An array of aids is emerging for engineers who must meet the rapid growth of standards for quality management. SPSS Inc. has come out with TrialRun(reg) Windows software for design of experiments (DOE). The product offers 41 design methods for DOE, a branch of statistics that helps reduce variation and costs in manufacturing. Included are Taguchi, Latin Square, Central Composite, and Optimal. Trial Run evaluates your responses to a series of questions and leads you to the optimal design for your situation. To see Trial Run in action, visit www.spss.com/software/TrialRun/ on the Internet. Meanwhile, the third edition of the manual for the auto industry's QS-9000 series of standards is now available. Among additions are new test-laboratory requirements for in-house laboratories of suppliers. For more information go to www.aiag.org. Quality Resources (www.qualityresources.com) has updated two of its most popular books. The second edition of "SPC Simplified Workbook" provides case studies and exercises in statistical process control. The eighth edition of "Baldrige Award Winning Quality," by Mark Graham Brown, contains this year's revised criteria and a new chapter on preparing for a site visit from the board of Baldrige examiners.
Two researchers from Cornell University have won a $100,000 grant from NASA to continue work to develop an energy-harvesting robotic eel the space agency aims to use to explore oceans on one of the moons of Jupiter.
Is the factory smarter than it used to be? From recent buzzwords, you’d think we’ve entered a new dimension in industrial plants, where robots run all physical functions wirelessly and humans do little more than program ever more capable robotics. Some of that is actually true, but it’s been true for a while.
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