Revisiting Manufacturing Web Sites

There are several Web sites for manufacturers that are worth revisiting, either for a good read now or a bookmark for later. 


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There are several Web sites for manufacturers that are worth revisiting, either for a good read now or a bookmark for later.

Best Manufacturing Practices (www.bmpcoe.org/bestpractices/surveys.html): This site offers a collection of survey reports that describe the BMP (best manufacturing practices) of several industrial/private, military/government and academic groups. The site is run jointly by the Office of Naval Research’s BMP Program, the Department of Commerce and the University of Maryland. From machining and manufacturing processes to materials specs, production and design and enterprise management, you can learn what the best have done to successfully adopt and apply all sorts of manufacturing disciplines and techniques.

InnoCentive (www.innocentive.com): Anyone that knows me knows that I’m a champion for leveraging the power of communities. Simply put, InnoCentive is an online marketplace of ideas and solutions, and you’re either a "seeker" (a company or entity in search of a solution to a challenge) or you’re a solver (a company, entity or person that offers a solution to a challenge submitted by a seeker). Seekers pay solvers for solutions that work for them. Challenges are listed in four categories by matter of complexity—one challenge resembles an online brainstorming session, while others require greater levels of detail, sophistication and specificity to "solve." InnoCentive was started in 2001 by Eli Lilly and began its life serving the chemistry and science worlds. The site has since grown heavily into engineering and design and business and entrepreneurship. Whether you seek or solve (or neither), InnoCentive is a great site to witness the power of manufacturing.

The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (www.ncdmm.org): The center offers great value through driving efficiencies into the intricate manufacturing and machining processes required to build such sophisticated products. It works with U.S. government and military contracted suppliers of discrete parts and services to apply those efficiencies effectively. Reviewing their Manufacturing Solutions section will give you a strong sense of what they've done and how they've done it.

iMechanica (http://imechanica.org): This site is the community of students, faculty and professionals at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. While iMechanica focuses on physics and science, it also serves engineers and mechanics, or "mechanicians." This is a great resource from one of the great repositories of knowledge in the world.

SolidWorks Labs (http://labs.solidworks.com): This is the online component of SolidWorks’ R&D division, and it offers access to utilities, widgets and other developments from the CAD powerhouse that haven’t been released, at least, not yet.

You'll find interesting manufacturing research and information there, such as these features:

• 3D ContentCentral: Search for 3D parts and assemblies and more; and you can interact with "more than 340,000 CAD users."

• Drawings Now: Share drawings with anyone by uploading DWG, DXF and SolidWorks files to the Drawings Now site, and send a link via e-mail to anyone who you want to view them.

• Widgets: There are a couple of widgets available for download (applicable only to current SolidWorks users.).

• DWGnavigator: An AutoCAD file manager that looks and acts like Windows Explorer, while maintaining relationships with designs and assemblies. Search for, copy, rename and manage drawings in a simple, familiar environment.

• Second Life: SolidWorks has created SolidWorks Second Life Island, a community in the exploding virtual world dedicated to SolidWorks CAD users. If you aren’t familiar with Second Life, check out http://secondlife.com. The link is provided on SolidWorks Labs Web site.