Features

Advanced Technologies Will Help Hubble Yield More Remarkable Discoveries

The fourth servicing mission (SM-4) for the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) offered an impressive and unprecedented set of advanced technologies that may yield the most remarkable discoveries and imaging to date of Earth, the solar system, and beyond. The mission was, according to Deputy Associate Director for the HST Development Project Frank Cepollina, “the most complicated mission – from a servicing perspective – that NASA has ever flown.”

Posted in: Articles, Research Lab, Test & Measurement

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Advancing Technologies Harness the Power of Wind, Water, and the Sun

Renewable energy will be the world’s fastest-growing source of electricity generation over the next two decades, although it will still make up a relatively minor portion of the global energy supply, according to the Energy Information Administration. The majority of that increase will come from the use of wind power and water power, or hydropower. The Obama Administration advocates a policy that would require 25% of United States electricity demand be met by renewable energy by 2025.

Posted in: Articles, Energy, Hydroelectric Power, Solar Power

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Advancing Technologies Harness the Power of Wind, Water, and the Sun

Renewable energy will be the world’s fastest-growing source of electricity generation over the next two decades, although it will still make up a relatively minor portion of the global energy supply, according to the Energy Information Administration. The majority of that increase will come from the use of wind power and water power, or hydropower.

Posted in: Features, GDM, Articles, Energy, Hydroelectric Power, Renewable Energy, Solar Power, Wind Power

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Three Steps to Cost Control: Addressing the Root Cause of Unexpected Product Costs

By Eric LarkinChief TechnologyOfficer and Co-FounderArena SolutionsFoster City, CAWe often hear a common story from small and mid-size manufacturers. The VP of sales nails a really big order that will secure the company’s future — if the company can deliver. The challenge ignites chaos, and it’s a frenzy of frantic phone calls and sleepless nights to get the product built. The company fulfills the order, and everything is great in the end. Right? Usually not. When the final numbers come through, the big deal often does not mean big profits. No bonuses because cost overruns have eaten into the margins, and everyone tries to place blame. It’s a virtually impossible task to manage thousands of parts in a multimegabyte, multicolor, and multi-worksheet spreadsheet-based bill of materials (BOM). And when those spreadsheets are e-mailed, suddenly multiple different “official” versions result. The steps that then get taken to make sure the factory builds the right revision can be downright embarrassing. The problem, so common at companies racing to get products to market, is that they rely on old ways to save time and money. But using trusted shortcuts like spreadsheets for managing company BOMs and “free” tools like e-mail for communicating critical manufacturing data almost always reduce profitability. Spreadsheets grow complicated and unmanageable so quickly that profits are eaten away. Additionally, delays from out-of-control change processes — and steps to recover from delays — create unbudgeted overhead costs that further undermine remaining profits. Three steps can help companies get the right systems in place to control their product information and their costs: Step 1. Control your CAD data. Take the time to configure a product data management vault to keep data secure, revision-controlled and accessible by downstream applications. Step 2. Manage your BOMs. Invest in a collaborative BOM management system to ensure all parties are working from the accurate version of the product record. Make sure the BOM management system can accept CAD data, manage documents, control change processes, and integrate with other applications like ERP. Step 3. Imagine no shrink-wrap. Companies often find they’ve pushed the limits of shrink-wrapped software for functions such as accounting and materials planning. Anticipating that, plan for growth into business applications such as ERP and MES, and be sure the ones you choose are compatible with your BOM management system. Sometimes companies just have to get product out the door, forcing them to bank success on shortcuts and traditional processes. But not all traditions can handle the stresses and speed of modern manufacturing. Shortcuts like relying on spreadsheets to manage BOMs can introduce delays, unnecessary complications, and miscommunications that cost time and money throughout the project and into the future. By carefully selecting systems, companies can control costs by eliminating risks associated with manual, error-prone, and time-consuming processes.More Information For more information on Arena’s collaborative bill of materials and change management software, visit http://info.hotims.com/22920-122.

Posted in: Articles

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OpenVPX

Putting a New Spin on an Old Standard For 25 years, the VME architecture defined COTS systems that met the demand for increases in computing and connectivity. Successive generations of new processors provided more and more compute cycles, while VME bandwidth evolved in a similar fashion from 40 Mbytes/s on the original VMEbus to 80 Mbytes/s, then 160 Mbytes/s and finally 320 Mbytes/s on 2eSST.

Posted in: Articles, Articles

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Secure Software Flashing

More and more devices in our modern world come with a multitude and variety of embedded systems. An obvious example of this trend is today’s vehicles, which have dozens of electronic control units (ECUs) that control everything from the air conditioning and electric windows to the engine and brake system. Several ECUs allow downloading of updated program and data code via a boot loader. Such software might be a control unit firmware update for fixing bugs, for improving features, or for downloading data such as additional multimedia files. The first case is also called a software download or simply flashing (since flash memory is updated). The download might be performed directly over a diagnostic channel or another available communication channel such as Bluetooth and GSM.

Posted in: Articles, Articles

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Cloud Computing: What Are the Networking Implications?

The growth of data centers and the concept of infrastructure as a service is leading to significant focus on cloud computing architectures. Pundits have proclaimed cloud computing as the ultimate merger of information technology with communication. The promise of cloud computing is immense — it aims to create a virtual world of applications, giving the user an unparalleled computational power using a simple front-end and a decently fast broadband connection.

Posted in: Articles, Articles

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