New process could make wood as strong as titanium alloys…

New process could make wood as strong as titanium alloys…

Feb 9, 2018

“New process could make wood as strong as titanium alloys but lighter and cheaper” By University of Maryland, Tech Xplore Engineers at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) have found a way to make wood more than 10 times times stronger and tougher than before, creating a natural substance that is stronger than many titanium alloys. “This new way to treat wood makes it 12 times stronger than natural wood and 10 times tougher,” said Liangbing Hu of UMD’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and the leader of the team that did the research, to be published on February 8, 2018 in the journal Nature. “This could be a competitor to steel or even titanium alloys, it is so strong and durable. It’s also comparable to carbon fiber, but much less expensive.” Hu is an associate professor of materials science and engineering and a member of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute. “It is both strong and tough, which is a combination not usually found in nature,” said Teng Li, the co-leader of the team and Samuel P. Langley Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at UMD’s Clark School. His team measured the dense wood’s mechanical properties. “It is as strong as steel, but six times lighter. It takes 10 times more energy to fracture than natural wood. It can even be bent and molded at the beginning of the process.” The team also tested the new wood material and natural wood by shooting bullet-like projectiles at it. The projectile blew straight through the natural wood. The fully treated wood stopped the projectile partway through. “Soft woods like pine or balsa, which grow fast and are more environmentally friendly, could replace slower-growing but denser woods like teak in furniture or buildings,” Hu said. “The paper provides a highly promising route to the design of lightweight, high performance structural materials, with tremendous potential for a broad range of applications where high strength, large toughness and superior ballistic resistance are desired, ” said Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University who was not involved in the study. “It is particularly exciting to note that the method is versatile for various species of wood and fairly easy to...

How will Industry 4.0 impact U.S. manufacturing?

How will Industry 4.0 impact U.S. manufacturing?

Jan 26, 2018

By JLL Staff Reporter, Real Views The Fourth Industrial Revolution is picking up steam in warehouse aisles and factory floors around the world. As advancing technology brings the manufacturing industry closer to the vision of a ‘smart factory,’ the future of U.S. manufacturing depends on how well industry leaders play the new cards in the deck: robotics, data, automation and 3D printing—without overlooking the value of human capital. So far, the U.S. appears ready for change, earning a “well positioned for the future” nod from the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Production assessment, which evaluated production structures in countries around the world. While human-free warehouses and factories are still a long way off, more sophisticated, tech-fueled automation is already becoming a standard feature of the nation’s industrial buildings. These days, drones equipped with sensors can scan bar codes for inventory purposes, safely restock and pick merchandise on high shelves, and move small items quickly around the warehouse. Meanwhile, robotics and other technologies such as 3D printing, connected sensors and artificial intelligence are drastically transforming the way goods are manufactured. “Industry 4.0 represents a clear opportunity for the U.S. manufacturing sector when you think about the skilled positions coming back into the economy,” says Aaron Ahlburn, Managing Director, Industrial & Logistics Research, JLL. “Most industry-relevant technology works best when paired with intelligent use, and the U.S. has a competitive advantage when it comes to skilled, tech-savvy labor.” The factory of the future depends on today’s talent The United States’ manufacturing sector is the second largest in the world, after China. According to WEF’s 2018 report, the U.S. “is globally renowned for its ability to innovate and is currently at the forefront of major developments surrounding the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” This won’t be the first time the U.S. manufacturing industry has won in terms of innovation. This is, after all, the birthplace of the moving assembly line. And earlier automation technologies have already made this a country where only two in five employees are now directly engaged in production, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Still, according to the same report, the nation’s share of global manufacturing value has declined over time, dropping from 29 percent...

Top CEOs Share How They Are Transforming Manufacturing…

Top CEOs Share How They Are Transforming Manufacturing…

Jan 16, 2018

“Top CEOs Share How They Are Transforming Manufacturing, Not-For-Profit, And Financial Services” By Robert Reiss, Forbes Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO shared a concept we all can agree on, “What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” But he then explained a different approach to transformation, “I think frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out.” Though counter-intuitive, it rings true for many of our great innovations. As CEOs look to innovate and lead industries, they often seek both unexpected and fundamental insight. I thought it would be of value to have a discussion with the CEOs who are transforming Manufacturing, Not-For- Profits, and Financial Services, so on November 27, 2017 I had a discussion with these three industry leaders to explore their leadership philosophy, their transformation, and their future plans: -Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP, the leading bi-partisan not-for-profit with 62,000 associates, the world’s 2nd largest magazine with 38 million readers, and a new concept to disrupt aging for all over 50 years old. -David Nelms, Chairman and CEO, Discover Financial Services, the $10 billion leader in direct banking, payments and customer service, with unparalleled J.D. Power and other awards for almost two decades. -James M. Loree, President & CEO, Stanley Black & Decker, the 175 year old $12 billion company with 54,000 employees representing numerous leading brands including: STANLEY, Blacker & Decker, Craftsman, DEWALT … and innovator of industry changing breakthroughs like FlexVolt.   Robert Reiss: What concept defines your leadership philosophy today? Jim Loree: I have a saying that I repeat endlessly around here, which I think says a lot about our leadership philosophy here at Stanley Black & Decker. And that is we want people to be bold and agile, while at the same time thoughtful and disciplined. Jo Ann Jenkins: I’ve been trying to encourage our staff to take strategic risks. I tell them that it’s okay to fail as long as you fail fast and you learn something from it—and you share that learning across the organization so nobody else makes the same mistake. I think that’s been a big change for us...

These 7 Exoskeletons Are Making The World Easier…

These 7 Exoskeletons Are Making The World Easier…

Jan 10, 2018

“These 7 Exoskeletons Are Making The World Easier To Navigate” By Tech Insider 1. You can literally take this seat anywhere. The Chairless Chair is a tool you can lean on. When locked, it can be rested on. 2. Lowe’s is giving its workers “Iron Man suits.” It makes carrying heavy loads easier. Lowe’s worked with Virginia Tech on the project. 3. This exoskeleton can help people with paraplegia walk. “Phoenix” was designed by suitX. suitX calls it “the world’s lightest and most advanced exoskeleton.” 4. Ford assembly line workers are testing EksoVest. It helps reduce injury from repetitive tasks. 5. This robotic glove is helping some people with paralysis. The Exo-Glove Poly is a wearable soft robot. The motion of your wrist control the fingers. Users can lift and grasp things up to a pound. 6. This suit gives you super strength. suitX makes five types of modular suits. They help reduce workloads of the user. 7. Ekso exoskeletons can help people with paraplegia walk again. It’s a robot that adds power to your hips and knees....

Retrain Or Retreat: The Next Battlefield For U.S. …

Retrain Or Retreat: The Next Battlefield For U.S. …

Dec 12, 2017

“Retrain Or Retreat: The Next Battlefield For U.S. Manufacturing” By Harold L. (Hal) Sirkin , Forbes The concept of “lifelong learning” has gained widespread popularity in recent decades as a way to keep senior citizens intellectually engaged. But how about lifelong learning as a way to keep people employed, especially those in manufacturing? Think of it as learning for the sake of economic survival. More than one expert is predicting that robots and artificial intelligence will make work all but obsolete in the future. “Some entrepreneurs such as Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk predict so little human work will be left that a universal social safety net will be needed to maintain economic order,” the Wall Street Journal’s Vanessa Fuhrmans reported last month. Such notions are gaining currency. For several years now, various publications, ranging from The Guardian and The Atlantic to Forbes, have been publishing stories about the possibilities of a future “world without work.” This is somewhat misleading, as it’s not work that may become obsolete, but rather our skills, as the digital revolution speeds ahead. Unfortunately, the current educational system, which was designed for the generation that came of age during the 1940s and 1950s, and for the baby boomers that followed, can’t fix this problem. The only way to fix it is to take the words “lifelong learning” seriously, even literally, and embrace continuing education as an integral and necessary part of our adult lives. The nature of work clearly is changing—and dramatically so. The pace of change is increasing as well, and may even accelerate. In such an environment, keeping up will require more than occasional refresher courses and attendance at professional development seminars. If you were starting a career 40 years ago, you probably believed—correctly, in many cases—that you’d be able to do whatever you were trained to do for your entire life. That’s no longer true. Today, technologies that were considered science fiction just a decade ago—3D printing, artificial intelligence (AI), drones and driverless vehicles, among others—are becoming realities. And there’s more to come. Our educational system was structured to maintain the status quo. Students spend 12 years in the classroom—with perhaps an additional two years at a community college or in an apprenticeship program, or four...