A painting process developed for the Mercedes A-Class passenger car is not only environmentally friendly but also quick and cost-efficient. The process, which is the result of a collaboration between Mercedes-Benz, BASF Lacke + Farben, and Durr Systems, involves new materials as well as optimized production systems. Like other state-of-the-art automotive paint systems, four coats are involved. The composition of the first coat on the Mercedes A-Class, however, is completely lead-free, and the second coat is less than half the thickness of conventional paint processes (15 micron instead of 40 micron). This, says Konrad Ortlieb, Durr R&D manager, "results from a special formulation of primer and by maintaining extreme control of the spray equipment to ensure an even application of paint." The third color coat is conventional but the fourth represents a world "first," according to Ortlieb. Composed of a powder slurry, this fourth clear coat is solvent-free. "Other companies have developed water-based clear coats, but there is always a small residue of solvent. Our slurry solution has none," he claims. An added advantage of the BASF/Durr process is that the three paint coats are applied wet-on-wet, eliminating the need for an inter-coat baking stage, thereby saving time. For more information call: Dr. Konrad Ortlieb at +49-711-136-1631.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
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.