Design Decisions: Understanding the Value of Integrated System Design
This diesel engine emission control module manages fuel, air atomization, and air purge functions. Integrated into this assembly are two solenoid valves, two pressure regulators, three pressure transducers, a fuel injector, and precision orifice. The compact design and simplified mounting provide a distinct advantage over having to connect and mount individual components on a truck chassis.
Mr. Fleischer, thank you for a good white-paper blog. You did not make it an advertisement for your company or products. Granted, the image shown was likely your product, but it in no way sold that product or even identified it. It was a good example of integrated system design.
It is certainly true that for many systems that utilize either hydraulics, or pneumatics, that using a manifold for some of the interconnects can provide a much more compact system that is both more reliable and less expensive. In fact, this holds true for both mass production and one-off systems, which is unusual. Of course the down side is that the system must be defined prior to the manifold being designed, since most manifolds are difficult to revise. But once a system is accurately defined a well designed manifold will usually provide a cost reduction, and almost always provide better reliability.
Iterative design — the cycle of prototyping, testing, analyzing, and refining a product — existed long before additive manufacturing, but it has never been as efficient and approachable as it is today with 3D printing.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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