Amazon can ‘overwhelm the competition with brute force’

Amazon can ‘overwhelm the competition with brute force’

Oct 16, 2017

By Business Insider Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU and author of the new book “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,” discusses Amazon. He says that whenever the company is bumping up against the other three juggernauts, it’s winning. He cites how Alexa is beating Siri, and mentions the company’s torrid pace of growth. Galloway thinks that Amazon’s core confidence is storytelling, and mentions Amazon having access to the cheapest cost of capital in history — which allows them to overwhelm the competition with brute...

GM to Produce 20 New Electric Cars by 2023

GM to Produce 20 New Electric Cars by 2023

Oct 4, 2017

By Charles Murray, DesignNews Future GM battery-electric vehicles will include coupes, sedans, crossovers, SUVs and possibly even pickup trucks. General Motors raised the stakes in the auto industry’s ongoing competition to build more affordable, long-range electric cars this week, announcing it would roll out two more all-new EVs in the next 18 months, and 20 more by 2023. The giant automaker said that the first two vehicles will be “based off learnings from the Chevrolet Bolt EV.” The others will include coupes, sedans, crossovers, and SUVs. GM told Design News that it would also not rule out the possibility of a pickup truck. To underscore its effort, GM released a photo including eight different vehicles silhouetted underneath drapes, clearly exhibiting different sizes and shapes. The silhouetted figures represent the array of pure, battery-powered cars that the company will release in the next five-and-a-half years, all designed from the ground, up. “The Bolt EV was the first, affordable, long-range all-electric vehicle,” said GM spokesman Kevin Kelly. “We’ve cracked the code. We know how to do it.” GM’s statement comes at a time when much of the entrenched auto industry seems as if it is racing to make bigger and bigger announcements about electric cars. Today, Ford Motor Co. said it has formed an internal unit, called Team Edison, whose charter it is to accelerate development of electric vehicles, while forging partnerships with other auto manufacturers and suppliers. Similarly, Toyota Motor Corp. said last Thursday that it is teaming with Mazda Motor Corp. and with supplier Denso Corp. to “jointly develop basic structural technologies for electric vehicles.” The announcements provide a broad signal that traditional automakers have accepted electrification, but it’s still clear that most of them are unsure how fast it will take place. Industry analysts, such as Navigant Research , have predicted that approximately 4% of vehicles sold worldwide in 2025 will be battery-electric. Other analysts, however, have forecast figures in excess of 20%. “If you try to guess anything out to about 2030, your crystal ball will be pretty fuzzy,” Kelly told us. Analysts today acknowledged that no one’s sure whether consumers, even the younger ones, will embrace pure electric cars. “Engineers are starting to see a...

A way to make 3D printed parts stronger

A way to make 3D printed parts stronger

Sep 21, 2017

By Bill Bregar, Plastics News Brandon Sweeney, a doctoral student at Texas A&M University’s Department of Chemical Engineering, has developed a way to make 3D printed parts 275 times stronger. Sweeney, working with his adviser Micah Green, associate professor of chemical engineering, applied traditional welding concepts and a carbon nanotube composite filament to bond the submillimeter layers in a 3D printing part using focused microwaves. Sweeney began working with materials for 3D printing while he was employed at the Army Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. “I was able to see the amazing potential of the technology, such as the way it sped up our manufacturing times and enabled our CAD designs to come to life in a matter of hours,” Sweeney said. “Unfortunately, we always knew those were not really strong enough to survive in a real-world application.” When he started his doctorate studies, Sweeney was working with Green in the chemical engineering department. Green had been collaborating with Mohammad Saed, assistant professor in the electrical and computer engineering department at Texas Tech, on a project to detect carbon nanotubes using microwaves. The three men came up with an idea to use carbon nanotubes in 3D printed parts, then using microwave energy to weld the layers of parts together. “The basic idea is that a 3D part cannot simply be stuck in an oven to weld it together, because it is plastic and will melt,” Sweeney said. “We realized that we needed to borrow from the concepts that are traditionally used for welding parts together where you’d use a point source of heat, like a torch or TIP welder, to join the interface of the parts together. You’re not melting the entire part, just putting the heat where you need it.” The team puts a 3D printed filament and apply a thin layer of a carbon nanotube composite on the outside. “When you print the parts out, that thin layer gets embedded at the interface of all the plastic strands,” Sweeney said. “Then we stick it in a microwave, we use a big more sophisticated microwave oven in this research, and monitor the temperature with an infrared camera.” The patent-pending...

Overcoming the Fears of Digital Transformation

Overcoming the Fears of Digital Transformation

Sep 20, 2017

By Anthony Bourne, Industrial Equipment News Manufacturers need to think carefully about how they position IoT and other disruptive technologies, and how they communicate the benefits. Digital Transformation (DT) is coming of age. In the recent Digital Change Survey commissioned by IFS, 80 percent saw themselves as “enabled, enhanced or optimized” to leverage DT. Even more impressively, 89 percent said they had “advantageous” or “adequate” funding in place for digital projects—a clear acknowledgment that the time of disruptive technologies is here. But why are businesses investing? Where do they see the big profits? And how successfully are they selling digital change throughout their organizations? Beyond Efficiency The survey found that over a quarter (27 percent) of companies say digital transformation makes them more competitive. Additionally, 29 percent see the main benefit as accelerating innovation and 28 percent feel that growth opportunities in new markets are the primary advantage. Companies using digital transformation to ask far-reaching strategic questions—like “can I use it to get myself a bigger share on the market, or increase my product portfolio?”—are making the most of the long-term, strategic opportunities. They’re sensing how it can transform even seemingly small tactical decisions into key strategic differentiators. But these companies are in the minority. The largest group in the survey, 47 percent, still see the main benefits of DT as “improving internal process efficiencies”, which makes me wonder: do companies really see the full potential? Innovation can make or break a company, and study after study foregrounds it as a C-level priority. So why doesn’t it appear to be a driver for digital transformation? Considering technology investments, this could mean that the majority of funds are invested in making internal processes more effective and thereby failing to enable innovation. Improved internal efficiency as the key reason to explore DT is, in my view, too short sighted. It fails to exploit the strategic benefits and makes it more difficult to win the understanding and commitment of the staff. Overcoming Fear of Change Despite plenty of good news, the survey still reveals that 42 percent of respondents view aversion to change as the main barrier to digital transformation. Companies need to think carefully about how they position...

Automation, Robotics Are Key to Manufacturing PCB…

Automation, Robotics Are Key to Manufacturing PCB…

Sep 15, 2017

“Automation, Robotics Are Key to Manufacturing PCB Assemblies” By Mark Langlois, Design-2-Part Magazine Assembling a printed circuit board requires more than steady hands Robots aren’t just a cheaper assembly method—they’re almost required because some components are the size of ground pepper. Not coarse ground, either. “Today, in the end, automation is essential to manufacturing printed circuit boards,” said Accu-semblyPresident John Hykes, who founded the California firm in 1983 by making motion detectors with hand-held soldering guns in the family garage. He recruited the whole family, who turned out 100 to 200 of the detectors a week to start, and about 1,000 a week within a year. Accu-sembly added automated machines within a few years of the firm’s founding, Hykes said in a telephone interview with D2P. First, the company worked with surface mounted components. It learned and added components with leads. Then came ball grid arrays, which had to be X-ray inspected, and Accu-sembly automated the process. Accu-sembly (accu-sembly.com) operates today in a 30,000-square-foot factory with 100 employees in Duarte, California. The company’s markets include aerospace, industrial, commercial, and automotive businesses. As an electronics manufacturing services provider, Accu-sembly manufactures custom printed circuit board assemblies. In support of this, the firm provides design for manufacturing review, procurement and supply chain management, and testing services. Accu-sembly manufactures printed circuit board assemblies that meet IPC-A-610 and J-STD-001 class 2 and class 3 requirements. It can place the smallest 01005 (0.4mm x 0.2mm) chip components and large high pin count BGA devices. Its manufacturing processes are also suitable for placing tiny micro BGA devices as well. Hykes said in an emailed response that most of its products begin with surface mount device installation using fully automated assembly lines. “This includes solder paste screen printing, robotic P&P (pick and placement), and reflow. Our equipment and processes allow us to place large complex BGA (ball grid array) devices, as well as the tiniest parts and micro BGA devices. Through hole assembly is managed with a combination of wave soldering, selective wave soldering, and manual assembly. Post assembly inspection includes both automated optical inspection and X-ray inspection as necessary. Functional test routines using customer specific equipment is offered, along with flying probe electrical test...