Siemens and Tanida Ruangsawat/Dreamstime
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5 for Friday: Physical Testing, Hannover Messe on the Horizon, Re-Engineering the Future

April 7, 2023
Machine Design takes a look at the past week, and a look ahead to the issues facing the design and manufacturing sector.

1. Physical Testing in a Virtual World  

There’s a lot to be said for the innovations around digital twins, artificial intelligence and computer-aided design. Yet, as Robert Farrell writes on Machine Design this week, “while it’s true that today’s technologies have cut into the dependence on physical testing, real-world data remains the lifeblood of the product lifecycle.” The digital twin is a vital new tool for the design engineer, and we’ve written extensively on the topic. But it is one of many tools in the design engineer’s toolbox, and most people who use tools will tell you there’s a lot of value in well-made tools, regardless of their age.  

2. Getting Ready For Hannover Messe  

The two sure signs of spring in my life are baseball and Hannover Messe. The world’s largest industrial trade show is hoping to return to pre-pandemic levels starting April 17 in Hannover, Germany. My colleague Alix Paultre attended the Hannover Messe preview in February and filed a video tour of the preview, including this stop at the igus booth. Innovation is everywhere at the show, including the annual Hermes Award for innovation, which named this year’s three finalists last week.  

3. Re-Engineering the Future  

There are two phases to product development. The first creates a shiny new idea that gets all due accolades. The less-discussed phase is how that product goes through several iterations to tweak the product based on market needs, customer suggestions or, as in the case of Festo’s Essentials program, to meet a supply chain challenge. My discussion with Todd Shannon, the business development leader for the Pneumatic Essentials program at Festo, looked at this second phase, where Festo re-engineered its pneumatics line to create a flexible solution for customers who needed a reliable supply of parts for broad applications at a time of global supply disruption.  

4. A Pneumatics Primer  

Pneumatics is such a mature technology that it’s sometime easy to overlook its fundamental value as well as its critical role in modern manufacturing. An updated Machine Design article looks at some of these fundamental principles around pneumatic pressure regulators and their applications for design engineers. It’s worth a fresh look.  

5. Sorting Out Linear Actuators  

At the recent IFPE Show in Las Vegas, the applications of pneumatics in this electric age was a major topic for attendees and vendors. Even with the accelerated use of electric linear motion as a valuable technology, there always will be applications for all forms of linear motion control. A Machine Design article notes this week all of the advantages and disadvantages of hydraulic, pneumatic and electric actuators, and gives you a clear look at how each continues to deliver value in the right situation.  

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