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Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(01):23-28. doi:10.1115/1.2008-JAN-1.
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This article discusses formerly America’s top low-cost manufacturer; the neighbor to the south is repositioning itself to be an advanced industrial player. Colantuoni manages market research for Mexico’s Offshore Group, which develops maquiladoras for firms that want to manufacture in Mexico. Maquiladoras import goods from the United States without paying taxes or tariffs, manufacture or assemble them into products, and export them back across the border. Today, Mexico is making more complex and sophisticated products, as well as goods that require fast turnarounds and customization. It has used its advantages to retain business even in industries—computers, telecommunications, and appliances—that seemed a natural fit for China. Management in general is also a consideration for manufacturers. Mexico’s physical proximity to the Unites States and Canada, and the shared business culture of North America make management easier. In many ways, competition from China has been good for Mexico. It has spurred it to move into engineering and manufacturing higher value-added products.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(01):29-31. doi:10.1115/1.2008-JAN-2.
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This article focuses on the essentials of doing business with China that can be developed only over the long haul. China is a big country and, apparently, it is especially difficult to police intellectual property infractions at the local level. Rather than waiting for Beijing's policy to trickle down to local government, a company can take its own precautions to protect proprietary technology. This starts with looking deep within the fiber of Chinese society to understand why IP problems occur. People with international degrees are more aware of acceptable Western business practices. It is an advantage to hire right out of school, so that you can instill your own company’s values rather than inherit the work practices of others. Pay employees well, so they have a strong economic incentive to remain loyal. Women are often overlooked for all the reasons they were once devalued in Western culture. Yet the consensus among Westerners who teach in China is that the women are focused and work hard.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2008;130(01):32-35. doi:10.1115/1.2008-JAN-3.
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This article highlights introducing undergrads to computerized fluid dynamics (CFD) and FEA software that is not a straightforward affair. Computerized fluid dynamics has become mainstream more recently, but many engineers are finding it just as important to their daily work. In order to prepare engineers to enter such a world, professors have begun a conversation to determine the best way and the best time to introduce students to the analysis software they will likely need on the job. The subject is more challenging, both to learn and to introduce into the curriculum, than computer-aided design. Instructors agree that their students first need a good grounding in CAD before moving on to analysis. Introduction to the software comes after instructors are sure students are comfortable with CAD and have become familiar with a range of analysis concepts. Teaching CAD is a lot easier than teaching CAE, so schools are finding they cannot substitute their CAD teaching methods when it comes to CFD and FEA.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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