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CIMdata, Inc., the leading global Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) management consulting and research firm announces that Dr. David E. Cole, Chairman Emeritus, Center for Automotive Research (CAR), will make a keynote presentation at PLM Road Map™ 2012, which will take place at The Inn at St. John’s, outside of Detroit, on October 2 and 3.

The auto industry has experienced a period of turmoil and challenge—indeed, a perfect storm—during the past decade. Every aspect of the industry was impacted by the “great recession,” which turned out to be a depression for the auto industry. Fortunately, the industry is coming back strong. The auto industry and manufacturing in general are critical to a successful economy, with a high job multiplier and significant value creation.

In his keynote presentation, “The Auto Sun is Rising,” Dr. Cole will address the dramatic changes that are occurring in the industry from the new evolving business model to the exploding importance of knowledge and innovation. The industry of the future and the exciting potential for new powertrains, fuels, connected vehicles, material systems, and engineering and manufacturing methods that will reshape the industry and its products will be discussed. The presentation will also address possible “choke points” that could interrupt progress, such as the lack of talent, critical materials, appropriate policy, and supply disruptions.

PLM Road Map™ 2012 is the must-attend event for industry executives and PLM practitioners globally—providing independent education and a collaborative networking environment where ideas, trends, experiences, and relationships critical to the industry germinate and take root. It is a strategic conference focused on how companies are successfully employing PLM strategies and enabling solutions to meet challenging product development, manufacturing, and deployment issues. PLM Road Map™ 2012 is a two-day event that will challenge attendees to shift their current thinking to a new level in a series of presentations focusing on the global transformation of product development and innovation processes.

About Dr. David E. Cole, Chairman Emeritus, Center for Automotive Research

Dr. David E. Cole is the Chairman Emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was formerly Director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation (OSAT) at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and an engineering professor at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Cole’s recent research has focused on strategic issues related to the restructuring of North American industry and trends in globalization, technology, market factors, and human resource requirements. He is chairman of Auto Harvest, a new organization being developed to facilitate the flow of intellectual property in and out of the auto industry.

He is active in SAE, including serving two terms on the Board of Directors. In February 1986, Dr. Cole was named a Fellow of SAE. He is also active in the Engineering Society of Detroit and was elected to Fellow status in 1990. In 2000, he received the Engineering Society’s highest award, the Horace H. Rackham medal. Dr. Cole is also a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and was elected to Fellow grade in 2009.

Dr. Cole received his B.S.M.E. and Mathematics, M.S.M.E., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and recently received an honorary doctorate from Cleary University.

For more information, visit: plmforesight.cimdata.com/index.cfm?content=include_conference12.cfm

Friday, 15 June 2012 11:34

Register Today! Tecplot Chorus Webinar

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Recently, Tecplot announced Tecplot Chorus 2012, our most advanced CFD visualization management system to date. And in order to help our users take advantage of new features and enhancements, we’re holding a free webinar on Thursday, June 21 at 10 a.m. PST.

Join Dr. Durrell Rittenberg as he illustrates Chorus’ new features by evaluating blade optimization and performance prediction studies of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). In each study, he will show you how to:

  • Evaluate results from multiple simulation cases
  • Model system performance with surrogate models
  • Compare results qualitatively and quantitatively
  • Use results to create reports

Thursday, June 21, 2012
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

If you have any questions about Tecplot Chorus or the webinar, please contact us at 425-653-1200

For more information or to register, visit: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/223804721

EON Reality, the world's leading interactive 3D software provider, today released EON Creator 4.8, an easy-to-use eLearning authoring tool that integrates 3D concepts with the web, PowerPoint, videos, sounds, animations and more into complete, blended learning environments. The new release also comes with an updated website look and new video tutorials.

With EON Creator 4.8, users can create unique educational 3D lessons and interactive scenes using high-quality 3D components from the EON Experience portal and blend them together with their own 3D content. The portal contains thousands of models and scenes accessible directly from inside the EON Creator authoring tool. Once content is downloaded into EON Creator, users can add contextual knowledge to any 3D object in their scene. Users can also link multiple 3D scenes together to create continuous learning environments.

3D content can then be published automatically in the EON Experience portal or shared in a live 3D multi-user session in EON Coliseum. EON Creator can present the virtual 3D learning experience across multiple devices- from laptops to 3D projected displays.

“With our rapidly growing community of EON Creator users we are pleased to be able to release this major upgrade with many enhanced functionalities and requested features. Our goal is to provide the easiest and most intuitive workflow for interactive 3D content development for education, allowing teachers and instructors as well as our fastest growing user segment students to start producing content quicker,” said Mats W. Johansson, President, EON Reality, Inc.

The new EON Creator 4.8 release brings a range of updates and improvements to the EON Experience platform, where the most notable additions are:

  • Improved creation process in Quiz mode: Users can now create customized questions and answers using the Quiz function, as well as separate the Quiz and Annotation function as desired.
  • Expanded support for more stereo devices: EON Creator Pro can now support three modes of stereoscopic 3D: Top/Bottom, Interleaved, and Frame Sequential 3D.
  • Recording video of your content is now easier than ever: Users can upload their experiences with 3D lessons directly to YouTube.
  • Simplified login process: Users can now signup and login with a single click via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.
  • Expanded file support for EON Experience Player: The EON Experience Player can now open EON Experience simulation (.edz, .eop, .eoz) and EON Experience scene files (.eos).
  • Easier user interactions: Users can now explore different parts of an object with a single click.
  • Configuration of pivot-points for 3D objects: The pivot-point is the central point where an object is rotated around.

EON Reality, Inc. is the world's leading interactive 3D solutions provider for businesses and education based on Virtual Reality technology. EON Reality provides state-of-the-art 3D display technology for immersive and stereoscopic viewing, from portable tablet PCs and glass free stereo display systems to curved-screen and immersive rooms consisting of multi-channel projection walls. The technology foundation for developing interactive digital content includes importing the most common 3D animation formats into EON's authoring software and creating modules and applications that can be viewed on various display systems. EON’s technology solutions enable all organizations to more effectively visually communicate, collaborate and accelerate knowledge transfer.

For more information, visit: www.eonexperience.com/eon-creator/eon-creator.aspx

Alcoa's Kawneer business and The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) announce today the Enlightening Libraries: Student Design Competition. Sponsored by Kawneer and administered by the AIAS, this competition will challenge students to redesign a dated public library that is an effectively urbanized, collaborative community space appealing to all generations and integrating the most recent technologies. Total prize money is $7,750, including $3,000 for the first place winning design team.

The competition, now in its seventh year, challenges students to learn about building materials and techniques, specifically architectural aluminum building products and systems, while demonstrating an understanding of sustainable design. Participants are required to integrate a variety of Kawneer products, from entrances and framing systems to windows and curtain wall systems as they relate to efficient community spaces, to develop a new-age library that embraces an atmosphere of enlightenment and learning.

A jury of four architectural professionals will evaluate submissions based on ingenuity and originality as well as design clarity and the ability to create an aesthetic that compliments the community and environment. Appropriate use of materials, including light shelves and sunshades that enhance natural light, will be key factors in the evaluation and selection of winning designs.

Developed to engage architecture and design students from schools worldwide, contest submissions can be the work of an individual or a group of up to four students. Students interested in participating in the competition must register no later than October 14, 2012. Submissions must be made digitally via the competition website on or before November 29, 2012. Winning entries will be published in the Spring 2012 issue of Crit, Journal of the AIAS and will be on display at the 2013 AIA Convention and Design Exposition in Denver, Colorado, June 2013.

For more information or to register, visit: kawneer.aias.org

The North American Die Casting Association (NADCA) will host its Die Casting Congress & Exposition October 8-10, 2012, at the Indiana Conventions Center – Halls A&B in Indianapolis, IN.

This event will feature three days of Congress sessions, technical and management presentations that will be given by experts from around the world. These presentations will expose metalcasters to the latest technology, ongoing research and successful management tools that will assist companies in enhancing their competitiveness.

“We are excited to once again offer a “die casting-only” trade show and look forward to bringing thousands of die casters to this event to see and learn about products, services and advancements in the die casting industry,” said Twarog.

This exposition will also feature more than 100 exhibitors, the International Die Casting Design Competition, the Design Competition Luncheon and the Die Casting Industry Gala. Over 75% of booth space has been sold!

The Die Casting Congress & Exposition is an exclusive event to the die casting industry and its suppliers.  The 2015 Die Casting Congress & Exposition will also be held in Indianapolis due to its centralized location for the convenience of the die casting industry.

For more information or to register, visit: www.diecasting.org/congress

We at FineLine Prototyping are excited to announce the launch of MicroFine Metal, the newest technology of our high-quality, precision rapid prototyping services. We are pleased to be the first in the industry to offer metal prototypes at the highly detailed resolution that we are known for producing, affording us the opportunity to serve you in new and innovative ways.

We discovered through surveying our customers that there was a great need for precision metal parts made quickly. We set about finding a solution that produced precision, full-strength metal parts that our customers could order as quickly and easily as plastic parts. After two years of research and development, we are happy to now have that service in place. We can now meet the needs of our customer base by producing prototypes – and even production-ready parts – in stainless steel and aluminum.

More specifically, the following materials are available as part of our MicroFine Metal service offering:

MicroFine Metal Direct:

  • Stainless Steel 17-4PH
  • Stainless Steel 316L

MicroFine Metal Casting:

  • Aluminum 6061-T6 (A356.2-T6)
  • Aluminum 2024-T7 (B206.2-T7)

MicroFine Metal parts are built in micro-resolution (.001” layers), making extremely fine details possible. The MicroFine Metal Direct process has a working build envelope of 3.5” by 3.5” by 3”. The process is capable of resolving features down to .005”. Tolerances of +/-.002” or better can be expected on features under 1”. Surface finish of the parts as built is approximately 130 microinches RMS.

The current limitations of the Microfine Metal Casting process are a maximum part dimension of 3”, maximum part volume of 1.5 cu. in., and minimum feature size of .010”. Tolerances of +/- .003” can be expected for features less than 1 in. and +/- .005” for features greater than 1 in. Surface finish of the parts as cast is very fine at approximately 32 RMS – similar to die-cast parts.

We offer finishing options to improve on surfaces if needed. In addition to our standard finishes, optional finishing procedures such as anodizing, electropolish, hand polish, and powder coating/painting are available to meet your every need. If tighter tolerances are required, we offer secondary machining operations such as drilling, slotting, milling and reaming. Discuss your needs with our quoting staff and we will help you select the best finishing method for your part.

For your convenience and just like with our other services, you may upload your files via our online quoter and simply select “metal” as your material choice to get started. A typical turnaround time is 2-4 business days for parts built using MicroFine Metal Direct and 5-6 business days for parts built using MicroFine Metal Casting.

We are very excited about this new service and the ability to now offer precision production-level quality metal prototypes with the ease and speed of plastic parts.

For more information, visit: www.finelineprototyping.com/services/materials.php#metal

rapid prototype and manufacturing (rp+m), located in Avon Lake, Ohio, is receiving their first Objet machine.  Next week rp+m, a product development and prototyping company, is expanding their capabilities by purchasing Objet’s largest build machine, the Objet Connex500.  With this 3D printer, rp+m will be able to simulate an overmold or 2 shot process using Objet’s hard and soft touch material as well as run up to 14 materials in a single build.

rp+m is a sister company of Thogus, an engineering company whose expertise is in plastic injection molding.  rp+m became it’s own entity in 2011 due to the growing demand of rapid prototyping.   With a team of mechanical and biomedical engineers, rp+m can also provide product design, quality and regulatory services.

Features:

  • largest build envelope (19.7 in. X 15.7 in. X 7.9 in.)
  • run up to 14 materials in one build
  • soft touch material
  • simulate overmold or 2 shot process
  • near water clear material
  • quick build times (.75 in./ hour / per strip)
  • very high resolution and accuracy

Markets:

  • animation & entertainment
  • architecture
  • automotive
  • consumer electronics
  • consumer goods
  • defense
  • dental
  • educational
  • hearing Aid
  • industrial machinery
  • jewelry
  • medical
  • medical equipment
  • sporting Goods
  • toys

For more information, visit: www.rpplusm.com

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:41

Haas to Showcase 16 Machines at IMTS 2012

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IMTS is the premier manufacturing technology show in the Americas. For 2012, the show is expected to bring together more than 82,000 visitors from 116 countries to see more than 1100 exhibitors from around the world.  This year, Haas will have 16 machines on display in 10,000 square feet of booth space, as well as 3 additional machines in vendor booths. Here’s a list of what’s new since last IMTS:

UMC-750 Universal Machining Center

The Haas UMC-750 is a versatile 5-axis 40-taper VMC with 30" x 22" x 20" travels and an integrated dual-axis trunnion table. The show machine is equipped with a 12,000-rpm inline direct-drive spindle, and comes standard with a 40+1 tool side-mount tool changer. The dual-axis trunnion can position parts to nearly any angle for 5-sided (3+2) machining, or provide full simultaneous 5-axis motion for contouring and complex machining. The 630 x 500 mm table features standard T-slots and a precision pilot bore for fixturing versatility, and the trunnion provides +35 and -110 degrees of tilt and 360 degrees of rotation for excellent tool clearance and large part capacity.
    
ST-10Y Compact Y-Axis Turning Center

The Haas ST-10Y is a small-footprint Y-axis turning center that provides 4" of Y-axis travel (±2" from the centerline) for off-center milling, drilling, and tapping, and comes standard with high-torque live tooling and a servo-driven C axis for versatile 4-axis capability. The machine provides a maximum cutting capacity of 9" x 14", with a swing of 16.25" over the cross slide. It is equipped with a 6.5" hydraulic 3-jaw chuck and a 12-station VDI turret. The ST-10Y’s A2-5 spindle nose has a 2.31" spindle bore and a bar capacity of 1.75". The machine’s 15 hp vector dual-drive spindle turns to 6000 rpm, and provides 75 ft-lb of torque.
    
ST-20SSY High-Speed Y-Axis Turning Center

The Haas ST-20SSY is a high-speed Y-axis turning center that provides 4" of Y-axis travel, and includes high-torque live tooling and a servo-driven C axis to perform secondary machining operations. The machine has a maximum cutting capacity of 10" x 21", and is equipped with a 24-station hybrid BOT/VDI turret. The A2-6 spindle turns to 5000 rpm, and features an 8.3" hydraulic chuck and a 2.0" bar capacity. A 30 hp vector drive system yields 140 ft-lb of torque.

ST-40 Large-Capacity Turning Center

The Haas ST-40 is the largest addition to Haas Automation’s line of new generation turning centers. It has a maximum cutting capacity of 25.5" x 44", with maximum swings of 34.5" over the front apron and 25.5" over the cross slide. The spindle bore is 4.62", with a bar capacity of 4". The machine’s 40-hp vector dual-drive spindle turns to 2400 rpm, and provides 1400 ft-lb of torque. The ST-40 features an A2-8 spindle nose and comes equipped with a 15" hydraulic 3-jaw chuck. A 12-station bolt-on style tool turret is standard, with an option for a hybrid BOT/VDI turret.

DS-30Y Dual-Spindle Y-Axis Turning Center

The Haas DS-30Y turning center combines dual-spindle turning with Y axis, C axis, and live tooling. The opposed spindles support fully synchronized turning, and allow on-the-fly part pass-off to reduce cycle times. The machine comes standard with high-torque live tooling and a servo-driven C axis, and provides 4" of Y-axis travel (±2" from the centerline) for off-center milling, drilling, and tapping. The DS-30Y has a maximum cutting capacity of 18" x 23", and is equipped with a 12-station hybrid BOT/VDI turret. The A2-6 main spindle features an 8.3" hydraulic chuck and a 30 hp vector drive system; the A2-5 secondary spindle also has an 8.3" hydraulic chuck, and is powered by a 20 hp vector drive system. Both spindles turn to 4000 rpm, and have a 2.0" bar capacity.

New 40-Taper Spindles

For 2012, Haas Automation increased the speed and performance of the standard spindle on its expansive line of 40-taper VMCs, and introduced several new optional spindles. All Haas VF-1 through VF-12 40-taper VMCs are now equipped with a powerful 8100-rpm inline direct-drive spindle that is driven by a 30-horsepower vector drive system. An optional 10,000-rpm inline direct-drive spindle is available for shops wanting higher spindle speeds. Both spindles yield 90 ft-lb of cutting torque.

For shops needing additional low-speed torque and wanting the flexibility of a gearbox, two optional gear-drive spindles are also available for standard Haas 40-taper VMCs. The optional spindles provide either 8100-rpm or 10,000-rpm, and feature a Haas-built, high-precision two-speed gearbox. Both geared spindles yield 250 ft-lb of torque.

For more information, visit: www.imts.com/visitor/exdir/exhibitor_details.cfm?exhid=00000725

Tuesday, 05 June 2012 10:02

Capture 3D Measurement Innovation 2012

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The growing need to optimize manufacturing methods are driving companies to advance to accurate and fast non-contact optical 3D measurement solutions to conquer today's and tomorrow's challenges. This educational conference focuses on how companies are improving their design, production, manufacturing, and maintenance processes with optical and structured light measurement technology. Capture 3D is thrilled to be celebrating our 5th biannual conference. This special event is geared for engineers, managers, and executives to learn, discover, assimilate, interact, and collaborate. If you have not already signed up, please remember seating is limited, so register today to participate in this exciting event.

The keynote and guest speaker technical presentations will address 3D measurement applications applicable to various industries for optimizing quality control, inspection, reverse engineering, CFD/FEA analysis, automation, rapid manufacturing, root cause analysis, and much more. The 3D Solutions Expo will showcase the latest innovative 3D measurement equipment and software live.

Goal of the event is to:

  • Learn how companies are utilizing innovative 3D measurement technology into current workflows to reduce costs, speed up processes, and improve time to market
  • Discover techniques for ATOS 3D scanning, TRITOP digital photogrammetry, inspection, reverse engineering, and automation
  • Collaborate with industry professionals and gain insight to help improve various applications
  • See upcoming developments and enhancements from Capture 3D and GOM
  • Receive technical advice and support from Capture 3D, GOM, and attendees
  • Provide feedback on desired functionality and other areas of importance to you
  • Network with people who share similar responsibilities and goals
  • Interact in our hands-on 3D Solutions Expo displaying a series of live labs and solutions experts

Capture 3D Measurement Innovation 2012
Hilton Hotel
3050 Bristol Street Costa Mesa, CA 92626
August 21-23, 2012

For more information or to register, visit: www.capture3d.com/3Dconference/2012.html

EDAC Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: EDAC), a diversified designer, manufacturer and servicer of precision components for aerospace and industrial applications, announced today that it has acquired EBTEC Corporation, a provider of advanced precision manufacturing processes and fabrication solutions to leading aerospace, power generation, industrial, semiconductor and medical customers.  Privately-owned EBTEC, which is headquartered in Agawam, Mass., had sales of $12.6 million in 2011.

The purchase price was approximately $11 million, of which $1.65 million has been paid in EDAC stock, with the balance funded by financing through TD Bank N.A.

EBTEC Corporation, which was founded in 1963, pioneered the development of non-contact, high energy beam (HB) technologies with the Apollo Space Program, proving at the time that EB welding could meet the demands that space travel would place on engineered products.  Today, in addition to electron beam welding, EBTEC's precision high energy beam processes include laser welding, laser cutting, laser drilling, EDM, vacuum heat treating, and abrasive waterjet cutting, while they also offer comprehensive precision fabrication solutions.  EBTEC has an extensive array of equipment, coupled with substantial engineering, metallurgy, quality assurance, program management, and in-house finishing capabilities. EBTEC is a certified supplier to major aerospace and industrial OEMs.

Dominick A. Pagano, President and Chief Executive Officer of EDAC Technologies, commented, "This acquisition represents an important step forward in our growth strategy. EBTEC gives us highly complementary and advanced capabilities that are required for the manufacture of our precision parts, many of which we formerly outsourced to EBTEC.  EBTEC also fabricates finished components, which immediately expands our product line with additional parts for aircraft engines and ground-based turbines, markets we currently serve.  In addition, EBTEC makes components and products used by manufacturers of semiconductors and medical devices, which opens up new markets to EDAC.  This acquisition also efficiently expands our manufacturing footprint as EBTEC's two facilities in Massachusetts are close to our own operations.

"We are acquiring a very well run and profitable company.  We have the highest regard for the EBTEC team and welcome each of them to EDAC.  In addition to their engineering capabilities and design know-how, they share with the team at EDAC a deep and proven commitment to innovation and exacting execution, making both companies an ideal fit with each other."

EDAC Technologies Corporation is a diversified manufacturing company serving the aerospace and industrial markets.  In the aerospace sector, EDAC offers design and manufacturing services for commercial and military aircraft, in such areas as jet engine parts, special tooling, equipment, gauges and components used in the manufacture, assembly and inspection of jet engines.  Industrial applications include high-precision fixtures, gauges, dies and molds, as well as the design, manufacture and repair of precision spindles, which are an integral part of machine tools found in virtually every manufacturing environment. EDAC's core competencies include extensive in-house design and engineering capabilities, and facilities equipped with the latest enabling machine tools and manufacturing technologies.

For more information, visit: www.edactechnologies.com or www.ebteccorp.com

Wednesday, 23 May 2012 07:14

Launch of UP! mini 3d printer

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Delta Micro Factory Corp. (PP3DP) announced today, the launch of the much anticipated follow-up, UP! Mini, to their highly acclaimed, flagship 3d printer, the UP! family. The all-new UP! Mini 3D Printer, with its full metal, temperature stabilizing enclosure and groundbreaking sub $1000 USD retail price, was introduced at simultaneous launches at RAPID 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the Atlantic Design & Manufacturing Show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and CeBIT Australia in Sydney, Australia.

The UP! Mini is based on the simplicity of a traditional inkjet printer, with a snap in printer head, slide in build table and clip in consumable roll. You are ready to start making your big ideas into 3-Dimensional usable models out of tough ABS+ plastic.

There is no sacrifice on build quality with the UP! Mini, with its enclosed steel construction, double linear bearings on each axis and a temperature stabilizing build chamber; it is ready to produce quality parts on your desk within 15 minutes from switching it on.

"The UP! Mini is the result of 1000's of hours of field testing & valuable feedback from our rapidly growing UP!  user community." says PP3DP's Director of International Marketing, Joseph Guo.

Specifications:

  • Build footprint of 4.7” x 4.7” x 4.7” / 120 x 120 x 120mm with heated build table.
  • Enclosed chamber to reduce warping.
  • Double linear bearings on each axis - ensures consistent build quality throughout the entire print process.
  • Print speed of 9mins per cm3
  • Layer resolution of 250 microns
  • Chip free and open consumables – You can use any suppliers ABS roll of 1.75mm plastic with your UP! Mini. The UP! Mini consumable is an open design so you are not locked into expensive consumables as opposed to expensive inkjet cartridges.
  • USB interface for inkjet simplicity print spooling, you can unplug your computer once the UP! Mini starts printing.
  • Includes the Smart UP! Software, tools and a full roll of plastic to get you started.

With the introduction this week of the UP! Mini, PP3DP promises no compromises made when designing this newest member of the UP! family, "the Up! Mini has the features of the UP! Plus+ and is available, ready to print, for under $1000 USD. It is more suitable for family use." says Joseph Guo, "Not bad for a new born!"

UP! Mini will be available to preorder from June 1st from local resellers all over the world, and PP3DP website.

For more information, visit: www.pp3dp.com

Xten Industries, Kenosha, announced today that its subsidiary has acquired the assets of Paramount Plastics, LLC, Lockport, IL, an $18 million full service plastic injection molding company with special expertise in large-tonnage molding using engineered grade resins.  Paramount is an ISO/TS 16949:2002 certified company.

“We are very excited about the addition of Paramount, which greatly increases Xten’s production capabilities and substantially expands our customer base,” said Matthew Davidson, Xten CEO and Co-founder.

Founded in 1990, Paramount Plastics grew rapidly, establishing a solid reputation as a reliable large tonnage automotive supplier.  Within Paramount’s 122,000 square foot facility are 24 presses ranging from 60-2,000 tons, with shot capacities from 5 grams to 26 lbs.  A variety of robotic automation supports the production of parts sold into the industrial, consumer durable, health and fitness, automotive and packaging markets.

“In addition to the larger equipment, we’ve gained the operational expertise of Paramount’s people,” said Bill Renick, Xten’s president and operations leader.  “Out of the due diligence process, we came to realize how much they have contributed to Paramount’s success and feel fortunate to have them now within the Xten family.”

“One of the qualities both Xten and Paramount share is our dedication to providing exceptional service,” said Davidson.  “Given this common focus, we’re certain Paramount’s current customers will notice no decline in our ongoing support.”

Levin Ginsburg Attorneys at Law served as legal counsel to Xten Industries. Stevenson & Company advised Paramount Plastics and Chuhak & Tecson Attorneys at Law served as Paramount’s legal counsel.

For more information, visit: www.xtenindustries.com or www.paramountplastics.net

Cideas, Inc., leading Rapid Prototyping, Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) and 3D Printing company announced its acquisition of 3D Systems sPRO™ 60 HD HS. The purchase comes in response to growing demand for high definition prototypes and parts for aerospace, consumer products and medical industries.

"The sPRO™ 60 HD HS allows us to manufacture high-definition, durable plastic parts from a broad range of available thermoplastics," said Cideas President Mike Littrell. "What makes this a significant machine, is the digital scanning feature, a fairly new technology that is currently unavailable to the sPRO™ 140 and sPRO™ 230. "The part quality is extremely impressive; it enables us to create complex assemblies, as well as, production quantities with ease."

Cideas is the world's largest independently owned service provider of the Fused Deposition Modeling™ technology. Within months of relocating to their new state-of-the-art Chicago-land based facility, Cideas has installed two large frame Fortus Fused Deposition Modeling™ systems and one Selective Laser Sintering® system.

Cideas will display 3D printing technology, prototypes and parts at RAPID 2012, May 23-24, 2012. RAPID is North America's definitive additive manufacturing conference and exposition for design, prototyping, tooling and direct manufacturing technologies.

Founded in 1998, Cideas is the largest independently owned service provider of the Fused Deposition Modeling™ technology. Their new state of the art Chicago-land based facility was specifically designed to house their 16+ FDM™ systems, as well as; Selective Laser Sintering®, Polyjet™ systems, Urethane casting and Stereolithography® services. The new facility also boasts "in house" paint, polishing and pattern finishing services. Cideas supports over 10 different FDM materials such as: ABS-M30, M30i, ABS-ESD7, PC-ABS, PC-ISO, PC, ULTEM 9085, PPSF / PPSU, P400, and ABS F1. In addition to FDM™, the company offers an additional 15+ materials with Polyjet™, Selective Laser Sintering® (SLS®), Stereolithography® (SLA®), Urethane Casting, CAD Engineering and full model finishing services. Cideas is a member of the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

For more information, visit: www.buildparts.com or www.production3dprinters.com/sls/spro-60-hd-sls-production-printer

During a customer event KraussMaffei showed fascinated trade visitors a new dimension of injection molding with the progressive GX series. Presented for the first time, the GX series extends the product portfolio in the segment of hydro-mechanical dual platen machines in the medium clamping force range. The passionate engineering of the developers is manifested in a first-class machine concept featuring intelligent product innovations such as the GearX locking device and the GuideX guide shoe. The GX series sets new standards in terms of performance, usability and value retention.

Visitors impressed by the exhibition with a demonstration of six machines

During today's world premiere in Munich, KraussMaffei provided a convincing demonstration of six machines in its new GX series with a clamping force ranging from 400 to 650 tonnes. These machines have different sizes and equipment variants for production requirements in a very large number of industries. The GX machines are impressive during the production of free falling packaging parts and premium quality articles for the automotive industry or the consumer goods sector. "Our customers were primarily interested in the modular automation cells containing linear and industrial robots in different configurations", summarized Dr. Karlheinz Bourdon, Vice President Technologies in the Injection Molding Machinery Segment of KraussMaffei, "and I can only emphasize that the GX is the best machine concept on the market!"

A powerful team: GearX and GuideX

The hydro-mechanical clamping unit in the GX series sets new standards in terms of quality and productivity. The excellent dual platen technology scores highly with a wide range of innovations. "In my opinion, the GX machines represent the best overall concept", underlined Bourdon. "We talk about a new dimension because our customers can use the machine to get the best results from their production." With the ingenious GuideX guide shoe, forces are ideally absorbed and the service life of the molds is increased. As an intelligent fixed bearing joint with an optimized FEM design, GuideX is not just an "eye-catcher", but a genuine highlight which ensures excellent platen parallelism due to the stable design and guarantees smooth, energy-saving movements. The innovative GearX locking system is reliably activated straightaway within the shortest possible time and continuously produces quick machine movements. Arranged in a space-saving way behind the moving mold fixing platen, it facilitates simple access and numerous customer-specific options.

Convenience and efficiency for the complete machine

Maximum priority is attached in the GX series to easy accessibility of the clamping, ejection and nozzle area, as well the switching cabinets and pump area. Thanks to the accessible design, the operator always works extremely comfortably and time efficiently. Short set-up times and simple maintenance are advantages that speak for themselves. GX: This is usability in a new dimension!

Powerful injection unit with proven plasticizing system

The proven KraussMaffei screw system, which ensures a wide range of applications, was retained in the GX series. Our standard plasticizing unit assures optimal melting quality and high throughput. “As a specialist for special polymers, we also offer our customers a raft of material-specific plasticizing solutions", said Frank Peters, Vice President Sales at KraussMaffei. “The application areas range from PC and PMMA through to PET, PC/PBT and plasticizing systems for long fiber processing." The Competence Center provides customers with competent advice, and there are hardly any limits to application areas. Fixed check valves with quick and precise closing behavior guarantee high weight constancy from shot to shot.

Processors profit from unlimited precision

The efficiency of the plasticizing process is supported by the proven in-line injection unit which has a rotary piston design and transmits force centrally via the injection piston to the screw. This direct path ensures absolute precision and maximum reproducibility Injection regulation of pressure and speed is a standard feature of the GX and guarantees processors maximum process reliability.

New MC6 control system offers considerable latitude

"With the MC6 we have a developed a control system which meets our customers' needs for "usability" in every respect”, said Bourdon. “It can be operated clearly and incredibly easy using SplitScreen and ProcessDesigner." Whether an operator is working with a KraussMaffei control system for the first time or is accustomed to its MC5 predecessor – MC6 technology is so intuitively accessible that he will hardly notice it. In keeping with our overall energy-efficient design, the MC6 control system has been equipped with a so-called "Eco button" for the first time. A most energetically optimum machine setting can therefore be made at the push of a button. The new "SplitScreen technology" shows the operator all important production processes at a glance. It almost never takes more than two clicks to get where you want to go quickly and easily. The integrated ProcessDesigner tool clearly presents all current processes in visual terms and enables you to modify them, depending on requirements, by means of simple drag-and-drop movements or wiping movements. This is also usability in a new dimension.

Overall modular concept creates flexibility

No matter which injection unit, clamping unit or drive is needed, the modular machine design makes it possible to meet every individual requirement. Due to the fact that the machine center always remains at the same height, the system is compatible with all clamping and injection unit combinations. In the modular drive system of the GX series, the latest generation of the variable delivery pumps is a standard feature. Their use improves efficiency and guarantees processors maximum cost-effectiveness. The parallel movement of the ejector and core pullers increases productivity and is integrated in the standard. The new premium quality hydraulic components were designed with the focus on higher availability and a long service life to meet the latest state of the art regarding energy efficiency. Depending on the application and production cycle, the machines can be supplied with different PowerPack performance classes for first-class economical production. Through the optional use of "Blue Power Servo Drive" Technology, energy consumption is further optimized compared with variable delivery pumps. The saving amounts to 10 and 30 percent depending on the particular application. Compared with conventional hydraulic concepts on the market, savings of up to 50 percent are actually possible.

Perfect symbiosis of automation technology and machine

Even with fully integrated overall systems comprising a machine and automation technology, KraussMaffei goes one step further. Machine and handling form a functional unit in this combination. The linear robots from the LRX series are ideally suited for simple pick & place solutions and quick removal. The industrial robot (IR) guarantees maximum flexibility during complex demolding and a wide range of other assembly steps or production steps. A uniform protective housing makes the perfect symbiosis visible on the outside as well. The shared control MC6 system in particular represents true added value for the customer. It allows both functional units - machine and automation - to be controlled on any control panel: Smart programming with WizardX: The dialog-based programming assistant in the MC6 control system allows even beginners to create basic demolding processes in the shortest possible time. The interactive communication between the user and control system makes manual programming superfluous and eliminates programming errors.

Impressive during first-time use in production

A GX 550-4300 was delivered to WAFA Kunststofftechnik GmbH in Augsburg in October 2011. Due to the very high demands on the production process and the component, the company was deliberately selected for the field tests in continuous production operation. "The high precision, speed, modularity and high usability completely convinced us", said Wolfgang K. Müller, proprietor and managing director of WAFA. "KraussMaffei once again raised the bar for the high quality of their injection molding machines with their new GX series." The machine is equipped with a type LRX 250 linear robot, the basic component for economical manufacturing cells. This removes the sensitive parts, places them on a cooling/conveyor section and separates the sprues gates as required. The robot also ensures that conditions regarding demolding time and cycle time remain consistent, thus exerting a positive influence on process conditions. "KraussMaffei has created a top-quality machine with the GX, which literally opens up new dimensions. The modular design, high performance and outstanding precision combine to form one user-friendly machine - a great performance!", said Wolfgang K. Müller praising the development team.

For more information, visit: www.kraussmaffei.com

3D Engineering Solutions employed 3D laser scanning, structured light scanning and Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) best practices to reverse engineer components for military aircraft, including parts for large helicopters and Harrier jump jets recently sold by Britain to the U.S. Because the CAD models and prints for these parts are not available, 3D Engineering digitized each component, determined the materials, finishes and coatings, and then created new CAD models and prints to be used by government suppliers in recreating each piece. 3D laser scanning was employed to digitize the larger parts while structured light scanning was used to capture the smaller, detailed components.

“The difficulty in these types of projects comes in discerning the original design intent of the component. This is done by studying how the parts interact with the overall system and applying proper dimensioning and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) that is appropriate for the design intent and to reduce the end cost of the components,” said 3D Engineering Solutions Vice President of Operations Rob Glassburn, P.E. In all, 3D Engineering created over 200 prints for the helicopter and Harrier projects, comparing the scans they captured with the models they created numerous times.

3D Engineering Solutions is completing the prints of these wear item components at a time when Diminishing Manufacturing Sources and Material Shortages (DMSMS) pertaining to military aircraft is on the rise. “For various reasons, suppliers to our government are no longer able to provide key components to certain systems. Many of these components are wear items that need to be replaced on a frequent basis,” said Glassburn. “When the prints for these parts aren’t available, that’s where we come in.”

Customers rely on 3D Engineering Solutions to design process tooling and fixtures for the automotive, industrial, green energy, nuclear and aerospace industries, using engineering tools such as Siemens advanced NX7.5 Mach 3 CAD platform. Leading edge point cloud software, InnovMetrics PolyWorks, allows a common software platform for collecting data across all of Faro laser-based data collection platforms. In addition to reverse engineering services, 3D Engineering Solutions is registered with the State of Ohio for Professional Engineering and ISO 17025 Certified for third party inspection. In their seventh year of operation, the company maintains a state-of-the-art, climate controlled metrology lab, servicing the Midwest OEM needs for 3D laser scanning, data collection, 3D CAD modeling, FAI / PPAP inspection, and reverse engineering services. 3D Engineering Solutions brings more than 100 years of collective experience to every engineering project.

For more information, visit: www.3D-engineering.net

3DVision Technologies is thrilled to announce the launch of its brand-new website.

According to Carrie Patrick, Marketing Manager for 3DVision, there were several goals in mind when redesigning the site. "In our business, the technology is constantly changing. We found ourselves unable to make quick changes and updates to our site to better communicate our products and services to our customers. With this new platform and site redesign we are now able to make updates within hours, not days."

3DVision Technologies last launched a complete site redesign in 2009. While the site was current and still relevant, Patrick believed that it was time to take things to the next level.

With a clean look and new information geared specifically toward 3DVision's technologically minded audience, the site is engaging and educational, holding the user's interest and providing a format that is easy to navigate.

Todd Majeski, President and CEO of 3DVision Technologies, noted, "From a visual standpoint, the new site really reflects our company brand as well as the brand of our partners. In addition we are now able to more effectively communicate with our customers and potential prospects."

Patrick notes, "No matter what your size, your company website leaves a lasting impression with any visitor. At 3DVision Technologies we believe that we have once again differentiated ourselves from our competition and this is just the beginning."

3DVision Technologies Corp. is the leading value-added reseller of SolidWorks 3D CAD software in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. At 3DVision Technologies, our team of experienced engineers and world-class trainers help our colleagues in the design and manufacturing industries produce high quality products in less time with lower costs. Our products, including 3D solid-modeling, computer aided analysis, and product data management, provide the tools you need to rapidly turn your ideas into business success.

For more information, visit: www.3dvision.com

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: LECO) announced today that it has acquired Wayne Trail Technologies, Inc., a privately held Ohio-based manufacturer of automated systems and tooling, serving a wide range of applications in the metal processing market.

"The addition of Wayne Trail Technologies strengthens our already strong position as a market leader in welding automation in North America," said John M. Stropki, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Wayne Trail brings extensive design and system building experience, and we are particularly excited about the company's proven capabilities and continued commercial success in the area of laser welding systems."

"We look forward to expanding our ability to serve customers in the U.S. and international markets as part of Lincoln's broad portfolio of welding and automated solutions for its global customer base," said David M. Knapke, President and CEO of Wayne Trail Technologies.

Wayne Trail Technologies, Inc., with headquarters and manufacturing operations in Ft. Loramie, Ohio, has annual sales of approximately $50 million and employs 162 people.

Terms were not disclosed.

Lincoln Electric is the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment and has a leading global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln has 45 manufacturing locations, including operations and joint ventures in 20 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.

For more information, visit: www.lincolnelectric.com

Like other professionals, architects have used computer-aided design (CAD) software in their work for decades. Typically, the resulting digital files are converted to hard-copy plans, which are then used to support traditional construction practices.

Researchers in the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology are now automating some of the processes by which computer-based designs are turned into real world entities. They're developing techniques that fabricate building elements directly from digital designs, allowing custom concrete components to be manufactured rapidly and at low cost.

"We're developing the research and the protocols to manufacture high-end customized architectural products economically, safely and with environmental responsibility," said Tristan Al-Haddad, an assistant professor in the College of Architecture who is a leader in this effort. "We think this work offers opportunities for architectural creativity at a new level and with tremendously increased efficiency."

In one recent project, Al-Haddad and a College of Architecture team collaborated with Lafarge North America to fabricate an award-winning building-element concept called a "Liquid Wall." The Georgia Tech team employed digital techniques to help construct a prototype wall, using ultra high-performance concrete; the result was displayed by the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) in the "Innovate:Integrate" exhibition.

In another Lafarge-sponsored project, Al-Haddad and a College of Architecture team are developing a complete free-standing structure using ultra high-performance concrete elements fabricated directly from digital designs.

The Liquid Wall, originated by Peter Arbour of Paris-based RFR Consulting Engineers, won the 2010 Open Call for Innovative Curtain-Wall Design competition conducted by the AIA. The concept advanced a novel approach to curtain walls, which are building coverings that keep out weather but are non-structural and lightweight.

RFR's plans called for the Liquid Wall to be constructed of stainless steel and Ductal®, a light and strong ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) that is produced by Lafarge. Moreover, the new building enclosure was conceived as an entire system, including integrated louver systems, solar shading, integrated passive solar collectors and other advanced features.

Georgia Tech became involved in the Liquid Wall project when RFR decided to built a full-scale prototype of the complex concept. RFR asked Al-Haddad to help turn Arbour's original parametric sketches into a manufacturable design.

Supported by the College of Architecture's Digital Building and Digital Fabrication laboratories, the researchers refined the geometry of the original sketches for manufacturability and developed the techniques required for fabricating a full-size curtain wall.

Then, working from their digital models and using a five-axis CNC router – a device capable of machining material directly from a digital design – the Georgia Tech team milled a full-scale model of the wall. The model was made from a lightweight polymer material, expanded polystyrene (EPS) closed-cell foam, which was then given a polyurea coating.

The digitally milled foam model created an exact replica – a positive -- of the final wall. The lightweight positive could then be used to produce a negative capable of forming the actual prototype. In this case, the collaborators used the positive to produce a rubber mold – the negative – from which the final wall was cast.

The foam positive was shipped to Coreslab Structures Inc., a large corporation that specializes in industrial-scale casting. The Georgia Tech team then worked with Coreslab to identify the best techniques for creating the rubber mold and for pouring in Ductal to form the concrete wall.

"It was a very collaborative process – the four major players were Peter Arbour and RFR, Georgia Tech, Coreslab and Lafarge," Al-Haddad said. "And we had all of three weeks to finish the work before the exhibition deadline – so it was pretty intense."

Other College of Architecture people involved in the collaboration included graduate student Andres Cavieres, associate professor Russell Gentry and professor Charles Eastman, director of the Digital Building Laboratory. The resulting full-size Liquid Wall prototype was installed at the Center for Architecture in New York City as part of the AIANY's "Innovate: Integrate" exhibition, and was on view for several months in 2010 and 2011.

The Liquid Wall project was challenging, said Eastman, who holds joint appointments in the College of Architecture and the College of Computing. The process involved not only producing rubber negatives using wall-form designs created with CAD and parametric-modeling software, but also required identifying the right production procedures and finding effective ways of installing a completed full-size wall on a building.

"When you're creating a completely new process like the Liquid Wall, you're faced with developing a whole new manufacturing process for this kind of material," Eastman said.

A future project, expected to be about 20 by 20 feet square and 15 feet high, will be built using Ductal UHPC, principally or entirely. A central technical challenge will involve molding the many custom elements so that all edges fit together and form a structure that is stable, practical and esthetically pleasing.

"We understand the structural side of a project like this quite well -- the difficulty comes in the actual manufacturing of the elements," Al-Haddad said. "We want to advance the use of digital parametric models with custom molding systems, and create a free-form manufacturing system that can produce many variations quickly and accurately."

For more information, visit: www.dbl.gatech.edu/dfl/liquid-wall

Monday, 14 May 2012 11:16

SURFCAM 6 Beta Released

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Surfware, Inc. announced this week that the beta version of its flagship CAM software, SURFCAM 6, has been completed and is being made available to SURFCAM Beta Users, Testers and Resellers worldwide.

SURFCAM 6, the next major up and coming release, is on schedule to follow the previous SURFCAM V5 Series of releases. SURFCAM V5.2 was released in April 2011, SURFCAM V5.1 was released in September 2010. The SURFCAM V5 Series was launched in February 2010 starting with the introduction of SURFCAM V5.0.

“SURFCAM 6 is a significant release version for any serious CAM programmer,” says Peter Marton, Vice President of Surfware. “A large part of this release has been dedicated to taking the existing power and control available in the software today and coupling it with enhancements and features to make for an improved user experience. The addition of a 64 bit version, new and updated internal technologies, and even many new additional features and enhancements will prove this version of SURFCAM 6 to be a must for all programmers that require a tool which is easy to use while allowing programmers the ability to create toolpaths with utmost precision and control. With all the capabilities now available in our flagship product, SURFCAM 6 still remains one of the most competitively priced CAD/CAM systems in the market today.”

Some of the new features and enhancements available in SURFCAM 6 are:

  • A 64-Bit Version
  • New Tools and Material Database Engine
  • Faster and Improved Verification Technology
  • Updated Interface
  • Completely redesigned Help System
  • Four (4) new toolpath strategies
  • Updated CAD translators (plus RHINO CAD translator now included)
  • Updated and New Post Processors (MPost and SPost)
  • New Productivity Utilities
  • Updated Digitizer Interfaces
  • New versions of editNC and SDNC
  • Enhanced TRUEMill toolpath calculator and toolpath algorithms
  • ...Plus much more

"We have found this beta release of SURFCAM 6 to be solid and stable,” says SURFCAM Reseller Don McKillop in Florida. “I am really pleased with all the behind the scenes work put into this version to bring it to the competitive state it is in today. We have all the power in SURFCAM 6 to easily create the most complex of 5-Axis toolpaths, and then making them work on the floor seamlessly with the post processors we support.”

"This version is a nice mix of features and 'stable under the hood' type work," says SURFCAM Reseller Greg Martin in Utah. "Surfware has really demonstrated their commitment to SURFCAM CAD/CAM systems competitiveness and set the stage for many years to come with new feature-rich development. We look forward to getting this release in the hands of all of our many SURFCAM customers."

For more information, visit: www.surfware.com

When manufacturing products, the coating technology is a key innovation driver for almost all areas of daily life – for example, for making scratch-proof displays for smart phones or anti-bacterial surfaces in refrigerators. Other coatings protect components from corrosion or aging, for example in a solar cell module or a car engine, without the end user noticing their existence. In industry today, wet chemical processes or vacuum plasma processes are primarily used for coating applications. Both have drawbacks. Vacuum units are expensive, limited to smaller components and applying a coating takes a relatively long time. Wet chemical processes often involve high resource and energy consumption with the corresponding environmental damage and can also cause difficulties in the handling of material combinations for lightweight construction such as plastics/ metals or aluminum/steel.

“There has to be another way”, thought Dr. Jörg Ihde and Dr. Uwe Lommatzsch from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials IFAM in Bremen. Together with Plasmatreat GmbH, the IFAM team developed a new kind of plasma coating process that works at ambient pressure, that is to say, in an open atmosphere. “And that poses a major challenge”, explains Jörg Ihde. “Because the pressure is more than 10,000 times higher and the absence of a vacuum reactor, we had to stop unwanted particles from forming and embedding in the coating. That was the key to developing robust and efficient industrial processes using the new plasma system.

One nozzle – various functional coatings

The central element is a plasma nozzle. The nozzle is no bigger than a typical spray can. Yet it contains a highly complex coating system. “In the nozzle, an electrical discharge generates small flashes - a plasma that is expelled from the nozzle in the form of a jet. We systematically feed into the nozzle outlet those materials that are excited and fragmented in the plasma and then deposited out of the plasma jet as a functional nano-layer onto the surface”, explains Uwe Lommatzsch. “We achieve extremely high deposition rates, enabling fast and cost-effective production processes to be realized.”

The use of a nozzle allows the coating to be applied very precisely and only where it is needed, thus conserving resources. “We can control the processes so that the same nozzle can be used to apply coatings with various functionalities, for corrosion protection or for increasing or reducing adhesion, for instance”, adds Jörg Ihde. Only very small amounts of coating material are required and practically all materials and material combinations can be coated. The process offers, in addition to the coating qualities and functionalities, even more benefits: it can be easily integrated into an inline production process, requires little space and is easy to automate, meaning it can be controlled via a robot. Yet another advantage: low investment costs and easy on the environment. The positive characteristics benefit industrial production: depositing an adhesion-promoting coating on a car window edge before gluing it in, to replace environmentally damaging chemicals or as a substitute for thick protective paint on printed circuit boards, which improves heat dissipation and hence prolongs service life. The process is already employed in the automotive industry and the energy sector to provide protection against corrosion and aging.

For more information, visit: www.fraunhofer.de/en.html

Ashok Agrawal, M.S., P.E., vice president for Academic Affairs at St. Louis Community College - Florissant Valley, Ferguson, Mo., and a member of the SME Education Foundation Board of Directors, has been acknowledged as a leader exemplifying the best in engineering and engineering technology education by The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), and awarded the prestigious James H. McGraw Award.

Ashok Agrawal has served engineering and engineering technology and has held every professorial and administrative position from instructor to chief academic officer. He established the Emerson Center for Engineering and Manufacturing. As a Program Officer of the National Science Foundation (NSF), he played key roles in expanding the Advanced Technological Education program and increasing the visibility of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). An ASEE Fellow and Frederick J. Berger Award recipient, he served ASEE in numerous offices of the Engineering Technology Council and Division, and on the Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.

Agrawal will be honored at the ASEE Awards Banquet being held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, Ballroom C – 7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m., on Wednesday, June 13, 2012. Recipients of 15 ASEE national awards will be honored at the Banquet, in addition to 11 Fellows. Agrawal will receive a $1,000 honorarium award and certificate. The awards ceremony will be held during the 119th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in San Antonio, Texas, June 10-13, 2012.  

Agrawal holds an MS degree in Materials Science, an MS degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Kentucky, and a BS degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Nagpur University in India. Before joining St. Louis Community College, Agrawal was a tenured Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering Technology at West Virginia Institute of Technology.

Prior to assuming his present position as vice President for Academic Affairs, Ashok Agrawal was the dean of the Math, Science, Engineering, and Technology Division and responsible for leading and administering its transfer and career programs. His efforts led to the establishment of the Emerson Center for Engineering and Manufacturing, the development of the joint 2+2 Bachelor’s degree program with Southeast Missouri State, and creation of several customized training programs for key regional corporations including Ameren, AT&T, and Boeing.

As director of the Emerson Center, Agrawal actively engages with St. Louis Community College’s Workforce and Community Development, St. Louis County Economic Council, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA).

In 2006, he was selected to participate in Leadership St. Louis® (LSL), one of the most highly-respected leadership development programs in the nation. The program was built on the belief that the community, just as any business organization, requires strong leadership to grow and improve. In the same year, he was appointed by the Governor of Missouri to serve on the Missouri Math, Engineering, Technology, and Science (Mo-METS) task force, and serve with the Mo-METS coalition. He also serves on the planning team of the St. Louis Region’s FIRST Robotics Competition and on the advisory committee of the St. Louis Science Center.

Agrawal has been honored with numerous awards and recognitions. He is the recipient of the 2003 Florissant Valley David L. Underwood Lecture Award, and also the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Agrawal and his colleagues led the effort to establish a St. Louis Regional Engineering Academy for St. Louis area schools, which included the implementation of Project Lead The Way engineering curriculum. He has received several grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other public and private agencies, including a grant for the College Career Transition Initiative from the League of Innovation.

He has served as a Program Officer at the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation, and continues to assist NSF on special projects. Agrawal has also served on the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Committee to Advance Engineering Studies at Tribal Colleges, the NAE Committee on Community Colleges Role in Engineering and Education, and the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Engineering Education.

Ashok Agrawal is also involved in international activities collaborating with Georgetown University to coordinate The Cooperative Association of States for Scholarships (CASS) program which provides technical training and professional training for low-income and rural students from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua;  and The Scholarships for Education and Economic Development (USAID SEED) Program, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and administered by Georgetown University’s Center for Intercultural Education and Development (CIED).

Founded in 1893, the American Society for Engineering Education is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. In pursuit of academic excellence, ASEE develops policies and programs that enhance professional opportunities for engineering faculty members, and promotes activities that support increased student enrollments in engineering and engineering technology colleges and universities.

For more information, visit: www.asee.org

Die & Mold China 2012 (DMC2012) will be held in Hall E1-E6 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre from May 31st to June 3rd. This year's exhibition will highlight the salient characteristics of new technologies, new processes and new structures, with high-end manufacturing and innovation as priorities for exhibitions and themes of presentations.

Fifteen hundred exhibitors from 15 countries and regions, including Germany, Switzerland, Japan and Korea, are slated to participate in the event and showcase their new products and technologies.

A group including over 30 domestic die and mold makers from Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces that form the elite of China's contribution to the sector will jointly demonstrate the unique elements that sets them apart.

Several other conferences, including an industry summit led by China Die and Mold Industry Association (CDMIA), a technology seminar organized by SWISSMEM (the Swiss association of mechanical and electrical engineering industries) in concert with several international organizations, as well as many market-focused events held by BOSCH, other world-leading firms, and several users associations, are scheduled to take place concurrently.

"Offshore Wind China 2012", which is being held at the same time in a nearby venue, will complement DMC2012 in terms of synergies all along the new energy sector's production chain.

The exhibition's crowning event will be the gathering of the industry's leading decision makers and influencers from both within China and abroad where they plan to discuss cutting edge technologies and the demand for large-scale and high-end equipment, driving the transformation and evolution of the sector.

For more information, visit: www.dmcexpo.com/en/Default.aspx

Philadelphia University will name its innovative interdisciplinary college for alumnus Maurice Kanbar '52, H'03, who has donated $15 million in support of the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce. The $15 million gift is the largest in Philadelphia University history.

"It is with great pride and gratitude that we accept this generous gift from our esteemed alumnus and benefactor Maurice Kanbar," said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D. "Mr. Kanbar's investment in this University is a testament to his belief in our vision, and in the strength and talent of our faculty and students. This is a transformational gift in support of a transformational academic experience."

Kanbar, an entrepreneur, inventor, Hollywood producer and philanthropist, said the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, with its focus on transdisciplinary learning and identifying and solving real-world problems, will enable students to achieve success in the 21st century work place and contribute to society.

"The College will be of tremendous benefit to students, and make it easier for them to succeed in life," Kanbar said. "The number one rule to follow is never be happy with the way things are, always be thinking about how to make it better," he said. "That is basically what I have done my whole life."

"Through the convergence of the design, engineering and business disciplines and connections with industry partners, the College of Design, Engineering and Commerce pushes students to think beyond the boundaries of existing academic fields," said Philadelphia University Provost Randy Swearer, Ph.D. "This College, coupled with our Nexus Learning approach, is helping Philadelphia University to revolutionize higher education. Mr. Kanbar's significant contribution is a vital factor in achieving our vision of being the model for professional university education in the 21st century."

The Kanbar College, which officially launched in fall 2011, offers students an integrated educational experience that prepares them to think critically about the world, giving them a multi-dimensional understanding of their rapidly evolving fields.

"A hallmark of the Kanbar College requires that all students participate in an integrated core curriculum beginning on the first day of their freshmen year," said Ronald Kander, Ph.D., executive dean of Kanbar College. "Through our unique curriculum, students learn to ask the right questions, identify problems, deal with complex issues, create opportunities and innovate.  They gain mastery of their specific disciplines along with the added value of expertise in related fields, thus giving them a competitive edge in the workplace."

To support the College's innovative curriculum, Philadelphia University is constructing a new building, set to open in January 2013, which will include flexible space for studios, seminars, conference meetings and team projects, allowing teaching and work space to be reconfigurable as projects and curricula evolve. The 38,500-square-foot building, built to LEED standards, will reinforce the College's integrated curriculum that pushes students to think beyond the boundaries of existing disciplines and focus on market-driven innovation through teamwork, collaboration and industry connections.

In addition to his latest donation, Kanbar gave $6 million for The Kanbar Campus Center, which opened in fall 2006. His support of Philadelphia University and other academic programs stems from a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of education. "Without an education a person is lost," he said.  "With an education a person has a chance. With a good education, a person has a better chance."

In 2003, Philadelphia University awarded Kanbar, who invented SKYY Vodka, the D-Fuzz-It sweater comb and produced several films (including the animated movie Hoodwinked), the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

Philadelphia University, founded in 1884, is a private university with 3,600 students enrolled in more than 60 undergraduate and graduate programs.  As the model for professional university education, the University prepares students to be leaders in their professions in an active, collaborative and real-world learning environment infused with the liberal arts.  Philadelphia University includes the innovative Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce; the College of Architecture and the Built Environment; and the College of Science, Health and the Liberal Arts.

For more information, visit: www.philau.edu/designengineeringandcommerce/index.html

Award-winning inventor Dean Kamen, best known for creating the Segway™ Human Transporter, will serve as the keynote speaker for the DIA 2012 48th Annual Meeting, to be held June 24–28 in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Kamen is founder and president of DEKA Research & Development Corporation, which works to foster innovation in medicine, engineering and other industries. Kamen holds more than 440 US and foreign patents, many of them for revolutionary medical devices used by health care systems and professionals worldwide, including a movable prosthetic arm and a wheelchair that can climb stairs. Advancing the conference theme “Collaborate to Innovate,” Kamen will lead DIA’s meeting with the goal of fostering partnerships that may lead to promising concepts and research into new patient therapies. He will provide the keynote address on June 25 at 8:00am.

Other highlighted speakers will include:

Freda Lewis-Hall, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Pfizer Inc. Lewis-Hall leads Pfizer’s medical division, which is responsible for the safe and effective use of Pfizer health products. Before joining Pfizer, she held senior leadership positions with Vertex, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia and Lilly. She has led research projects for the National Institutes of Health and served as vice chairperson and associate professor of the department of psychiatry at Howard University College of Medicine. She will be speaking about Meta-collaborations: A Call to Action on June 26 at 8:00am.

Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Park is responsible for helping HHS leadership harness the power of data, technology and innovation to improve the health and welfare of the nation. He co-founded Athenahealth in 1997 and led the health information technology company to become one of the most socially-oriented and successful in the industry. Prior to Athenahealth, he served as a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton focusing on health care strategy, technology and operations.

Guido Rasi, Executive Director of the European Union, European Medicines Agency (EMA). Before joining EMA, Rasi served as director-general of the Italian Medicines Agency, and previously worked in research at the Institute for Experimental Medicine of the National Research Council in Rome, where he directed the molecular medicine department. Rasi attended the University of Rome and holds a degree in surgery and medicine, with specialization in allergology, clinical immunology and internal medicine; he is a full professor of microbiology at the University. On June 25 at 10:00am Rasi will chair a session on push-button regulatory topics that are currently trending in Europe.

Stephen P. Spielberg, Deputy Commissioner of Medical Products and Tobacco for the US FDA, Office of the Commissioner. Spielberg, a world-renowned researcher in academic medicine, was executive director of exploratory biochemical toxicology and clinical and regulatory development for Merck Research Laboratories, and vice president for pediatric drug development at Johnson & Johnson. He chaired the Pediatric Task Force for PhRMA, represented the pharmaceutical industry on the FDA Pediatric Advisory Subcommittee, and was the Rapporteur for the Pediatric ICH Initiative (ICH E-11) to harmonize pediatric drug development regulations among Europe, Japan and the US. He will be speaking about Meta-collaborations: A Call to Action on June 26 at 8:00am.

Thomas P. Stossel, MD, Director, Translational Medicine Unit and Center for Medical Innovation Brigham & Women's Hospital

For his research on mechanism of cell motility Dr. Stossel was elected to The National Academy of Sciences, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Institute of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. He has licensed intellectual property to startup companies based on his research to develop products that may reduce critical care complications and improve blood platelet transfusion. He is a co-founder of The Association of Clinical Researchers and Educators (ACRE) that educates concerning the value of physician-industry relationships. For his policy work concerning this topic he received the Sherwood award of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Physicians and the McGovern Award of the American Medical Writers Association. With his wife, Kerry Maguire, DDS, MSPH and others, Stossel founded a nonprofit organization, Options for Children in Zambia, which provides voluntary dental and medical care in that country. He will be speaking about the Implementation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act on June 27 at 3:30pm.

The DIA 2012 48th Annual Meeting features:

  • 270+ offerings, 20 preconference tutorials, and interactive workshops
  • Global regulatory agency town halls
  • Patient Advocate Fellowship Program
  • Student and professional poster presentations
  • Multitrack plenary sessions
  • Executive sessions
  • Networking events and lunches
  • One of the industry’s largest exhibit halls

DIA is a neutral, global, member-driven association of nearly 18,000 professionals involved in the discovery, development and life cycle management of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and related products. Through international educational offerings and myriad networking opportunities, DIA provides a global forum for knowledge exchange that fosters the innovation of products, technologies and services to improve health worldwide. Headquarters are in Horsham, PA, USA, with offices in Basel, Switzerland, Tokyo, Japan, Mumbai, India, and Beijing, China.

For more information, visit: www.diahome.org/en/Flagship-Meetings/DIA2012.aspx

Fifteen scientists and entrepreneurs have been nominated for the European Inventor Award (EIA), which is granted annually by the European Patent Office (EPO) to outstanding inventors for their contribution to technological, social and economic progress. The winners of the 2012 EIA will be announced during an award ceremony in Copenhagen on 14th June. The fifteen finalists cover the fields of medical technology and medicine, telecommunications, wastewater treatment, battery recycling, energy storage and environment, clothing, laser technology, railway manufacturing and construction. They originate from seven European and two non-European countries.

The EIA is presented in five categories: "Industry", "Research", "Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)", "Non-European countries", and "Lifetime achievement". From almost two hundred inventors and teams who were originally nominated, fifteen finalists have been selected by an international jury comprising leading personalities from industry, science, politics and media.

EPO President Benoît Battistelli said: "Patents play a key role in stimulating innovation, in securing jobs and advancing society. Behind every invention, there are men and women, driven by the passion of discovery, to whom the European Patent Office would like to pay tribute. They are the true heroes of the 21st century economy."

Nominees in the "Lifetime achievement" category

The three finalists in the "Lifetime achievement" category come from Austria, Germany and Italy.

The Austrian engineer and entrepreneur, Dr. Josef Theurer, has filed for some 1,050 patent families throughout his life, while establishing one of the most successful international companies in Austria, Plasser & Theurer - the world market leader for railway track-laying machines.

Prof. Josef Bille from the University Heidelberg in Germany has filed almost 100 patents in the field of ophthalmology and is considered the "father" of laser eye corrections. Prof. Bille's ground-breaking invention of laser eye surgery (LASIK) has corrected near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism for millions of patients worldwide.

The third nominee is Italian entrepreneur Mario Moretti Polegato, founder of the company GEOX. Polegato's determination to find a better solution to smelling feet has led to an improved vapour-permeable shoe that turned the footwear industry on its head.

Nominees in the "Industry" category

Finalists in the "Industry" category come from Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Together with Dr. Klaus Hallermayer at Roche Diagnostics, the German cardiologist Prof. Hugo Katus has developed a new blood test which revolutionised the diagnosis of heart attacks - currently the leading cause of death worldwide. The so-called Troponin T antibody test brought a new level of accuracy to the detection of heart diseases and has become the "gold standard" for cardiologists worldwide.

Dr. Jaap Haartsen from the Netherlands invented Bluetooth while at LM Ericsson Telephone. Used in more than two billion devices worldwide, Bluetooth has changed not only the way electronic devices communicate with each other, but also how people connect and communicate.

The Danish team of Jan Tøpholm, Søren Westermann and Svend Vitting Andersen has developed a computer-aided method to manufacture individually-fitted, comfortable hearing-aid devices. The unique stereo-lithographic manufacturing method is known as CAMISHA (Computer-Aided Manufacturing of Individual Shells for Hearing Aids), and it revolutionised the hearing aid world immediately.

Nominees in the "Research" category

The three teams in the "Research" category come from the UK and Australia, France, and the Netherlands.

Prof. Jason Chin (UK) and Prof. Oliver Rackham (Australia) created a way to incorporate unnatural amino acids into proteins, enabling molecular biologists to control and elucidate the functions of proteins in cells with unprecedented precision. Their ground-breaking invention has the potential to revolutionise the way patients are treated in protein-like therapeutics, such as insulin treatment, as well as to detect prostate, ovarian, and colon cancer.

One hundred times more infectious than HIV, hepatitis B is a particularly recalcitrant disease that each year affects 350 million people chronically worldwide, and has proven resistant to most treatments - until Dr. Gilles Gosselin, Prof. Jean-Louis Imbach and Dr. Martin L. Bryant (France) developed a drug that is more effective than any other of its kind. The drug has been successfully commercialised.

Prof. Mark van Loosdrecht, Dr. Merle Krista de Kreuk and Dr. Joseph Heijnen (The Netherlands) invented an advanced wastewater treatment technology which uses aerobic granular biomass and is already in commercial application. The so-called NEREDA process reduces nitrogen and phosphate levels by 95% without relying on extra chemicals.

Nominees in the "Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)" category

The three entrepreneurs and teams in the "SMEs" category come from Germany and France.

Dr. Manfred Stefener (Germany), founder of Smart Fuel Cell AG (SFC), Oliver Freitag and Dr. Jens Müller created the first fuel cell for portable use, the so-called direct methanol fuel cell or DMFC. Today SFC's fuel cells are used in a vast array of applications including traffic management, security and surveillance systems, as well as powering isolated environmental data stations. SFC has sold more than 24,000 fuel cells since it was founded in 2000.

A passionate yachtsman and former three-time winner of the Admirals Cup, Dr. Stefan Lehnert (Germany), aimed at improving his sails, which resulted in the development of ETFE- (Ethylene-Tetrafluoroethylene) based roof and cladding solutions. These cladding systems, based on plastic cushions filled with air, have since pushed the boundaries of architecture and allowed the creation of highly innovative structures such as the Eden Project in England or the Beijing National Aquatics Centre in China.

The French scientists Dr. Farouk Tedjar and Jean-Claude Foudraz have developed a novel solution to recycle lithium-ion batteries and recover 98% of the valuable metals they contain. Discarding these rechargeable batteries creates a huge amount of waste: about 180,000 to 200,000 tonnes per year in Europe alone.

Nominees in the "Non-European countries" category

In the "Non-European countries" category the three finalists come from the USA and Australia.

Self-taught American scientist and social entrepreneur Dr. Stanford Ovshinsky developed NiMH batteries, which offer a clean-energy storage solution with record durability and double to triple the capacity of nickel-cadmium batteries of the same size. They have proven to be the battery of choice when it comes to the portable electronic device market. Stanford Ovshinsky dedicated his life to research and innovation and holds more than 400 patents to his name.

Prof. Federico Capasso (USA), Prof. Jérôme Faist (Switzerland) and team invented the so-called Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs), which are able to reach areas of the electromagnetic spectrum previously untouched by laser light. Today, the ability of QCLs to produce wide bandwidths, high brightness, and high power very efficiently from a compact source has resulted in an array of unique products, from hand-held sensors for explosives detection and other toxic chemicals, to more powerful radar systems.

Dr. John O' Sullivan, Graham Daniels, Dr. Terence Percival, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane (Australia) created a technology that made the wireless LAN fast and robust so it could be as powerful as the cabled solutions of the time, which led to today's wireless networking technology (Wi-Fi).

About the European Inventor Award (EIA)

Launched in 2006, the European Inventor Award is presented annually by the EPO, in co-operation with the European Commission and the country which holds the EU Council Presidency at the time of the award ceremony, which this year is Denmark. The award honours inventive individuals and teams whose pioneering work provides answers to the challenges of our age and thereby contributes to progress and prosperity. Nomination proposals are submitted by the public and by patent examiners at the EPO and Europe's national patent offices. The finalists and, subsequently, the winners are chosen from among the nominees by a high-profile international jury, which includes prominent personalities from politics, business, media, science, academia and research.

For more information, visit: www.epo.org/news-issues/european-inventor.html

Fiber-reinforced plastics are the most talked-about class of materials in lightweight construction. In mobility lightweight components can both lower fuel consumption as well as increase the vehicle's operating range. But still the market penetration of complex lightweight components is very low while their manufacturing costs are very high. To tackle this issue, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is working together with industry and research partners to develop cost-effective methods of production that will significantly increase the usability of lightweight components in mass-market applications.

Recent years have seen soaring demand for lightweight components worldwide. Typical lightweight construction materials include aluminum, high-strength steels, magnesium, titanium and, above all, fiber-reinforced plastics (FRPs). FRPs consist of an organic matrix reinforced either with carbon fibers (CFRP) or glass fibers (GFRP). The production of FRP products is currently hindered by long cycle times and low levels of automation – two factors that pose significant obstacles to mass production – and methods are now being sought to produce FRP products more efficiently. The EU project FibreChain and the InProLight project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), have set themselves the goal of developing various integrated process chains ranging from sophisticated specialist solutions to the mass production of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. Fraunhofer ILT’s primary task within the scope of these projects is to optimize methods of cutting and joining lightweight components.

Structural joining by laser beam welding
Drawing on the characteristics of the raw material, Andreas Rösner and his colleagues have developed a method of structurally joining lightweight components. These have traditionally been joined by adhesive bonding or riveting – two comparatively expensive methods that require extensive preliminary work and extended process time. Rösner has overcome these drawbacks by joining the components using a laser. In this time-efficient process, the energy is deposited directly into the joining zone. Thus, complex components consisting of several individual parts can be produced. Furthermore, the process enables the production of persistent structures, creating selective reinforcements. As an extension of this process, the joining of plastics with metal was realized in a special two-stage laser process. Rösner first structures the metallic component with a high-brilliance laser beam, and in a second step he heats it by using a diode laser. The softened plastic then penetrates into the structured metal which leads to an excellent mechanical clawing between the joining parts.

Cutting without damaging the edges
In addition to joining FRP components and producing plastic-metal connections, another step that appears multiple times in the process chain is cutting. As well as cutting the raw material itself, it is also necessary to trim the components and cut out the required holes and sections. One of the key goals of the cutting process is to minimize any damage to the edges of the material. However, conventional laser cutting techniques often produce poor results due to the size of the heat affected zone. Frank Schneider and his colleagues, therefore, decided to develop a series of new cutting methods, one of which uses an innovative short-pulse CO2 laser. By reducing the heat input, they were able to significantly reduce the thermal damage inflicted on the material. The Aachen researchers achieve a nearly complete elimination of thermal damages by using a high power ultrashort pulse laser. Even highly sensitive material combinations in aeronautics can be processed economically by these lasers at a performance of up to 500 Watt.

Many potential applications for FRP components
For the first time, these new laser welding and cutting methods will make it possible to automate the production of FRP components to create a production process that is simplified, fast and cost-effective. To demonstrate this new method’s practical feasibility, the Fraunhofer scientists have already successfully applied it to car seat backs made by the company Weber.
Lightweight components are the preferred technology for any application where a reduction in weight offers the opportunity to cut operating costs, from auto and aircraft manufacturing to shipbuilding and spaceflight engineering. Economical and versatile forms of lightweight design are also becoming increasingly popular for highly dynamic machines and civil engineering projects as an alternative to construction with standard components.

Our experts will be attending the JEC Europe 2012 Composites Show from March 27–29 in Paris to showcase a selection of FRP components produced using the new methods they have developed. These will include car seat backs, front-end components and other examples of lightweight construction applications that rely on laser technology.

Laser Lightweight Construction Center
One example of Fraunhofer ILT’s commitment to research in the field of lightweight construction is the Laser Lightweight Construction Center, which is currently being set up in the Institute's laser machine facility. This will be presented as part of the “Laser Technology Live” event at the International Laser Technology Congress AKL’12 on May 11, 2012. The new Center will bring together various laser systems under one roof, including a gantry system for fiber-coupled machining of 3D sheet metal and FRP components and a 2D laser machine with acceleration parameters of up to 5g. Fraunhofer ILT’s Lightweight Construction Centre will also include a machine with 3D capabilities and a CO2 laser for the machining of FRP components. Rounding out the center’s facilities are high power ultrashort pulse lasers that are able to process CFRP components in particular with an ablation and cutting quality unattained until now.

For more information, visit: www.ilt.fraunhofer.de

Tormach LLC, a premier manufacturer of affordable CNC mills and accessories, announces the launch of Teach STEM Now, an online resource that promotes Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in education.

Teach STEM Now places an emphasis on manufacturing technologies and real-world shop skills. Offering lesson plans that can be readily implemented into classroom curriculum, the site also contains STEM-related articles and editorials, teaching tips and ideas, and links to educational grants and funding resources.

"The idea behind Teach STEM Now is to enhance education in an exciting fashion," said Tormach President Greg Jackson. "We're looking at the integration of all technologies and supporting the idea that educators are critical to moving the next generation of tradesmen and skilled workers forward. It's our goal with this project to present these ideas to teachers."

Co-editors on the site are Alain (Al) Chirinian, STEM education expert and Science and Robotics instructor at Brookings-Harbor High School in Brookings, Oregon, and Andy Grevstad, Senior Applications Engineer at Tormach. Grevstad explains, "The types of projects we're putting on to TeachSTEMnow.com will give people the understanding that Tormach is unique in its ability to provide machines for the classroom at a reasonable price, that can do these big-time projects rather than the small desktop projects."

Noting positive growth in students' interest in shop and vocational classes, Chirinian attributes the trend to popular television shows filmed in real-world machine shops and the "maker movement." "I've never had a student say they didn't enjoy working with their hands; it's quite the opposite. Kids who didn't have any idea what a CNC mill looked like before see them on these reality shows and they want to make parts of their own," he said.

Chirinian added, "The shop teacher has the technical know-how to operate machinery. Unfortunately, you don't see a lot of mixing of the shop teachers and the science and math teachers. Collaboration is key, though, to change the whole STEM paradigm. We want to encourage teachers to move beyond the barriers and understand that in the shop class they do a lot of math and in the math class they can utilize the shop and in the science class, and so on."

For more information, visit: www.teachstemnow.com

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 12:09

Tecplot® 360™ 2012 Released

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Tecplot, Inc. announced today the 2012 release of Tecplot 360®, the company’s flagship software for Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) visualization and analysis. This latest version features a new ANSYS CFX data loader, a faster ANSYS Fluent loader, automated streamtrace seeding, and new cut plane tools.

"Every new release of Tecplot 360 focuses on helping our users get their work done more productively and with greater ease," said Rich Stillman, president. "This version provides important new capabilities to ANSYS users specifically, but it also delivers important improvements to streamtrace seeding and constrained slices in the cut plane tools.”

Tecplot 360 2012 offers performance improvements and enhancements, including:

  • Ansys CFX file loader: Load files generated by the CFX CFD code directly into Tecplot 360.
  • Faster loading of Fluent files: Automatically generates index files for each Fluent case and data file. The index file significantly speeds up the data loading process to rapidly provide the user with an initial plot.
  • Automated streamtrace seeding on surfaces: Select surfaces, such as bodies, slices, and iso-surfaces, and then automatically seed a specified number of streamtraces to start on that surface. This can be very helpful in identifying flow patterns on a body or in the 3D flow field.
  • Constrained slices: Constrain the extent of slices by restricting their range to a user defined box. This focuses the region under investigation and prevents surrounding details from being obscured. Multiple sets of slices can be specified with independently-positioned constraint boxes.
  • Performance improvements. Numerous operations have been optimized to run faster in this version.

Tecplot 360 2012 is available for 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Vista, and XP; 64-bit Mac and UNIX platforms and Linux platforms. Tecplot 360 users with current SMS agreements can upgrade to the latest version at no cost.

Founded in 1981 and based in Bellevue, Wash., Tecplot, Inc. empowers engineers and scientists to discover, analyze, and understand information in complex data, and to effectively communicate the results to others. The company launched Tecplot, its first software product for the scientific visualization market, in 1988. Since then, Tecplot has added Tecplot Chorus and Tecplot RS to its visualization and analysis products. With thousands of users worldwide, Tecplot, Inc. has become a trusted name in data visualization.

For more information, visit: www.tecplot.com/Solutions/Products/Tecplot360.aspx





The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) officially opened its doors on April 18, 2012, attracting a large crowd eager to see the Southeast's first comprehensive medical device innovation center.

"GCMI has built and equipped a prototyping design and development facility that will accelerate the commercialization of next-generation medical devices and technology," said GCMI's Executive Director, H. Wayne Hodges. "The Center has the equipment, clean room facilities, engineering expertise and partner network needed to help bring ideas from concept to market."

Matt S. Erskine flew in from Washington, D.C., to speak at the opening. Erskine is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Economic Development for the Economic Development Administration (EDA), a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Erskine said that the EDA frequently cites GCMI as an example of the type of successful public/private partnership that generates jobs and a strong return on investment. "We believe GCMI will help Atlanta and the entire Southeast accelerate development of the next generation of medical devices," Erskine said.

"We have had to rethink economic development," he continued. "There is a new economic reality, and communities can't thrive by returning to the status quo. We have to find new ways to create jobs, and that growth is coming from entrepreneurs. We have found that supporting regional resources like GCMI offers the best return on investment by driving innovation and increasing exports."

GCMI General Manager Doug Schumer, Ph.D. praised GCMI's role in accelerating medical device commercialization, adding, "To me, the greatest thing GCMI will do is to help bring to life devices that otherwise might never see the light of day. There are many doctors out there with good ideas, but who don't know how to bring that idea to commercial fruition. GCMI will be able to help."

The center brings together core members of the medical device community, including universities, research centers, clinicians, established device and drug companies, investors, and early-stage companies, with the goal of accelerating the commercialization of innovative medical technology.

The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) is an independent, not-for-profit, full-service product development organization -- the first and only one of its kind in the Southeast. The center helps new-product teams enhance their product development, shorten time to market, and achieve significant cost savings throughout the process. GCMI was one of six winners of a national i6 Challenge focused on driving commercialization and innovation in the U.S. in an effort to move great ideas from the lab to the patient, creating jobs and economic growth. Founding partners are the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Research Alliance, Piedmont Healthcare and Saint Joseph's Translational Research Institute.

For more information, visit: www.devices.net

ModuleWorks, the leading supplier of CAD/CAM components for toolpath generation and simulation, has announced the latest release of its CAM components, version 2012.4.  The new release offers a range of new features across the product range, further expanding capability for 3 to 5-Axis machining and simulation.

ModuleWorks is at the forefront of 5-Axis machining and Simulation technology, providing the toolpath generation and CNC simulation components behind many of the popular CAM systems available today.
 
The latest release introduces a broad set of new features across the product range. Highlights are shown below:

4 and 5-Axis Machining

The 2012.4 release introduces improvements to SWARF machining, providing finer control over tool motion.  New for 2012.4 is the option to minimize rotary motion as the tool approaches a singularity condition, providing smoother toolpath and better surface finish. Corner handling is improved with different options for motion around corners. Internal corners can be rounded or sharp and optional relief cut applied. External corners have sharp, roll around or loop options. Fanning distance may also be specified as the distance used to transition the tilt around corners.

A new 5-Axis roughing strategy has also been added which takes triangle mesh geometry as input. Given floor, walls and ceiling geometry, the toolpath is automatically generated.

Multiblade toolpaths now offer dynamic lead angle to optimise tool approach angle within a given range, providing best tilt and maximum material removal.

3-Axis Machining

3-Axis Roughing now offers automatic adaptive feedrate.  Toolpath generation takes tool engagement into account and varies the feedrate within a given range, improving tool life and maximizing material removal. Roughing will also differentiate climb and conventional cuts and allow different stepovers and adaptive feedrate control to be applied on the different cut directions.

3-Axis Roughing and profiling strategies have now been extended to handle prismatic wire frame geometry for 2½D applications. Roughing and profiling strategies are currently supported.

Simulation

Simulation now supports a length based mode, in addition to the NC and time based simulation types. This will simulate the entire toolpath at constant speed, making it easier to visualize actual tool motion.

Stock transfer now supports bar work, where multiple parts are machined from bar stock. Simulation will show the cut off and transfer to secondary spindle along with the advance of the bar for the next operation.

Wire EDM application benefit from improved simulation with support for 2, 4 and 5-Axis wire cutting operations.

For more information, visit: www.moduleworks.com/cad-cam-components/cad-cam-components.asp

Roland DG employees, affiliates, customers and friends from all over the world gathered last week at the company’s headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan to celebrate three decades of Roland innovation and creativity.

The week-long 30th anniversary event included a day of fun and festivities at the company’s headquarters, followed by tours of Tokyo and Kyoto.  Throughout the event, all eyes were on the 16 attending regional finalists in the company’s recent Roland Creative Awards international contest, whose work was recognized as the world’s most creative and innovative from 1,193 contest entries.

The highlight of the celebration came Tuesday evening when Roland DG President Masahiro Tomioka awarded the contest’s grand prize to the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts in North Eastern China.  Accepting the award were Du Haibin and Jiao Hongwei, industrial design professors at the university. As the grand prize, Haibin and Hongwei have selected a Roland EGX-360 gift engraver for the university.

“Our entry, a scale model tunneling machine, was part of a transportation-themed project that teaches students how to transform a 2D design into a 3D prototype,” Haibin said.  “Winning the Roland award is important to our school as it provides visibility to our efforts and assists us in attaining funding for future projects.”

The elaborate winning prototype was produced on a Roland MDX-540 milling machine and is comprised of several sections that were each milled separately from a variety of materials.  Along its surface are many intricate contours, textures and details made possible by the precision of Roland subtractive rapid prototyping technology.

More than 75 prizes were awarded throughout the contest, which ran from Sept. 2011 to Jan. 2012.  In addition to being a showcase of creativity, the contest illustrated the breadth of Roland’s technological achievements, developed and advanced over the past 30 years.

“It is a privilege to be part of such a dynamic, accomplished organization and to be here among friends and colleagues for this very special event,” Tomioka said.  “When I look back at the company’s origins, it’s hard to imagine how far we have come and how many lives we have touched.  The tremendous work of our customers on display through the Roland Creative Awards really says it all.  When you empower creative professionals with innovative tools and technologies, the possibilities are endless.  To that end, we will continue to pursue excellence, and we look forward to inspiring our customers’ creativity in the future.”

The Roland Creative Awards invited Roland businesses from more than 120 countries worldwide to submit their best work as produced on the company’s wide-format inkjet printers, vinyl cutters, engravers, 3D milling machines and other production tools. Entries spanned industries and applications, and included everything from signage, banners and vehicle wraps to personalized accessories, jewelry designs, decorated apparel and even tattoo art.

The entire gallery of entries can be viewed online at: www.rolandcreativeawards.com

Thursday, 26 April 2012 09:15

Dynetics Opens New Solutions Complex

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The new Dynetics Solutions Complex will expand capabilities in research and development and production for aerospace, cyber and defense products in Huntsville. It is a high-tech prototyping facility, incorporating the latest resources available to produce quality products rapidly and affordably for both commercial and government customers. The opening of the new facility is intended to add 250 to 300 additional jobs over the next three years.

The Solutions Complex, conveniently located on the company’s campus in Cummings Research Park, is 226,500 square feet, expanding Dynetics’ hardware prototyping capabilities in Huntsville to more than 300,000 square feet. It is designed to accommodate commercial and government programs and to provide flexibility for specific customer requirements.

Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics CEO, said, “The name of this facility, ‘The Solutions Complex,’ is intended to convey to our customers our goal to provide a solution here locally to their expanding set of requirements.”

The new facility will provide space for the company’s hardware integration programs; small-quantity specialty item production; large-scale Targets programs; space systems work (including satellite integration); and specialized systems, subsystems and tools development. It will enable consolidation of electronics fabrication and assembly, as well as mechanical test equipment including a thermal vacuum chamber and a shaker table.

The complex will offer the ability to locate government and industry engineers together for collaborative research and manufacturing.

Tom Baumbach, president, said, “Examples of successful projects that have involved collaboration between government and industry engineers include FASTSAT (the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology SATellite) and lunar lander testbeds, as well as several classified Army missile programs.”

Dynetics employees working on the mating and integration system for Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch air launch system will be located in The Solutions Complex, and more employees will be added to accommodate future projects.

David King, Dynetics executive vice president, said, “Last week, we announced two contracts for which we are competing, the Engineered Prototyping Solutions (ESP) contract with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, and the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Advanced Booster Engineering Demonstration and/or Risk Reduction (ABEDRR) procurement. Should we be selected for these procurements, much of the work will be performed in this facility.”

Dynetics is also bidding on the Test Execution Services and Launch Augmentation (TESTLA) procurement for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, which will require the capabilities available in the new facility.

The Open House and Ribbon Cutting for The Solutions Complex was held today on the 23rd anniversary of Dynetics’ becoming an employee-owned company under ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan).

For more information, visit: www.dynetics.com



Hagerman & Company, a 28-year, value-added reseller of Autodesk software, has announced a series of Autodesk 2013 software release events. Lead the Way is the theme for launch events and webcasts hosted by Hagerman & Company throughout May and June to highlight the latest 3D CAD offerings from Autodesk.

The new releases of classic applications like Autodesk AutoCAD 2013 promise innovative features to increase productivity - many recommended by everyday users. Other popular topics to be presented include: the new services within Autodesk 360, Autodesk Inventor software, Autodesk Product Design Suite, Autodesk Plant Design Suite, Autodesk Vault, and the Autodesk Revit family of products. Autodesk 360 provides a broad set of features, cloud services and cloud-enabled products to help customers dramatically improve the way they design, visualize, simulate and share work with others - anytime, anywhere.

“Our launch events provide an excellent opportunity for our customers to connect with some of the best-informed minds in the CAD industry, including experts from Autodesk and our own solution engineers,” said Hagerman & Company CEO Dennis Hagerman. “These programs allow us to introduce the latest innovations in the products we offer to our wide-ranging family of patrons.”

The free, educational events include webcasts, live presentations and special user group meetings.

For more information or to register, visit: www.hagerman.com/upcoming_events/2013events.asp

ENGINEERING.com Incorporated [TSXV: EGN], developer and owner of the ENGINEERING.com web site and business for engineers, today announced Todd Grimm as the editor of its new 3D Printing micro site, a section that delivers practical information for designers and engineers.  

Grimm is president of T. A. Grimm & Associates, a consultancy focused on the 3D printing Industry.  Highly regarded for his insights and observations, he has reported on 3D printing technologies and applications as an author, writer and speaker for 22 years.

“We launched the 3D Printing micro-site in response to enormous interest from our audience,” said John Hayes, president of ENGINEERING.com.   “We are delighted that Todd Grimm has agreed to bring his renowned editorial skills to make this site a benchmark in the 3D printing industry.”

The new micro-site has a library of articles, blog posts and news release commentary as well as a regularly running video series hosted by Grimm, called “In Short”.

“Producing the In Short videos has been a new yet rewarding experience,” said Grimm. “We’ve designed it to cut through all the chatter to give our viewers a quick summary of the news that they can use.” He continued, “I’m happy to have the support of sponsors like Stratasys and Objet for this new venture. I view their support as a vote of confidence in what ENGINEERING.com is doing for the 3D printing industry.”

The new micro-site can be found at: www.engineering.com/3DPrinting.aspx

On March 31st Evonik experienced an explosion and fire at their Cyclododecatriene (CDT) plant in Marl Germany. One of the key product lines using CDT as an intermediate is PA 12 Laser Sintering powders. Two employees were killed in the explosion and it took 130 firefighters ~15 hours to control the fire, so it was a tragic and major event. As a result Evonik has declared Force Majeure for PA 12 materials. Evonik’s PA 12 is the principal PA 12 raw material used by all suppliers of LS materials.

ALM uses these materials as a basic raw material to produce our 600 series of powders such as PA 650 and PA 615-GS. It is also the base for EOS PA 2201 and PA 2200, which ALM also sells. We have a certain amount of these materials in our supply pipeline. ALM is not accepting any orders from new customers for materials based on Evonik PA 12 raw materials until the situation is clarified, and we will limit sales of these materials, based on historic usage over the last six months. Obviously, the scope of this incident is outside of our control, but please be assured that we are working to minimize the limitations to your powder supply.

We would encourage you to save powder where you can. Please try to optimize your refresh procedures and consider lengthening part lead times in order to more fully pack your builds and conserve powder. Our lab and support teams can provide you with assistance at no charge with part cake and over flow analysis to help you accomplish these tasks.

ALM has alternative materials, such as PA 250 which is based on nylon 12 from different sources, or PA 860 which is based on nylon 11. When compared to the PA 650, PA 250 has outstanding recyclability, excellent part detail and surface finish. PA 250 is more difficult to process and require tight temperature controls on your machine. To help with this issue, ALM is working with Integra on a plan to make upgrades available at favorable pricing to improve temperature control capabilities of you machines. Also, they will offer machine calibrations and preventive maintenance at favorable pricing to help improve machine efficiency.

PA 860 PA 11 powder has been formulated for easy processing and parts produced from PA 860 exhibit outstanding mechanical properties when compared to the PA 650. No double scanning is required. The residual PA 11 monomer is low, so there is less potential for outgassing and potential fogging on the laser window. We also offer various filled materials based on both PA 11 and PA 12 that are not based on Evonik powders.

ALM has been working to approve other alternative powders and we were very close to success prior to this unfortunate accident. We are accelerating this development process and should have the first quantities available in the next 90 to 120 days.

For more information, visit: www.alm-llc.com

While U.S. and other world economies struggle with productivity, C-suite executives in manufacturing worldwide will gather at the 8th annual Manufacturing Leadership Summit to discuss "The Future Manufacturer: Change the Rules, Rule the Future."

The Summit, hosted by the Manufacturing Leadership Council, the exclusive executive manufacturing network, will take place April 29-May 2 at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. Sponsors include Apriso, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Cognizant, Deloitte, Epicor, Infor, IQMS, Kepware Technologies, Microsoft Dynamics, Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Oracle, Plex Systems, Polycom, Solving Efeso, Take Solutions, TBM Consulting, and Vistaar Technologies.

"The Summit is open to C-level executives seeking to examine how manufacturing organizations must change to meet the demands of the future," said David R. Brousell, Vice President & Editorial Director of Manufacturing Executive Communications. "These include leadership mandates for managing in an increasingly dynamic global market; the impact of greater collaboration on decision-making processes; new business models centered on work and production; build-to-demand supply chains; advanced workforce skills; and the megatrends of social media, mobility, and cloud computing."

Keynote speakers include C-suite and senior-level executives from Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group, Dow Chemical, Ford Motor Co., Kennametal, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, N.A./Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky and Mississippi, as well as the co-founder of the Center for Public Leadership.

The Summit will culminate with the 2012 Manufacturing Leadership 100 Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony, at which the Manufacturing Leadership Council honors the top 100 groundbreaking companies in the industry. This year also marks the expansion of the ML100 program to include four new individual leadership achievement award categories spanning entrepreneurship, next-generation leadership and culture, turnaround success, and industry advocacy.

Other features of the Summit include group discussions, one-on-one networking meetings, and social activities for attendees.

For more information, visit: www.mlsummit.com

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:25

Shooting at ceramics

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Producing thin ceramic components has until now been a laborious and expensive process, as parts often get distorted during manufacture and have to be discarded as waste. Researchers are now able to reshape the surfaces of malformed components by bombarding them with tiny pellets.

In corrosive, high-temperature environments, metals quickly lose their elasticity. Beyond certain temperatures the material fails and its properties are compromised; metallic springs stop working if heated above 500 degrees Celsius, for example. But what to do if these are exactly the conditions a production process requires? One way of avoiding the problem has been to make components out of ceramic, a material that is lightweight, rigid, corrosion-resistant and able to withstand high temperatures. Yet this only offers a partial solution, as producing thin ceramics for parts such as leaf springs, lightweight mirrors for optical and extraterrestrial use, or membranes for sensors and fuel cells is both time-consuming and expensive. This is because ceramics can only be machined using costly diamond tools, and the process itself creates tensions within the surface of the material which cause the finished part to distort as soon as it is removed from the machine. Reshaping the components after manufacture has never been a viable option before as the material is too brittle, and so the large amounts of waste that are generated push the costs up.

Precisely calculated paths guide the way

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg and for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK in Berlin have now found a way to straighten out distorted ceramics using shot peening, a process by which small pellets, known as shot, are fired at the surface of a component with a blasting gun. The shot strikes the surface and alters the shape of the thin, outermost layer of material. By moving the gun over the ceramic part along a precisely calculated path, scientists are able to counteract any undesired warping or create lightly curved mirrors out of thin, even ceramic plates. “Shot peening is common practice for working metals,” says Dr. Wulf Pfeiffer, who manages this business unit at the IWM, “but the technique has never been used on ceramics because they are so brittle – they could shatter, like a china plate being hit with a hammer. This meant that we had to adapt the method to the material with great precision.” The researchers began by analyzing which size of shot would be suitable for use on ceramics, as the surface could be destroyed by pellets that were too big. Pellet speed is another critical factor: hitting the material too fast causes damage; too slow and the shape of the surface is not altered enough. They also discovered that it is important not to bombard the same spot too often with too much shot. Before producing a new component, the scientists first conduct experimental analysis to determine what can be expected of the particular ceramic involved. They fire a beam of shot at it and then measure the resultant stresses to see what sort of deformation is possible and how the beam should be directed.

The experts have already produced various prototypes, including a ceramic leaf spring and a concave mirror. For manufacturing simple components, the technique is now advanced enough to be used in series production. The IWM scientists have recently gone one step further and are developing a computer simulation that will allow components to be worked in multiple axes. Meanwhile their colleagues at the IPK are working on automating the process using a robot.

For more information, visit: www.fraunhofer.de

Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:05

ODT Forum in Memphis Tennessee is May 2-3rd

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The ODT conference unites everyone in the orthopedic manufacturing community and this year the theme of the event is achieving both operational, and technical excellence in the field of orthopedics.

Professionals in the orthopedic manufacturing community will gather to discuss and share the advancements being made in the industry. Attendees can educate each other on the latest industry news while networking with peers and industry leaders. When asked, 92% of people who have attended this event in the past were “extremely satisfied” with their experience.

This marks the 4th year of the ODT Forum which is hosted by well known orthopedic publication, Orthopedic Design & Technology. The publication has been published for 6 years and is considered the leading publication in the industry. The objective of the event is to join all the players in the orthopedic manufacturing industry to work together with the collective goal of improving the overall industry.

The more professionals and companies in the orthopedic industry that attend the event the more valuable it will become. Able Electropolishing Vice President of Sales, Tom Glass encourages peers and affiliates to join Able Electropolishing at this important event. “Coming up next month is the ODT Forum in Memphis, Tenn., on May 2-3rd. Able Electropolishing will be participating at this important orthopedic industry event, and we encourage you to register today and come see the solutions we have to offer your company. Thanks and hope to see you at the ODT Forum!”

This year the conference is made up of several presentations, a panel discussion as well as built in opportunities for networking throughout the day. Presenters include Lee Berger, MD of Ortho-Tag, Dr. David M. Anderson of Build-to-Order Consulting, Steven Mounts of Musculoskeletal Clinical Regulatory Advisers, Scott Hay of 3D Engineering and Tim Ruffner of GPI Prototype & Manufacturing Services, Inc.

The panel discussion will feature Barbara Blum Ph.D. of Wright Medical Technology, Inc and Chris Patterson of Medtronic.

Some of the ideas and topics that will be covered in these presentations include:

  • The move towards wireless and implantable technology in the medical field.
  • Ideas and tips on where to cut the cost of medical devices and where not to.
  • Ensuring proper validation.
  • Advances in technology and new techniques.

For attendees able to arrive on May 2nd, the event will kick off a day early with factory tours of Orchid Orthopedic Solutions and the Fed Ex Hub. Space is limited for these tours and registration is required.

Able Electropolishing will be attending the ODT Forum in Memphis Tennessee on May 3rd as a sponsor. Since 1954 Able Electropolishing has been providing metal finishing services from a state of the art Chicago facility. The services include passivation, electropolishing as well as other various metal finishing techniques. The company provides metal finishing services within the United States as well as overseas.

The success of the ODT Forum depends on the attendance of all players in the orthopedic manufacturing industry.

For more information, visit: www.odtforum.com or www.ableelectropolishing.com

A new 3D printing process developed at the University of Glasgow could revolutionise the way scientists, doctors and even the general public create chemical products.

Professor Lee Cronin, Gardiner Chair of Chemistry at the University, believes his research could lead to the development of home chemical fabricators which consumers could use to design and create medicine at home.

A new research paper, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, outlines how the process has been proven to work. Using a commercially-available 3D printer operated by open-source computer-aided design software, Professor Cronin and his team have built what they call ‘reactionware’, special vessels for chemical reactions which are made from a polymer gel which sets at room temperature.

By adding other chemicals to the gel deposited by the printer, the team have been able to make the vessel itself part of the reaction process. While this is common in large-scale chemical engineering, the development of reactionware makes it possible for the first time for custom vessels to be fabricated on a laboratory scale.

Professor Cronin said: “It’s long been possible to have lab materials custom-made to include windows or electrodes, for example, but it’s been expensive and time-consuming. We can fabricate these reactionware vessels using a 3D printer in a relatively short time. Even the most complicated vessels we’ve built have only taken a few hours.

“By making the vessel itself part of the reaction process, the distinction between the reactor and the reaction becomes very hazy. It’s a new way for chemists to think, and it gives us very specific control over reactions because we can continually refine the design of our vessels as required.

“For example, our initial reactionware designs allowed us to synthesize three previously unreported compounds and dictate the outcome of a fourth reaction solely by altering the chemical composition of the reactor.”

Although the technology they are developing is still at an early stage, the team, comprised of researchers from the University’s School of Chemistry and School of Physics and Astronomy, is also considering the long-term implications of developments in 3D printing technology.

Professor Cronin added: “3D printers are becoming increasingly common and affordable. It’s entirely possible that, in the future, we could see chemical engineering technology which is prohibitively expensive today filter down to laboratories and small commercial enterprises.

“Even more importantly, we could use 3D printers to revolutionise access to healthcare in the developing world, allowing diagnosis and treatment to happen in a much more efficient and economical way than is possible now.

“We could even see 3D printers reach into homes and become fabricators of domestic items, including medications. Perhaps with the introduction of carefully-controlled software ‘apps’, similar to the ones available from Apple, we could see consumers have access to a personal drug designer they could use at home to create the medication they need.”

Professor Cronin’s paper, titled ‘Integrated 3D-printed reactionware for chemical synthesis and analysis’, is published in Nature Chemistry. The research was supported by funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

For more information, visit: www.gla.ac.uk

Fujitsu Laboratories Limited and Fujitsu Research and Development Center Co., Ltd. have developed a technology for retrieving partially similar models from stored 3D CAD models.

In the manufacturing industry, for example, new parts designed using CAD models are not designed from scratch. By retrieving and reusing models with similar shapes from the existing models which incorporate prior design know-how, companies are able to shorten design time. Until now, while global shape retrieval has been possible, the inability to retrieve and reuse partially similar shapes has posed a challenge. With Fujitsu Laboratory's newly developed technology, 3D CAD models are automatically segmented into distinctive part models, such as protruding parts. Even if the orientation, size or position of the segmented parts differ, as long as the shapes are similar, they are determined to be similar, and can therefore be retrieved.

Because the new technology enables retrieved part models to be reused in combination with multiple other parts, design time can be shortened by 90% compared to designing from the ground up. This, in turn, helps to reduce design costs and enhance a product's competitiveness by quickly bringing it to market.

Background

In order to quickly develop competitive products and rapidly bring them to market, companies in industries such as manufacturing need to shorten product design time by reusing existing 3D CAD models which incorporate prior design know-how, rather than designing models from the ground up. To achieve this target, technology that can efficiently retrieve reusable 3D CAD models is required.

Existing 3D CAD model retrieval technology can perform text-based retrieval using part names and other keywords, as well as global shape retrieval (Figure 1) that retrieves 3D CAD models from the global shape.

Technological Issues

As can be seen with the tab example in figure 3, there is currently a need to shorten design time by reusing 3D CAD models with partially similar shapes. At the same time, because global shape retrieval employs the global shape of each model, the inability to retrieve 3D CAD models with partially similar shapes has posed a challenge.

Newly Developed Technology

Key features of the technology are as follows:

1. Automatically segments each 3D CAD model into distinctive parts, such as protruding shapes

Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a technique that analyzes the elements composing a 3D CAD model, including the positional relationship between different surfaces, and automatically segments the model into distinctive parts that are suitable for later retrieval, such as protruding shapes. Furthermore, the company has developed a technology that automatically extracts shape features, such as concave and convex surfaces, from the segmented parts, and compares them to the shape features of the search key. As a result, even if the orientation, size or position of the models is different, as long as the shapes are similar, they can be determined to be similar. As part of the system's initial pre-processing (Step 1 in Figure 2), 3D CAD models stored in the database are segmented into part models through automatic segmentation process. After the designer specifies a shape to be used as a search key, similar parts are retrieved from the segmented models using global shape retrieval technology (Step 2 in Figure 2).

2. Retrieval via interactive interface

The designer-specified search key and 3D CAD models with partially similar shapes can be viewed together in a virtual 3D space (Figure 3). In addition, the system allows for efficient retrieval through color-coded highlighting of the similar parts.

Results

This newly developed technology makes it possible to efficiently retrieve 3D CAD models containing shapes that are similar to a specified search key from a massive 3D CAD model database. With the new technology, 10,000 3D CAD models were automatically segmented into approximately 100,000 parts, and the 3D CAD models containing similar shapes to a specified search key could be retrieved in roughly three seconds, making it practical for real-world use. With the new technology, retrieved part models can be reused in combination with multiple other parts, for instance, making it possible to efficiently design new parts. As a result, the time required to design a part can be shortened by 90% compared to conventional technology. In addition, the new technology enables increased reusability of standard parts, making it possible to lower part-management costs.

Future Plans

Going forward, Fujitsu Limited will pursue the commercialization of the new technology, and plans to incorporate it into Fujitsu's PLEMIA general design information management system before the end of FY2012.

For more information, visit: jp.fujitsu.com/labs/en

Omnify Software, a leading provider of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software for electronic, medical, mechanical, and defense manufacturers, and CADD Edge, a leading re-seller of product design software, launch a seminar series to educate manufacturers on PLM technology and the value it can bring to their organization through centralized management of product data. Scheduled events will be held on Tuesday, May 1 in Farmington, CT and Wednesday, May 2 in New York City.

On February 7, 2012, Omnify Software and CADD Edge kicked off their PLM seminar series in Andover, MA featuring Barry Mendell, Engineering Services Manager for Mevion Medical, as a keynote speaker. With over 15 years of experience using various Product Lifecycle Management products, Mr. Mendell touted the benefits PLM can deliver to manufacturers of all sizes by providing a centralized and controlled location to manage all product data and documentation across the enterprise. Particular emphasis was placed on the adoption of Omnify Empower PLM at Mevion Medical in order to implement best practices early on. As a medical device manufacturer, PLM is integral to Mevion's product development operations to ensure they are delivering high quality products with processes that adhere to stringent FDA and ISO compliance guidelines.

Mr. Mendell demonstrated Mevion's use of Empower PLM for item creation, Bill of Material (BOM) and revision management with full audit trails, document management, controlled change processes, automated training management and equipment calibration, as well as a centralized quality system that is tied directly to the product record. Omnify Software and CADD Edge will host additional educational seminars on PLM and educate manufacturers on product design and development best practices.

"Joining forces with our mutual customers to educate other CADD Edge manufacturing clients is a great way to demonstrate the capabilities of the Empower PLM solution as well as the expert sales and support services CADD Edge delivers," stated David Solimini, Vice President of Sales for Omnify Software. "The February event proved to be quite successful according to attendee feedback and we look forward to working with CADD Edge on future PLM seminars."

For more information or to register, visit: www.caddedge.com/omnify-plm-executive-events-in-may

EON Reality, the world's leading interactive 3D software provider, today announced the release of the new EON Icube Mobile, a portable multi-sided immersive environment in which participants are completely surrounded by virtual imagery and sound. It offers the most user-friendly interface - from hardware setup to software deployment. This high impact 3D immersion solution benefits many different markets such as energy, aerospace, healthcare, AEC, education and entertainment.

The hardware construction truss frame is in a lightweight sturdy aluminum material that is easy to set up and it comes with a reusable shipping container for easy transport. It is a front projected system consisting of 120” Diagonal Size Screens with 4:3 aspect ratios. Ceiling height required is 9 feet (2.7 m) and display foot print required is 10 x 10 feet (3 x 3 m). The system cost starts at less than 30% compared to traditional Icube cost.

“For the first time ever we can offer a fully immersive motion tracked interactive 3D experience at about 1/3 of the cost compared to traditional Icubes while at the same time taking up roughly 1/5th of the floor space and fitting within a 9 foot ceiling height. This combination will allow full immersion to be used in areas and applications that we have never reached before,” said Mats W. Johansson, President, EON Reality, Inc.

EON Icube software utilizes high-end active stereo projectors, with stereoscopic glasses and motion tracking position trackers and allows users to be completely immersed in a virtual world. 3D objects float in space with high quality graphics and can be manipulated by users in real-time.

Motion trackers are implemented to monitor the user’s position and orientation and are used to calculate a stereoscopic perspective view. This allows the user to freely move into and around floating objects. Peripheral devices, such as wands and optional gesture gloves, are integrated into the system. EON Icube software has the ability to rapidly deploy 3D interactive virtual simulations using a series of built-in classes of objects, drivers, and a large library of 3D models, textures, and easy to use built- in functionalities.

EON Icube Mobile can be used as a single or as multi-user experiences with EON Coliseum Icube option. The remote collaboration system option is ideal for safety and technical training, architecture, and construction purposes.

For more information, visit: www.eonreality.com/products_icube_mobile.html

For Icube videos, visit: www.youtube.com/user/EonReality/videos?query=icube

Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:45

Lattice Technology Releases XVL Player v12.0

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Lattice Technology® Inc., the standard for technical communication and digital mock up software in the manufacturing enterprise, today released the latest version of XVL Player and XVL Player Pro.

The free XVL Player enables full viewing, measurement, markup, cross-section and animation playback. Lattice Technology’s XVL format is the industry’s most compressed 3D format with no loss of accuracy of the data. This lightweight footprint for 3D allows complex 3D data and assemblies to be viewed on lower-specification PCs and easily shared across a network or the internet. XVL Player enables access to the additional data, such as annotation, metadata, animations, assembly tree and more, embedded within the XVL format.

XVL Player v12.0 enables users to rapidly and easily access 3D models using Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. In addition, the new version includes new features to support the latest process animation authoring and mBom enhancements in XVL Studio.

The latest version of XVL Player is recommended for anyone needing to view XVL data and it can be downloaded free of charge at the Lattice Technology, Inc. website. XVL is used extensively at global manufactures to share information across departments, suppliers and customers.

XVL Player Pro customers with current maintenance can download the updated version free of charge.

Lattice Technology sets the standard for technical communication and digital mock up in the manufacturing enterprise. With Lattice Technology Solutions, engineers can seamlessly and accurately perform design review, design processes, simulate assembly processes, create print-ready and digital work instructions, technical illustrations and mBOMs/sBOMs direct from 3D data. Lattice's standards-based XVL (eXtensible Virtual world description Language) technology provides secure, highly accurate and compressed 3D files that can be used, shared and easily supported by partners, suppliers, and internal departments in a lightweight browser-based solution. XVL is unmatched in performance, compression and accuracy. Lattice Technology Inc. was founded in 1997 with headquarters in Tokyo, Japan and San Francisco, USA.

For more information, visit: www.lattice3d.com

A revolutionary technique being developed by scientists at Loughborough University could free architects from the restraints of current construction methods.

Architects are creating stunning buildings with intricate geometric forms, but many never progress beyond the designer’s screen because their complexity makes them too costly to construct.

A team, led by Dr Richard Buswell and Professor Simon Austin from the University’s School of Civil and Building Engineering, has made dramatic progress with additive manufacturing technologies, where models created on-screen can be formed into three-dimensional components at full scale.

Conventionally, concrete is poured into temporary formwork – an efficient method of moulding if the shapes are straight, simple and the variations minimised.  Introduce curves and complexity, and the expense rapidly increases.

In the Freeform Construction project, a special type of concrete is deposited very precisely under computer control, layer by layer, from a 3D computer-aided-design (CAD) model.  Using this technology, very complex sections of buildings can be created without the high cost penalties associated with traditional methods.

Speaking about the project Dr Richard Buswell said: “Using Freeform every section of a building could be unique if necessary – produced by calling up a new design on-screen and setting the process to work.  Components could be created with ready-made internal voids and ducts for services, and with shapes that made the most of their insulating properties.  Because each piece would be tailor-made, there would be virtually no waste.  The possibilities are endless; it is a very exciting project.”

This pioneering work has been made possible by funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) with significant input from industry.

The research team has now obtained technology-transfer funding from the EPSRC to commercialise the process, collaborating with Foster + Partners, Buro Happold and Hyundai Engineering & Construction.  Their expertise and advice is essential to the team’s understanding of the needs of industry, the potential of their ideas and the creation of an innovation path.

The Freeform work has generated interest worldwide and already led to exhibitions in Barcelona, New York and London.

Colin McKinnon, Innovation Director at Buro Happold, said: “Through our involvement in the project we will help the research team assess the design, manufacturing and commercial potential of this innovative technology.”

Xavier De Kestelier, Associate Partner, at architects Foster + Partners added: “This project gives us tremendous opportunities to see what construction technology will be like in the next five or 10 years.’’

Photo Credit: Agnese Sanvito

For more information, visit: www.lboro.ac.uk

Laser Design Inc., the leading supplier of 3D laser scanners for more than 25 years, announced the unveiling of its newest and most automated inspection-grade 3D scanning system, the SURVEYOR Auto Gage 3D. Laser Design President, C. Martin Schuster commented, "The SURVEYOR Auto Gage 3D Scanning System was developed to provide a totally automated, extremely easy to use 3D inspection-grade system for either shop floor or office environments with accuracy to 25 microns (0.001")."

Two goals are realized with the Auto Gage 3D system: Complete high-speed part inspections in minutes and minimal operator training. Schuster continued, "Geomagic software's unique level of inspection automation has enabled Laser Design to open the age of entire part 3D inspections with 'microwave oven' push-button simplicity of use." Operator input is minimal and training is fast, which means the Auto Gage 3D can be up and running in a very short timeframe. First article part inspections, incoming part inspections, and sample part inspections on the shop floor can now be performed by machine attendant-level employees.

The Auto Gage 3D Scanning System uses structured light projection technology from one scanner head to capture all viewable surfaces of small- to medium-sized objects. With a work envelope of 6" x 6" x 4" (Auto Gage 4100) or 10" x 10" x 5" (Auto Gage 6100) the automated system is versatile enough for inspection and reverse engineering applications, and speedy enough for factory-floor verification uses. Yielding premium precision, system scans are accurate to +/- 0.001" (0.025mm).

The built-in system PC provides full control for scanning and optional data processing. The system is pre-configured with one 3D scanning head. Highly automated, the Auto Gage 3D requires only minimal training to perform scans with the one-button scan operation. Most parts do not require fixturing unless they are unstable in the desired orientation.

Typically scanned objects include small- to medium-sized parts made of plastic, metal, and rubber, and cast, molded, forged, and machined parts. Parts can be inspected quickly and efficiently because setups are saved as reusable templates. Items can be inspected and re-qualified in just hours, preventing downtime and costly delays with slow manual measurement methods. Extrusion profiles can be sample inspected to ensure accuracy and uniformity. Data outputs include .STL, .OBJ, .PLY, and .ASC formats.

The digitized data can be processed further with optional meshing, surface modeling, color error mapping, and inspection software from Laser Design's solution partner, Geomagic. Fully automated inspection reports can be created and reports comparing the scan data to CAD models can be immediately viewed by the operator to make a fast Go/No Go decision of shape verification.

Laser Design, Inc. and GKS Services Corp. have been leading suppliers of ultra-precise 3D laser scanning systems, along with 3D laser scanning, dimensional inspection, CT scanning, and long-range scanning services for three decades. We help customers successfully complete their most complex inspection, analysis, and reverse engineering projects quickly, giving them a competitive advantage. GKS also offers equipment rental and expertise for customers with the occasional 3D scanning project.

For more information, visit: www.laserdesign.com/products/scanners_and_software/high_precision_scanners/surveyor_auto_gage_3d

Kemeera, Inc., a west-coast product development company and Objet Geometries reseller, today announced the launch of FATHOM, a new product development studio for design consulting, 3D printing, model making and rapid prototyping new products.

"We chose the name Fathom because with rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing technologies and 3D printing know-how, people can create anything fathomable," said co-principal Rich Stump "We are very unique in bringing all of this together and taking a design approach to the rapid prototyping industry, and we're excited to open a brand new facility to serve this industry's technology needs."

Today's leading manufacturing engineers and industrial designers use 3D printing to build prototypes early in the design process. The new Fathom product development studio encompasses the necessary elements to assist customers on all of their front end product development needs -- from design to prototyping to silicon molded parts and everything in between. With seven 3D printers, a model shop and finishing tools in the Fathom studio, Kemeera plans to leverage the most cutting edge techniques to help customers achieve their product development goals.

The 3,700 sq. ft. product development studio is located in a historical building in Oakland's Jack London Square. The building was built in 1901 and was a brass foundry with smoke stacks through the ceiling. It is one of the most prominent buildings in Jack London Square.

"We have completely designed the new Fathom space for product development and using cutting edged technology and the most creative staff to help our customers achieve their rapid product development goals," Stump added.

3D Printing Open House & Business Networking Reception
Happy Hour Wine and Cheese, Studio Tours, 3D Printing Demos and Entertainment

April 13, 2012  3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
315 Jefferson Street
Oakland, CA 94607

RSVP: Call (510) 281-9000 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information, visit: www.studiofathom.com

Monday, 09 April 2012 12:13

Restoring China’s Forbidden City

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Loughborough University designers will be using the latest 3D digital technologies to help restore ancient artefacts from the Palace Museum in Beijing.

The museum, also known as the Forbidden City, is currently undertaking major renovation work funded by the Chinese Government.  This is a huge project that involves thousands of individual historic relics.

Using conventional methods, the objects need to be measured, photographed and repaired using manual techniques – an extremely time-consuming and expensive task. However recent research at Loughborough Design School aims to speed up the project, saving time and money.

Since 2009, Loughborough Design School PhD student Fangjin Zhang and colleagues have been investigating the use of 3D printing and other digital technologies within the sculptural and archaeological restoration fields.

3D printing allows physical objects to be built directly from 3D computer-aided-design (CAD) data without the need for tooling and with minimal human intervention.  It is already widely used in manufacturing industries and for medical models.

The application of this method to archaeological artefacts requires the shape of the original objects to be ‘captured’ using laser or optical scanners, and the data to be ‘cleaned-up’ using reverse engineering techniques.  Through this process damaged areas can be digitally restored ready for the 3D printing process.  This has been possible for some time, but now Miss Zhang is developing a formalised approach tailored specifically to the restoration of historic artefacts.  The process has already been applied to a range of objects from the Forbidden City and elsewhere.

Following recent visits to the museum where Miss Zhang has been able to explain and illustrate the many uses and benefits of 3D printing, Loughborough has now been asked use this technique to repair several specific artefacts.  These include the ceiling and enclosure of a pavilion in the Emperor Chanlong Garden.

Speaking about the project Loughborough Design School’s Dr Ian Campbell, who is supervising the research, said: “We are delighted to be working with the museum, using this very modern and innovative technique to restore and safeguard some of China’s most important artefacts.  There is real scope for this technique to be used in museums across the world.”

The Director of the Ancient Architecture Department in the Palace Museum and member of the China Association for Preservation Technology of Cultural Relics, Mr Shiwei Wang added: “This is a good start, and we hope the research on these applications will continue as the prospects are very broad.”

For more information, visit: www.lboro.ac.uk

Monday, 09 April 2012 11:44

Die & Mold China 2012 Coming to Shanghai

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Die & Mold China 2012 (DMC2012) is jointly organized by the China Die and Mold Industry Association (CDMIA) and Shanghai International Exhibition Co., Ltd. (SIEC). The event will be held at Hall E1-E6 in the Shanghai New International Expo Centre from May 31st to June 3rd. This exhibition will showcase precision machines (Hall E1 & E2), local elite die and mold enterprises (Hall E3 & E4) and mold technology and forming equipment (Hall E5 & E6). And there will be a match making area in Hall E6. SWISSMEN is going to host a conference with theme of "Swiss Advanced Manufacturing and Forming Technology" during DMC2012. These concurrent conferences will push Sino-EU technical exchange to a new level.

Currently, China's manufacturing capabilities in machinery, automobile, electronics and home appliances are highly-ranked in the world. Dies and molds are required to be high quality, low price, and delivered quickly to enhance their competitiveness. Furthermore, new energy, medical equipment, aerospace, energy conservation and other strategic emerging industries are also becoming an important growth area for China's die and mold industry. Therefore, China's die and mold industry can be expect a growth rate of no less than 10% in the next 5-10 years. Meanwhile, manufacturing design, technology and information application level need to be improved as well.

China has developed the "Twelfth Five-Year Development Plan" for the die and mold industry and a "Transformation and Upgrade" program to encourage technical reform and equipment renewal. Many enterprises continue to produce trial products and high-performance molds. Therefore, it has been becoming the trend to use advanced mold technology to achieve high-performance with CNC machines and precision measuring equipment.

Global manufacturers and related industry associations in die and mold, precision machinery, software, tooling and materials industries are invited to participate in DMC2012.

For more information, visit: www.dmcexpo.com/en/Default.aspx

Penton Media's New Equipment Digest, the industry's most preferred and trusted source for product news in manufacturing, has announced the winners of its inaugural King Awards competition, which showcases the best new manufacturing products introduced during the year, and recognizes the talent and commitment of the companies involved with the development of these products. The print and digital readers of New Equipment Digest chose the gold, silver and bronze winners in 11 distinct categories in an online voting process.

According to John DiPaola, Vice President of Penton Media's Manufacturing and Supply Chain Group and Publisher of New Equipment Digest, "there was a tremendous response to this year's competition. We had 83 outstanding product nominees and more than 6,000 votes were cast for the products. The NED audience was engaged in the King Award program and the amount of product entries and votes surpassed our expectations."

The 2012 NED King Award winners, featured in the April issue, are:

Assembly/Fastening/Tools Category

    Threadlocker Tape, Henkel Corp., GOLD
    High-Speed Soldering System, Spirig Advanced Technologies Inc. (SAT), SILVER
    Cable & Pipe Clamp, Thomas & Betts Corp., BRONZE

Controls & Instruments Category

    Configurable MHI Panel, EAO Corp., GOLD
    Wi-Fi Infrared Camera, FLIR Systems, SILVER
    Wireless Articulating Videoscope, Extech Instruments, a FLIR Co., BRONZE

Electrical/Electronics Category

    AC/DC Clamp Meter, Fluke Corp., GOLD
    Push-In Luminaire Disconnect, Thomas & Betts, SILVER
    Lighted Alarm, Floyd Bell Inc., BRONZE

Facilities/Maintenance/Plant Operations Category

    De-Stratification Fans, Zoo Fans, GOLD
    Laser Alignment System, LUDECA, SILVER
    Latching Lid for Poly Drums, New Pig Corp., BRONZE

Fluid/Pneumatic Power Category

    Hydraulic Hose Monitor, Eaton Corp., GOLD
    Atomizing Spray Nozzles, EXAIR Corp., SILVER
    Intelligent Compressor Control, Kaeser Compressors, BRONZE

Material Handling Category

    Integrated Lift Truck Scale, Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc., GOLD
    Drum Containment Bag, New Pig Corp., SILVER
    Belt Conveyor, Dorner Manufacturing, BRONZE

Metalworking Category

    Cryogenic Machining, MAG IAS, LLC, GOLD
    Portable Magnetic Drill, CS Unitec, Inc., SILVER

Motion Control Category

    Joystick with Hand Grip, J.R. Merritt Controls, Inc., GOLD
    ACS Stepper/Drive/Controller, Tolomatic, SILVER
    Magnetic Encoder with Sensor, Novotechnik, BRONZE

Packaging Equipment & Supplies Category

    Triplex Steel Pail, Cleveland Steel Container, GOLD
    Paper Void Fill System, Sealed Air Protective Packaging, SILVER
    Label Printing System, K-Sun Corp., BRONZE

Process Equipment Category

    Heat Sensitive Labels, Spirig Advanced Technologies Inc. (SAT), GOLD
    Documenting Process Calibrators, Fluke Corp., SILVER

Safety Category

    Stop Switch, EAO Corp., GOLD
    HEPA Safety Monitoring Filter, Camfil Farr APC, SILVER
    Auto-Darkening Filter, Kimberly-Clark Professional, BRONZE

We are pleased to bestow these awards on significant and inventive products that enable all involved in manufacturing to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively," DiPaola further explains. "We offer our congratulations to the winning companies."

Pictures and descriptions of the winning products can be found in the April issue of New Equipment Digest and online at: www.newequipment.com/kingawardwinners

Friday, 06 April 2012 10:00

The Free Universal Construction Kit

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Ever wanted to connect your Legos and Tinkertoys together? Now you can — and much more. Announcing the Free Universal Construction Kit: a set of adapters for complete interoperability between 10 popular construction toys.

F.A.T. Lab and Sy-Lab are pleased to present the Free Universal Construction Kit: a matrix of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten popular children’s construction toys. By allowing any piece to join to any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems—enabling radically hybrid constructive play, the creation of previously impossible designs, and ultimately, more creative opportunities for kids. As with other grassroots interoperability remedies, the Free Universal Construction Kit implements proprietary protocols in order to provide a public service unmet—or unmeetable—by corporate interests.

The Free Universal Construction Kit offers adapters between Lego, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K’Nex, Krinkles (Bristle Blocks), Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome, and Zoob. Our adapters can be downloaded from Thingiverse and other sharing sites as a set of 3D models in .STL format, suitable for reproduction by personal manufacturing devices like the Makerbot (an inexpensive, open-source 3D printer).

Our kids are already doing it! And when we were growing up, ourselves, we did it too—or we tried to, anyway. Connecting our toys together. Because: what if we want to make a construction which is half-Tinkertoys, half-K’Nex? Why shouldn’t we be able to? We dreamed about this possibility years ago, when we were small, and we knew then, as we know now, that we’d need some adapters to help. The advent of low-cost 3D printing has made such adapters possible, and with it, a vast new set of combinatorial possibilities for children’s creative construction toys.

Opening doors to new creative worlds is one major reason we created the Free Universal Construction Kit. Another is that we believe expertise shouldn’t be disposable — and that childrens’ hard-won creative fluency with their toys shouldn’t become obsolete each Christmas. By allowing different toy systems to work together, the Free Universal Construction Kit makes possible new forms of “forward compatibility”, extending the value of these systems across the life of a child. Thus, with the Kit’s adapters, playsets like Krinkles (often enjoyed by toddlers) can still retain their use-value for older children using Lego, and for even older tweens using Zome.

The Kit offers a “best of all worlds” approach to play and learning that combines the advantages of each toy system. We selected construction sets for inclusion based on their significant level of market penetration, as well as for the diversity of features they brought to the Kit’s collection. Some of the supported construction systems, for example, offer great mechanical strength, or the ability to build at large scales; others offer the means to design kinetic movements; and still others permit the creation of a wide range of crystallographic geometries and symmetries. Using these classic toys as a foundation, the Free Universal Construction Kit offers a “meta-mashup system” ideally provisioned for the creation of transgressive architecture and chimeric readymades.

Finally, in producing the Free Universal Construction Kit, we hope to demonstrate a model of reverse engineering as a civic activity: a creative process in which anyone can develop the necessary pieces to bridge the limitations presented by mass-produced commercial artifacts. We hope that the Kit will not only prompt people to create new designs, but more importantly, to reflect on our relationship with material mass-culture—and the rapidly-evolving ways in which we can better adapt it to our imaginations.

The Free Universal Construction Kit 3D models are freely available in .STL format.

For more information, visit: www.fffff.at/free-universal-construction-kit

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