With the ability to turn CAD models into real molded parts in as little as a day, Protomold’s rapid injection molding service is undeniably fast. Still, the service has never been a cure-all for the long lead time blues because Protomold’s automated tooling and molding systems impose size and geometry limitations that rule out some plastic part designs. Earlier today at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show in Anaheim, the company literally had some big news about those limitations. According to senior quality engineer Kevin Crystal, Protomold’s rapid injection molding system now accommodates parts with projected areas up to 175 in2, up from 75 in2 in the past. Maximum x-y dimensions have increased to 13.5 x 30.5 inches, subject to that projected area limit. Maximum depth for the large parts is now 3 inches from either side of the parting line, or 6-inches total for parts that can be divided equally between mold halves. Part volume now tops out at 59 in3. Protomold will run the large parts on a newly-acquired 750-ton molding machine. Lead time for the big parts will initially be 15 days.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.