High-performance engineering thermoplastics like ULTEM 9085 are giving engineers more options in using additive manufacturing for creating finished, end-use production parts, not just prototypes. ULTEM 9085 was used to 3D-print this M3500 instrument, which is a turn and bank indicator that tells the pilot the rate of aircraft turn.
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.