One the main reasons Design News’ launched its “Design Decisions” section recently (you can access a couple of recent entries here and here) is to help design engineers wade through the seemingly endless choices available to them when designing a product or system.
Recently, several suppliers in the automation sector have launched online tools to help design engineers better target the right component or solution for their design project.
Seeking to fill a niche for engineers weighing the options surrounding the selection of test and measurement sensors, Honeywell has stepped into the design decision game with its Honeywell Test and Measurement Website. The site is designed to help engineers find the test and measurement sensor products they need, and configure them online to meet specific application and operating environments.
If you’re uncertain about which sensor you need, the Website’s Find-A-Solution feature is designed to guide you to a recommended product based on your answers to specific questions.
The sensor product portfolio addressed by the configurator includes load, pressure, torque, displacement (LVDTs) and instrumentation sensors, as well as accelerometers.
For help on the mechanical side of motion control design projects, Wittenstein has updated its online CAD generator tool based on customer feedback. The tool is designed to help with product selection and part number generation.
This new online tool builds upon the CAD selection and part number creation functions for alpha gearboxes by adding:
- Visuals representing various part options;
- Technical specifications for immediate product review;
- Complete drive train selection from gearbox to motor; and
- Interactive part number creation for complete part number (gearbox + motor)
Future developments planned for the tool in 2011 include the addition of rack and pinion, couplings and actuators.
A how-to video on how to use the tool can be accessed here.
For estimating the cost and time savings of a proposed instrumentation design, Aveva has launched an online business value calculator. The Instrumentation Business Value Calculator (BVC) is an interactive tool that calculates the savings that can be achieved by engineering companies by adopting the latest instrumentation technology.
The BVC assists with estimating the time and cost savings a business could achieve by implementing AVEVA Instrumentation, a true lifecycle solution for designing, installing and maintaining instrumentation in both plants and ships.
The answers provided by the tool are based on typical working practices and feedback from the users of AVEVA Instrumentation. Using parameters such as head count, hourly costs and input/outputs which users can input themselves, they can calculate savings in man hours and money across a number of deliverables.
For a demonstration of the BVC click here.
Online configurator tools have become so ubiquitous of late that you can now even configure the chain needed for conveyor or packaging applications. PARTsolutions, a provider of 3D part catalogs for manufacturers and U.S. Tsubaki Inc.,a manufacturer and supplier of power transmission and motion control products, have launched the U.S. Tsubaki Attachment Chain Configurator. Created for the company’s Roller Chain Division, the U.S. Tsubaki Attachment Chain Configurator contains many of the most common attachments used in a variety of conveyor and packaging applications, and automates a process that has traditionally been a manual one.
This new digital tool is said to allow engineers and designers to create custom attachment chain configurations interactively via the Internet, as well as download 3D files in a variety of electronic formats and request a quotation.
According to U.S. Tsubaki, engineers using the tool can:
- Interactively design hundreds of thousands of attachment chain variants by selecting graphic representations of chain sizes (pitch), types, materials, repeating sections, and attachments.
- Preview the product on screen.
- Download the product as a 2D or 3D CAD model in any of more than 85 native and neutral CAD and graphic file formats.
- Submit the configured product for quotation.
Stay tuned - more online configurators for more of the components design engineers specify are sure to emerge soon.