Leslie Langnau's Blog (68)

Is it time to return to centralized control?

PCs and PLCs are getting more powerful with multicore processors. Proponents of EtherCAT claim that this network is suitable for handling the amount of data possible with centralized control schemes.

Distributed control was the best strategy for the technology during the 1980s, ‘90s and even into the beginning of this century. But now technology has advanced. Several discussions at various shows I’ve attended revolved around distributed versus centralized control.  So is it time to…

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Added by Leslie Langnau on December 16, 2010 at 8:12am — No Comments

View, edit and share 3D files on your iPhone or iPad

3D Systems announced that they have launched a free 3D content tool that will let you view, edit, and share 3D files on your iPhone and iPad. It's called nettfab Mobile and you can check out the videos here: http://www.netfabb.com/mobile.php
Looks pretty cool, although with my poor eyesight I would prefer to use the iPad. It's free and you can download it through iTunes now.
3D Systems…
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Added by Leslie Langnau on December 7, 2010 at 5:26am — No Comments

Low cost 3D printers and materials are the focus of additive manufacturing at Euromold





Euromold 2010 has now come and gone, so here’s a quick look at some of the news announced during the show.



The price of 3D printers is in the spotlight again. Objet launched two new desktop 3D printers starting at $19,900. The Objet24 suits the office environment, providing low-cost 3D printing without compromise on model detail or functional versatility. The Objet30 prints a range of materials. More information is available at:…

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Added by Leslie Langnau on December 6, 2010 at 10:00am — No Comments

Stuxnet to PLC users: Do I have your attention now?

Periodically I receive press releases or white papers on how to secure industrial controllers and networks; a subject that for many does not exactly inspire excitement. In the more than 20 years that I’ve been covering industrial networks, the response I usually receive from vendors and customers about security follows along these lines:…

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Added by Leslie Langnau on November 11, 2010 at 6:51am — No Comments

Advanced Manufacturing--a legit term or an exercise in branding?

Engineers have known that you have to actually make something to make any money. Countries in Europe are waking up to this, and so, apparently, are some economists and some government officials here in the U.S. It's about time. Many debate the wisdom of the long-established policy of allowing manufacturing to go overseas.
Unfortunately, the term manufacturing has a bad rap; it's often viewed as a low skilled, low paying form of employment. So a new term is emerging: Advanced Manufacturing.…
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Added by Leslie Langnau on November 8, 2010 at 8:00am — No Comments

How important is it to gain more efficiency?

Is the goal of better efficiency just for new designs, or are you exploring older designs? Vendors of various 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies are promoting the idea of reviewing established designs and examining whether you can cut costs, eliminate parts, or gain efficiencies in other ways. According to them, their products are perfect for revising a design and helping you explore other options. It's never a bad idea to review a design and check to see whether changing it to… Continue

Added by Leslie Langnau on November 4, 2010 at 7:30am — No Comments

Name your price





To purchase a 3D printer, what’s your price point? Would you spend $50,000? How about $10,000? How about less than $2000? It appears as though 3D printer vendors are betting that if they lower the price, they will sell more 3D printers. Not an unreasonable thought. 3D Systems is the latest vendor to announce a low cost system through its purchase of Bits From Bytes Limited, a United Kingdom based manufacturer of affordable 3D printers and 3D printer kits that…

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Added by Leslie Langnau on October 18, 2010 at 8:01am — No Comments

Do you need a 3D printer? Key questions to ask

What decision criteria do you use to justify the purchase of a 3D printer? Is it price? Price is in the spotlight lately as vendors either drop prices on some models as well as introduce lower priced versions.





While lower priced versions may entice some into the market who would have stayed on the sidelines, be aware of the tradeoffs…

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Added by Leslie Langnau on October 11, 2010 at 4:51am — No Comments

Video Electronics Designed with the Unmanned Vehicle in Mind

According to some developers in the unmanned vehicle industry, there is a huge need for better video capture and streaming electronics onboard these aircraft. GE Intelligent Platforms undertook the task of designing a product for video streaming in this environment, taking advantage of the ITU-T H.264 (aka MPEG-4 part 10) standard. GE is one example of a solution. What are some of you doing to address the issue of sending more data through?…


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Added by Leslie Langnau on September 7, 2010 at 11:12am — No Comments

Is the next "big thing" turning atoms into bits?

What’s the next piece of equipment that will convert atom-based products into digital bits? Because of the computer, there’s less reason to release music on disk. Same with video, which is increasingly available for streaming to a screen (any screen) near you. And now books are available in digital versions, although new devices/systems/equipment are still needed to make that transition more efficient. So what atom-converting equipment is next, and is this the next Big Thing? …

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Added by Leslie Langnau on August 25, 2010 at 6:54am — No Comments

T. A. Grimm & Associates, Inc. announces a 3D Printer Benchmark that profiles seven systems

Want to know how much a 3D printer will cost you per cubic inch of material? What to know how long it will really take for a system to build a part? A new benchmark study that was just released by T.A. Grimm and Associates, Inc. promises to give you those answers. The printers studied are: Alaris30, Designjet 3D, ProJet SD 3000, SD300 Pro, uPrint, V-Flash and ZPrinter 310 Plus. I just downloaded my copy.…
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Added by Leslie Langnau on July 19, 2010 at 6:56am — No Comments

BP Oil Spill Rescue: Online Suggestion Platform Seeks New Approaches

What should BP do about the oil spill? Any thoughts from members of Engineering Exchange? If so, you can post your thoughts on a special website: www.whatshouldBPdo.com… Continue

Added by Leslie Langnau on June 3, 2010 at 4:00am — 3 Comments

Why isn't rapid prototyping/additive manufacturing a larger industry?

One question that stuck out at the recent RAPID Show in Anaheim, Calif was; Why isn’t this show bigger with more exhibitors and more attendees? This industry is 20+ years old. When will it become large enough to fill a convention hall rather than a hotel ballroom?



In the last few years, we have seen the introduction of 3D printers small enough to fit on your desktop at prices that are less than $5000. Higher end…

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Added by Leslie Langnau on May 25, 2010 at 4:00am — No Comments

We need to be more open to discuss why a design failed

Why did a design fail? This is one of my favorite subjects because it is so rich in information. On my LinkedIn site, there's a discussion starting on this subject. A Design World reader found a 40 min video presentation by Scott Berkun, former design engineer at Microsoft. (…
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Added by Leslie Langnau on May 5, 2010 at 6:29am — No Comments

Design in 2010: Four emerging trends for technical product design

What do you need to consider now when designing a product for consumer consumption? According to Product Development Technologies (PDT), a global, full-service product development firm, there are four emerging technology design trends for 2010. Do you agree with these trends? What are your most important trends?


Here are the four noted by PDT.


Focused Function: Consumers demand products that meet their basic needs and that’s…
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Added by Leslie Langnau on April 5, 2010 at 7:46am — No Comments

Programmable matter



I love cool research and developments. I love experiments that make me say “Wow!,” even if they may not be realized for many years. One of the most interesting research projects I’ve come across lately comes out of Carnegie Mellon University. The project focuses on the control and manipulation of 3D objects. It can be viewed as the 3-Dimensional display of electronic information, which is a cool idea in itself. One example of this development is known as Claytronics. Seth Goldstein,… Continue

Added by Leslie Langnau on February 25, 2010 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Busting several myths about manufacturing’s smallest technologies

According to research from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) micromanufacturing and nanomanufacturing are becoming the biggest thing to occur in manufacturing since the moving assembly line. A recent survey found that out of 400 manufacturing professionals who expressed an interest in micromanufacturing, half are already using it to produce products. And more than 60% indicate an interest in nanomanufacturing. Such interest bodes well for product designers who are exploring either… Continue

Added by Leslie Langnau on January 19, 2010 at 10:38am — No Comments

What’s new with Ethernet, Wireless, and Traditional Serial Device Networks

For those of you choosing among the various networking systems, the most interesting points in recent research from ARC Vice President Chantal Polsonetti, (cpolsonetti@arcweb.com) the principal author of ARC’s “Factory Automation Networks Worldwide Outlook” are the following:



--The cost of wiring apparently does not impede the installation of Ethernet-based device networks. Noted ARC, much of the growth in these networks results from successful competition against traditional serial… Continue

Added by Leslie Langnau on November 5, 2009 at 6:54am — No Comments

Challenge conventional thinking!

One of my hobbies is questioning conventional thinking. Recent news about bailout bank CEOs pay provides an example. Conventional thinking says that there are a limited number of skilled executives who can lead a company to growth and profit. As with any resource, when supply is viewed as scarce, its price goes up. Hence, conventional thinking says we have to pay these CEOs lots of money.



But who says talented executives are in scarce supply? Who benefits from that viewpoint? The… Continue

Added by Leslie Langnau on October 23, 2009 at 6:49am — 2 Comments

A mechatronic design approach enables packaging machines to do more with less

For packaging machinery, a mechatronics approach will help you reduce inertias that usually require extra energy to overcome; improve control system response, which can eliminate the practice of oversizing motors; decrease or eliminate compressed air; and reduce heat and shock loadings, among other benefits.



Take air-actuated devices, for example. Compressed air is widely recognized as costly to produce, and it consumes electrical energy better used directly for actuation. Then you… Continue

Added by Leslie Langnau on October 20, 2009 at 6:23am — No Comments

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