Lightweight batteries will be one of the next big breakthroughs in EV technology. One possibility that intrigues engineers is structural batteries, which can be built into the structure of a vehicle’s body or chassis to fulfill load-bearing needs while producing power.
Traditionally, many small- and medium-sized manufacturers avoided robots, because they were intimidating. Companies lacked the necessary programming knowledge and technical expertise. And, they simply weren’t willing to make investments in personnel that bigger manufacturers could afford.
Manufacturing in the age of Industry 4.0, digitally connected machines and smart factories require a new breed of engineers who are equipped with a fresh set of skills. That’s why Arizona State University recently launched the School of Manufacturing Systems and Networks.
For decades, General Motors was king of the highway and queen of the rails. In addition to mass-producing buses, cars and trucks, the automaker was once the largest locomotive builder in the world. At a massive factory just west of Chicago, GM’s Electro-Motive Division (EMD) assembled powerful machines that helped transition American railroads from steam to diesel.
The biggest challenge in automatic screwdriving isn’t speed or torque accuracy: It’s getting the fastener to the tool reliably and oriented correctly. Fortunately, assemblers have several options for feeding screws to fully or semiautomatic drivers, including screw presenters, bowl feeders and step feeders.
The Boeing 777 jetliner is the backbone of many international airlines. The reliable workhorse, which has been used on long-haul flights for three decades, is produced in several variants. The aircraft’s 20-foot-wide aluminum fuselages range anywhere from 209 to 242 feet long.
Fuel cells offer tremendous potential as a clean power source. The chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen reacts with fuel cells and converts the energy to electricity. The decades-old technology is ideal for a wide variety of applications, including stationary power stations and many forms of transportation.
Overheating is one of the biggest challenges facing engineers developing new types of battery technology. Too much thermal activity can reduce performance, cause malfunctions and increase the risk of fires and other serious problems in electric vehicles.