It only stands to reason that an aluminum smelter in need of utility vehicles for operations and maintenance would want those vehicles to be made out the same aluminum it manufacturers, not steel.
Manufacturing a structurally-sound utility transport out of a wholly new material wasn’t the only design challenge for this effort, put into play by Aluminerie Alouette, a Canadian aluminum smelter. The new design also had to accommodate an electric power train—a requirement because the smelting process creates such a strong static magnetic field that regular internal combustion engines have a hard time operating properly within that environment. The third requirement was to create a vehicle design that would allow for easy recycling at the end of the transport’s lifecycle. Continue reading
Bill Boswell, Siemens PLM Software’s senior director of partner strategy, thinks manufacturing has an image problem — one that poses a hindrance in attracting new blood.
“Dark, dirty, dangerous — that’s what most people’s perception of manufacturing is,” observed Boswell. “To convince students to go into manufacturing, we have to change that perception. That’s not what manufacturing is today.”
Boswell points to Volkswagen’s Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany, designed by architect Gunter Henn. Complete with polished hardwood floor and curved glass surfaces, the building looks more like a modern art museum or a high-tech firm’s headquarter than an automotive plant. “Not every plant is going to look like this one,” Boswell acknowledged, “but that’s what the future of manufacturing is — certainly not dark, dirty, and dangerous.” Continue reading
Digital manufacturing, PLM, and lightweight materials design took center stage this week as the Obama administration launched a pair of public-private manufacturing innovation institutes as a part of its on-going push to re-invigorate U.S. manufacturing.
Led by the Department of Defense and supported by a $140 million Federal commitment in addition to millions in non-federal resources, the administration announced a Detroit-headquartered consortium of businesses and universities focused on lightweight and modern materials manufacturing and a similar Chicago-based center that will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies. Continue reading
Justin Erickson, engineering technology instructor for Haile Middle School, Florida, somehow succeeded where many parents have admitted defeat. He managed to lure his students away from their video games with something else. That something turned out to be SolidWorks CAD software.
Last August, Braxton Cox and Colton Cox, twin brothers in Justin’s class, became the youngest Certified SolidWorks Associates (CSWA) after passing the industry certification exam. Braxton (age 14), a fan of the game Battlefield, recalled, “[The exam] wasn’t hard, but I wouldn’t say it was easy either. I had to study for it for about two and a half months.” Asked if he felt deprived of some of his favorite pastime activities while studying for the CSWA exam, Braxton replied, “No. I don’t think of working in SolidWorks as a chore. It’s something fun I like to do, like a video game.” Continue reading
John Fox, Siemens PLM‘s VP of marketing for mainstream engineering software, met me in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel, right next to a giant gingerbread house and an indoor Christmas tree poking at the ceiling. Fox and his colleague Karsten Newbury, Siemens PLM’s senior VP and GM of mainstream engineering software, were in town for the Lean Startup Conference. They wanted to better understand the mentality of the entrepreneurs assembled at the event.
Siemens PLM’s NX and Teamcenter software products are the driving forces of design and data management in established manufacturing houses like NASA and Ford. But Fox and Newbury focus on a different segment, more closely associated with the type of startups driven by social missions, operating with crowd-funded budgets. Unlike automotive and aerospace titans, these lean startups may be better served by Siemens PLM’s Solid Edge software, a mechanical 3D CAD program known for ease of use and direct-editing functions. Continue reading