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.
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
Guest Blogs 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.
The Gigantic Impact of UX/UI Design on Internet of Things Applications
Guest Blogs 3/18/2015 1 comment Elegantly conceived UX/UI design is critical to the success of Internet of Things technology -- for ease of use, analysis and review, and both machines and humans to “see” and use data in purposeful ways. The best UX/UI designers are doing just that: designing the entire experience for fluidity, clarity, and meaning. Otherwise, IoT will be just a perfect storm of too much useless information.
Place and Route Algorithms for FPGAs: How Do They Do That?
Guest Blogs 3/17/2015 Post a comment The next time you run an FPGA compile chain from a high level language through synthesis and the back-end FPGA manufacturer tools, give a nod to the Place and Route algorithm doing all the heavy lifting. Now if we could just find a way to use negotiated congestion to solve our evening highway commute problems, life would be even better.
A Peek Into Cypress’ BLE Pioneer Kit for IoT
Guest Blogs 3/17/2015 4 comments With the Internet of Things (IoT) being one of today’s most important tech trends, development and prototyping work with low-power wireless sensor-based systems in electronics and home appliances, as well as automotive and industrial control products, will only grow in our increasingly connected world. Cypress Semiconductor created the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Pioneer Kit to enable system designers to start that work.
MEMS & Sensors Can Bring a New mHealth World
Guest Blogs 3/11/2015 Post a comment We now have the technology now to enable doctors to diagnose disease from across the globe, delivering the results to your smartphone. That technology is MEMS and sensors, and we are just glimpsing what it can uncover through the increase in quantified-self data from wearables and health monitoring devices.
5 Tips to Meet Control Panel Space Requirements
Guest Blogs 3/10/2015 Post a comment When designing a control panel, you have enough worries and responsibilities and should not be concerned with additional design challenges. The following tips can help achieve design flexibility and regulatory compliance while bringing you peace of mind.
How to Engineer a Good Job Move
Guest Blogs 3/6/2015 1 comment With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
Alliance in the Skies
Guest Blogs 3/3/2015 Post a comment Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney sees additive manufacturing as a production approach that's complementary to -- not a replacement for -- traditional manufacturing processes.
Ecolab-Tested Cable Jacket for Washdown Applications
Guest Blogs 3/2/2015 Post a comment The standards electrical machines and components are required to meet in the food processing industry are far more stringent than those in traditional plant construction. For specialized production environments such as these, components must not only resist thermal and physical stresses, but they must also be resistant to the chemicals used to sterilize equipment.
When Will the Smart Home Really Be Smart?
Guest Blogs 2/27/2015 7 comments The word “smart” is becoming the dumbest word around. It has been applied to almost every device and system in our homes. In addition to smartphones and smart meters, we now hear about smart clothing and smart shoes, smart lights, smart homes, smart buildings, and every trendy city today has its smart city project. Just because it has a computer inside and is connected to the Web, does not mean it is smart.
Low Power Optimization Is Just Too Complicated
Guest Blogs 2/13/2015 Post a comment Remember when design decisions for optimizing low-power MCU applications were simple? All you needed to do was select when to put the MCU into the low-power mode and when to wake it up. Once it was awake, you just ran the required code as quickly as possible. Simple, right? Well, these days designing for power efficiency isn’t so simple. Why is that the case?
What Do You Want to Know About Motor Control?
Guest Blogs 2/9/2015 2 comments Now is your chance to tell us what you would like to learn during the March 9-13 Continuing Education Center Class, "Implementing Motor Control Designs with MCUs and FPGAs: An Introduction and Update."
The Conundrum of Published Specs Versus Real-World Performance
Guest Blogs 1/23/2015 5 comments What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Decoding Procurement: How It Can Work as Design Engineering’s Ally
Guest Blogs 1/22/2015 Post a comment Procurement actually means well. There is no question that procurement can do a better job of phrasing their questions or making connections between engineering’s goals and the processes underway. And if you are using the right deciphering code, the result can live up to -- or surpass -- your expectations.
How Do You Get Started Designing with FPGAs? Here’s How
Guest Blogs 1/16/2015 2 comments If you are interested in adding FPGA technology to you engineering toolkit, grab some free tools and an evaluation kit and get started on your own FPGA project. It never hurts to expand your engineering toolbox, and FPGAs are only going to become more popular over the next few years.
Design Decisions: Use Epoxies to Protect Against Metal Corrosion
Guest Blogs 1/9/2015 Post a comment With the growing demand for new-age applications, corrosion has become an inherent problem. Not only do epoxies confer excellent corrosion resistance, they are also easy to handle and process. However, one must be mindful of selecting the right epoxy system along with the appropriate application techniques for best results.
Here's Your Chance to Learn About the Secrets of FPGAs
Guest Blogs 1/8/2015 Post a comment The secrets that programmable logic vendors use to create these amazing devices are typically not discussed in much detail by the manufacturers. But if you understand them you can typically figure out why your devices are performing the way they do.
Cold Flow Analysis for Diesel Engine Optimization
Guest Blogs 12/23/2014 4 comments The complexity of diesel engines means optimizing their performance requires a large amount of experimentation. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a very useful and intuitive tool in this, and cold flow analysis using CFD is an ideal approach to study the flow characteristics without going into the details of chemical reactions occurring during the combustion.
What’s Next in Programmable Devices?
Guest Blogs 12/11/2014 4 comments Programmable logic has come a long way from the simple devices we started out with. Remember Programmable Array Logic, or PALs? But where will we be in the next five to 10 years?
Did You Know that Time Constants May Not Be Constant?
Guest Blogs 11/17/2014 Post a comment People usually think of a time constant as the time it takes a first order system to change 63% of the way to the steady state value in response to a step change in the input -- it’s basically a measure of the responsiveness of the system. This is true, but in reality, time constants are often not constant. They can change just like system gains change as the environment or the geometry of the system changes.
The Sound Beneath the Floors
Guest Blogs 11/13/2014 9 comments At its core, sound is a relatively simple natural phenomenon caused by pressure pulsations or vibrations propagating through various mediums in the world around us. Studies have shown that the complete absence of sound can drive a person insane, causing them to experience hallucinations. Likewise, loud and overwhelming sound can have the same effect. This especially holds true in manufacturing and plant environments where loud noises are the norm.
What About Crowdsourcing New Components?
Guest Blogs 11/11/2014 2 comments The tech industry is no stranger to crowdsourcing funding for new projects, and the team at element14 are no strangers to crowdsourcing ideas for new projects through its design competitions. But what about crowdsourcing new components?
Does it Still Make Sense to Go Offshore?
Guest Blogs 11/3/2014 5 comments It has been common wisdom of late that anything you needed to manufacture could be made more cost-effectively on foreign shores. Following World War II, the label “Made in Japan” was as ubiquitous as is the “Made in China” version today and often had very similar -- not always positive -- connotations. Along the way, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and other Pacific-rim nations have each had their turn at being the preferred low-cost alternative to manufacturing here in the US.
354 Reasons Why Audi's SQ5 Is Worth a Look
Guest Blogs 10/23/2014 1 comment More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
Top 3 Reasons to Outsource 3D Printing
Guest Blogs 10/14/2014 2 comments As additive manufacturing (including 3D printing) becomes increasingly popular among businesses as a quick and easy solution to creating and evaluating prototypes and end-use products, the debate about whether to outsource production or to purchase equipment for in-house use is at the forefront of industry discussions.
Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have published two physics-based models for the selective laser melting (SLM) metals additive manufacturing process, so engineers can understand how it works at the powder and scales, and develop better parts with less trial and error.
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