Industrial News & Views At-A-Glance

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The Future of ManufacturingSAN ANTONIO – A new degree program designed to support the demand for occupations required to sustain advanced manufacturing operations in the San Antonio area is being offered by Alamo Colleges-Palo Alto College.

College officials said the Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology consists of two program tracks: manufacturing specialization and instrumentation specialization.

“Providing accessible education and training to promote the economic life of our community is central to Palo Alto College’s mission,” president of Palo Alto College Dr. Mike Flores said. “We know our students are the future workforce of San Antonio, and we want to ensure they’re prepared to continue the work done to develop south San Antonio.” Read full article

Concept Lasers VideoPlastics have long been the leading edge in the realm of 3D printing, but metals are where the action is today, as modern industrial 3D printers develop high value components across manufacturing industries.

Concept Laser’s Mlab cusing unit can perform 3D printing operations with materials including steel, both 3-16 and 17-4 and marraging steel. The Mlab’s cusing R can perform with reactive metals such as titanium and aluminum. View the video and read the full article.

MIT microencapsulationTechnique mass-produces uniform, encapsulated particles for pharmaceuticals, many other uses.

Microencapsulation, in which a tiny particle of one material is encased within a shell made from another, is widely used in pharmaceuticals manufacturing and holds promise for other areas, such as self-repairing materials and solar power.

But most applications of microencapsulation require particles of uniform size, and that’s something that existing fabrication techniques don’t reliably provide. In products with a high profit margin, such as pharmaceuticals, it can be cost effective to mechanically separate particles of the proper size from those that are too large or too small, but in niche or small-margin products, it may not be. Read the MIT Solution.

3D prostheticWhile most people don’t think twice about clicking a mouse or moving a cursor around using a trackpad, the tasks that we take for granted can actually be very difficult for those with either limited hand mobility or missing limbs. To help find a solution to this challenge and to make digital operations and tasks easier for those with physical hand disabilities, a team of German students has devised Shortcut, a 3D printed smart wristband which communicates wireless gestures through muscle movement. Read full article

The Future of ManufacturingThere’s no doubt: Manufacturers today are stuck between a rock and hard place. On the one hand, many face an aging workforce that may retire without sharing key knowledge. In fact, the Pew Research Center predicts that 10,000 baby boomers will retire each day over the next 19 years.

On the other, some 80% of businesses are struggling to bring new talent into the door and up through the ranks. Unless things change, 2 million jobs will go unfilled even as manufacturers face a growing skills gap on their teams. Read full article

Nine Sigma Chemical ProposalNineSigma, representing a major chemical company, invites proposals for a method to produce pseudo/low crystalline-boehmite (AlO(OH)). The most important feature of the method is to provide a low sodium, low sulfur AlO(OH) beneficially with high pore volume (> 0.5 ml/g) and high crush strength after forming and calcination of the boehmite to gamma alumina (γ-Al2O3) and/or alpha alumina (α-Al2O3). The successful technology will be used to produce supported catalysts suitable for a range of applications. Learn more about submitting your proposal.

Siemens PLM SoftwareSiemens PLM held its annual industry analyst event in Boston last week. We expected to hear a lot more about the Digital Enterprise and how Siemens PLM is going to provide its customers with the solutions and strategies to move manufacturers into the advanced manufacturing technology and processes of the future. They did not disappoint, and showcased a range of advanced manufacturing technologies from additive manufacturing to virtual simulation for product and production to cloud-based platforms that connect equipment and factories. Read Full Article

Local Motors Advanced ManufacturingSince the beginning of 2016, Airbus Group has been working with an American vehicle technology company that could revolutionize manufacturing by finally fulfilling a long-held industry promise. This is the story of Local Motors, the first recipient of investment capital from Airbus Group’s Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund. Read Full Article.

Measuring Equipment EffectivenessIs overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) a “magic metric” or just another flavor of the month measurement?  The answer is: it can be either, but not both.  We have become quite good at producing production metrics that are boiled down to a value that is either green, yellow or red as compared to an arbitrary goal or world class standard and that is as far as we go.  The result is alternating periods of contentment, concern and panic. When it’s green we pay no attention to it, when yellow we hope that it will be green again soon, so we tweak something and watch it periodically.  When it slips to red we scramble and then write reports.  Before long the efforts to keep us out of the red compound the original problem and we struggle to get back to where we were before we had the green, yellow and red metric. At this point the program becomes relegated to “flavor of the month” and it is abandoned.  For OEE to become the “magic metric” there are some empirical truths that must be ingrained in the organization at the outset of the program definition. Read Full article

Zebra Wearable ComputersAccording to Zebra of Lincolnshire, Illinois, “Zebra’s Total Wearable Solutions are the only dedicated family of enterprise wearable devices built on Android and backed by Mobility DNA to deliver unrivaled scan performance and manageability. By combining the hands-free mobility of wearable technology with one-of-a-kind features like tap to pair capabilities, Zebra’s Total Wearable Solutions provide the operational flexibility needed to replace complexity with productivity.”

This technology is facinating and geared for manufacturing, warehousing, retail and more. Read more