Manufacturing technology is ever-changing, and the industrial revolution of the past, which heavily relied on the assembly line, is not the one of the present, which now relies on state-of-the-art processes.
Nanotechnology is ushering in a new industrial revolution. It's being used to alter chemical and material properties and it is already available in more than a thousand everyday products ranging from catalytic converters to pharmaceuticals. It's also on target to become a $3.1 trillion industry by 2015. What's more, NASA is also exploring ways to use nanotechnology to reach Mars by 2030.
Part of nanotechnology is the growing area of nanomanufacturing. "Nanomanufacturing matters because it has the ability to help us create radically precise, less expensive, and flexible products," said Michael T. Postek, PhD, chief of the precision engineering division and nanomanufacturing program manager, National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Every single industry from medical to telecommunications to manufacturing electronics will be influenced by it. It's safe to say that your grandkids will see a completely different world where everyday things can be created from the molecular level."
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) offers a number of ways to get up to speed on this technology with the current release of three DVDs - the best-selling "Nanomanufacturing," the new "Structural DNA" and "Nanometrology" as well as the upcoming two-day NanoManufacturing Conference & Exhibits.
The award-winning "Nanomanufacturing" DVD not only shows the current, near-term and future applications of molecular nanotechnology (MNT), but it takes viewers inside Zyvex, NanoInk, Nanorex, General Dynamics and NASA to meet leading industry experts. Additionally, it offers detailed animations of nanosystems, nanofactories, and robots, and showcases NanoEngineer-1, the world's first nanomechanical modeling software.
While the "Nanomanufacturing" DVD explores how the technology can be used, the two new companion DVDs give more in-depth and advanced looks at the key steps to making nanomanufacturing actually happen.
In "Structural DNA," viewers meet researchers at Nanorex, Intel and Duke University. Learning from nature, these researchers have altered molecules using programmable control to develop self-replicating productive nanosystems that in the future will allow the creation of atomically precise products. The DVD also showcases how one scientist used nanomanufacturing to change the face of a molecule — literally — and create a smiley face.
The "Nanometrology" DVD encompasses the cutting edge technologies of measuring nanostructures and systems in terms of one-billionth of a meter below the wavelength of light. In this video, viewers will travel to the world's leading experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), FEI Company and The University of Michigan's Electron Microbeam Analysis Laboratory (EMAL) to learn how advanced nanometrology instruments are revolutionizing the way products are inspected and measured in industries such as pharmaceuticals and computers.
"Before anything can be built, you have to be able to measure it. It's the foundation for ultimately getting everything right in nanomanufacturing," explained Postek.
The early March release of the DVDs will also complement SME's annual NanoManufacturing Conference and Exhibits. Scheduled for April 1-2, 2009 in Minneapolis, it will highlight the current and upcoming applications of nanomanufacturing and how they are transforming manufacturing at large.
Highlights of the Conference, which will cover some topics featured in the DVDs, include pre-conference workshops on nanomanufacturing basics, nanometrology, as well as presentations on structural DNA, which is used in manufacturing computers, robotics, sensors and other electronics.
Other scheduled presentations include a keynote by Sarah Audet of Medtronic, a global medical technology company, workshops, networking sessions and roundtable discussions about the convergence of bio and nanotechnology.
"If you need to understand how nanomanufacturing can improve your products, processes and maybe even cut costs - especially during these times - or, if you want face-to-face time with the world's leading nanomanufacturing experts, this event is a great opportunity for you," says Lauralyn McDaniel, product development and event manager at SME. "Nano is here to stay."
The conference will be co-located with the MicroManufacturing Conference and Exhibits.
For more information about SME DVDs and events, please visit www.sme.org/store.