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.
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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