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.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
ABI Research, a firm based in the UK that specializes in analyzing global connectivity and other emerging technologies, estimates there will be 40.9 billion active wirelessly interconnected “things” by 2020. The driving force is the usual suspect: the Internet of Things.
Just in time for Earth Day, chemicals leader Bayer MaterialScience reported from the UTECH Europe 2015 polyurethane show on programs and applications using its materials to help reduce energy usage. The company also gave an update on its CO2-based PU as that eco-friendly material comes closer to production.
Solar and wind energy are becoming more viable as a source of energy on the electric grid. For decades, the major drawback to solar and wind was that they’re temperamental. A cloudy day kills solar and a still day renders the wind turbines useless. Automation tools, however, are providing a path to help these renewables become practical.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.