Pyrotechnic Tube Cutters

Tube cuttersMost often our tubing cutters are designed to open pressure diaphragms or to completely sever and then seal metal tubes of varying diameters and wall thicknesses which may be carrying pressurized fluids.  The tubing cutter/sealer is used to cut and seal two stainless steel (which can be Teflon lined) tubes. The tubing cutter/sealer assembly primarily consists of the body, anvil, one electrically fired gas pressure cartridge, four shear pins and cutter assembly. The cutter assembly consists of the piston, crimper and blade. The crimper and blade are attached to the piston by two of the shear pins, (sequencing pins). The piston is secured in the body by the other two shear pins, (initial lock pins). The body provides for the installation of the cartridge, attachment of the anvil, and housing for the cutter assembly. Lugs, for attaching the tubing cutter/sealer to the releasing structure, are an integral part of the body.

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How A Pyrotechnic Tube Cutter Works

Our pyro tube cutter can be mechanically, electrically or laser initiated. After initiation, energetic material drives the cutter blade to forcibly slice the tubing material and stops against the anvil while the tubing is instantaneously released. Energetic loading, blade geometry, anvil geometry, and structural materials are all variable based on target and application requirements. Time from input of firing energy to completely severing the target material is on the order of several milliseconds for most applications.

Applications

We have designed and manufactured 100’s of different cutters for 100’s of applications. Qualified and used in various military, commercial, and aerospace platforms including spacecraft, launch vehicles, aircraft (military and commercial), satellites and multiple missile platforms.

Functions

Pyrotechnic tube cutters are used to sever corrugated steel tubes on a multitude of applications. Typical applications for pyro cutters are stage separation systems,releasing pre-loaded / folded assemblies ( i.e. wing, fin, etc.) and releasing cargo or munitions, and flight termination systems (FTS).

Performance

  • Operating Temperature
    -54°C to +71°C (-65.2°F to 159.8°F)
  • Function Time
    With the application of the All-Fire current, the cutter will completely sever the target in < 20 milliseconds
  • Reliability
    99% at 95% confidence level
  • Altitude
    10,000 feet underwater to Deep Space
  • Estimated Weight
    27 to 173 grams
  • Target Materials
    Corrugated steel tubing up to ½ inch diameter
  • Applicable Specifications
    MIL-DTL-23659
    MIL- STD-1512
    MIL-STD-1576
    MIL-HDBK-83578
  • Electrical
    Bridgewire Resistance 0.9 to 1.30 ohms
    Insulation Resistance 100 megohms 500 VDC
    No Fire 1 amp/ 1 Watt for 5 Minutes
    Recommended All Fire 4.0 Amps for 50 millisecond duration
    ESD 25KV Electrostatic discharge: 25 kV DC from 500 pF Cap thru a 5k ohm resistor – shorted pins to case and pin-to-pin
    Electrical connections can be lead wire, bayonet or threaded connectors

Envelope/Interface Design

Energetic loading, blade geometry, anvil geometry, and structural materials are all variable based on target and application requirements. Each blade is optimized for the intended target material to ensure precision severance.

Tube cutter envelope

Questions to Consider

  • Application – what are you trying to accomplish?
  • What are your target materials?
  • What are your space constraints?
  • Is containment required?
  • Redundancy requirements?
  • Input power requirements – electrical, ETL, mechanical?
  • Environmental requirements?
  • Qualification requirements?
  • Military or other requirements?