0

IN THIS ISSUE


Select Articles

Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(09):24-29. doi:10.1115/1.2007-SEP-1.
FREE TO VIEW

This article focuses on how engineers prize creativity, and for good reason. Innovation powers corporate success. Henry Ford’s low-cost mass production line, the Wright brothers’ airplane, and Thomas Edison’s phonograph all launched new businesses and created fortunes for their developers. The same is true for such creative breakthroughs as personal computers, biomedical implants, composite aircraft, and cell phones. Engineers may work at individual desks and workstations, but teams almost always create the vision that guides their work. Teams have grown increasingly diverse. In large companies, in particular, few designs make it into production without early input from manufacturing, purchasing, finance, marketing, and sales. There are ways to improve team creativity, although much of it sounds like common sense. Team members should spend time getting to know and trust one another and learning how to share information. Managing creativity is not always easy. The predilection of creative thinkers to stray outside corporate boundaries, their willingness to fail while trying something new, and the uneven quality of their output make them hard to manage in corporations that thrive on control.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(09):30-34. doi:10.1115/1.2007-SEP-2.
FREE TO VIEW

This article highlights that even after a half-century of development CAD continues to extend control over the design of ever-more-challenging systems. CAD came along at the same time as computer graphics programs. Both technologies allowed shapes to be depicted on the computer screen that had been dominated until then by blinking letters and numbers. Like its graphics counterpart, CAD advancements have continued apace. Today’s systems allow for 3D views that let engineers slice into their digital designs to look inside. Sutherland’s system displayed vector graphics rather than the raster graphics we're used to today. Sketchpad users controlled the cathode ray tubes electron beam via light pen to draw vectors on screen, creating shapes line by line. CAD helps because the engineer no longer shows up at a meeting and unrolls a bunch of blueprints. Today’s engineers can call upon a CAD tie-in called photorealistic modeling that makes use of light and shading effects to give photographic realism to digital designs.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(09):35-36. doi:10.1115/1.2007-SEP-3.
FREE TO VIEW

This article reviews a case for advancing the role of sketching in the art of engineering. Engineers have adopted productivity tools that promise more predictable outcomes. Computer-aided design, for example, is one of those tools. The evolution of design documentation made a huge advance when engineers no longer defined their designs in the universal graphics language known as orthographic projection drawings. Engineers now create a 3D simulation of the solid design instead of creating 2D representations of views. The 3D CAD process is closer to sculpting the design than drawing it. Sketches are part of a successful design process acting as a channel between creative engineering thinking and critical engineering thinking. Visualizing a design prepares the way to more traditional analytical engineering activities. In this early phase, engineering decisions are being made with little if any data. Intuition is a guide to get the project to a point where data can be collected and analyzed.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2007;129(09):37-38. doi:10.1115/1.2007-SEP-4.
FREE TO VIEW

This article discusses creating new products is something everyone must do, but you may wonder at times how anyone succeeds. The pressures of creating a new product, assessing the risks involved, and getting the product out to market first (never later than second) are overwhelming. Companies that find success through innovation will choose to repeat this practice. The aim of the team design is to let designers with different engineering strengths and backgrounds add perspective, and to prevent the main designers on a project from losing perspective. Some successful companies combine their product development work with downstream engineering and production teams. Software should be easy to learn and to understand, and should not have any pitfalls when someone makes last-minute changes. It is a benefit to allow different specialist areas to have input at any time without affecting the design data.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In