Coming from a mostly-electronics perspective, as I do, integrating functions does seem like a no-brainer. But a lot of control and automation mechanisms are, or have been, not easily integrated with electronics and/or driven by proprietary, closed software, like PLCs. So integration of functions there is happening a lot more slowly.
I know what you mean, Chuck, I feel the same way about a lot of things. I always use the smartphone as an example. But I guess at the time, it made sense to just have a phone for talking...and then a music player for music...and a GPS for GPS. So using that logic, it shows why functions might be separate. But I completely agree with you.
Components makers integration functions that were previously separate into microcontrollers and other key aspects of the automation system to make them easier to deploy and manage. This controller from Advantech is an example of that trend.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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