Free webcasts will cover plastics assembly, robots, machine vision and adhesive bonding.

Two of our four free webcasts this summer will focus on designing plastic parts for strength and manufacturability.

Attending trade shows is expensive. Let’s say you lived in Chicago and wanted to attend an event in New York City. On average, roundtrip airfare from Chicago to New York City costs more than $341. A hotel room averages a staggering $491. Throw in cab fare and meals, and a two-night stay in the Big Apple will set you back more than $1,500!

How much better would it be if you could learn about the latest assembly ideas from the nation’s top manufacturing experts, for free, without ever leaving your desk? Well, through ASSEMBLY magazine’s Online University webcasts, you can do just that. Our 2008 series covers part design, robots and vision, plastics assembly, and adhesive bonding.

The webcasts will be held at 1 p.m., Eastern time. Each presentation lasts approximately 1 hour, including introductory remarks, the presentation itself and a live, 15-minute question-and-answer session.

Since ASSEMBLY began producing webcasts in 2006, an average of 752 engineers and managers have registered for each event. The webcasts have been viewed by manufacturing and design engineers from such companies as BIC Corp., Black & Decker Corp., Delphi Corp., General Motors Corp., General Electric Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., Medtronic Inc. and Xerox Corp.

The series kicks off Wednesday, July 30, with “Designing Plastic Parts for Maximum Durability,” presented by Witold Brostow, Ph.D., professor of materials science and engineering at the University of North Texas (Denton, TX) and sponsored by InterTech Development Co. (Skokie, IL).

Plastic parts are increasingly replacing metal ones in cars, planes and other products. In this webcast, engineers will learn how these materials behave and how to design their assemblies for strength and durability. Dr. Brostow will discuss why plastic assemblies fail and provide tips on how to prevent mechanical failure under various conditions, such as temperature and vibration.

Director of the university’s Laboratory of Advanced Polymers and Optimized Materials, Dr. Brostow is the editor of the textbook Performance of Plastics (Hanser Gardner, 2000) and the co-author of the textbook Failure of Plastics (Hanser Gardner, 1986). He is president of the International Council of Materials Education, as well as president of the scientific committee of POLYCHAR-the annual World Forum on Advanced Materials.

To register for this event, click here.

On Wednesday, Aug. 13, Ernest L. Hall, Ph.D., PE, director of the Center for Robotics Research at the University of Cincinnati, will present “Robots and Vision in Assembly.”

A professor of both robotics and computer science, Dr. Hall will examine opportunities for greater use of robots and vision in assembly, and he’ll discuss why manufacturers haven’t taken greater advantage of these technologies. Sponsored by Balluff Inc. (Florence, KY), this session will cover both hardware and software, including such technologies as smart cameras, laser scanners and wireless data transmission.

Dr. Hall is co-editor of the Handbook of Industrial Automation (Marcel Dekker, 2000) and co-author of Robotics: A User-Friendly Introduction (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1985). He has done consulting work for such manufacturers as Timken Co., Emerson Electric Co. and Xerox. To register for this event, click here.

On Wednesday, Sept. 3, consultant and author Paul A. Tres will discuss “Designing Plastic Parts for High-Speed Assembly.”

Compared with the cost of a high-speed automated assembly system, the price of a few plastic parts must seem miniscule. In fact, the design of those parts is just as important as the design of any feeding, handling or assembly mechanism. Sponsored by InterTech, this webcast will teach engineers how to design plastic parts that can be economically assembled without compromising performance goals. Material selection, joint design, assembly techniques and snap fits will be covered.

A fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Tres is the author the seminal textbook Designing Plastics Parts for Assembly (Hanser Gardner, 2003), now in its sixth edition. A consultant with Engineering Training Services Inc. (Bloomfield Hills, MI), Tres has presented lectures on plastics assembly in 12 countries, and he presents an annual seminar, “Automotive Plastic Parts Design,” at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

To register for this event, click here.

Finally, on Wednesday, Oct. 8, Edward M. Petrie, author of the reference books Handbook of Adhesives and Sealants and Epoxy Adhesive Formulations, will present “Adhesives That Cure On-Demand.” Cure-on-demand adhesives have become critical for many assembly applications. They provide solvent-free, one-part, no-mix formulations that cure in seconds. Sponsored by EFD Inc. (East Providence, RI), this webcast will review the major materials and formulations for these adhesives. Petrie will discuss the application and performance characteristics of these adhesives, and he’ll talk about potential problem areas when using them.

Throughout his industrial career, Petrie has been employed by two major global corporations: ABB and Westinghouse Electric Corp. In both organizations, he assisted various operating divisions with anything related to adhesives. Petrie has eight patents, including six related to adhesive materials. In 2003, Petrie founded his own consulting firm, EMP Solutions, in Cary, NC. His consulting expertise includes adhesive material and process selection, testing, formulating, substrate preparation and quality control.

To register for this event, click here.

To review the full schedule of ASSEMBLY magazine’s Online University webcasts, past and present, click here.