We at Tribute would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to our customers, partners and supporters! You inspire us every day to provide the best distribution management software, support and services in our industry. We hope you have a relaxing and thankful day!
"What is fluid power? That sounds dull. Who wants to build things - it's all about cool software app's these days." Does that sound like any teenager you know?
With the shortage of skilled workers in the manufacturing and fluid power industry, the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) has launched several great programs to educate students about the advantages of working in our industry and to show them that fluid power can be cool!
There are programs for middle school, high school and college kids.
The Action Challenge - a competition that challenges middle school students to solve an engineering problem using fluid power. Students work in teams to design and build a fluid power machine, and then compete with other teams in a timed competition!
The Robotics Challenge - new scholarship program that launches this school year. In support of the FIRST® mission, NFPA will be offering one merit-based scholarship, for $10,000 per year for four years, to high school seniors who have participated as part of a 2017 FIRST® Robotics Competition Team.
The Vehicle Challenge - a new program based on an initiative pioneered by the Parker Hannifin Corporation. This STEM competition challenges college engineering students to redesign a traditional bicycle using hydraulics as the mode of power transmission.
Career Connections - this program brings students and teachers from local high schools in to tour NFPA member company fluid power facilities. Career Connections is FREE and very flexible, allowing for the amount of time your class has to spend on the event.
For some, this means an entire afternoon that incorporates Q & A with experts at your company, lunch with the students, and a work-period that allows students to build pre-made fluid power classroom kits. For others, it may simply mean a tour of their facilities.
Here are some options for this event:
Company Tour: Students tour a local organization’s building and experience the engineering industry
Employee Q&A: Staff explaining to students ‘a day in the life’, how they got into the industry, etc.
Team Project: Staff work with students to help assemble a basic, pre-made fluid power classroom kit
NFPA’s goal with Career Connections is to facilitate the connection between classroom and industry and thereby simplify the process for both parties involved. NFPA will also work with interested teachers to tailor a Career Connections day to custom-fit their availability and unique situation.
Interested in making a difference in tomorrow’s workforce, today? Take part in NFPA's Fluid Power Challenge or Career Connections! Go to NFPA.com or click for more information.
Tribute, Inc. is a member of NFPA and a provider of business management software for industrial distributors who provide design and fabrication services for fluid power and automation solution providers. Tribute, Inc. also partners with Parker Hannifin and other manufacturers to streamline their distributors’ supply chain. Click for more information about TrulinX, our Windows-based product designed specifically for complex fabrication projects.
NBT provides grants to community and technical colleges to enable the production of camps that range from robotics to 3D printing to automated fabrication.
There are quite a few camps aimed specifically at girls such as GADgET, Girls in the Shop, and Manufacture U! for Girls.
Campers design and build a product experiencing the start to finish satisfaction of creating something they can show off with pride. Throughout the process, they learn how to do CAD design and operate various kinds of manufacturing machinery under the close supervision of expert manufacturing trainers.
They will also tour local manufacturing facilities learning what kinds of jobs exist, what skills and training are required, and how those businesses developed.
They will have the opportunity to hear directly from local manufacturing company owners how they started their businesses, applying basic entrepreneurship principles to understand how a single product idea becomes a business.
Summer camps have been a successful way of introducing middle- and high-school students to the fascinating, high-tech career choices available to them in today’s automated manufacturing industry. For more information on NBT's summer camps and student resources, including career opportunities and manufacturing in your hometown, click here.
Tribute, Inc. is a provider of business management software for industrial distributors who provide design and fabrication services for fluid power and motion control solution providers. Click for more information about TrulinX, our Windows-based product designed specifically for complex fabrication projects.
The photo contest by IFPS in celebration of Fluid Power Professionals' Day (June 19th) has been posted with winners in four categories: Fluid Power in Motion, Power Density, Path of Least Resistance, and Fluid Power Professionals in Action.
Here are a few winners:
Click here for the article in Fluid Power Journal with all the contest winning pictures and descriptions.
If you're a fluid power distributor looking for upgraded business management software, visit www.tribute.com
Join the staff at Tribute, Inc. in marking our blog's fifth anniversary!! We hope you help yourself to a piece of our virtual celebratory cake. We’ve been providing posts on a variety of subjects of interest to the industrial distribution marketplace twice a week since March 2009.
With 504 posts and over 85,700 page views under our belt, you’ll find a wealth of information on our site.
We work hard to keep you informed on trends in the distribution industry, new technology, information on your suppliers and trade associations, helpful tips for businesses, and, of course, news about Tribute.
We also like to feature our customers by turning the spotlight on them and their employees.
In the right hand column you’ll find a list of our posts organized by date in the archives and by category below that. We have also listed some of the websites we find useful. Thanks to all who have contributed articles and spotlights or stopped by to read our content. We hope you continue to gain useful information from this source and please feel free to share!
The world of prosthetics and mobility devices is changing rapidly and advances in technology are helping those with paralysis or missing limbs adapt more easily.
Many adults disparage today’s teenagers, claiming they are self-centered and lazy. They certainly aren’t referring to Easton LaChapelle who, at 16, designed and built an incredibly affordable robotic arm. It began in the summer of 2010, when, as a bored teenager, he decided to build a robotic hand. With no previous knowledge of engineering, robotics or electronics, he scoured the internet for instructional videos and produced a hand made out of lego blocks, wires and servos.
Photo by Mike Basher
The following spring he entered a science fair and met a young girl with a prosthetic arm. Upon learning that the arm had cost her parents over $80,000, LaChapelle was inspired to improve on his invention and make a prosthetic arm at a low cost. He figured if he could put together a hand for a few hundred dollars, he could use 3D modeling and printing to help design an entire arm for much less than eighty grand.
Today is he working with NASA’s robotics program on the next generation of his Arduino Robotic Arm, which costs under $500 and is powered using a glove connected to a headset that uses brainwaves to control the arm. With NASA’s help, he is moving closer to his goal to provide low-cost, quality prosthetic robotic arms to those who need them. You can read more about Easton in this article by Popular Science.
Exoskeletons similar to the one featured in the movie Elysium will soon be commonplace. Tribute vendor partner, Parker Hannifin, has introduced exciting technology to help people with paraplegia gain a new level of independence.
Working with a team of engineers at Vanderbilt University, Parker is developing a new powered exoskeleton called Indego®, which allows users to stand and walk on all surfaces including stairs and gain access to areas not accessible via a wheelchair.
Indego® is being evaluated at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, one of the leading hospitals for spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation in the United States. The Parker device has some advantages over other models in development: it is lighter, smaller, and has a modular design so it can fit into a wheelchair and be taken apart for easy transport.
Also, the amount of robotic assistance adjusts automatically for users who have some muscle control in their legs and it is the only wearable exoskeleton that incorporates functional electrical stimulation, a proven rehabilitation technology.
Parker is targeting commercial launch in 2015. “We are confident that we can improve the lives of people who experience mobility challenges. We believe the technology developed at Vanderbilt is far superior in terms of both design and functional performance," says Craig Maxwell, Vice President and Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Parker. Photo by Joe Howell/Vanderbilt
For more information on the Indego® click here or for a video click here.
Many advances in technology make our lives easier, but some are just downright cool. Check out a few we think are leading us into the future.
A Real World Iron Man
In the Iron Man movie, the hero flew and fought in a robotics suit. The real world version is not as advanced, but the Raytheon exoskeleton robotics suit, the XOS 2, features redesigned servo valves that force more hydraulic fluid through the valves to produce up to 200 kg/cm of force. A tethered version is an estimated five years from deployment; longer still for a free-range version.
One Step Closer to the Jetsons
A 21-year-old Chinese designer has plans for a vehicle called the Volkswagen Aqua that can hover and thereby negotiate all kinds of terrain, including road, sand, ice, snow and water! The design for the invention has been shortlisted in the annual Car Design Awards competition, sponsored in part by Volkswagen. The design calls for four powerful fans in conjunction with airbags to give the vehicle its hover power. The ultra-smooth and futuristic design also includes an expansive panoramic windshield and a hatch entrance from the back.
Dragonfly Spy Drone
The Air Force Research Lab has built a “Micro-Aviary” at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio where tiny flying robots are the central focus. The Micro-Aviary will specialize in what the DoD has deemed the next generation of intelligence and military robot capabilities: tiny drones that are largely indistinguishable from insects or birds that can surreptitiously move about undetected, performing surveillance and intelligence gathering missions or even delivering payloads like tracking devices or even weapons.
Waves to Power Sensors
Like most renewable energy sources, ocean waves cannot compete with the low costs of fossil fuels. It’s expensive to get wave-generated electricity ashore and add it to a local grid. But what if wave-energy conversion could be used where it’s generated?
A few weeks ago the U.S. Navy installed a system of what are called PowerBuoys, made by Ocean Power Technology. Each buoy contains hydraulic fluid and a generator. Rather than transmitting that electricity to shore over a submerged fiber-optic line, the juice will power the ocean-based sensors that detect and track vessels. The system is part of the Navy's near-coast anti-terrorism and maritime surveillance program.
When someone mentions fluid power, pneumatic or hydraulic systems, most envision heavy duty machinery. We thought we’d give you a glimpse into the some of the wildly creative works of art and ground-breaking useful inventions created with fluid power technology.
Artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh created with paint and a piece of canvas. Mark Fuller needs pipes and hydraulics, electronics and water cannons, and has vowed never to create the same thing twice. Check out his water sculpture creations designed for resorts from Las Vegas to Dubai.
Watch and listen as music comes from a wild-looking man-made "tree." With a tune from his creation in the background, the inventor, Rin Clippard of Clippard pneumatics, describes the workings of this neat machine, which includes 24 guitar strings and a number of percussion instruments that are played using a variety of software-directed pneumatic devices.
Got more cars than parking spaces? Double your slots with the Cardok Underground Parking System, which adds a second underground level to your regular strip of space.
A dress by a Dutch designer brings together fashion and technology in an unusual way. The dress includes valves that are controlled to pump ink slowly when the piece is worn, creating interesting patterns and a one-of-a-kind outfit for every wearer.
Developed for the U.S. Army, Vecna's BEAR robot uses hydraulics for maximizing power density. The BEAR will be deployed for logistics to accompany soldiers and for search and rescue on the battlefield. Check out BEAR in this video.
If you like lists and trivia, you'll spend hours on the website Listverse– The Ultimate Top 10 Lists - studying 10 Worst Film Sequels, Top 10 Funny Pictures, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World, 10 Innovative Charities, 10 Commonly Believed Medical Myths, 10 Nastiest Animals, 10 Unusual Uses for Coca-Cola, Top 10 Mysteries of Outer Space, and more than 700 other lists.
What makes the site especially interesting is that it provides explanations of each item, often with audio and video links.
You can find all of the posts within a certain category by clicking on that category on the right side of the blog.
You can also find links to even more articles on the right side of the blog under "Articles We Like". We update this list every few days with articles that we think will be relevant to industrial distributors. To see the complete list of articles, click the "Delicious: DisTribute" link on the far right of the blog.
If you are a Tribute or TrulinX software user, and not already a member of our LinkedIn groups, you can use the links on the far right to join. LinkedIn is a great place to interact and join in discussions with Tribute staff and other software users.
Are we posting the right kinds of content? Are there certain topics you'd like to see more of in the future? Leave us a comment and let us know!
As today is Thanksgiving, we at Tribute, Inc. want to extend our thanks and heartfelt appreciation to our customers. It's been a tough year for all and we want to express how much we value our partnership and friendship with you. And since everyone should be home feasting today, we thought we’d post something fun.
For a different take on motion control, take a look into The Art of Motion Control - Bruce Shapiro’s interesting artwork produced by utilizing motion control equipment. He has permanent exhibits in the Science Museum of Minnesota, the Science Center in Cedar Rapids, Science Center of Iowa in Des Moines, and the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Canada.
His piece, Pipedream III is a high resolution embolograph (bubble raster) he created for the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada. It was installed in June, 2006. Like his earlier Pipedream pieces, Pipedream III utilizes a series of computer controlled pneumatic solenoids to inject small bubbles which slowly float up the tube, serving as pixels.
During the spring of 1998, as part of Shapiro’s collaboration with Jean-Pierre Hebert called "Ho," the idea for sand plotting emerged from their numerous experiments with motion control. Watching the sand paths being slowly and methodically created, only to be erased and redone, Shapiro was reminded of the myth of Sisyphus, a man condemned to forever roll a boulder up a hill only to find the next day that it had rolled back to the start.
Shapiro went on to create a series of Sisyphus machines. Sisyphus II now works continuously in the Science Museum of Minnesota's Learning Technology Center. Recent work has enabled children to create designs (using Microworlds software) and then save them as paths for Sisyphus to plot.
Sisyphus III was installed at Technorama, The Swiss Science Center, near Zurich, in Sept. 2003. It is 10 feet in diameter and weighs about 1,000 lbs. Check out his website to see how develops and creates these amalgamations of art and science.