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.
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
Highly regarded engineer and physicist Ransom Stephens speaks with Design News about his extensive science and engineering background, the serious yet funny study of neuroscience, and how one primes their brain for innovation.
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