Life ain't always easy for today’s design engineers. Pressured by the ever-shorter cycle turnarounds for new products, engineers who once had months of multiple attempts to get a design right are finding their window for test opportunities squeezed. But that doesn’t mean they can simply cut corners.
That’s why it was interesting to sit down with Littelfuse’s Thane Parker recently to get his take as a salesman on how his firm tries to help engineers overcome those tight product deadlines without risking faulty designs, or electronics that go "bang."
Parker, sales director for the North America region, said it was vital to most of Littelfuse’s clients to get answers at a lightning quick pace, which is what inspired the fuse maker’s whole Speed2Design campaign.
Parker said he often encouraged clients to tell him about their designs, their needs, and their regulatory requirements so that Littelfuse could figure out all the options available -- fast.
The best part of the job, Parker told us, was “being able to take those challenges that you think, ‘Oh, jeez, this design engineer is crazy, there’s no way we can meet that requirement,’ and then watching our team succeed and excel in exceeding that customer’s expectations.”
Check out more of our interview with Thane Parker below.
Littlefuse closed their massive manufacturing facility in Mount Prospect, Il. and moved to China, so executives could continue to maintain enormous salaries. Now they are squeezing the remaining design engineers before all their work goes to China as well.
There was a post last week about a poorly chosen fuse type or value. Some of the posters had mentioned that correctly specifying a protection device can be a little difficult. Having a vendor for a partner will certainly make the selection easier and this is an excellent follow-up story to the previous posts.
Parker is right: Compressed design times are making life more difficult for all design engineers and that shows up in in areas like circuit protection, which end up being thought of as an afterthought.
Part of the trend you highlight is the importance of a vendor as a partner. This type of value add is both useful and necessary in the high speed world of design outlined in the article. When I have been involved as a field engineer in the past I found that briefing customers on new features was a great way to get new ideas. Often, while working with customers in these situations, and hearing their challenges, we were able to come up with ways to use features and functions that were not necessarily envisioned by the developers of the product, but which were valuable to the customer.
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.