What's Trending: The Smithfield Sale; The Next Level Of 3D Printing

Here's a deeper look into the top trending stories in manufacturing today based on reader feedback. Food safety and farm groups oppose Smithfield sale; what the government needs to break even on the GM bailout; and making a 3D printed battery.

Here's a deeper look into the top trending stories in manufacturing today based on reader feedback. Food safety and farm groups oppose Smithfield sale; what the government needs to break even on the GM bailout; and making a 3D printed battery.


Food Safety, Farm Groups Oppose Smithfield Sale

A coalition of farm and food safety groups wants federal regulators to quash the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to a Chinese conglomerate in what would be the largest such takeover of a U.S. business.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that 17 groups sent a letter to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States asking it to oppose the pork processor's sale to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd.

Coalition members, which include the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Food & Water Watch and the Nebraska Farmers Union, say the deal could weaken domestic food safety, cause economic damage in rural communities and harm national security. Read more here.

Manufacturing Business Technology reader BobD commented by saying: "There are legitimate reasons to be concerned about this deal, but the concern that Chinese pork could be imported into the U.S. is puzzling. According to this article, there are no country-of-origin regulations on pork, so that could be happening already."

What do you think about the Smithfield deal? Is it good for U.S. food manufacturing or is there more cause for concern?


Gov't Needs $95.51 Per Share To Break Even On GM

DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors stock would have to sell for $95.51 per share for the U.S. government to break even on bailing out the company, according to a government watchdog's report released Wednesday.

That price is about three times what GM shares are selling for now, even after a 25 percent increase in the price so far this year.

"There's no question that Treasury, the taxpayers, are going to lose money on the GM investment," Special Inspector General Christy Romero, author of the July quarterly report to Congress, said in an interview. Read more here.

The issue now is whether the bailout of GM was a smart investment or not. While the U.S. government is trying to remove itself from the deal fairly quickly, does it make sense to do so at a loss? Was it an expect outcome or even a “best case” scenario? Should the government hold onto the stock until it can at least break even? Was the bailout a good idea as it did save many jobs in the U.S. manufacturing sector even beyond GM? What do you think?


The Making Of The 3D Printed Battery

According to a recent article in the MIT Technology Review, today’s 3D printers can generally only build things out of one type of material—usually a plastic or, in certain expensive industrial versions of the machines, a metal. They can’t build objects with electronic, optical, or any kind of functions that require the integration of multiple materials. But recent advances in the research lab—including a 3D printed battery and a bionic ear—suggest that this might soon change.

Last month, researchers unveiled what they say is the world’s first 3D printed battery, made from two different electrode “inks.” Led by Jennifer Lewis, a professor of biologically inspired engineering at Harvard, the group used tiny nozzles to precisely deposit the anode and cathode inks, which contain nanoparticles of lithium titanium oxide and lithium iron phosphate, respectively. In a paper in Advanced Materials, the researchers described printing millimeter-scale rechargeable batteries, which could be used to power things like small wireless sensors and medical devices. The batteries, each of which can be printed in minutes, demonstrated impressive electrochemical performance. Read more here

Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute have developed a way to create tiny batteries using standard 3D-printing technologies. Click on the image below to see the 3D printed battery being made. 


If you'd like to weigh-in about What's Trending In Manufacturing, leave a comment below or Email me at Jon.Minnick@advantagemedia.com.

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