Frances Richards

Motors for efficiency: Permanent-magnet, reluctance, and induction motors compared
Induction motors aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, they just keep getting better as improved materials continue to make possible more-efficient designs. At some point the law of diminishing returns kicks in. With motors operating in the 90%-plus efficiency range for most ratings, there isn’t much more room for improvement. Laws of physics make it prohibitive to design ac-induction motors with higher efficiencies.
Editorial: Engineering optimism
It’s a good time to be employed as an engineer. Based on several recent studies and surveys, the employment outlook is strong and salary figures are nothing to sneeze at.
Cornhole and the engineering mentality
In recent months, we’ve discussed some weighty issues in this column, including space exploration and the jobless recovery. Many of you have contacted us with interesting responses and perspectives. That’s just the kind of interaction that spurs ideas and advances society. However, summer has arrived, bringing with it a chance to lighten up a little
Technology's double-edged sword
Where do massive numbers of people find meaningful work in the new global economy?
Robotics in motion
MSD: What are some of the latest trends in robotics these days, specifically for packaging and pick and place applications? John QComp: Robots are being
Trends in braking technology
In the world of motion control and power transmission, control is the key design objective. Put simply, stopping a load in a predictable and controlled
Motion Scenarios: Hoisting
Have you ever found yourself holding your breath while watching a crane position large steel beams atop a skyscraper construction project? You're not
Time to act is now to revive U.S. manufacturing
Just the other day, a friend who works as an engineer for TRW asked me what I thought of Carl Pope’s recent Bloomberg series, “America’s Dirty War Against Manufacturing.” In a word: Scary.
Please don't use the F-word
With ongoing controversy surrounding the surge of hydraulic fracturing operations that extract natural gas from shale, industries poised to reap the benefits
The joys of standardization
What are you doing on October 14th? Perhaps heading to your local cinema to enjoy the remake of 1984 dance-movie Footloose on its opening day? October
Motion Scenarios: Pick-and-place applications
Designing comprehensive automation for high-speed pick-and-place applications is among the most challenging tasks faced by motion engineers. As robotic
A season of celebration
Summer is often the season of celebrations, weddings, and graduations. As I recently watched my own daughter graduate from high school, I must admit to
A fair question
What's on your nightstand these days? If you're looking for inspiration, consider The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair
Mechanical engineers tackle sled design
Engineering design need not be all work and no play, especially when it comes to winter sports. Case in point: Two engineers from Clarkson University,
Manufacturing Mandate may help secure new Sputnik moment
In his January 25th State of the Union Address, President Obama spoke of Americans winning the future and how we might accomplish this feat in an increasingly
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