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Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(05):26-31. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAY1.
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U.S. manufacturers had a great 2018, but concerns continue to accompany every positive trend. There were some bright spots as well as concerns - both count because manufacturing still matters. It accounts for 70 percent of U.S. private sector R&D, 55 percent of its patents, and 60 percent of its exports. And it employs 30 percent of its engineers. How manufacturers resolve those issues will make a difference. This study examines them in greater depth.

Topics: Manufacturing
Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(05):32-37. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAY2.
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While scientists rush to pin down the cause of colony collapse disorder and race to find a cure, engineers have wondered whether we might one day supplement real bees with mechanical ones. Called DelFly, a miniature robot has been built by an engineering team of the Micro Air Vehicles Laboratory at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The engineers there have various practical applications in mind. For example, when perfected, the bots could flit around greenhouses spotting diseases with their cameras. The robots could also be fitted with apparatuses to perform an even more vital and insect-like task—pollinating crops.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(05):38-41. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAY3.
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Data-driven approaches are increasingly valuable as our ability to store massive amounts of it, the computational power to crunch through it, and the advanced analytics to make sense of it have come to maturity. These opportunities have led to the development of major facilities for aggregating, analyzing, and monetizing data from industrial sources. But the promise of Big Data, machine learning, and data analytics is predicated on access to data. This article delves into four distinct but somewhat overlapping challenges at play in terms of access to data: ownership of data, data nationalism, cybersecurity, and data privacy.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(05):46-48. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAY4.
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An updated report is given on the University of Connecticut’s gas turbine combined heat and power plant, now in operation for 13 years after its start in 2006. It has supplied the Storrs Campus with all of its electricity, heating and cooling needs, using three gas turbines that are the heart of the CHP plant. In addition to saving more than $180 million over its projected 40 year life, the CHP plant provides educational benefits for the University.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster
Mechanical Engineering. 2019;141(05):49-50. doi:10.1115/1.2019-MAY5.
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Additive manufacturing (AM) is a process that builds parts layer-by-layer from sliced CAD models to form solid objects. Just a few years ago, 3D printing was primarily used for rapid prototyping. Due to improvements in performance, AM has the potential to become a new key technology for serial production. Innovative advances like selective laser melting (SLM) enable the manufacture of high-performance metal parts. Modern printers contain several lasers, which enables the production of multiple parts at the same time. AM includes much more than just 3D printing: It’s an end-to-end process, from design and simulation to 3D printing to post-processing.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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