Spinning off from design work it did for an agricultural customer, the Heim Division of RBC Bearings (www.rbcbearings.com) will soon offer all customers the opportunity to get a custom, injection-molded, engineered thermoplastic self-lubricating race in standard rod ends. "Our injection molding method requires no drilled hole in the rod-end head," says Heim's Rick Williams. The result, he adds, is a high-strength self-lubricating rod end that can be tailored to specific applications.
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.