Food Fortune: Engineer Kim Tran still waits tables.
Great ideas can come from any source and any place. For Baldor, they often come during a weekly lunch at the Diamond Head Chinese Restaurant in Fort Smith, AR. Every Monday, while passing the egg rolls and steamed fish, the company's top executives chew on a PuPu Platter of ideas for new products and different marketing strategies. The latest idea: rebates to end users and distributors who buy Baldor's Premium Efficiency Motors in sizes of 20 hp and above. The rebates are in the form of $1.00 per horsepower. Marketing Vice President Randy Breaux hopes the program will bring about a 10-15% increase in sales of the motors and drives. But it's not just ideas cooking at the Diamond Head. Recently, as the Baldor group assembled at their usual table, the waitress asked them what they wanted and Chairman Rollie Boreham said, "an electrical engineer." To which, the waitress responded, "Great, I'm one." Not long after, she became a Baldor employee. But she didn't give up her waitressing. She's married to the restaurant's owner, so every day at noon, she is back at the Diamond Head taking lunch orders for an hour before resuming her engineering work at Baldor's Drive Center.
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.