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Today in Manufacturing

Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

Cars, Cameras & Computers: License Plates For The 21st Century

September 18, 2013 8:36 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Comments

Many new cars now carry in their onboard computers a system that amounts to a "black box" which records data on control settings, acceleration, and other information that is of interest to insurance companies and lawyers in the event of an accident involving the vehicle.


SolidWorks 2014: A Cave, But Little Light

September 16, 2013 2:28 pm | by Chris Fox, Associate Editor, PD&D | Comments

The Cave is a familiar element gaining ground in the industry that places the user in a virtual environment and allows them to manipulate and interact with 3D objects and within three dimensional spaces. It’s somewhat disorienting, but an entertaining experience.


Robots Are Not The Enemy

September 12, 2013 11:54 am | by Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation | Comments

It has become a popular meme that “robots are destroying our jobs.” How else do we explain today’s persistent high unemployment? While scores of pundits and analysts have made this claim in the last couple of years, perhaps no one has done more to popularize this theory than MIT scholars Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, who argue workers are, “losing the race against the machine, a fact reflected in today’s employment statistics.”


How Much Do Your Groceries Cost?

September 12, 2013 11:02 am | by Doug Wallace, CPIM, Life Cycle Engineering | Comments

About once a year (usually during the Christmas holiday) we also delve into the depths of the dry goods cabinets, tossing some of the stuff that hasn’t moved, and restocking everything else neatly according to item, shape, size etc. If we’re lucky, the fruits of those labors might last until New Year’s Day. So why do I tell you all this, and what does it have to do with inventory?


Quality, Process Improvement & Uncomfortable Truths

September 11, 2013 11:34 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

Engineers speak a different language. My fellow engineers will label me “traitor” for confessing it, but it’s true. Of course, the language-of-engineers uses the same regional language as everyone else, but the words themselves have specific meaning to engineers that are different than everyone else’s.


$150,000 Car Of The Future: Driver Not Needed

September 10, 2013 3:19 pm | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO | Comments

Think of the amount of time commuters everywhere could gain back – without having to actually think about driving, commuters can now safely take a phone call, catch up on the news, or maybe even nap (if you’re the type to put complete trust into driverless technology).


Renewable Energy: Security For Vulnerable Import Dependent Nations

September 9, 2013 12:03 pm | by Anders Jansson, CEO, Minesto | Comments

The need for a secure and reliable energy supply is a seldom mentioned but very important driver for many nations moving towards clean and renewable energy supply. Paradoxically, the very factors that have made many nations dependent on imported energy, like being surrounded by water, can work to their benefit since many island nations have great potential for marine energy.


What We Don't Know About Chemical Accidents

September 5, 2013 8:35 am | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Comments

When a team of Dallas Morning News reporters tried to answer what they thought was a simple, straightforward question about the frequency of chemical accidents, they found a mare's nest of conflicting and incomplete statistics.         


Improve, Redesign Or Walk Away

August 29, 2013 10:30 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

A repeated theme in post comments, e-mailed questions, and discussions about various process and business improvement methodologies is doubt about the real potential of process improvement methods. Can we really improve processes to an optimal level, or can a process only be improved to a limited degree before it must be completely scrapped and re-invented?


Piracy, Printing And A New Era Of Manufacturing

August 27, 2013 9:47 am | by Chris Fox, Associate Editor, PD&D | Comments

A topic that doesn’t seem to come up, at least via outlets that are 3D-printer friendly (which are in a powerful majority at this point), is the proliferation of piracy thanks to the quickly emerging 3D-printer market. Much like Napster brought a slapped major record labels across the face, 3D printing is poised to make major manufacturers shake in their boots… maybe.


A ‘Made In America’ Walmart: Truth Or Gimmick?

August 23, 2013 7:00 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, | Comments

Based on many of the comments left behind on yesterday’s announcement that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. would be holding a summit on U.S. manufacturing, there’s a fair amount of skepticism over the company’s motives, particularly considering its long history of sourcing a vast majority of products from overseas.


Engineering American Energy Independence

August 21, 2013 4:12 pm | by Bill Kerney, Contributor | Comments

Fracking is dramatically increasing the recoverable reserves of America carbon-based energy supplies. but yesterday I just paid $4.15 to fill up my car at the USA gas station in Cardiff, Calif. There is a huge disconnect between supply and the price at the pump.


Surprise Yourself With The True Potential Of Your Process

August 20, 2013 4:16 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

Each of us has a nemesis process; that process that we engage regularly and that drives us crazy because of its inefficiency, its guarantee to waste our time or energy, and some variety of reasons that prevent it from being reasonably improved. Some of us have more than one.


Guarding U.S. Nuclear Facilities: The ABCs Of DBTs

August 20, 2013 4:03 pm | by Karl Stephan, Consulting Engineer, Texas State University, San Marcos | Comments

Anyone familiar with risks and accident histories knows that for every major disaster in a reasonably complex system, there are usually several less damaging minor incidents that can be called near misses or close calls. The May 27 intrusion at Oak Ridge is just such a near miss.


Taking Success Full-Time

August 14, 2013 9:02 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Comments

As the rise in temporary workers continues to affect our industry, it’s important that plant managers have a strategy for managing this new crop of personnel. Many plant-wide initiatives, like a strong safety culture, for example, are grassroots efforts that come from the ground up.


Too Complex To Solve

August 13, 2013 2:48 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

If I were to take a poll of readers, collecting the answer to the question, “What one business process is obviously wasteful and also too difficult to fix,” I think I can predict what a common answer might be. Take a moment to consider your own answer to the question.


The Most Difficult Discipline

August 9, 2013 8:47 am | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Comments

Why is it that the most important, most powerful, most effective methods, tools, or practices are also the most difficult? Answering that question might be a challenge to keep the philosophy professors busy for a good, long time. For now, accept your grandfather’s axiom that what is worth doing, is worth taking our time to do.


Standards Boost Business

August 8, 2013 9:40 am | by S. Joe Bhatia, President & CEO, American National Standards Institute | Comments

Standards have the power to turbo-charge innovation and fuel business growth. From design and manufacturing to distribution and marketing, all products and services are affected at some point by standardization. But standards and conformance also impact the strength of the American workforce.


Engineers Killed Detroit

August 8, 2013 7:26 am | by M. Simon, Technical Contributor | Comments

Cars that are engineered to last longer require that you buy fewer of them in a lifetime. Remember when a car that ran for 100,000 miles was a good car? I do. Now a 200,000 mile or 250,000 mile life is considered a good car. Engineers (aided by competition) did that. And not just American engineers. Engineers all over the world.


PLM On Mars: How NASA JPL Used Siemens Technology To Land Curiosity

August 7, 2013 8:50 am | by Susan Cinadr, Siemens PLM Software | Comments

It’s well documented that the difficulty in landing a 2000 pound vehicle on a planet that is 248 million km (154 million miles) away, travelling at speeds up to 300 times that of a Formula One racecar and experiencing a temperature range of more than 3000° F (-463 to +2637) is, for lack of a better word, ENORMOUS.



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