Tag Archives: manufacturing

The Appeal of Wearable Technology in Manufacturing

manufacturing technology

Wearable technology and its many applications are all around us. Without looking too far, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with wearables through the technology of an Apple or Samsung Watch, a Garmin model or a Fitbit. Compact, versatile and smart, these fitness trackers multi-task allowing a range of actions from counting steps or minutes spent exercising to answering phone calls or even taking an electrocardiogram on the spot.

Impressive, but when it comes to flexible electronics think of applications that are smaller and potentially even smarter. These incredibly thin electronics contain traces and circuits printed on paper-based flexible substrates.

Produced on foil, paper and even in ink, these electronics retain a high level of conductivity even on curved products and are flexible enough to bend or fold. Such a flexible application, pun intended, offers the potential of roll-able TVs and displays, electronic paper, transparent and smart sensors, not to mention a range of other applications in clothing.

Advantages of Flexible Technologies

Use inexpensive plastics

Low manufacturing costs

Lightweight and bendable

Easily portable

Potentially cheaper

Internet of Things

Over the last five years, tech companies have begun forming collaborations with clothing companies to produce a range of custom apparel products using stretchable electronic inks and flexible substrates. Today it’s easier than ever to find applications of the paper-thin, form-fitting circuits in smart clothing. Companies such as DuPont are manufacturing Intexar, an advanced material. By adding Intexar to clothing like shirts and sports bras, the technology can provide its users with a range of biometric data. Wearing a smart shirt with Intexar has the potential to offer a user or a designated medical provider with information such as heart and breathing rate, form awareness and muscle tension, according to DuPont.

With real-time monitoring and data collection, smart apparel has the potential to not only supply information but also adjust to a range of user needs, like the self-heating jacket created by Ralph Lauren for the Winter Olympics. Use of flexible technologies extends far beyond the world of athletics. Flexible technologies are finding application within the medical, military and first-responder markets. This includes the potential of contact lenses adept at monitoring the glucose levels of a diabetic patient, clothing that can keep first responders safer and jean jackets that offer internet connectivity.

Building Synergies

Akin to the ability to place more and more semiconductors on a chip, flexible technologies show a growing range of possibilities. Imagine a thin layer of film that can regulate the temperature on a home or building or a strip of plastic embedded in a bag that charges the devices inside. Such advances are not only real, they are happening on a small scale now. Research continues as more are discovering the abilities and inherent restrictions of this exciting technology.

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring solution for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. 

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Veterans are Ready and Willing to Fill the Skills Gap

veterans skillsgap

Could the solution to the manufacturing industry’s skills gap be patiently waiting in plain sight? The possibility is appreciable when you consider the U.S. workforce has a ready demographic who possess prior experience working with technology and machinery. This is a group who is trained in precision, leadership and discipline. The demographic is veterans; a group former Defense Secretary Robert Gates calls, “one of the most underutilized talent pools in our country.”

Veteran’s Cross-Functional Skill Set

Teamwork

Responsibility

Perform under pressure

Trustworthy

Integrity

Comfort with diversity

Critical thinking

More and more companies are looking for ways to incorporate the hiring of veterans into their workplace, including hiring managers within the manufacturing industry who are discovering the cross-functional skills this group offers. Such benefits include prior experience working within defined processes and workflows while having the ability to improvise and apply critical-thinking skills. The group is experienced in working with technology and comfortable using frequent application of problem-solving and math skills, all which have complementary applications within the manufacturing industry.

Making the Transition

Despite possessing transferable skills, currently veteran-related employment lags that of the employment of non-veterans. This is due to several factors such as the need for buy-in from management before hiring and an experienced mentor/adviser who can translate Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) codes into comparable open positions within a company, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce. Mentoring from former military personnel can also ease the transition as veterans move from military to civilian life.

Ready Pool of Candidates

2 million post-9/11 veterans

250,000 service members transition out of the military every year for the foreseeable future

1 million+ veterans currently in college

100,000 veterans graduate from college each year

Two-thirds of veterans will leave their first post-military job within two years

George W. Bush Institute

In addition to employing individuals who’ve been schooled in the transferable skills of leadership, flexibility, discipline and teamwork, companies who employ veterans can also take advantage of tax credits. The Returning Heroes Tax credit offers a maximum credit of $5,600/veteran hired, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers businesses hiring individuals with service-connected disabilities a tax credit of $9,600/veteran.

Future Investment

Manufacturing companies that are interested in exploring the hiring of veterans in their manufacturing operations are encouraged to host a booth at a local military job fair. This is a way to meet veterans face-to-face while increasing the visibility of manufacturing jobs that demonstrate the positive changes within the industry.

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring solution for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. 

 

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Nanomanufacturing has Many Benefits that Enable New Manufacturing Processes

nanotechnology

Faster, stronger, lighter, cheaper and more durable are necessary attributes for the manufacturing industry. But what if one could also have: water-repellent, anti-reflective, self-cleaning, ultraviolet- or infrared resistant, anti-fog, antimicrobial, scratch-resistant and electrically conductive in the mix?

Small, but Mighty

Nanomanufacturing and nanotechnology using nanoscale materials promises just that, and its applications continue to grow. Using elements measured in nanometers or micros of 10-100 nanometers or less, nanomanufacturing is enhancing performance in the manufacturing industry by boosting the properties in high-performance, innovative, next-generation products.

Nanomanufacturing, defined as the production of nanoscale materials like powders or fluids, enables high-precision production through a “bottom up” or “top down” process.

Top-down fabrication – like whittling a large block down into another object, top down systematically reduces to a final nanoscale product

Bottom-up fabrication – builds up nanoscaled products from atomic- and molecular-scale components

Enabling New Manufacturing Processes

Attention for nanotechnology processes gained prominence in 2000 when the government established its National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Created with a goal to make the U.S. a global leader in nanotechnology, the NNI and its related departments and independent agencies have provided research and instruction to multiple industries, sharing advances in nanotechnology that can reduce costs and improve capabilities along the way. NNI’s website Nano.gov offers resources and information about nanotechnology for the public and private sectors.

Successful innovations through NNI’s initiative include examples from higher-education institutions such as Purdue University, Northwestern University, Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania where researchers apply nanomanufacturing technologies.

Tools and Techniques

Laser shock imprinting – forms nanoscale metallic shapes for gears (Purdue)

Desktop nanofabrication tool – uses beam-pen lithography arrays to build nanoscale structures (Northwestern)

Nanoscale diamond tips – creation of longer-lasting AFM tips for etching or depositing material in nanomanufacturing processing (University of Pennsylvania)

These educational institutions are also joined by companies such as MesoCoat, ArcelorMital, IMEC and Nantero that are using nanotechnology to prevent oxidation, create lighter steel, reduce waste and produce lower-cost solar cells. Well-known names like Hewlett Packard and Intel are applying nanotechnology to create improved memory devices with more computing power and storage capacity.

New Processes Enabling Nanomanufacturing

Chemical vapor deposition – reacting chemicals produce pure, high-performance films

Molecular beam epitaxy – deposits highly controlled thin films

Atomic layer epitaxy – deposits one-atom-thick layers

Dip pen lithography – dipping the tip of an atomic-force microscope into a chemical fluid to “write” on a surface

Nanoimprint lithography – “stamping” or “printing” nanoscale features onto a surface

Roll-to-roll processing – producing nanoscale devices on ultrathin plastic or metal

Self-assembly – bringing a group of components together into an ordered structure without outside direction

Funding Initiatives

The future of nanomanufacturing is bright, but progress doesn’t come cheap. Resourceful R&D will need to rely on funding to further the potential of nanomanufacturing. Currently, there are more than 90 NNI-funded centers throughout the U.S. and $36.5 million of President Trump’s YF 2019 budget of close to $1.4 billion is earmarked for nanomanufacturing.

This article is brought to you by The Cleveland Deburring Machine Company. CDMC can provide a deburring solution for gears, sprockets, aerospace and defense, automotive deburring, power transmission, powdered metals, fluid power and custom deburring applications. Our no-charge application evaluation includes a detailed report and process description in as little as 3 to 5 business days. Contact CDMC today and speak with one of our experts!

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