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It’s Only a Tool

November 19, 2005

Filed under: CAD/CAM/CAE — Terry Wohlers @ 10:21

On October 17, 2005, SolidWorks distributed a press release titled “Deep sea diving world record set using breathing regulator designed with SolidWorks software.” Swedish diving equipment manufacturer Poseidon Diving Systems used SolidWorks 3D mechanical design software to develop the breathing regulator that helped set the world record for the deepest individual dive at more than 318.25 meters deep (1,044 feet), according to SolidWorks. My congratulations to South African diver Nuno Gomes who made the plunge in the Red Sea on June 10, as well as to those who were a part of the design of the regulator.

While the regulator design is an impressive achievement, does anyone really believe that if they had used Pro/E, Inventor, or some other CAD solid modeling software, they would not have come up with a similar design? Just as Microsoft Word does not make one a great writer, CAD software does not make one a great designer. It’s a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. (I don’t mean to pick on SolidWorks. Most of its competitors distribute similar types of press releases.)

Future Applications to be Revealed

November 12, 2005

Filed under: event — Terry Wohlers @ 09:05

On Friday, December 2 at EuroMold 2005 in Frankfurt, Germany, industry experts will share their insights at a conference titled Future Industrial Applications of Rapid Prototyping & Manufacturing. The annual conference, now in its seventh year, will include advanced applications from automotive, aerospace, and military, as well as prominent emerging industries including medicine, dentistry, architecture, and jewelry. Individuals from companies such as BMW and Airbus are on the program.

Year after year, engineers, managers, researchers, and members of the press return to this conference to hear the newest developments and trends in additive fabrication technology. This year’s event, with its improved format and focus on major industrial applications, promises to be one of the best ever. If you are planning to attend EuroMold, be sure to register for this important conference.

Flight Attendants

November 6, 2005

Filed under: life,travel — Terry Wohlers @ 18:51

Ever wonder what’s going on in the heads of flight attendants? I do. My experiences with them have been highly variable over the past several years. I travel a lot and fly almost exclusively on United Airlines, except when I’m outside the U.S. Overall, UA employees have been doing a decent job, given the difficulties the company has encountered with its bankruptcy. Consequently, my expectations of UA ground and flight crews have not been high. Even so, there is a certain standard of service that one expects.

The service from flight attendants is totally unpredictable. On one flight, they can be cheerful and work hard to make the flight enjoyable for as many as possible. On the next flight, the opposite can be true. And on other flights, the service can be very average (i.e., okay, but uninteresting).

I was returning on a flight last week from Detroit. The flight attendant that was serving our section of the plane was mostly cold and mechanical when boarding and during the first 20 minutes of the flight. The individual sitting next to me made some comments that went a long way in breaking through her icy exterior. When she came by, I smiled and shared pleasantries that I hoped might also help improve her disposition. After doing this for nearly half of the 2 hour and 40 minute flight, we began to see a new side of her. She removed her glasses, knelt to our eye level, and really began to warm up.

The remainder of the flight was excellent. She told us that she was recently engaged to be married and that her fiancée and her were going to pick out rings the next day. Also, she explained that she begins her time on the job with the idea of “getting through it” so that she can go home. From her tone and facial expressions when telling us this, I could see that she does not find her work interesting. (I could not operate that way.)  She really showed her good side and that she’s a sweet person, but should the customer have to work so hard to “soften” the individual that is providing the service? If you are unhappy at work, you really should ask yourself whether it is the right job for you and consider moving on to something else. This is especially true for flight attendants.