Planetary wheel failure was a vexing issue for the U.S. Marine Corps.’ Light Armored Vehicles, partially because these failures couldn’t be predicted. Wireless temperature and vibration sensors from Solidica Inc. of Ann Arbor, MI, made it possible to monitor the wheels without the difficult task of routing wires through the water-tight hull. The Solo sensor device, which includes a Freescale Semiconductor MMA7260QT accelerometer, dynamically monitors both temperature and vibration. Wireless communication also lets the USMC alter the embedded algorithms as the vehicles move into different operational environments and has built-in signal conditioning and alert prognostic algorithms. Ruggedization is a key factor, since the sensors get drenched when the vehicles drive through water.
An in-depth survey of 700 current and future users of 3D printing holds few surprises, but results emphasize some major trends already in progress. Two standouts are the big growth in end-use parts and metal additive manufacturing (AM) most respondents expect.
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