Wednesday, September 13, 2000 Danboro, PA--Can't find the right fastener in a
catalog? Try looking on the drawing board of your fastening supplier. "Sometimes a custom-engineered fastener will do the best job
at cutting part count, costs, and assembly time," says Craig Link, an
engineer who manages Penn Engineering and Manufacturing Corp.'s line of
panel fasteners. For the latest example of the good things that come from
custom engineering, consider a new snap-in latch that Penn developed for a
computer OEM. To simplify the assembly of a faceplate to a rack mounting
rail, this patent-pending latch replaces a combination of cage nuts and
panel fasteners with an integrated assembly of metal--usually
aluminum--and plastic. The latch attaches to the faceplate through a
"self-clinching process," in which the latch's metal base cold flows into
undercut holes in the plate. According to Brian Bentrim, Penn's new product development
engineer, the resulting attachment is good to roughly 300 lbs of pullout
force. When joined to the faceplate, the latch extends two opposing arms
through square holes in the plate and in the adjoining rack mounting rail.
These arms, which flex as they push through the mounting rail hole, have a
feature that grasps the backside of the mounting rail. To complete the
locking, a thermoplastic locking clip then slides between the opposing
locking arms, keeping them in place. Bentrim reports that the resulting
latch can withstand pullout forces to about 100 lbs. Tooling-wise, the
snap-in latch does require a new three-hole punch for the faceplate, but
the square hole in the rail remains the same. For more information on Penn Engineering's capabilities,
check out http://www.pemnet.com.
Are they robots or androids? We're not exactly sure. Each talking, gesturing Geminoid looks exactly like a real individual, starting with their creator, professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in Japan.
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.