News that GE wants to sell its plastics business is of interest to design engineers. In the past 25 years, engineering plastics suppliers, led in part by GE Plastics, have been important developers of exciting new designs for plastics, such as instrument panels and various business machinery. Rising raw materials costs (oil-related, primarily) have reduced the profitability of the business and made it a weak performer for high flying GE. This was surely a tough pill for the company to swallow because famous CEO Jack Welch cut his teeth at GE Plastics after graduation as a chemical engineer from the University of Massachusetts.
One personal anecdote shows the role GE Plastics has played in design development. I was having dinner many years ago with a man named Uwe Wascher, who was a VP for GE Plastics. After a few drinks, he recalled his role in the development of Xenoy as the first-ever bumper material for a European car. Wascher, who is German and was based in Europe, said he sold the OEM on polycarbonate before testing had been fully completed. PC (developed by GE's Dan Fox about the same time Bayer also discovered the polymer) was used on some prototype models, and was damaged by gasoline spills because of its poor chemical resistance. Wascher set up a major research skunk works in GE's corporate office in Europe. The 24/7 push—because the model was close to production—led to the development of a PC/PBT polyester alloy known as Xenoy. The rest is history.
Wascher left GE several years ago, and probably has PR people with him when he has dinner with reporters these days.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
A recent example of a major CAE revamp is MSC Apex, released last month by MSC Software Corp. In a discussion with Design News, MSC executives noted that its next-generation platform is designed to substantially reduce CAE modeling and process time, “in some cases from weeks down to hours.”
The Thames Deckway would run for eight miles close to the river’s edge, rising and falling slightly with the tidal cycle. It will generate its own energy from a series of devices that will line the pathway and use a combination of sources to make the path self-sustaining.
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