I've been writing about engineering materials for more than 30 years, mostly steel and plastics. I covered the steel industry for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the mid-1970s, and covered plastics technology as chief editor of Plastics World and as a senior editor at McGraw-Hill's Modern Plastics. I'm a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers, and have been responsible for materials and assembly coverage at Design News for the past four years. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.