The Wesgo Metals app for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch helps engineers evaluate braze alloys by including the forms in which a given alloy is available, along with that alloy's mechanical properties. (Source: Morgan Technical Ceramics)
There are actually a couple of tools on the MTC website, such as a materials comparator that includes braze alloys and other materials the company sells, as well as a braze alloys materials selector. Both of these basically contain data sheet information, but are not calculators. The braze alloys materials selector only let you sort information on the alloy by name.
This really seems like an app that would have otherwise come out of one of the company's customer manuals. It's a smart idea in that the customer can get the information without having to page through a manual in search of mechanical properties or thermal expansion coefficients.
Software is just another product line, Rob. Take PLC manufacturers. The hardware (the PLC) is worthless without programming software. The programming software is pretty, but does nothing useful until you put the application into the PLC. The manufacturer treats them as two separate and distinct products; the software division is expected to do its fair share towards earing profits.
Yes, it makes sense that it's free when it goes to customers who are already using the company's technology. It always surprises me when a company charges $5 for an app that can only be used by its customers who are already spending thousands.
Technically, this one from Morgan Technical Ceramics is a highly specialized utility, not really a full-blown app, and since the data are confined to its product line, it makes sense for it to be free as a promotional tool. I would guess that such utilities will remain free, especially if they are vendor-specific like this one.
This is definitely a handy tool. Makes me wonder if companies will ever consider charging for an app like this. I suspect engineers would be willing to pay, especially for the easy accessibility. And what kind of company wouldn't want to cash in?
Pretty interesting app, Ann. I would imagine this would be useful for engineers who get quizzed on what would be an appropirate alloy for a specific design while they are out of town. At free, it's a nice price as well.
Imagine being able to illegally download a physical product the same way you can with music and videos. That’s basically what’s happening with 3D printing and digital manufacturing, with huge repercussions in the intellectual property domain.
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