Austin has been senior editor for ASSEMBLY Magazine since September 1999. He has more than 21 years of b-to-b publishing experience and has written about a wide variety of manufacturing and engineering topics. Austin is a graduate of the University of Michigan.
The 1920s was a golden age for the automobile in America. Millions of people jumped behind the wheel for the first time and transformed mobility, not to mention just about every facet of life. History may repeat itself during the 2020s. But, this time around, cars will be driving themselves.
Optical fiber is the backbone of today's digital economy. Global financial transactions, high-speed Internet access, online shopping, video gaming and other things that most people take for granted are possible because of thin strands of glass that transmit massive amounts of data every second.
In all industries, it's important to achieve alignment between the design of a product and production processes as early as possible. In the medical device sector, whether it's a dialysis machine, a knee implant, a stethoscope or a syringe, the design transfer process plays a critical role in addressing cost and quality issues.
Automated assembly lines have been the backbone of the automotive industry for decades. Robots are widely used to rivet and weld car bodies. But, in the aerospace sector, automation is more elusive when it comes to building fuselages and wings for commercial aircraft.
Engineers around the world are scrambling to create next-generation batteries that are energy-efficient and easy to mass produce. One promising candidate is aqueous flow battery technology being developed at the University of Colorado.
One of the main issues in the recent strike against General Motors revolved around the increasing electrification of automobiles. The shift to electric- and hybrid-powered vehicles is expected to radically alter the shape of the auto industry in the decade ahead. It will also change the look of assembly lines.
Refrigerators are one of the only appliances found in nearly every type of home, whether it's an apartment in suburban Atlanta, a high-rise condominium in downtown Chicago, a beach house in Hawaii or a trailer in Texas. The humble refrigerator is also the hardest working household appliance. Day and night, it's constantly running to keep all types of food and beverages cool, fresh or frozen.
Additive manufacturing is transforming the way many types of products are designed and assembled. One industry that's benefitting the most is aerospace, which traditionally requires complex, low-volume components that must withstand rigorous operating conditions.