Siemens Automation & Drives took a huge leap into the future with an idea machine builders and systems integrators have dreamed about—and until now, believed it to be another 20 years away. The software concept, called "Automation Designer," aims to do no less than design a complete automation scenario, such as an automobile manufacturing line, from basic data about what the car manufacturer wants to do. It collects data from a variety of sources, such as parts lists, PLC programs, and HMI visualization, and puts these into templates, which are combined to form libraries. It then links the templates with CAD drawings of the automation line to configure the complete production line—including all the details from material flow to emergency stop circuits. Siemens' Rita Schultz, director of product & systems management, says it can reduce ramp up times for the automobile industry by 40 percent.
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.