"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.
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
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.