When the news started to break about Toyota’s massive recalls, IPC’s lead-free listserve came alive with conversations about the possibility that tin whiskers may be involved. Engineers in the electronics industry have long warned that lead-free solder has a propensity to grow tiny whiskers that can break off and short out components.
At the European-based evertiq site, an article ran last week claiming the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has contacted Keith Armstrong, and expert in electro magnetic interference (EMS), to discuss whether EMS or tin whiskers may have been the real culprit in Toyota’s acceleration malfunctions.
The difficulty in ruling out EMS or tin whiskers is that a malfunction would leave little evidence to support a definitive conclusion.
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.