Internet Resources

Oct. 1, 2011
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Like us at for immediate dialogue on engineering in the news and in your community. Keep us up to date on your latest design challenges or successes there.

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Online component selection

A new site at allows fast component selection from MISUMI USA Inc. More specifically, the site streamlines selection, quoting, and ordering of precision-machined metal plates used in the assembly of industrial machinery and factory automation systems. The plates are available in more than 30 different materials and can be ordered in sizes from 20 to 2,500 mm, with dimensions configured to within 0.1 mm. There is no minimum order requirement and most items ship in just four days.

Meanwhile, another site — the Modular Assembler Website at — provides fast design of common component combinations. This site groups parts and offers them in modules, to reduce effort spent selecting mechanical component sets. About 46 modules are currently available for use in rotary/linear motion, positioning/detecting, retention, and connection applications. Design assistance and technical support are readily available.

Both online services assist OEMs and designers of industrial and automation equipment.

Connected communities

PMMI of PACK EXPO fame has launched Connected Communities at It's an online forum where professionals with packaging responsibilities can connect. Four subsites serve specific markets: Confectionery, baking and snack, pharmaceutical, and general packaging and processing. In addition, a Wiki-based packaging and processing glossary allows visitors to define common terms in packaging and processing.

Visting engineers and packaging personnel can update existing definitions, request definitions, and produce new entries. Visitors can also join or start topics about innovations or challenges affecting business.

Gear software

Excel-Lent gear and gearbox design and analysis software plus demos are now available from Excel Gear Inc. at With minimal input and a few seconds' computation, the program calculates pinion and gear teeth, DP or Module, face width, and so on required to transmit a given power. Calculated capacity is close to required power, on the first try. In addition, nonstandard center distance or matching a new gear to an existing gear is as easy as clicking that option. The software's input-screen defaults meet AGMA 2001. Output is a single page of cleanly presented data.

The software costs $995, but a free trial exists. Excel-Lent software users need not be familiar with AGMA standards.

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