Some experts believe we are years from realizing self-driving cars. But if you take a look under the hood and kick the tires, the timeline for the autonomous car might be closer than we think. The world’s top automakers have made some interesting predictions and companies like Ford, GM, BMW and others have established their own timelines
With October 31 right around the corner, many of us are thinking about carving pumpkins, scary movies [or the timeless classic “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”], and candy of course. Lots of candy. And depending on where you live and how populated your area is with children, you may or may not get a hoard of trick or treaters. We’re talking about Halloween of course. The first of the fall holidays, the tradition is rooted in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. By the eighth century Pope Gregory III marked November 1 as a time to honor saints. When all Saints Day borrowed some of the activities from Samhain, the evening before became known as All Hallows Eve and later Halloween.
Manufacturing Day is an annual event that takes place on the first Friday in October. This year the celebration of modern manufacturing took place on October 4, 2019. Last year 3,000 events took place across the country to inspire and educate students, communities and policy makers on this integral component of the local, national and global economy.
A recent conversation with a metalworking equipment supplier revealed an interesting perspective on the skills gap. A 25-year careerist in the press brake industry, he said, “Operators had to have an understanding of principles like bend allowances, v-die selection, and how materials react to bending. That kind of know-how came with experience. Fast forward to today. We’ve removed sheet metal and wood working from high schools. We’ve effectively removed an avenue for young people to nurture the creative bug with the idea of working with ones hands.”
One of the major challenges of precision machining is obtaining the accurate measurements necessary to conform to tight tolerances. Without accurate data about a component’s geometry, it’s impossible to configure machinery or monitor the shaping process for errors properly.CMM probes, such as those provided by AIMS Metrology, are designed to solve this problem. These devices gather key data points before, during, and after the machining process to maximize efficiency and reduce the need for time-consuming manual measurements.
Profilers analyze a person's psychological and behavioral characteristics to predict their most likely actions. Borrowing a page from criminal profilers, many manufacturers do something similar when looking for a distributor. They usually have a set of ideal attributes in mind, a preferred vendor profile of sorts. The profile often prioritizes service as much (or maybe more) as the products and equipment offered. Seven key traits distinguish distributors who emphasize service and value-added capabilities:
We’ve all heard the phrase, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.” Or maybe you are more familiar with the idiom, “One hand washes the other.” Both phrases describe a symbiotic relationship where one individual helps another to get something in return. Such a relationship can be obligate or facultative according to Study.com. As the word infers, obligate symbiosis is a relationship where one species can’t live without another. Facultative symbiosis characterizes two species that choose to live together.
"Will Amazon’s one-day shipping kill the distribution industry?” It’s a question that was posed recently by Modern Distribution Management (MDM), a specialized information business that provides resources to executives that serve the wholesale distribution market. Amazon Prime members can receive items in one day with complimentary shipping. And the service isn’t just for consumers. Some B2B buyers are also benefitting. Electrical contractors, facilities managers and plant managers to name a few.
In its’ 2019 Global Aerospace and Defense Industry Outlook Deloitte reported that the aircraft order backlog for the commercial aerospace sector remains at an all-time high due to “demand for next-generation, fuel-efficient aircraft in response to surging oil prices.”
High demand means that manufacturers must ramp up production rates yet Deloitte states that companies will likely “experience supply chain interruptions as some fabricators struggle to keep up.
On July 8, 1776, Philadelphians heard the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence against a backdrop of ringing bells and band music. The following year the city chose July 4th to celebrate the country’s birthday. Interest in recognizing the special day spread to other towns and was commonplace by the close of the War of 1812. Congress established Independence Day as a holiday in 1870. In 1938 Congress earmarked the day as a paid holiday for federal employees.
Have You Done Your Coordinate Measuring Machine Spring Cleaning Yet?
If you look at the typical household “spring cleaning checklist” you’ll see items like dust crown molding, wash table linens, dust and clean windows inside and out; clean and disinfect light switches and outlets and polish wood cabinets. “Spring cleaning” is equally important for job shops and manufacturing facilities—especially when it comes to equipment like the 5-axis coordinate measuring machine (CMM).
In spite of supply chain challenges, Airbus, Boeing, and Embraer closed out 2018 with confirmed orders for more than 400 jetliners. Airbus and Boeing delivered record numbers of aircraft and each has racked up seven or more years of production to satisfy a 13,450 airplane backlog.
In terms of the aerospace market, 2019 is proving to be the year of artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), data analytics, advanced sensors and IoT. Data analytics continues to take on a bigger role. Forecasters report that the “amount of data being created by the industry is overwhelming.”
Events like the Vietnam War, Civil Rights protests, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King punctuated the 1960s which ended with Americans watching astronaut Neil Armstrong become the first man to set foot on the moon. The coordinate measuring machine (CMM) also traces its’ roots to this tumultuous decade. Those early models were limited, capable of nothing more than manual inspections with hard probing.
“Avengers: Endgame” is predicted to pass $937 million shortly. When that happens, media experts will crown the latest Marvel film as the biggest hit ever. The film debuted April 24 but its’ directors along with a number of media outlets have asked viewers not to spoil Endgames for others by talking about it. The point to this is that individuals have gone to great measures to protect the film from leaks and fans have endured long lines and hours of waiting in some cases, to be among the first to see the film on opening weekend.
We talk a lot about CMM software - but the hardware merits a mention or two now and then, especially when there is something new to talk about. Point of fact, our focus is the CMM probe, the most important piece of a coordinate measuring machine. The probe you select can mean the difference between a CMM that is a powerful asset or one that…well…frankly isnt. As Ian Wright says at Engineering.com, “A coordinate measuring machine is only as good as its probe(s).”
Baby boomers are retiring at the rate of approximately 10,000 a day. In their wake, Millennials are changing the way manufacturers do things.
Get The Most Bang For Your Buck
In the metal fabrication business, most companies are small to mid-sized. Yet these manufacturers juggle a bevy of parts and sub-assemblies for a myriad of applications and industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to waste water treatment plants and oil and gas. Collapsed timelines, tighter tolerances and changing requirements have become standard fare. And it isn’t getting any easier. Customers want to be able to make design changes on the fly and get updates on part specifications in real time. If a machine goes down a fabricator may have to rely on a neighboring company to get parts out the door. That means being able to download programs and fixtures without the need to reprogram.
This week we celebrated Presidents’ Day. If you are a history buff you know that the holiday was born in 1800 following the death of George Washington in 1799. It was an unofficial observance at the time though marked by historical events like the 1832 centennial of Washington’s birth and the construction of the Washington Monument which started in 1848. In 1879, President Rutherford B. Hayes signed Washington’s February 22 birthday into a federal holiday. At first, the holiday only applied to the District of Columbia. In 1885, the entire country was invited to participate in the holiday.
Trends are interesting, especially at the beginning of a new year. If you Google health you’ll see headlines that tell you oat milk will be the new almond milk, prebiotics will be the new probiotics and fats will be the new protein. If you look up fashion for 2019, bamboo bags and statement sneakers are all the rage. Artificial intelligence is slated to grow while pure cable TV is expected to die a slow death.
In the 1989 film “Dead Poets Society,” an English teacher played by actor Robin Williams, inspires his students by teaching poetry. Williams character, John Keating also teaches them life lessons. In the first scene in the film Keating stands on his desk. In the final scene his students do. The acts symbolize seeing the world from another point of view. In our last blog we gave you a snap shot of the marketplace for 2019. This week we thought we’d give you a different perspective from ThomasNet. The 120-year-old company is a data, platform and technology organization that has become the leading resource for the industrial marketplace.
ThomasNet delved into some data to look at products and services with the highest procurement rates in 2018. Here’s what they found.