Timothy Beck is racing to connect wires under the watchful eye of a his co-workers. He's taken on the challenge of Design News' Gadget Freak, hoping to win prizes for his party of four.
The Equistar Chemicals engineer finds this year's challenge, figuring out how to get a light to come on given the proper sequences, far more challenging than last year's Gadget Freak test. "Last year, they had a diagram and you basically followed it. This time you're on your own," he says. The four drove about an hour to attend National Manufacturing Week conference.
Beck spent about 10 minutes at the table before the group decided it was time to hit some other booths. Contest managers note that some engineers completed the test in a matter of minutes. But one started before they left for lunch, and he was still plugging along when they returned.
Though Beck didn't complete the challenge, the group got their prize for participating -- a handheld game system with blackjack, poker and other games. "It's a pretty cool gift, I'm addicted to blackjack," says one of the booth managers.
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.