Are Autonomous Cars Disrupting the Supply Chain?

Are Autonomous Cars Disrupting the Supply Chain?

Apr 25, 2017

By Charles, Murray, DesignNews In the development of self-driving vehicles, Tier Two suppliers say they’re communicating directly with automakers in ways they hadn’t previously. During a two-week period in early February of this year, Chris Jacobs of Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) criss-crossed the country, visiting the offices of virtually every major automaker to discuss such technologies as radar, Lidar, and microelectromechanical sensors. A decade ago, Jacobs wouldn’t have gotten his foot in the door with the automakers to discuss such subjects. But thanks to the emerging importance of self-driving cars, Jacobs says he and his colleagues have suddenly become very important. “Just in the last year, it’s been insane,” Jacobs, general manager of ADI’s advanced driver assistance systems and automotive safety, recently told Design News. “Now, the OEMs [automakers] want to develop non-disclosure agreements with us. And they want us to develop prototypes for them without a Tier One [supplier], so they can try them out on their test tracks. This would have never happened 10 years ago.” Meet more than 9,100 qualified buyers and decision makers searching for new products, the latest technologies, and state-of-the-art processes across the full spectrum of advanced design and manufacturing at our East Coast Advanced Design & Manufacturing Expo. June 13-15, 2017 in NY. Indeed, the time-honored order of the automotive supply chain seems to be changing, and the autonomous car may be behind it. In the past, Tier Two vendors, such as Analog Devices, didn’t communicate with automakers. Rather, they reported almost exclusively to the Tier Ones, such as Delphi Automotive PLC, Robert Bosch GmbH, Visteon Corp. and Continental AG. The Tier Ones, in turn, worked with the automakers to build bigger products, integrating sensors, software, semiconductor chips, and other parts from the Tier Twos. Under such arrangements, Tier Twos were generally discouraged from contacting the OEMs (the automakers) directly. “We would want to talk to them, and they would say, ‘Talk to the Tier One,’” Jacobs said. Now, that’s changing. Today, Tier Two electronics suppliers say they’re connected directly to the automakers on a separate dotted line – at least when it comes to autonomous cars. They’re neither more nor less important than the Tier One....

Factory moves from China to U.S. with help from robot…

Factory moves from China to U.S. with help from robot…

Feb 23, 2017

  “Factory moves from China to U.S. with help from robot workforce”   Automation has contributed to the declining U.S. manufacturing workforce. But as Mark Strassmann reports, now technology may help factories move back to the U.S.  ...

Special report: Automation puts jobs in peril

Special report: Automation puts jobs in peril

Feb 6, 2017

By Nathan Bomey, USA Today Automation is the greatest threat to the economy, but may also be its biggest opportunity. Part 1 WELCOME TO THE AUTOMATION REVOLUTION BALTIMORE — The patter of automated machinery fills the air inside wire-basket manufacturer Marlin Steel’s bustling factory in a rugged industrial section of this city. Maxi Cifarelli, 25, of Baltimore, peers through safety goggles at a flat screen, her left knee bent and heel resting on her chair. Two years after earning a fine arts degree from Towson University with a specialty in interdisciplinary object design, she now spends her work days working with a personality-free machine with a name to match: a computer numerical control, or CNC, router. With automation poised to sweep through the economy, some fear that it will kill more jobs than it creates. But Cifarelli’s experience is the opposite. She befriended automation, instead of fighting it, and she has a job because of it. “I haven’t named it,” she said, peering over at the robotic machinery. “I should name it.” Cifarelli is one of 33 employees at Marlin Steel, which has undergone a transformation. Employees used to make wire baskets by hand. Now automation has taken over. High-tech machines do most of the work — and the plant needs workers willing to adapt their skill sets to survive in a rapidly changing economy. Automation has allowed Marlin Steel to thrive, but across the country, workers feel threatened. Donald Trump catapulted into the White House by giving voice to those fears and promising to save American factories and jobs by rewriting trade deals, taxing imports and removing regulations. Futurists have warned for years that automation will take your job. Now it’s happening, albeit in pockets, at manufacturers, warehouses and even some labor-intensive white-collar professions. As the political debate rages over how to inject fresh energy into the American economy with Trump taking office, automation presents perhaps the greatest threat to the American economy. But it may also reflect its greatest opportunity if workers take the Cifarelli route and embrace robotics, artificial intelligence and automation. Either way, it’s poised to accelerate — and if not here, then in foreign countries that will reap the benefits while the American economy suffers...

IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges…

IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges…

Sep 20, 2016

IoT: Meeting Manufacturing’s Next-Generation Challenges And Opportunities By by Rajaram Radhakrishnan & Prasad Satyavolu, Manufacturing Business Technology Manufacturers face an exciting yet challenging future. Meeting consumer demands for personalization, increasing productivity despite the skills shortage and generating new revenue opportunities are all major strategic issues. Deep, real-time visibility into plant operations and supply chains, the ability to predict plant floor events and anticipate broader trends using existing resources to their fullest capacity are all required capabilities. The Internet of Things (IoT), with its potential to assimilate real-time information through sensory enablement and a growing network of interconnected devices, can equip manufacturers with these capabilities, giving them higher flexibility to respond to changing market dynamics. Each manufacturer’s IoT strategy will be unique to their specific operating system, their place in the value chain and the customers they serve. Yet all manufacturers should use the following as benchmarks to ensure that their IoT implementations provide the data and business intelligence required to succeed in today’s business environment. Broad Scope of Instrumentation Automation has existed for decades in most manufacturing production facilities and warehouses — from barcode readers to robots — and some manufacturers easily track the flow of parts and goods on their shop floors. IoT allows the manufacturers to take their automation to the next level, leveraging information available inside, around and beyond the walls of the plant floors. IoT-driven automation delves deeper and broader, enabling manufacturers to gain granular visibility into their operations. For example, human sensing can play a role in integrating work allocation as well as safety in case of an accident. While human sensing in consumer environments raises privacy concerns, it has tremendous potential in the industrial world. Accomplishing complete tracking of operations requires manufacturers to deploy more sensors throughout their facilities, including material handling equipment, capturing multitudes of equipment performance parameters in real-time and data about ambient conditions such as temperature, humidity and air quality. This information set, correlated with the workstation data gathered through the Manufacturing Execution System, provides core level visibility and impact of conditions on overall plant performance. Other systems and devices that affect plant performance also need to be instrumented, from maintenance equipment to drones, robots and...

Five transformative effects Advanced Manufacturing is…

Five transformative effects Advanced Manufacturing is…

Jul 11, 2016

“Five transformative effects Advanced Manufacturing is having on the power industry” By Steve Bolze, President & CEO at GE Power GE’s founder Thomas Edison once said: ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work’. Most people resist change, but to innovate, we must force ourselves into new ways of working, no matter how much effort it may seem. GE has embraced this philosophy, and nowhere is this more evident than our new Advanced Manufacturing Works (AMW) facility, opening today in Greenville, South Carolina. It’s the embodiment of our GE Store, taking our smartest minds and technologies from every part of our business to drive innovation, growth, and ground-breaking customer outcomes. Customers determine our success, and increasingly they challenge us to help them deliver more value in today’s fast shifting market. This means getting new concepts and innovations to production quicker.  With our new AMW facility we’ll be able revolutionize the way GE Power designs, improves, and creates products. Here are five key examples: Connecting people to machines The AMW team is a working laboratory for our GE Power advanced manufacturing method. At the heart of this approach is the union of the physical and the digital – human and machine – into a seamless thread of systems, people, and data facilitating near-instantaneous information sharing. Just like a Fitbit-style wearable health monitor, in a Brilliant Factory (and our customer environments) we monitor our machines’ health. Using sensors, data analytics and the Industrial Internet, we better understand the well-being of our factories and products. Additive manufacturing – accelerating innovation Additive manufacturing, the industrial version of 3D printing, enables speed to market by making innovative, rapid product prototyping and initial production possible. Our AMW facility uses additive manufacturing to manufacture test components of new design ideas for our gas turbines, accelerating their development. Additive manufacturing allows us to optimize a design concept through 10 or more iterations in just a few months, with production parts capable of following just four months later. Using traditional techniques it would take 10-12 months longer. Speed doesn’t mean “easy” here.  Metal additive machines, although fast and powerful, are in their early days; yet gas turbine technology...