New Manufacturing Process Creates Super-Small Channels to…

New Manufacturing Process Creates Super-Small Channels to…

Aug 20, 2018

“New Manufacturing Process Creates Super-Small Channels to Repel Water” By Yung Shin, Purdue.edu Featured on D2PMagazine.com The process has potential to improve medical and electronics devices, researchers say   WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.—A new manufacturing process developed by Purdue University researchers may improve the water repellency for some common products, ranging from medical equipment and sensors to vehicle engines and windshields. The Purdue team, led by Yung Shin, the Donald A. and Nancy G. Roach Professor of Advanced Manufacturing in the Purdue School of Mechanical Engineering, developed a new method to create super-hydrophobic micro channels on polymers. This technology provides a quick and inexpensive fabrication technique to create microfluidic devices having channels with controllable flow rates, without the use of chemical treatments or complex flow-control devices. “These are basically small channels that are made in such a way that water cannot stick to the surface or give little resistance in the flow,” Shin said in a press release. “You can then send water or other liquids through and create smaller cooling channels and microfluidic devices.” Shin’s team uses a two-step process to create the super-hydrophobic surfaces. First, they create patterns or features on a metal surface with an ultra-fast laser. Then, in a process called transfer molding, the researchers create that same pattern on the polymer. “Our process is unique because it allows for the creation of these surface patterns or features on the inside of the polymer, and not just the outside,” Shin said. “We are essentially using these features to control flow rates without the need for expensive chemical treatments and coatings that can be washed away or wear off.” Shin said the technology has many potential applications, including medical equipment and sensors that use circulating fluid to detect abnormalities or unhealthy conditions in a patient. It could also be used for micro cooling systems for electronics, microfluidic devices, microelectro-mechanical systems (MEMS), self-cleaning surfaces, and micro hydraulics systems in airplanes and automobiles. The technology could help create windshields that are better able to repel water and require less wiping. The technology may also be used, according to Shin, in heat exchangers by removing condensed water drops, improving the heat transfer efficiency. Another possible application...

Trade War Casualties: Factories Shifting Out Of China

Trade War Casualties: Factories Shifting Out Of China

Jul 30, 2018

By Kenneth Rapoza, Contributor, Forbes Supply chains starting to shift at a faster pace as companies look to avoid tariffs.  China-based manufacturers were already in the process of moving to lower-cost Southeast Asia. Now that trade tariffs have been enacted on at least $50 billion worth of goods, and another $200 billion likely by summer’s end, they are shifting their supply chain. It’s happening. “With recent tariff battles, companies aren’t as eager to have production in China,” says Nathan Resnick, CEO of startup company Sourcify. The business-to-business manufacturing platform has offices in San Diego and Guangzhou. “We run production runs in India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines, and Mexico right now. Labor costs are actually more affordable outside of China, so for products like apparel where there is a lot of cut-and-sew labor, most companies are moving out of China anyway,” he says. Sourcify raised $2.5 million through Y Combinator this winter. “I’ve been going back and forth to China for years, and it is getting more expensive. With all these tariffs coming, why not run some of your production runs elsewhere? Companies are saying that the scare of these tariffs has decreased the incentives to manufacture in China.” Sourcify is small, but Kerry Logistics Network, a Hong Kong-listed firm owned by Malaysia’s billionaire Kuok family, is not. The South China Morning Post reported that Kerry shifted part of its production lines from mainland China to its corporate home further south in order to avoid tariffs. “Our clients have been shifting part of their production lines as early as March from China to other Asian countries where they already have manufacturing plants,” William Ma Wing-kai, Kerry’s managing director, was quoted saying in the Hong Kong daily. “This is a reallocation of global production bases,” Ma said. For the last couple of years, China has been moving to a more automated assembly line, pushing lower-cost manufacturing to Vietnam and elsewhere. China is now one of the world’s largest producers of robotics used in manufacturing assembly lines. As the country moves up the value chain, old-school labor like stitch-and-sew apparel manufacturing is leaving the country. Now that the tariffs are in place, with more promised, companies that were...

Taking IIoT to the Edge

Taking IIoT to the Edge

Jul 25, 2018

By Jeff Reinke, Industrial Equipment News (IEN) Edge computing’s ability to supply real-time, plant-floor data will continue to drive it forward. The Industrial Internet of Things has unlocked a number of opportunities that the manufacturing sector can now leverage in streamlining operations, improving quality and cutting costs. However, perhaps the most unique benefit of the IIoT has been the ability to customize the application of these technologies according to the needs and preferences of a specific enterprise – even as the number of solutions falling under the scope of IIoT continues to expand. To discuss one such example, IEN recently sat down with John Fryer, senior director of industry solutions at Stratus, to discuss best practices for leveraging IIoT capabilities with Edge Computing strategies.  Jeff Reinke, IEN Editorial Director: The concept of a connected enterprise has been around for a while, but what do you think were the driving factors that brought the term “Internet of Things” into manufacturing’s lexicon? John Fryer, Senior Director of Industry Solutions, Status: Firstly, we should not forget that “connectivity” and “analytics” have been key components of industrial automation implementations since the first uses of digital controls over 40 years ago. PLC’s have been used to control plant floor activities in many industries, but often in isolated silos. The key elements of the “Internet of Things” are ubiquitous connectivity, almost unlimited computing power and advanced analytics, often using machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies. The advent of the Internet has driven exponential growth in digital connectivity, primarily in human to machine interaction. In recent years, this has been extended to machine-to-machine interaction and the introduction of machine learning to enable automated control of “things”. Perhaps the best examples are self-learning thermostats in homes, which can also be connected to safety systems, such as fire alarms.  Providing plant-wide connectivity with standard technologies, such as Ethernet (or variants) and using the Internet Protocols (IP) enables interconnection of disparate systems, both within the plant, and between plants and Enterprise systems. This makes it easier to deploy additional computing power at the Edge, within a plant, or in the Cloud, and to apply analytic and machine learning technologies to improve a whole range of production and business processes....

Other Voices: Is the time right for reshoring?

Other Voices: Is the time right for reshoring?

Jul 16, 2018

By Harry Moser, Modern Materials Handling New research -as well as incentives like lower corporate tax rates – suggest that it is. It’s hard not to pick up a newspaper or listen to a news report without hearing that U.S. manufacturers are reshoring production, and jobs, back to the U.S. It’s a cause we have been dedicated to at the Reshoring Initiative. There are a number of reasons why we believe that 2018 is the right for companies to re-evaluate their offshoring decisions. Among them are the reduction in U.S. corporate tax rates and regulatory costs and the approximately nine percent decline in the USD from Jan. 2017 to Jan. 2018. Recent academic research provides useful detailed insight into how and why some organizations have reevaluated their offshoring decisions, leading to decisions to reshore. The results are generally consistent with the analyses of data collected by my organization, the Reshoring Initiative, based on a larger population of reshorers. In a recent article entitled “Why in the world did they reshore? Examining small to medium-sized manufacturer decisions,” John V. Gray, Gökçe Esenduran, M. Johnny Rungtusanatham, and Keith Skowronski looked at four small-to-medium-size enterprises, or SMEs, with headquarters and demand in the U.S., that had moved their manufacturing operations from low-cost locations in Asia back to high-cost countries. Two of the companies are located in the Midwest and two are in the West, with product categories ranging from power transmission equipment to measuring and controlling devices, to fabricated metal products to apparel. The authors found that these reshoring decisions are driven by factors beyond changing location-related costs. The Reshoring Initiative and John V. Gray, one of the co-authors and a professor at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, have discussed the reshoring phenomenon for years. This article is an effort to compare the results from the in-depth academic research of a small number of firms by Gray and his colleagues, and the larger-scale survey data collected by our organization. To differentiate between their work and ours, any numerical results related to the work of the Reshoring Initiative are italicized. Lessons Learned 1. Remedying the Unintended Consequences  SMEs are correcting the unintended consequences of initial offshoring decisions...

Boeing HorizonX Invests in 3D Printing Startup Morf3D

Boeing HorizonX Invests in 3D Printing Startup Morf3D

Jul 5, 2018

Featured in Design-2-Part Magazine Investment furthers Boeing’s commitment to a competitive ecosystem for aerospace-quality 3D-printed parts CHICAGO—Boeing announced its investment in Morf3D, an El Segundo, Calif.-based company specializing in metal-based additive engineering and manufacturing. Morf3D’s technology enables lighter and stronger 3D-printed parts for aerospace applications, Boeing said in a press release. Since Morf3D was established in late 2015, the company has produced 3D-printed titanium and aluminum components for Boeing satellites and helicopters. With this investment, Morf3D will collaborate with Boeing to further develop manufacturing processes and engineering capabilities. “Developing standard additive manufacturing processes for aerospace components benefits both companies and empowers us to fully unleash the value of this transformative technology,” said Kim Smith, vice president and general manager of fabrication for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Additive Manufacturing leader, in the release. Morf3D’s metallurgy experts are using a new set of additive manufacturing design rules to advance the technology and accelerate 3D-printing capabilities for commercial use. The company uses state-of-the-art software, combined with engineering expertise, to significantly reduce mass and increase the performance and functionality of manufactured parts. “We are excited to be a distinguished and trusted partner of Boeing’s additive manufacturing supplier base, as we continue to industrialize our processes for the high-rate production of flight-worthy additively manufactured components,” said Ivan Madera, CEO of Morf3D, in the release. “This investment will enable us to increase our engineering staff and expand our technology footprint of EOS M400-4 DMLS systems to better serve the growing demands of our aerospace customers.” “As innovative companies continue to revolutionize technologies and methods, we are proud to invest in the rapidly growing and competitive additive manufacturing landscape,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX, in the release. Boeing HorizonX Ventures co-led this Series A funding round. The Boeing HorizonX Ventures investment portfolio is made up of companies specializing in technologies for aerospace and manufacturing innovations, including autonomous systems, energy storage, advanced materials, augmented reality systems and software, machine learning, hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion, and Internet of Things connectivity. In March 2018, Boeing and Norsk Titanium received the Aviation Week Laureate Award for Commercial Supplier Innovation for qualifying the first additively manufactured structural titanium parts on a commercial airplane. In February 2018,...