Cautionary Statements for Purposes of the "Safe Harbor" Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). "


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