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.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
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.