The U.S. Postal Service launched a pilot program that allows customers to recycle small electronics and ink-jet cartridges by mailing them free of charge. The “Mail Back” program makes it easier for customers to discard used or obsolete small electronics in an environmentally responsible way. Customers can now find free envelopes in 1,500 post offices. The envelopes can be used to mail back PDAs, Blackberries, digital cameras, iPods and MP3 players without having to pay postage.
Postage is paid by Clover Technologies Group, a company that recycles, remanufactures and re-markets ink-jet cartridges, laser cartridges and small electronics. If the electronic item or cartridge cannot be refurbished and resold, its components are reused to refurbish other items or the parts are broken down further and the materials are recycled. Clover has a “zero waste to landfill” policy, which means it does everything it can to avoid contributing any materials to landfills.
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.