Exoskeletons at Ford

Ford is one of many companies using wearable technology to ease the burden for assembly workers. Exoskeletons are ergonomic devices that can reduce fatigue and aid in protecting workers from repetitive strenuous motion. The wearable technology at first was mostly intended for industrial usage, however the military and medical fields are finding its applications appealing.  

Exoskeleton applications

Examples of practical wearable technology applications include magnetic lift assists, articulating arms, hydraulic lift tables and weld positioners.

Magnetic lift assists transform a heavy task into a light or even a weightless one becoming popular in the industrial workplace.

Articulating arms remove the weight of the machine in drilling, trapping or grinding activities enhancing the accuracy and reducing the time to compete the operation.

Hydraulic lift tables enable workers to position work at a convenient and efficient height eliminating physical strains – bending, lifting, stretching – related to machine feeding applications.

Weld positioners enable a welder to avoid strenuous physical positioning by protecting vulnerable body parts.

Exoskeletons offer a protecting shield from repetitive motion making assembly workers safer, more precise and productive.

What are the benefits of wearable technology?

Can wearable technology enhance employee performance?

What are exoskeleton applications?

Sources:

https://www.thefabricator.com/article/assembly/exoskeletons-make-assembly-finishing-joining-less-injurious-more-productive

3D printing to support additive manufacturing

3D printing of functional parts might be a solution for creating, integrating and validating custom engineered material for additive manufacturing, as announced by the manufacturing services provider, Jabil.

Recognized in the industry for the company’s contribution in materials science innovations, Jabil is advancing the additive manufacturing market. 3D printing challenges include part quality and materials, as well as longer than desired processing times for custom materials; Jabil is addressing the latter by offering 3D printed materials in weeks – not months.

An integrated MPM solution matching part performance with application requirements will enable the company to evaluate, qualify and validate materials alongside certified machines and processes. Reducing processing times and cost to produce parts could transform additive manufacturing applications in a variety of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, industrial and healthcare.

Providing complete 3DP solutions from a new Material Innovation Centre in Minnesota, coupled with customer consultation from additive manufacturing engineers, chemists, materials scientists and production experts, Jabil would be providing 3D solutions from the prototyping to production of engineered materials faster than ever before.  Questions:

Is 3D printing a solution in additive manufacturing?  

Which industries can benefit from 3D printing applications?

How is Jabil reducing 3D printing processing times? S

https://www.manufacturingglobal.com/lean-manufacturing/jabil-launches-complete-solution-support-additive-manufacturing

How Bunnies Are Solving the World’s Pollution Problems and More

A new start-up, LanzaTech, believes they have developed a way to reduce pollution, increase food production, make gas for cars and fuel for planes cheaper, and potentially provide a more cost effective and eco-friendly source for plastics used in many mass-manufactured products today. Their solution: rabbits. Well, specifically a special bacteria found within the stomachs of a rabbit which has the ability to take carbon emissions from factories and turn it into ethanol. This method could reduce the need to make corn-based ethanol, freeing up more land for food production, and increase the amount of ethanol that we can put in gasoline and jet fuel. According to the article “This start-up turns pollution from factories into fuel that powers cars – and on day planes” by Catherin Clifford, the founder of Virgin Atlantic, an airline company, believes this technology will reduce the reliance of airliners on oil. While it is good that we can reduce pollution from factories by recycling it and cutting our reliance on big oil, the real kicker is that it can be done cheaply. According to the article, tests of airline fuel using ethanol from this method of production have reduced the carbon footprint (when compared to current jet fuel) by 70% and at a cost such that they can sell it at the level of the “lowest current alternative to jet fuel available today”. Eventually, the company hopes to expand and use the same bacteria to create polyethylene which is used in most plastic products today.

 

This technology could have major ramifications on factories and manufacturers if it becomes mainstream, mostly because it would require great coordination with these companies as it is their emissions that LanzaTech would need to harvest in order to make their new fuel. But, if companies agree to this, it will help manufacturers reduce their carbon emissions making it easier for them to comply with environmental standards, potentially provide a new source of revenue for them in the form of selling carbon emissions, and ultimately help reduce shipping costs if the price of jet fuel is really able to drop as much as this company is predicting. All thanks to a bacteria found in the gut of a bunny.

 

For more information on LanzaTech go to this website: http://www.lanzatech.com/

 

Questions:

  1. How many manufacturers would need to begin using this tech to make a significant impact on the pollution numbers we see today?
  2. How would reducing the need for corn-based ethanol impact the food industry?
  3. What impact does this have on the oil industry? Will it really reduce our reliance on Big Oil?

 

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/27/lanzatech-turns-carbon-waste-into-ethanol-to-one-day-power-planes-cars.html

 

IOT Increasing Operational Efficiencies – by Abhilasha Satpathy, DCMME Center Graduate Student Assistant

Indeed, the IoT is set to revolutionize the supply chain with both operational efficiencies and revenue opportunities made possible with just this type of transparency. In today’s market, supply chain isn’t just a way to keep track of your product. It’s a way to gain an edge on your competitors and even build your own brand. The following are a few areas of operations where we’ll be seeing the most advancement and change with the ever-advancing Industrial IoT.

Operational Efficiencies

When it comes to operational efficiencies, the IoT offers:

  • Asset Tracking: Tracking numbers and bar codes used to be the standard method for managing goods throughout the supply chain. But with the IoT, those methods are no longer the most expedient. New RFID and GPS sensors can track products “from floor to store”—and even beyond. At any point in time, manufacturers can use these sensors to gain granular data like the temperature at which an item was stored, how long it spent in cargo, and even how long it took to fly off the shelf. The type of data gained from the IoT can help companies get a tighter grip on quality control, on-time deliveries, and product forecasting. Not too shabby.
  • Vendor Relations: The data obtained through asset tracking is also important because it allows companies to tweak their own production schedules, as well as recognize sub-par vendor relationships that may be costing them money. According to IBM up to 65% of the value of a company’s products or services is derived from its suppliers. That’s a huge incentive to pay closer attention to how your vendors are handling the supplies they’re sending you, and how they’re handling your product once it’s made. Higher quality goods mean better relationships with customers—and better customer retention overall.
  • Forecasting and Inventory: Another bonus: IoT sensors can provide far more accurate inventories than humans can manage alone. For instance, Amazon is using WiFi robots to scan QR codes on its products to track and triage its orders. Imagine being able to track your inventory—including the supplies you have in stock for future manufacturing—at the click of a button. You’d never miss a deadline again. And again, all that data can be used to find trends to make manufacturing schedules even more efficient.
  • Connected Fleets: As the supply chain continues to grow—upward and outward—it’s even more imperative to ensure that all your carriers—be it shipping containers, suppliers’ delivery trucks, or your van out for delivery—are connected. Again, the data is the prize. Just like cities are using this data to get to emergencies quicker or clear up traffic issues, manufacturers are using it to get better products to their customers, faster.
  • Scheduled Maintenance: Of course, the IoT can also use smart sensors on its manufacturing floors to manage planned and predictive maintenance and prevent down-time that can cost so much.

 

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2018/01/09/how-iot-will-impact-the-supply-chain/#7128f2f63e37

Questions:

  1. How can IOT increase operational efficiencies?
  2. How does IOT improve forecasting and inventory ?
  3. How can IOT used for asset tracking ?

 

 

 

How Analytics is Transforming Supply Chain Management

 

 

Supply chain management is a field where Big Data and analytics have obvious applications. Until recently, however, businesses have been less quick to implement big data analytics in supply chain management than in other areas of operation such as marketing or manufacturing.

Of course supply chains have for a long time now been driven by statistics and quantifiable performance indicators. But the sort of analytics which are really revolutionising industry today – real time analytics of huge, rapidly growing and very messy unstructured datasets – were largely absent.

This was clearly a situation that couldn’t last. Many factors can clearly impact on supply chain management – from weather to the condition of vehicles and machinery, and so recently executives in the field have thought long and hard about how this could be harnessed to drive efficiencies

Image result for supply chain analytics

 

Why is it so Important?

Relying on traditional supply chain execution systems is becoming increasingly more difficult, with a mix of global operating systems, pricing pressures and ever increasing customer expectations. There are also recent economic impacts such as rising fuel costs, the global recession, supplier bases that have shrunk or moved off-shore, as well as increased competition from low-cost outsourcers. All of these challenges potentially create waste in your supply chain. That’s where data analytics comes in.

Data analytics is the science of examining raw data to help draw conclusions about information. It is used in many industries to allow companies and organization to make better business decisions and in the sciences to verify (or disprove) existing models or theories.

All businesses with a supply chain devote a fair amount of time to making sure it adds value, but these new advanced analytic tools and disciplines make it possible to dig deeper into supply chain data in search of savings and efficiencies.

The supply chain is a great place to use analytic tools to look for a competitive advantage, because of its complexity and also because of the prominent role supply chain plays in a company’s cost structure and profitability. Supply chains can appear simple compared to other parts of a business, even though they are not. If we keep an open mind, we can always do better by digging deeper into data as well as by thinking about a predictive instead of reactive view of the data.

 

https://www.industryweek.com/blog/supply-chain-analytics-what-it-and-why-it-so-important

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2016/04/22/how-big-data-and-analytics-are-transforming-supply-chain-management/#3a01760339ad

Questions

  1. Q) What are the applications of analytics in supply chain?
  2. Q) What are some of the pain points in supply chain addressed by analytics