V-twin-cylinder 16- and 18-hp engines have been named the best new product of the year made by a large company. The National Society of Professional Engineers, based in Alexandria, VA, gave its annual award to Kohler Co. (Kohler, WI). The firm built the air-cooled, four-stroke engines using an overhead camshaft (OHC) design. Incorporating an automotive-type belt and predominantly phenolic and powdered-metal components, the engines are three decibels quieter than comparable models throughout most of their operating range, the Society says. The award also cites Kohler for its innovative process of designing the OHC engines. The company made extensive use of solid modeling, rapid prototyping technology, customer input, and vendor participation. The tooling vendor made the tooling directly from the solid model, without the need to generate detailed prints.
Imagine being able to illegally download a physical product the same way you can with music and videos. That’s basically what’s happening with 3D printing and digital manufacturing, with huge repercussions in the intellectual property domain.
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