"Today's MEMs designers face a difficult design hurdle: Combining fabrication process information with 2D-mask geometry for creating 3D structures," says Victor Yarberry, principal member of Sandia National Lab's technical staff. "The fundamental problem is that a 2D mask does not reveal the true 3D structure." For addressing this problem, the Lab's scientists created SUMMiT (Sandia Ultra-Planar Multilevel MEMS technology) software. Sandia is making the software's source code available. The software's 3D model generator applies fabrication steps to 2D masks for creating a solid model. "Currently, there are no commercial tools that can model the entire SUMMiT process, which includes a wet undercut etch followed by a conformal deposition," says Yarberry. The new code uses algorithms for providing representations of conformal depositions on the underside surface. "These steps allow creation of important mechanical features, such as gear hubs and hinge points by the designer," he says. He notes that MEMs devices are being designed into computer disk drives, optical communication switching devices, and accelerometers for automotive air bags. For more information, send inquiries to Sandia National Labs, Box 5800, Albuquerque, NM 87109.
Most of the new 3D printers and 3D printing technologies in this crop are breaking some boundaries, whether it's build volume-per-dollar ratios, multimaterials printing techniques, or new materials types.
Independent science safety company Underwriters Laboratories is providing new guidance for manufacturers about how to follow the latest IEC standards for implementing safety features in programmable logic controllers.
Automakers are adding greater digital capabilities to their design and engineering activities to promote collaboration among staff and suppliers, input consumer feedback, shorten product development cycles, and meet evolving end-use needs.
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