Engineers are challenged daily to come up with economical product designs that reduce weight, size, raw materials and labor. This competitive mandate affects every design facet, including the fasteners needed to hold components in place.
Inventors of manufacturing technology have many sources of inspiration. One is human anatomy, which has led to the development of things like hand-like grippers and collaborative robots. Another is commercial technology that is used in toys.
For decades, batteries have powered everything from toys and toothbrushes to personal electronics and power tools. But, that's just scratching the surface. During the next decade, advanced batteries will be mass-produced for a wide variety of new applications on land, sea and air.
There are good and bad aspects to repetition. On one hand, it's a proven way to learn to expertly perform a task. On the other, it can lead to physical problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, and bad arthritis in the hands, arms, legs and back.
Whether it's a car or a computer, a toy or a toaster, almost every assembled product has at least a few threaded fasteners. Indeed, 62 percent of ASSEMBLY's readers use threaded fasteners of one form or another to assemble their products.
Strong and lightweight, carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) offers numerous benefits to automotive and aerospace manufacturers. Many engineers are intrigued by potential applications for the material, yet remain frustrated by joining challenges.
Manufacturing high-quality products is always serious business, even when the products are used for fun. KTM AG, for example, builds each of its off-road motorcycles with top-notch and thoroughly tested parts so that each model is "ready to race."
High-strength threaded fasteners are critical components in the assembly of virtually every form of transportation and industrial machinery. Industry-accepted standards for the measurement and performance of these critical parts have existed for decades, but recent failures of threaded fasteners in service and qualification testing are bringing new focus to the critical area between the head and shank of the fastener.
Traditionally, assemblers use semiautomated or manual tools to drive screws. While that technology is still used for some fastening applications, more manufacturers are investing in robotic screwdriving.