There are a lot of unhappy campers in the aerospace engineering community these days, and no wonder. In the past 18 months, the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company has sent pink slips to 31,000 employees, approximately 2,000 of which held engineering and technical positions. SPEEA, the union that represents 22,300 technical and professional employees at The Boeing Company in several states, says that the company will send an additional 4,000 workers packing by year's end. "Engineers are leery right now," says Bill Dugavitch, SPEEA spokesperson. "They are not seeing any commitment on the part of the company to retain engineering talent." SPEEA is particularly incensed over the company's decision to move hundreds of technical and engineering jobs to a design center in Moscow, and also the opening of a new parts factory in South Africa in 2002. Former Boeing Engineer Jerry Lisewych of Washington State says that he was a casualty of the company's overseas outsourcing efforts, receiving his layoff notice 15 months ago. He's still looking for work. "I unknowingly trained my own replacement, a Hungarian resident and citizen," says Lisewych. "Boeing is sending jobs overseas, and those jobs are for foreign residents only. Laid-off employees are not eligible to apply." Next up: Boeing will decide where to build the new 7E7. Rumors abound that some of the work will go overseas. Dugavitch says that SPEEA has efforts underway to ensure that it stays at existing Boeing facilities here.
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.