Bishop-Wisecarver, Manufacturer of Linear Slides and Rotary Guides

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Fueling STE(a)M Education with Art and Creativity

Source: Southern Illinois University
Ruth Catchen has gone from opera singer, to music educator to advocate for the arts in technical education. The Colorado-based consultant has gained national attention for her unique approach to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—or STEM, as it's commonly called. 

Add a dash of creativity to the equation: STEAM + Art = STEAM.

STEAM, she says, is the most logical way to learn.

"It is a way of learning that maximizes the concept of divergent thinking," she explains on education blog MiddleWeb. "We need the arts and our ability to communicate to do anything. As well, we must view things from the eye of a critical thinker, which is one who constantly wants to solve problems or make things work more efficiently."

That makes sense to us. Creativity matched with technical skill, of course, yields innovative results.

A 2014 study by the American Society for Engineering Education noted that STEM education is so successful because the teaching methods are inquiry-based and centered around students. It engages students in solving real-world challenges. It encourages teamwork. It shows how to use mathematics in a meaningful way that students will actually use later in life. 

STEM is a specific guideline for integrating and applying math and science to create solutions for real problems. It requires a high level of focus. 

In a way, the process already involves art, by requiring students to design products or communicate by writing or speaking about a solution. 

Through her pilot STEAM program, Catchen is showing how art can inform her pupils' design, presentation and creative planning.

That doesn't mean her students show how molecules move through interpretive dance, Catchen jokes. 

"Instead, it allows different neural pathways (we might call them head and heart) to work in harmony," she wrote. "Although humans cannot use both neural pathways at once, they can process and use critical thinking skills to combine the experiences from both, creating a better outcome."

STEAM lends balance to a rigorous technical curriculum. It inspires the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that takes engineering to the next level.

In a column on the need for more "STEAM power" in American education, Bishop-Wisecarver President Pamela Kan said it's all about balance. 

"Innovation requires a creative mind," she wrote, "and what better training ground than the arts to open up the realms of creativity?"

In a conversation with NOVA Education, public school art teacher and Rhode Island School of Design alumna Meghan Reilly Michaud spoke about how the art-science connection has the potential to transform the 21st century economy by inspiring a generation of creative makers. We've posted the clip below.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finally, an Alternative to Costly Slewing Rings!

When it comes to automating heavy loads, there aren't many options for large capacity bearings. Slewing ring bearings are often the go-to because they come in large diameters and can withstand enormous payloads. But they're extremely expensive. They have long lead times, ranging from four to six months on average. They're also tricky to assemble and require an inordinate level of maintenance. 

There's got to be a better way.

Our product manager—the brilliant, the inimitable engineering mastermind Brian Burke—said there is indeed a viable alternative.  Enter: the heavy duty ring with vee guide wheels.

Earlier this month, Burke laid out the differences between the former and the latter. 

Slewing rings, while not the fastest moving components, can carry insane amounts of weight and come in very large diameters. But they're cumbersome to build and maintain.

By contrast, the heavy duty rings with vee guide wheel bearings generally have a lead time of four to six weeks. Talk about a time saver (and what is time, if not money, money, money). The vee guide wheel bearings work well in factory automation and machinery.

Vee bearings function in a vastly different way than slewing ring bearings. For one thing, vee bearings are internally lubricated—for life. Rubber shields and seals protect the bearings from contamination, making it a long-term investment and dramatically reducing the need for maintenance. 

Twin bearings, essentially two single-row bearings, work for lighter loads. For heaving loads, you'll need the double row bearings, which are found in our HDRT—that stands for heavy duty ring and track—product line. Our largest bearings have an outside diameter of 150ml, use rollers instead of balls and can each support a radial load capacity of 33,000 pounds. 

All that while providing smooth, low-friction motion. 

One of the key features of these vee bearings is that they're self-cleaning. To quote Burke:

"The vee guide wheel provides a wiping action for harsh environments where the debris is ejected," he explained during a July 7 Design World webinar he hosted on the topic. "It's not like a skateboard wheel hitting a rock where it's going to stop, and it's not like a steamroller where it's going to crush everything down. It actually acts so that it ejects any debris on that running surface."

There's so much more to say about the subject. Thankfully, Burke's webinar was memorialized in a YouTube clip. Click here to watch the presentation all its uninterrupted glory. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Reducing Downtime in Packaging Automation

You know that feeling when you're driving through the backroads, trying to get around freeway rush hour, only to hit every single red light? Like, Every. Single. Stop. Lost time and frustration fulminate into road rage and you wonder why you didn't just take the train.

In factory automation, machinery upgrades are a lot like those stop lights—slowing you down from your all-important destination. Every time a manufacturer has to replace a field component, production halts. Obviously, that lost time translates to higher purchasing costs and concerns about product quality and consistency. 

Not long ago, we worked with an international multimillion-dollar food service packaging corporation with exactly that problem. Higher-than-expected field component replacements on machinery in multiple field offices made production a frustrating pace of stop-and-go. Bearings had to be switched out far earlier and more often than they expected.

Bishop-Wisecarver engineers worked closely with this packaging corporation to pinpoint the problem: the bearings weren't being installed properly. Botched installation caused premature failures and required all too many emergency replacements. 

So our engineers figured out how to maximize product life by producing a training video specific to the installation issue. In the video, the engineers explain how to install and adjust the v-rollers. They also show how to calculate the proper preload. 

The video was a hit. The packaging company played it in various production facilities, which cleared up the problems almost immediately. That simple fix and multimedia outreach saved the entire corporation a fortune—some $50,000 to $75,000 a year—by reducing maintenance and machinery downtime. 

By the way, we upload product videos on our YouTube channel for anyone to watch. Check it out

Friday, June 12, 2015

Guided Motion Solutions for the Prefab Home Industry

What comes to mind when you think of prefabricated homes? A mobile home park? Vinyl siding, steel roofs, monotonous rows of trailers or lackluster bungalows? 

Thanks to an unprecedented global uptake of prefabricated housing, the variety and quality of manufactured homes has expanded to include everything from the luxurious to low cost, from the aesthetically stunning to the spartan and practical. 

A high-end prefabricated home. (Image via iDesignArch)
Driven by a burgeoning interest in sustainable designs and a need for more affordable housing as real estate markets drive up the cost of living in most metropolitan job centers, prefabricated and modular homes are gaining renewed interest from consumers. In fact, prefab homes are becoming the most sought-after types of affordable housing, with cost savings realized through efficiencies in the manufacturing process instead of public subsidies. 

Japan and several northern European countries are leading the trend in off-site manufactured dwellings. In Sweden, some 84 percent of standalone homes use prefab wood elements, according to the Global Construction Review

Since 1976, KSM Log Homes has manufactured log home kits that are both aesthetically stunning and surprisingly cost-effective, given that the company is the mill, manufacturer, designer and shipper. Just take a look at the photos of KSM homes to see what we're talking about.

Some years ago, Bishop-Wisecarver Group came up with a custom solution to streamline mill operations at KSM. 

As part of an effort to improve automation, the log homes manufacturer developed and designed a machine that automatically mills notches in heavy logs used in prefab log homes. 

The machine needed to run up to 10 hours a day for five days a week. It needed bearings and tracks that could withstand being constantly bombarded with wood chips and sawdust. 

The answer? DualVee and Hepco assemblies. The unique vee-edge design of DualVee double-row angular contact ball bearings, which fling off debris, eliminated the need to cover the guidance system. DualVee bearings, one of our signature designs, not only withstand dirty and harsh industrial environments, they last for years without maintenance because of their self-cleaning design.

We love sharing application examples, to show how our guided motion solutions work for a diverse cross-section of industries, from heavy duty industrial plants to exacting medical and cleanroom settings. 

If you'd like to learn more about a specific product, let us know and we'll make it the subject of a blog post. Meanwhile, feel free to peruse our ever-growing library of application stories

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

10 Things You Should Know About STEM

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—STEM, in colloquial parlance—are the tools we're using to build a better future. We like to think that the rock stars of the future will be robot-building, mechanically and scientifically inclined geeks. 
Manufacturing Day 2014 at Bishop-Wisecarver
That's why STEM is having something of a cultural moment right now. Everyone from celebrities to academics like Neil deGrasse Tyson, politicos to industry phenoms like Dean Kamen are promoting the sciences, trying to capture the imagination of young people and trying to get them to realize that STEM is becoming a shared language of the modern world. Those proficient in science, tech, engineering and math can be the leaders who shape our future. 

In that spirit of possibility, we present to you a list of 10 things you should know about STEM:

1. STEM shapes everything around us. Science is, essentially, our natural world. Technology gives us our phones, computers, telescopes and cars. Engineering begets bridges, appliances skyscrapers and the roads we drive on. Mathematics helps us budget, pay taxes and shed light on some profound truths about the nature of time, space and the universe. 

2. We have to get kids interested in STEM early on. STEM jobs are booming at a rate 1.7 times faster than for non-STEM jobs. But American schools aren't producing enough qualified candidates to keep pace. Only 16 percent of high school seniors expressed an interest in STEM careers, according to the U.S. Department of Education

Source: U.S. Department of Education

3. Not all STEM careers are created equal in terms of pay. The National Science Foundation tells us that women earn about half of all bachelor's degrees in STEM fields. But they tend to choose different concentrations than their male counterparts. Women generally focus on less-lucrative STEM fields, namely careers in health and life sciences, while men opt for computer science and engineering.

4. STEM skills translate to other fields. Seriously, if you speak "STEM," you're up for pretty much anything. In fact, some 74 percent of college grads with science and technical degrees pursue non-STEM jobs, per the U.S. Census Bureau. While that's kind of a bummer for STEM employers, it makes sense that other industries are recruiting scientifically inclined graduates—they can add value to any field. 

5. Early interest in science increases likelihood of a STEM career. The earlier you pique a kid's interest in STEM, the more likely he or she will stick it through to a career in a related field. This underscores the importance of early exposure to the sciences.

6. Native Americans have a significant interest in STEM. A survey by My College and STEMconnector found that Native Americans express more interest in STEM studies than any other ethnic group, except Asians. Abut one-third of Asian students and 30 percent of American Indian students say they plan to pursue a career in STEM. Yet, partly because of limited opportunities, Native Americans only make up 2.2 percent of all STEM students in the U.S.

7. STEM careers don't all require a four-year degree. There are a host of STEM jobs available for folks who opt for a two-year vocational program over a bachelor's degree. STEM jobs aren't limits to astronomers, physicists and engineers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs include accountants working on financial modeling, investing, statisticians, machine shop workers and ancillary roles created by the manufacturing industry. Some of those occupations, like aerospace mechanics or construction managers, only require two-year post-secondary education. 

8. California is a leader in manufacturing. Maybe the Golden State conjures images of Hollywood and beaches, snowboarding and fine dining. But California is becoming increasingly known for  its technology and manufacturing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California, Texas, New York and Illinois will lead the nation in STEM careers by 2018. 

9. Americans need to brush up on math. Thirty-six percent of Americans admit they aren't fluent in math, according to a survey by STEM advocacy nonprofit Change the Equation. Among Americans aged 18 to 35, that figure ticks up to 53 percent. As a culture, we're much more comfortable with math illiteracy than language illiteracy. How many Americans do you think would admit they can't read, or can't read well? Maybe we should have a higher standard when it comes to numbers. 

10. Manufacturing pays well. The average manufacturing worker in the U.S. takes home $77,506 a year, including pay and benefits. Compare that to $62,546 for the average worker in all industries combined.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rewarding the Ethic and Ingenuity of Local Eagle Scouts

Image by Rennett Stowe, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1912, a 17-year-old Long Island native became the Boy Scout of America's first Eagle Scout. Arthur Rose Eldred went on to study agriculture at Cornell University, enlist in the U.S. Navy during WWI and lead a distinguished career as an executive in the railroad industry.

More than 2 million young men have since achieved the Boy Scouts' highest rank. Time and again, research has demonstrated that boys who obtain the vaunted award go on to create a positive impact on society. According to researchers at Baylor University, Eagle Scouts are more goal-oriented and well-networked. They tend to have closer relationships with friends and family, donate to charity and improve their neighborhoods. They tend to assume leadership roles at work or in the community. 

Notable Eagle Scouts include astronauts Neil Armstrong and James Lovell, pro baseball player Hank Aaron, adventurer Steve Fossett, movie producer Steven Spielberg and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Bud Wisecarver, the inventor who founded Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation, was among their ranks. As was his brother, the late Bob Cooke Wisecarver, a naturalist in the Bay Area. 

Bud Wisecarver.
That's why, in honor of the Wisecarver brothers, we're proud to provide two $1,000 scholarships for Eagle Scouts from the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council. The scholarships will be awarded at an annual Eagle Scout, Quartermaster, Silver Award Recognition Banquet this week in Danville, Calif. 

"We are honored to provide these scholarships and help Eagle Scouts who have already proven they are hard working and committed to serving others," says Pamela Kan, president of Bishop-Wisecarver and daughter of Bud Wisecarver. "Giving financial support as well as career insight and mentoring carries on a family tradition of Scout and community involvement, as my father and uncle were both Scouts and professionals who used their skills and passion to teach younger generations."

Pamela Kan.
The Wisecarvers were raised in the Bay Area, where they spent their manufacturing careers. Bud retired and focused his efforts on supporting vocational training at local schools and finding ways to connect the business and educational communities. 

A club of Eagle Scouts called Las Aguilas de Diablo will organize the May 7 dinner, which honors newly appointed Eagle Scouts and raises support for the council's endowment fund. The banquet gives Scouts a change to network with professional, civic and business leaders who match their career aspirations. Kan will be among them to talk about the opportunities and challenges of working in the manufacturing industry, an industry with incredible power to shape to build a better future. 

Every year, Las Aguilas de Diablo grants up to $7,000 in scholarships to college-bound Eagle Scouts. 

"When companies like Bishop-Wisecarver Group make an investment of time and money into our Scouts, it's a long-lasting benefit to the recipients, donor and community," says Bill Upson, vice president of Las Aguilas de Diablo. "These Eagle Scouts have already shown great determination and civic duty. These scholarships and networking opportunities provide the extra support that can help them realize their long term goals."

We couldn't agree more. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Long Length Challenge in the Industrial Fabric Industry—Solved!

As manufacturers come up with new industrial applications, they increasingly rely on linear motion systems because of their reliability, high speed, accurate positioning, long life and low maintenance. 

Like many robotic material handling manufacturers we work with, Miller Weldmaster Corporation needed linear actuators that could withstand the elements of thermoplastic and industrial fabric production—the mess, the stress and the harsh environments. Their clients needed machines for a wide variety of uses: heat-sealing seams of billboard panels, inflatable boats and truck tarpaulins. That meant they needed to accommodate a variety of lengths, speeds and payloads.

Here's a look at the company's Model 112 Cross Seamer, which they designed to provide the quickest, most attractive seam for the flexible sign industry. 

As you can see, it's pretty long. In this case, 20 meters end to end. DualVee components gave this machine a rigid, smooth and modular linear guidance system. They used T3 drilled track bolted to a butt-jointed steel beam that makes it easier to customize based on their customers' needs. The W3 DualVee wheels are mounted to a custom carriage plate, which carries the welding head.

We live for long length challenges!

For more application stories, visit our archives here

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Closer Look at Trends in Manufacturing

Photo by Robert Scoble, via Flickr

The manufacturing industry has changed a lot throughout the years and will continue to do so at an increasingly faster pace. One of the most noticeable changes is the renewed awareness of government officials and economists, who publicly recognize manufacturing as the real driving force of a strong economy.

President Obama has commissioned and funded various manufacturing sites around the country to focus on evolving ideas and techniques. For example, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio, launched in 2012. The Lightweight and Modern Metals Innovation Institute was established in Detroit, Mich., in 2014. And The Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute opened at North Caroline University in 2014. These institutes are spread across the United States and serve as centers of research for new concepts and technology advances in the manufacturing industry.

Another promising trend on the rise is additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has been getting a lot of publicity over the past few years. From appearing on TV or showcased at trade shows, 3D manufacturing has caught the attention of manufacturing pros and the general public. 3D printing is proving to be a game changer. No longer confined to printing plastic modules, 3D printing has rapidly evolved to the point where it can produce items made of metals, mixed materials and even human tissue. The result is shorter lead time, improved quality because of fewer components, reduced waste and the ability to produce complex shapes without complicated machining. This type of printing is causing engineers and designers to change the way they think of how to create products. It will also change the way we educate the next generation.

Cold spray, or 3D printing, is another trend that's becoming quite popular as well. Cold spray involves pushing metal powder through a nozzle under pressure. Cold spray can be used to create parts from scratch to apply coatings to traditionally formed items. However, one of the most interesting uses is to repair or refurbish used components by filling in worn spots using materials that meet or exceed the original material specs.

The Internet of Things, dubbed the IoT for short, is the ability for devices to communicate automatically with one another over the Internet without requiring input from people. Equipment can now monitor its own condition and notify maintenance teams when regular updates are due. However, there is a slight roadblock with this process. There are billions of dollars worth of production machines that were never intended to be connected. Since replacing every machine would be prohibitively expensive, manufacturers will need to find creative, cost-effective ways to retrofit equipment and to realize return on investment. 

Another cost-effectivce manufacturing trend on the rise is a little concept called "next-shoring." Next-shoring was named in 2014 by a team of McKinsey analysts, who describe it as a way of reinventing the ecosystem. It focuses on physical proximity to emerging markets, innovation, talent and customers. Manufacturers are not moving operations to other countries, they're keeping supply and demand close by. Collaboration technology makes next shoring possible. With the use of audio, video and content sharing tools, geographic barriers can be broken down to let research, development and customer interaction take place from anywhere. 

Many manufacturers are also trying to reduce their carbon footprint and energy use as well. Forward thinking manufacturers are working continuously to educate the industry on sustainability, advanced technology and new practices that produce high-quality cost-effective products with less damage to the earth's ecosystem. Lower energy costs, driven by the drop in oil prices, will provide an additional advantage to manufacturers. 

Lastly, success in the manufacturing market depends on recruiting the right talent. As the baby boomer generation retires and companies look to a diminishing pool of young people interested in manufacturing, hiring and retraining diverse talent must remain a priority. Since technology is ever-changing, younger generations will be able to keep up with trends and apply their knowledge and skills to the manufacturing industry. It will be interesting to see which trends will catch the attention of the creative minds in the manufacturing industry during the next few months. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Movie on FIRST Robotics Proves That 'If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It'

A decade ago, WIRED magazine ran a story about four high school students from a tumbledown high school in Phoenix, Ariz., beating MIT in a sophisticated and nationally watched underwater robotics competition. 

The article, La Vida Robot, told the riveting true story about how those four students from Carl Hayden High School—three of them undocumented immigrants from Mexico—defied incredible odds in a 2004 FIRST contest. Using the combined force of $800, old car parts and their own irrepressible ingenuity, the ragtag team of high schoolers claimed victory over a litany of highly funded university teams. 

Readers moved by the indomitable spirit of those four students—Lorenzo Santillan, Luis Aranda, Oscar Vazquez and Crisitan Arcega—donated $90,000 to further their education after learning that their immigration status prevented them from qualifying for federal loans.

The story had legs.

In 2014, a documentary about those four students, titled Underwater Dreams, hit theaters. Narrated by Michael Pe?a and directed by Mary Mazzio, the film chronicled the incredible true story about the cadre of students struggled against poverty and circumstance to captivate a country in a stunning upset.

It showed how a pair of computer science teachers decided, on a whim, to enter their underperforming, poverty stricken high school into the NASA funded FIRST competition. Only those four boys put their names in the running. But once the team was formed, they conspired to win. calling up oceanic engineers and military scientists for design help. Unable to afford glass syntactic flotation foam, they resorted to PVC pipe from Home Depot, duct tape and, in a last-minute pinch, even a tampon.

At first, their only goal for the contest was to not come in dead last. Instead, as we all know now, they won. In winning, however, they each launched a personal journey to inspire a new generation of young people to pursue science and engineering, to solve problems and elevate their lives beyond even the more dire circumstances. 

Now, the saga has gone Hollywood. In January, Spare Parts hit the big screen, dramatizing the story of the underdog robotics team.

As longtime supporters of FIRST Robotics, it has been incredible to see their story shared with a national audience. Their story is one of many, as FIRST has inspired hundreds of thousands of kids  over the past 25 years to try their hand at robot-building. Among their ranks are more inspiring stories—stories of triumph over defeat, of discovered purpose and changed lives. 

To learn about the teams we're sponsoring this year, check out out previous blog post. 

In the meantime, here's a link to the WIRED magazine article by Joshua Davis that started it all. Here's a link to the documentary. The Spare Parts trailer is posted below. Heads up, though, it's a tear-jerker.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Raising the Profile of Scientists and Engineers Through FIRST Robotics

"The average kid on the street can tell you the names of a dozen football players or basketball players or Hollywood stars. None of them can tell you the name of any famous living scientist or engineer."
—Dean Kamen, inventor, in an interview with CBS News

Right now, we're in the thick of competition season for FIRST Robotics. Some 400,000 kids in more than 80 countries are duking it out in a series of bouts with robots they designed and built themselves. It's all in good fun—intensely competitive and widely watched.
But the primary goal of the robotic sporting spectacle is about something more transformative than thrill of victory. Dean Kamen, the renowned inventor who established FIRST 25 years ago, says the long-running nonprofit promotes a cause near and dear to his heart. And the stakes are high.
"FIRST is all about changing our culture ... for the better," he told CMS Wire earlier this year. "More than 25 years ago, I saw a culture where celebrities and athletes were celebrated and revered, and scientists and engineers were not. I believed then and still believe not that our collective future depends on getting more kids from every background interested and turned onto science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), so that they might seek education and careers in these fields."
We couldn't agree more. 
It's about motivating students to understand, use and enjoy technology through project-based learning.
It's about propelling the next generation of scientists and engineers. 
It's about raising the profile of today's scientists and engineers. 
It's also about legacy, Kamen adds, a way of perpetuating his love of inventing to young people around the world. Kamen, an autodidact who holds more than 400 U.S. and foreign patents, is credited with saving thousands of lives with his healthcare inventions, among a myriad others.

FRC Team 4019Bridges Academy - Studio City, CA
Because to invent, ultimately, is to give—something he elaborates on in a TED talk you can watch here
It's a message that resonates strongly with us as a manufacturer of guided motion solutions. That's why we proudly support FIRST by donating large quantities of DualVee linear guide track for teams to use in building their robots. We also sponsor several local teams. This season, those teams are:
  • FRC Team 1458—Red Tie Robotics, Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA
  • FRC Team 3470—The Patriots, Heritage High School in Brentwood, CA
  • FRC Team 4019—Bridges Academy, Studio City, CA
  • FRC Team 692—The Fembots, St. Francis High School, Sacramento, CA

To learn more about our FIRST sponsorships, including how your team can become a sponsee, click here

Monday, February 9, 2015

Learning From the Not-So-Secret Lives of Scientists

"One of the most beautiful things about science is that it unifies all of us."
—Janna Levin, theoretical cosmologist and novelist

Have you ever drawn inspiration from someone else's story? Chances are that learning about what someone went through made you appreciate the person they are today. And, like all effective storytelling, it probably made you reflect on changes you could make in your own life, or steps you could take to fulfill your own goals.

People instinctively learn through and organize their thoughts in stories. A well-crafted narrative engages, enlightens and resonates over time. It also connects us. It builds community. That's why storytelling has made a resurgence in the business and marketing world—stories stick and they move people to action.

So let's apply the art of storytelling more in the realm of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We need more young people to aspire to careers in STEM, so let's share stories of our successes, let's show them—by telling our own journeys—what success looks like as an engineer, as an inventor, as a cosmologist solving the mysteries of this weird and wonderful universe.

Some words of advice from Tiina Roose, professor of biological and environmental modeling at the University of Southampton in the UK, in The Guardian:
Universities should work with local communities, schools and teachers to talk about what engineering is. It’s important to start working with schools as early as possible – leaving it to secondary school level is actually too late. At the moment in primary schools, engineering only comes in during history lessons. If you explain to children, for example, that all this equipment in hospitals, where you have an x-ray or any procedure, would of had an engineer involved to develop the machine that has helped cure patients, it gives a broader impression early on to children of the wide possibility of this career.
When you view engineering as a narrow discipline, the chances are that it is not communicated in the most exciting way to students either. Some universities are offering narrow degrees – this inevitably means they are restricting their pool of applicants to a narrow remit.
That is so true.

If you're a scientist or engineer, volunteer your time sharing your personal story with students. If you're a teacher, reach out to a local company or university to find someone to speak to your class.

Thankfully, you don't have to wait even for that. We love PBS series, The Secret LIfe of Scientists and Engineers, a video series housed online, "where the lab coats comes off" and the experts talk about how they became the successful scientists they are today. Here's a link to the show's archive.

Bishop-Wisecarver has a video series of its own that we're particularly proud of. Our founder, Bud Wisecarver, is a prolific inventor (read more about that here, on our history page). To fully appreciate the breadth of his work, you have to listen to his story. And boy, is he a storyteller. We filmed him talking about his life's work and we're proud to share it with you. Below is the first in an eight-part series. For the rest, visit our YouTube page.

"There isn't one material thing on earth, that you could think of, that didn't start with a toolmaker."
—Bud Wisecarver, inventor, founder of Bishop-Wisecarver Group

Monday, January 26, 2015

DualVee Vacuum Wheels Nominated for Golden Mousetrap Award

The Golden Mousetrap Awards recognizes technologies driving progress in the design and manufacturing field. The program, hosted by UBM Canon, awards companies contributing to the renaissance of American manufacturing and promotes engineering and manufacturing as viable career paths for the next generation.

That's why we're proud to announce that Bishop-Wisecarver was named a finalist in the annual Golden Moustrap Awards, for our DualVee Vacuum Wheels.

These vee wheels were designed specifically for vacuum environments and processing equipment where it's tough to use other guided motion products.

DualVee Vacuum Wheels are linear guide bearings with precision-ground 90-degree surfaces for applications in testing chambers and ultra-high vacuum environments.

It's a product suited for applications in research and development, package sealing, materials science, space testing and simulation and many other fields.

We put together a handy FAQ page about these new bearings here.

Here's a link to the Design News feature about the nomination.Winners of the Golden Mousetrap Awards will be announced Feb. 10 at the Anaheim Convention Center as part of ATX West. We look forward to being part of the action!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bishop-Wisecarver Group President Selected as one of the Astra Leadership Forum Committee Representatives

 Bishop-Wisecarver Group, a WBENC-certified, woman-ownedfamily of companies, announced today that their President, Pamela Kan, has beenselected as one of the Astra Leadership Forum Committee Representatives (FCR).Astra is a regional partner organization for the Women’s Business EnterpriseNational Council (WBENC), the national organization providing certification forwomen-owned business.  Kan will serve in this new role while alsomaintaining her position as Astra’s founding chair of the Women inManufacturing Group.

Astra Women's Business Alliance was established in 2000 as a non-profit committed to driving real changefor women in business. Astra is a regional partner office (RPO) for WBENC andrepresents successful women business owners in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon,Northern California and Washington.

The Leadership Forum serves in an advisory capacity providing input and feedbackto WBENC.  Forum leaders represent the voice of all women businessenterprises and participate in programming opportunities such as developmentand networking with corporate and government entities.

“Serving with Astra is a great opportunity to help other female business ownersconnect, learn and find success,” stated Pamela Kan, President ofBishop-Wisecarver Group. “In this new role, I look forward to being a liaisonbetween the Astra’s WBEs businesses and WBENC so that our specific regionalconcerns and ideas can be addressed.  By working together, we will all bemore successful.”

Kan will begin her new role as Astra’s Leadership Forum CommitteeRepresentative in November at the annual WBENC Committee and Board of DirectorsMeeting in Maryland.

Have questions about Pamela Kan's new role or being certified as a woman-owned business? Post your questions below or contact us at!
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