Dismayed by the shortage of engineering graduates who had much—if any—exposure to motion control or fluid power in school, Parker Hannifin decided to take matters into its own hands. Over the past decade, the company has donated nearly $1 million to engineering schools to fill that void. "In the past, we could hire a business major with a high mechanical aptitude for a sales position. Today, we need engineers who are trained to solve problems and are technically knowledgeable in what we call the tri-technologies: electrohydraulics, electromechanical technology, and electropneumatics," says Larry Schrader, global motion and control training manager for Parker. To date, Parker has given funds to nine engineering schools to establish programs and laboratories in the tri-technologies. The schools, which include Purdue and the University of Illinois, are selected on the basis of their willingness and ability to make a long-term commitment to the program. To date, Parker estimates that hundreds of students have benefited. So, presumably, has industry.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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