Engineers at several automotive, aerospace, and marine manufacturers are apparently so interested in a new vibration-proof fastener that they demanded it before it was priced. That may seem like the kind of problem every company would love to have, but it can still cause blood pressure to rise. Permanent Technologies Inc. spent 11 years developing the fastener, a one-way nut-and-bolt combination that locks the nut and bolt at a predetermined position. Then the company spent a lot of effort to overcome the challenges that new companies often face, such as lack of recognition and doubts about the product. Part of the strategy was a modified show-and-tell: They sent samples for engineers to play with. Boy did that work—a little too well, in fact. Company President Loren Ball says the orders have been flying in faster than the cost estimates they have been getting from the contract manufacturers who will make the fastener. Not to worry, though: Ball says pricing is now in place. He's ready to ship.
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.