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A History of Firmware and Its Silent Revolution Today
Guest Blogs 
7/3/2015  1 comment
A decade from now, firmware development may be nothing more than software integration, grabbing vendor and third-party components, and meshing their APIs together to form a final system.
Engineers Need to Do More With Less
Guest Blogs 
7/1/2015  1 comment
Design, simulation, manufacturability, and prototyping: All of these phases are being pushed forward and progressively by underlying technologies.
Using Accelerated Stress Testing to Obtain High Product Reliability
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7/1/2015  Post a comment
From design feasibility, to development, to production, having the right information to make good decisions can ultimately keep a product from failing validation. The key is highly focused information that doesn’t come from conventional, statistics-based tests but from accelerated stress testing.
Quantum Entanglement & Other Technologies that Should Be On Your Radar
Guest Blogs 
7/1/2015  1 comment
There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
Identifying and Reducing Stresses in Pressure Vessels
Guest Blogs 
6/26/2015  1 comment
Pressure vessels are part of common equipment utilized in plants to store liquids and gases under high pressure. It is certain that pressurized fluids will develop stresses in the vessel, which when exceeds failure limits, will lead to hazardous incidents and fatalities.
Understanding the Differences between Strategic Sourcing Goals, Objectives, and Requirements
Guest Blogs 
6/23/2015  Post a comment
Unlike a mission statement, goals, objectives, and requirements are tools that will be used actively in the sourcing project once it reaches the decision-making stage.
3D CAD Is Saving Time and Resources in the Entire Design Process
Guest Blogs 
6/16/2015  1 comment
For entrepreneurs and inventors, 3D digital designs of ideas and inventions save both time and resources, since 3D CAD can be used to initially test product design theories and understand all of their aspects without the need for building actual prototypes.
5 Ways to Set Up Your Project for Success
Guest Blogs 
6/9/2015  9 comments
Experienced project managers know that proper preparation is the key for any successful project launch. To maximize your chances for success, here are five effective project preparation tips.
Flexible Is the New Fast in Redefined Automation and Manufacturing
Guest Blogs 
6/5/2015  Post a comment
We are entering a new era of manufacturing -- one in which mass production is giving way to mass customization. A global marketplace, built on rich e-commerce platforms and make-to-order product configurations, is making “now” a great time to be a consumer -- but a challenging one to be a manufacturer.
Low-Power FPGAs: Just Like Jumbo Shrimp?
Guest Blogs 
5/29/2015  Post a comment
FPGAs use programmable fabric to create custom logic, but this flexibility comes at a cost -- usually around 10 times more silicon real estate and 10 times the power dissipation. Can we really claim any FPGA is low power?
How Do International Machine Safety Rules Apply to the US?
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5/27/2015  Post a comment
“How can European standards affect me, especially since I only use machines built in the US?” This is a common question, and one way to answer this is to look at how machine safety is enforced, where the information comes from, and how well you can prove you followed the regulations.
What Industrial Companies Must Do for Effective IIoT Telemetry
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5/21/2015  Post a comment
In order to keep in line with safety protocols, industrial networks need to be filtered in a semantic way so that only information related to diagnostics is flowing back to the vendor and that any communications that could be used for remote machine operations are suppressed.
The Supplier Strategic Sourcing Process Explained
Guest Blogs 
5/21/2015  Post a comment
While people may talk about the procurement process, the procurement discipline actually encompasses a number of different processes. They include spend analysis, supplier relationship management, and contract management, just to name a few.
Bayshore Networks: Industrial-Strength Cyber Security Requires Trust
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5/20/2015  Post a comment
As the Industrial Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications movements gain speed, some companies are asking themselves, “Wait. How much information do we really want to flow in and out of our premises? Aren’t we supposed to be doubling down on cyber security?”
Pneumatic Support Keeps the Air Force’s Warthog in the Skies
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5/15/2015  Post a comment
To carry out the program, Boeing built five custom carriages using a custom, upgraded pneumatic rod lock system developed by Advanced Machine & Engineering Co.
Aluminum Extrusion Increases Options to Optimize the Supply Chain, Part 2
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5/14/2015  Post a comment
Extruded aluminum continues to gain traction as a mainstream OEM choice for designing, engineering, and producing component parts. The alloy and the technique have marched aggressively through the awareness and understanding phases and are now solidly in adoption territory.
A Robotic Approach to Refueling Satellites
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5/12/2015  Post a comment
Robot uses teleoperated commands sent over long distances and sophisticated servo operation to successfully transfer fuel for effective satellite operations.
Rethink Robotics: Collaborative Robots Continue to Raise Automation Accessibility
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5/12/2015  Post a comment
Advances in digital technology have been reducing the cost of computing and promoting accessibility to factory automation for all manufacturers -- not just the biggest ones.
Mastering Embedded Software Development through the Processor
Guest Blogs 
5/11/2015  Post a comment
“The Devil is in the details” is a common statement used to describe how a seemingly simple concept may be far more difficult to implement than first meets the eye. For an embedded software developer, understanding these details is crucial to developing an efficient and real-time system.
The End of Throwing It Over the Wall
Guest Blogs 
5/8/2015  5 comments
We do not need to go back to the days of the workshop where the artist and the craftsman worked side by side, but we do need to get beyond the idea of specializing in one function and pushing a product design down the line to the next colleague.
5 Challenges in Wearable Product Design You Can’t Afford to Forget
Guest Blogs 
5/6/2015  1 comment
Because of the increasing ubiquity of wearable technology, it would be easy to think that design of wearable devices is routine and involves common design and engineering knowledge. Missed efforts in development will be remembered once the devices are used in the field
Integrating Testing and Certification Elevates Product Development
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5/6/2015  Post a comment
As governments, associations, and NGOs around the world seek to protect consumers, national and regional standards are becoming mandatory, challenging manufacturers and making testing and certification necessary for any product developed and brought to market.
Plastics Industry Is Hot for Conformal Cooling but Constrained by Additive Technologies
Guest Blogs 
5/4/2015  Post a comment
Manufacturers of plastic parts recognize the potential of conformal cooling to reduce molding cycle times. Problem is, conformal molds require additive manufacturing (AM), and technologies in that space are still evolving. Costs also can be high, and beyond that, many manufacturing organizations lack the knowledge and expertise needed to apply and incorporate additive technologies into their operations.
Streaming Video Versus Machine Vision: How Do They Compare?
Guest Blogs 
5/1/2015  2 comments
Machine vision and video streaming systems are used for a variety of purposes, and each has applications for which it is best suited. This denotes that there are differences between them, and these differences can be categorized as the type of lenses used, the resolution of imaging elements, and the underlying software used to interpret the data.
Challenges for Embedded Technology Designers in the IoT
Guest Blogs 
4/30/2015  1 comment
In the face of growing challenges for embedded technology engineers, designers should actually be designing for a new IoT -- the Internet of Tomorrow.
Consider Human Factors Early in the Product Design Cycle
Guest Blogs 
4/30/2015  1 comment
As today’s product design cycles are held to tighter schedules and budget constraints, it’s becoming even more critical to consider human factors up front to catch and fix problems during the initial development stages, when it’s faster and less costly to do so. Overlooking human factors at the beginning of the design cycle could lead to poor user experience, a decrease in effective product performance, and an increase in safety risk to the user.
How Additive Manufacturing Is Making Injection Molding Cooler
Guest Blogs 
4/29/2015  1 comment
Plastic part manufacturers are always looking for ways to reduce cycle time and get more productivity out of their injection molding machinery. One of the longstanding constraints in injection molding production has been cooling time. Removing parts from the mold before they have cooled induces warping or shrinking. But wait time works against productivity.
Aluminum Extrusion Increases Options to Optimize the Supply Chain, Part 1
Guest Blogs 
4/29/2015  Post a comment
Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of an in-depth look at six added-value opportunities -- adjacent to the aluminum extrusion option -- that OEMs can integrate to upgrade supply chain interactions from basic buyer-vendor transactions to critical collaborations on strategic, single-source solutions.
Chemical Industry, Environmentalists Unite on Toxic Substances Control Act Legislation
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4/29/2015  Post a comment
The EPA is responsible for chemical safety issues, and it does so under the auspices of the 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which is considered to be sufficient by almost no one.
4 Reasons Why It’s a Dynamic Time in Medical Device Design
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4/28/2015  Post a comment
Cost, product development rigor, the patient-as-a-user movement, and consumer electronics that include wireless connectivity are just a few hot topics swirling around medical devices. Each brings challenges that create innovation opportunities. If we briefly look at each one, we can see that one common need will be innovation in simplicity.
UX Design: The Age of Voice Is Here
Guest Blogs 
4/24/2015  17 comments
The age of touch could soon come to an end. From smartphones and smartwatches, to home devices, to in-car infotainment systems, touch is no longer the primary user interface. Technology market leaders are driving a migration from touch to voice as a user interface.
Soft Starters Spare Wear & Tear on Motors, Help Control Peak Energy Usage
Guest Blogs 
4/24/2015  5 comments
Soft starter technology has become a way to mitigate startup stressors by moderating a motor’s voltage supply during the machine start-up phase, slowly ramping it up and effectively adjusting the machine’s load behavior to protect mechanical components.
What Does It Take to Evolve from 2D to 3D CAD Modeling?
Guest Blogs 
4/23/2015  2 comments
Despite the astronomical benefits offered by 3D modeling, it is quite surprising that nearly 75% of the manufacturing industries still perform design operations using 2D CAD systems. What is the reason that keeps companies hesitant from adopting 3D technology?
Using Energy Harvesting to Power MCUs and FPGAs
Guest Blogs 
4/22/2015  4 comments
Energy harvesting in particular seems to be moving at an accelerating pace. We now seem to be at a point where it is possible to run low-power systems primarily from energy harvesting sources. This is a big shift from even just a couple of years ago. Three key trends seem to have accelerated this dramatic shift.
IoT Will Improve Design Engineering Relationships with Vendor Managers
Guest Blogs 
4/21/2015  Post a comment
ABI Research, a firm based in the UK that specializes in analyzing global connectivity and other emerging technologies, estimates there will be 40.9 billion active wirelessly interconnected “things” by 2020. The driving force is the usual suspect: the Internet of Things.
Embedded Vision Is Guiding the Path of Smart Industrial Machinery
Guest Blogs 
4/14/2015  2 comments
The Internet of Things (IoT) is frequently defined by consumer or healthcare applications. It’s important to remember, however, that IoT offers at least as much potential to industry. One of the most promising subsets of industrial IoT is embedded vision -- or machinery that can see, interpret data, and act accordingly.
Can You Optimize this Example MCU-Based Design for Low Power Operation?
Guest Blogs 
4/14/2015  3 comments
Going back to older application notes or archived CEC courses remind us of some of the most useful tricks and techniques we can use to reduce the power dissipation in an MCU-based design.
Wiring the Factory of the Future: Passive or Active?
Guest Blogs 
4/10/2015  1 comment
The Internet of Things is bringing smarter production processes to the factory floor and simultaneously driving data volume and diversity up -- quickly.
Hydraulic Solution for Flash-Butt Welding
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4/7/2015  Post a comment
New flash welding innovation uses hydraulic motion control, and enables patented welding process for as much as 50% less cost.
Automotive Circuit Protection Using High-Reliability TVS Diodes
Guest Blogs 
4/1/2015  Post a comment
Transient-voltage-suppression diode technology eliminates surges and enhances vehicle safety.
Improved Machine Design Can Help Raise Compliance with Lockout/Tagout Safety Rules
Guest Blogs 
3/31/2015  1 comment
Industrial workplaces are governed by OSHA rules, but this isn’t to say that rules are always followed. While injuries happen on production floors for a variety of reasons, of the top 10 OSHA rules that are most often ignored in industrial settings, two directly involve machine design: lockout/tagout procedures (LO/TO) and machine guarding.
Don’t Let Load Dump Damage Your Automotive Electronics Circuits
Guest Blogs 
3/27/2015  1 comment
Load dump occurs when a discharged battery is disconnected while the alternator is generating current and other loads remain on the alternator circuit. If left alone, the electrical spikes and transients will be transmitted along the power line, leading to malfunctions in individual electronics/sensors or permanent damage to the vehicle’s electronic system. Bottom line: An uncontrolled load dump threatens the overall safety and reliability of the vehicle.
The 3 Parts of Supplier Risk Management Explained for Design Engineers
Guest Blogs 
3/26/2015  2 comments
While risk management sounds like one activity, in order to be conducted effectively, it must be broken down into three sub-components: risk assessment, risk monitoring, and response planning.
Wireless Connectivity Offers Distinct Advantages for Industrial Applications
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3/26/2015  Post a comment
While many larger companies are still reluctant to rely on wireless networks to transmit important information in industrial settings, there is an increasing acceptance rate of the newer, more robust wireless options that are now available.
It’s Time to Get Your Feet Wet in Additive Manufacturing — and Production
Guest Blogs 
3/25/2015  Post a comment
To those who have not stepped into additive manufacturing, get involved as soon as possible. This is for the benefit of your company. When the new innovations come out, you want to be ready to take advantage of them immediately, and that takes knowledge.
A Hands-On Look at Cypress’ BLE Find Me Application
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3/25/2015  Post a comment
Design engineers will feel like kids in a candy store with the Cypress Semiconductor BLE Pioneer Kit. The development kit for low-power sensor-based systems is full of wireless wonder and exploration.
Polymer Additive Technologies at NPE2015 Push Packaging Limits
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3/24/2015  Post a comment
At the NPE2015 plastics expo this week in Orlando, Fla., Milliken & Co., a company that specializes in property-enhancing additives for polymers, is showing two products that are expected to have a major impact on their respective markets.
At NPE2015, Transparent and Plastic Klear Can Looks to Eat Away at Metal
Guest Blogs 
3/23/2015  8 comments
Of the products and technologies on display at the NPE2015 plastics expo in Orlando, Fla., this week, one in particular could dramatically change segments of food packaging – Klear Can. It's a transparent plastic can with a metal top and pull tab for fruits, vegetables, and meats that competes with metal cans.
How Low Can You Go? Getting the most out of Low Power MCUs
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3/23/2015  Post a comment
Some power-aware features are just showing up in tools, but it can still be a difficult task to determine where your design is the most power efficient and where it needs some help. Making sure your design is power efficient should become easier as tools catch up.
DoE Energy Rule Will Lead to Bigger, Expensive Motors
Guest Blogs 
3/20/2015  11 comments
In early March, the US Department of Energy put new energy efficiency rules into effect for small, general-purpose electric motors. The agency says these revised regulations will save approximately 2.6 quads of energy and result in approximately $35 billion in energy savings from motors shipped between 2015 and 2044.
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Researchers working with additive manufacturing have said multimaterial techniques will allow industry “to fabricate materials with combinations of density, strength, and thermal expansion that do not exist [yet].”
A decade from now, firmware development may be nothing more than software integration, grabbing vendor and third-party components, and meshing their APIs together to form a final system.
The term "multiphysics" is used to describe the simulation of multiple types of physics and their influence on one another -- for example, the investigation of the behavior of a chemical in liquid form will involve both chemistry and fluid dynamics.
Tune in to the Continuing Education Center next week for a comprehensive course in using the Raspberry Pi development platform.
Researchers in Australia think new types of plastic materials instead of silicon may be the key to building more efficient solar cells.
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