CABE-- It's amazing to me how many times in my engineering career I have seen requests for "variations" when specifications were not followed. I think some people (generally management and/or unions) feel we specify components, processes, etc just to fill the day until we clock out. One thing that also scares me is product coming from vendors not on the "approved" list. I was asked to investigate a component from a "new low-cost vendor"--completely unapproved by our company, to make sure they met the specifications and had UL approval. In other words, I was asked to provide the "go-ahead" even if they were close. As it turned out, they were using child labor to manufacture the part; the part was NOT UL approve; the part had questionable fasteners from unapproved sources holding it together. I said no--I could not approve the component. In about 3 nanoseconds, I was called into the president's office. We had what he referred to as a "come to Jesus" moment. As it turned out, we had components being flown in to our facility, partial payment made and assembly lines waiting to produce. The solution--take me off the project, put a younger engineer on the job and push ahead. That's exactly what happened. I left the company about three months later.
When issues such as this (incorrect component, not following dwgs etc) arise I tell the persons involved to follow Mil-TFP-41 (Make it like the fine print for once) and let me know the results. Very often the problem goes away.
Having designed alarm, fire, and security systems, I have seen this type of work shirking in many places. Sometime they luck out, and it works ok. Then when the above story goes down, I get blamed. It's very stressful at times. Especially when the workers demand I sign off on their work.
Wow, this really is scary. Presumably there were part numbers to choose from, so the contractors chose the wrong part number--why, to save money? Or because they really were incompetent? I can envision both. This makes me wonder about the general tendency I've heard of--and many have commented about on the DN site--to get less educated, less technically proficient people, who are also cheaper, to do supposedly less technical work--like installation--that supposedly doesn't require actual engineers since no actual engineering is involved.
Amazing how many "design problems" are solved by going back and using the parts that were originally specified by the engineer...not surprising that this happened but you would think that with such an arduous task (that was a lot of wiring!) they would have checked first...
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
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.