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Innovations That Could Change the Way We Manufacture
Thursday, March 15, 2012 | SME

Recognizing that advancement in the way things are made is critical to the success of manufacturing, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) announces its 2012 list of Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture.

Selected by SME’s Innovation Watch Committee, the new and emerging technologies on this list are already being used in manufacturing settings and have shown successful implementation. It is expected that many other manufacturers will see the value and will begin adopting these materials and processes into their products in the near future.

“Innovation keeps U.S. manufacturing strong.  By constantly re-inventing itself, developing new materials, technologies and processes, manufacturing increases its productivity while creating products that enhance our lives,” said LaRoux Gillespie, 2012 president of the Society.  “That is why SME is seeking out, acknowledging and sharing these innovations with the larger manufacturing community.”

Innovations That Could Change the Way You Manufacture will be a featured session track at the SME Annual Conference scheduled June 3-5, 2012, in Cleveland, Ohio. The conference brings together manufacturing professionals and leaders from throughout North America and beyond who are interested in innovations and exchanging ideas in one place.

Biomimicry: Manufacturing Inspiration from Nature

Biomimicry takes ideas from nature inspire designs and processes so that products can be made better and more sustainable. Think of nature as the ultimate engineer. Biomimicry is behind many developments including synthetic gecko tape, strong coatings and materials inspired by abalone, coloration with nanophotonic crystals inspired by peacock feathers and an artificial leaf that harnesses solar energy. Another example of biomimicry is the hummingbird inspired nano air vehicle (NAV) that could provide surveillance in many environments. The vehicle demonstrates hover stability in wind gusts, continuous hover without external power, transition from hover to fast forward and many other abilities of the hummingbird.

Transistors Go 3-D for More Performance and Energy Efficiency

The 3D Tri-Gate transistor represents a fundamental departure from the traditional "flat" two-dimensional gate. Using three gates wrapped around the silicon channel in a 3-D structure, current flow is controlled on three sides of the channel rather than just from the top. Because these fins are vertical, transistors can be packed closer together. The new technology enables innovative microarchitectures, system on chip (SoC) designs and new products. They will first appear in Ivy Bridge-based ultrabooks. Designers will also be able to continue growing the height of the fins to get more performance and energy-efficiency gains.


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