What was the most important engineering breakthrough in your lifetime? We’ve used the 60th anniversary of Design News to look at a few consumer and business products that changed the world. The video tape. Pong, the first video game. And the IBM PC. What other innovations — obscure or well known — have changed our lives? Let us know and we’ll dig up the history.
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.