Alumasc Dispense, one of Europe's leading producers of mountings for beer taps, faced a formidable engineering challenge: Design the mountings for the taps that were distinctive enough to overshadow the competition. Decision: Convert their 2D design process to 3D using VX CAD software (www.vx.com). Many of the designers working for Alumasc's customers use 3D systems such as Alias to get the styling right. "VX accepts the files and now we can take most things that are thrown at us, and we can work effectively exporting our designs to toolmakers," says Richard Oakley, Alumasc director. Oakley says existing designs have little re-use in his industry. "Yet, we have to go from concept to manufacturing in a matter of months," he adds. "That means our design-to-manufacturing process has to be slick." Alumasc is now using the software in design projects for Carlsberg Tetley and Scottis Courage breweries, both which are guaranteeing a pint with a perfect head, he says.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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