In our last blog, we addressed 5 of the top 10 engineering feats based on a LinkedIn discussion we initiated a few months back. Here are the remaining top 5 engineering feats, each of which is still evolving or under improvement.
6. Cell Phones and Mobile Devices
Some view mobile devices as luxuries rather than needs, but they have changed the lives of millions for the better. They have taken interaction and collaboration among individuals and businesses to unprecedented levels. Their appearance is a classic example of building upon past engineering successes (the telephone and the mainframe computer) for the betterment of society (James).
7. Panama Canal
The Roman Aqueduct system, the Interstate Highway system, and the Panama Canal project all benefited society. Your vote went to the Panama Canal project. It was a tremendous engineering feat to raise ships 26 meters above sea level and lower them again, and the economic benefits of the Canal project have been global. Planning is underway to enlarge the Canal to accommodate supertankers.
8. Light Metals
Light metals have contributed greatly to advances in the automotive and aviation industries. Alloys of aluminum and magnesium contribute to increased fuel efficiencies and decreased CO2 emissions. Wing and fuselage components manufactured from aluminum and its alloys made the P-51 Mustang (Ric Jarrett, Orange Coast Pneumatics) the fastest long-range, high-altitude fighter-bomber of WWII. A recently-developed magnesium alloy matrix composite is super strong, yet light enough to float on water. Reducing the cost of manufacturing light metals remains a challenge however.
9. Manufacturing I - Techniques
Eli Whitney's concept of interchangeable parts was an engineering milestone. It paved the way for Henry Ford's assembly line (Juan). A half-century later, Deming's TQC concepts led to implementing Toyota's Just-in-Time production techniques and today's Lean Manufacturing practices. Computing technology has contributed to major gains in manufacturing productivity; client/server computing and CAD have proven to be design/build process game changers.
10. Manufacturing II - 3D Printing
Traditionally, manufacturing techniques involved removing material by drilling or cutting. Conversely, 3D Printing (David) is an additive manufacturing process. The full benefits of this innovative technique are yet to be fully realized. It could however revolutionize manufacturing as did Whitney's introduction of the replaceable part. Serial 3D printing applications and fully automated 3D printing factories are not far off.
Now, we have covered the top 10 engineering feats, voted by you! A final tip of the hat should go to the engineering profession as a whole; a well-oiled society of engineers working in unison (Scott & Carl). We look forward to seeing what will come next in engineering feats.
SMC Pneumatics USA, powered by Orange Coast Pneumatics Inc. (ocaire.com), is a National Elite distributor for the SMC Corporation of America. SMC offers 11,300 general pneumatics products, with over 560,000 variations, engineered to meet applications in every sector of the market, including pneumatics for wet environments. From Semiconductor to Automotive, Medical to Petroleum, SMC's products are designed to fit your unique requirements.
*All quotes were taken from our LinkedIn discussions. http://ow.ly/XhvfK http://ow.ly/XhviR