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Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(09):30-33. doi:10.1115/1.2005-SEP-1.
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This article highlights how can companies archive their 3D CAD files as their software races toward obsolescence. Digital designs, though, are created on software and computers that are outdated when they are delivered. Computer files can be hard to retrieve in as little as five years down the road. This is a big problem for the engineering community and, of course, for corporations, government agencies, and organizations that store information digitally—in short, for everyone. Most information today—not just engineering data—is created and stored digitally on computer systems that become outdated sooner than bread gets stale. Companies may also store blueprints or CAD documents as portable document files (PDFs) or as tagged image files (TIFs). These are 3D digital files that can be accessed fairly universally from any computer. Again, much is lost, including geometry, when swooshing a 3D file as flat as a pancake.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(09):34-37. doi:10.1115/1.2005-SEP-2.
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This article reviews that the future belongs to machines built at molecular scales—if the tools to engineer them. Just as the steam engine sparked the industrial revolution of the 19th century, nanotechnology will likely ignite a new industrial revolution during the 21st century. Nanotechnology has the potential to impact all industries; the health care and computer industries are already capitalizing on it. New materials are being created that will affect everything from aerospace and energy to recreation and entertainment. Science is uncovering new technology almost daily, which will have a great impact on many aspects of society. These technologies are at various stages of development, but in the end, each spin-off product must withstand the test in the marketplace. The evaluation of each product will still be based on the same set of metrics as other products: performance, cost, risk or reliability, and availability. To satisfy these metrics, engineers will need analytical tools to make performance predictions, establish production costs and lifecycle economics, quantify the risk associated with new technologies, and satisfy a dynamic market.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(09):38-40. doi:10.1115/1.2005-SEP-3.
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This article discusses that it is a testament to the hard work and ingenuity of the engineers working in the space program that such complicated systems get launched successfully. To the people who study it professionally, risk is the probability, or frequency (probability per unit time), and the consequence (severity) of an undesired event, and the uncertainties associated with the estimated probabilities and consequences. NASA has adopted a “continuous risk management” process for all its programs and projects. This process begins with the identification and analysis of program or project risks that impact success criteria. The risk management process continues with risk analysis, planning, tracking, and control. All unacceptable risks are dealt with before a project or program can proceed. Probabilistic risk assessments (PRA) are useful in every phase of a mission life cycle, not just at design or before launch. A PRA performed in the design phase can help identify the risks associated with systems and components and with technological options.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(09):42-43. doi:10.1115/1.2005-SEP-4.
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This article focuses on Internet-based technology that has amply increased the productivity of factories, but the simple act of giving an Internet protocol access to a plant-floor device makes it a potential Internet target. Everything on Internet-based systems, from trade secrets to the main control system of a production line, needs protection from this new set of risks. In managing risk of any kind, including risk associated with our information systems, the challenge we have as manufacturers is in knowing what to protect and how to protect it. Companies need to protect the systems that provide value to their businesses, but they must apply protection in proportion to the risk and value. People must know security processes and procedures, and must follow them. Continual training is necessary to keep employees informed and aware of what they must do to protect the factory and its information. Policies are put in place by management and describe how people are expected to comply with the processes and procedures, and management must enforce those policies and procedures.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2005;127(09):44-46. doi:10.1115/1.2005-SEP-5.
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This article highlights that for centuries although space was the realm of wonder and fascination, of fiction and children’s bedtime stories, of shooting balls of fire and faraway heavenly bodies; still it was less than 50 years ago that things began to change in earnest. Enormous engineering resources were invested in the US space program during the 1960s. By the end of the decade, engineers had gained a sufficient level of knowledge about chemical rockets and storable propellants and turned their attention to other technologies, such as noise control and advanced computer systems. In its tradition of recognizing technological achievement, ASME has bestowed honors and awards on numerous engineers and scientists associated with the nation's space program. ASME’s publications and conferences have been important vehicles for disseminating technical information on aerospace and aeronautics technology. The Society’s Aerospace Division, which predates the lunar program, has been one of the most active sectors of ASME's technical divisions.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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