Power of the web

The Information Age has brought about changes in the way we do our jobs that many of us never could have predicted even 5-yr ago. Our reliance on the internet for information and communication purposes has entered the realm of everyday use.
By Len O'Neal February 1, 1999

The Information Age has brought about changes in the way we do our jobs that many of us never could have predicted even 5-yr ago. Our reliance on the internet for information and communication purposes has entered the realm of everyday use.

Sure, we have been sending e-mails for a long time now, but have you ever stopped to think of how integral the web has become in your efforts to find information and do your job? Today, it’s almost second nature to turn to the web for help.

And in many cases, we’re not dialing up our favorite URLs just to look at or for something, but to do something. Because the web’s open platform allows developers to reach a larger audience, more and more interactive applications — where you control what you see — are moving from the PC to the web and, therefore, confirming its status as a true and valuable tool in the workplace.

This month’s “Web Update” takes a look at some interactive applications to demonstrate how companies are putting the power of the web to work for you.

Does not compute

Have these three words — or something worse — ever entered your head after struggling with the tedious details of close-in calculations for bearings? Beemer Precision, Inc.’s bearing calculator (www.beemerprecision.com/asp/calculator.asp) can help you sort out the details. Enter the required variables, and Beemer’s bearing calculator provides close-in values, PV, and more.

Need a tool to determine wire or conduit information for your motor application? Square D Co. has two motor data calculators (NEMA and IEC) that can help. The easiest route to these applications is to click on the site map link from their home page (www.squared.com), and then look for links to the calculators under the “Tools” heading.

And speaking of tools, Assembly magazine (www.assemblymag.com), a Manufacturing Marketplace partner site, has an entire toolbox of applications, including torque calculators for standard bolt series and bolts manufactured from nonferrous materials; and an adhesive selector guide that easily steps you through the factors necessary to find the appropriate product for your job.

Virtual show must go on

So you can’t make it to the next big trade show? No problem. Honeywell, Inc., gives you a good taste of what the trade shows of the future may be like with their virtual application (www.honeywell.com/sensing/virtual/flashhome.stm). Guide yourself through their virtual show floor to product displays and interactive demonstrations and easily access technical information.

Help PE Online spread the word

We have uncovered just a few of the many interactive applications available on the web. Do you know other web-based applications of value to the plant engineer? Perhaps you have an idea for an application that could benefit plant engineers. Let us know and we’ll be sure to spread the word. — Len O’Neal, Web Editor, loneal@cahners.com