If you buy into the idea of using Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to improve design efforts, but you're turned off by the cost and hassle of adapting one of the standard systems to your specific needs, here's a heads-up: Design News has learned that EDS PLM Solutions later this year will break away from the PLM-industry practice of developing plain-vanilla products and release versions of its Teamcenter PLM suite designed for specific industries. Initial targets: automotive, aerospace, medical, consumer packaged goods, electronics, and industrial equipment. The strategy is a takeoff on the approach Microsoft and Oracle, among other companies, have adopted for some of their products. EDS admits that a hint of its customization strategy was in the architecture for the PLM product it developed for technicians at Tinker Air Force Base. That product, specifically designed for the Tinker application, will run on a tablet PC and give engineers access to reliability and maintenance data technicians gather in the field. Engineers can use that info to make the next generation of aircraft better. Feedback like that is the whole point of PLM. Now that EDS will make the process industry-specific (i.e. easier to implement), more companies may be interested. If so, look for other PLM vendors to follow suit.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
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.