Why Restarting the Global Economy Won’t be Easy
By Jerry Grillo – As the world contemplates ending a massive lockdown implemented in response to COVID-19, Vinod Singhal is considering what will happen when we hit the play button and the engines that drive industry and trade squeal back to life again.
Singhal, who studies operations strategy and supply chain management at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has a few ideas on how to ease the transition to the new reality. But this pandemic makes it hard to predict what that reality will be.
“There is really nothing to compare this pandemic to,” he said. “And predicting or estimating stock prices is simply impossible, unlike supply chain disruptions caused by a company’s own fault, or a natural disaster, like the earthquake in Japan.”
But COVID-19 represents a new kind of mystery when it comes to something as complex and critical to the world’s economy as the global supply chain, for a number of reasons that Singhal highlighted:
- The global spread of the virus and duration of the pandemic. “We have no idea when it will be under control and whether it will resurface,” Singhal said. “With a natural disaster you can kind of predict that if we put in some effort, within a few months we can get back to normal. But here there is a lot of uncertainty.”
- Both the demand and supply side of the global supply chain are disrupted. “We’re not only seeing a lot of factories shutting down, which affects the supply side, but there are restrictions on demand, too, because you can’t just go out and shop like you used to, at least for the time being,” he said. “And all this is taking place in an environment where supply chains are fairly complex – intricate, interconnected, interdependent, and global.”
- Longer lead times. “We get close to a trillion dollars of products annually from Asian countries, about $500 billion from China,” Singhal said. “Most are shipped by sea which requires a four-to-six-week lead time. The fact that logistics and distribution has been disrupted and needs to ramp up again will increase lead time. So, it will take time to fill up the pipeline, and that is going to be an issue.”
- Supply chains have little slack, and little spare inventory. While manufacturing giants such as Apple, Boeing, and General Motors have more financial slack to carry them through a massive economic belt tightening, their suppliers, spread out across the globe, come in different sizes, different tiers, “and these smaller companies don’t have much financial slack,” said Singhal, pointing to a report of small and medium sized companies in China, “which have less than three months of cash. They’ve already been shut down for two months, and cash tends to go away quickly.
“Many of these companies may go bankrupt,” he added. “So we need to figure out how to reduce the number of bankruptcies. Government is going to play an important role in this, and the stimulus package the U.S. has approved will be helpful.” more>
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Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, History, How to, Nature, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Georgia Tech, Health, Industrial economy, Skills, Technology
Single-wave 400G across 4,000km? Yes – with Ciena’s new Waveserver 5.
Ciena’s popular family of Waveserver products just got a new member – Waveserver 5. With tunable capacity up to 800G and support for 400GbE services at any distance, learn how Waveserver 5 is already setting new industry benchmarks – in live networks.
By Kent Jordan – Two mega-trends have been driving rapid innovation in optical networks. Advanced coherent technology brings the promise of greater network capacity, now reaching up to 800G across short links and 400G at distance. At the same time, new compact modular platforms promise greater density, reduced footprint and lower energy consumption.
What if you could combine this incredible performance and awesome density into one device? Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well not anymore. Ciena’s most advanced coherent technology, WaveLogicTM 5 Extreme, has arrived in the newest member of our Waveserver family of interconnect platforms: Waveserver 5. And, it’s bringing the performance you need, packaged in a compact and efficient footprint.
Combining the world’s most innovative coherent chipset with the simple, server-like operational model the Waveserver family is known for, Waveserver 5 provides network operators with industry-leading transport economics for high-capacity, high-growth applications.
Internet2 will be one of Ciena’s first customers to deploy Waveserver 5. They are building out their next-generation research and education (R&E) network across the U.S. and they have selected Ciena’s best, most flexible, open and highest-performance technologies to do the job. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Communication industry, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged Broadband, Business improvement, Ciena, Fiber optics, Internet, Skills
By Dan Carney – There is something almost as absurd afoot in Texas now; an electric motor startup making amazing performance claims that arose from a father/son project to improve upon the traditional Aeromotor windmill (a San Angelo, Texas product) for pumping water from wells.
Linear Labs CEO Brad Hunstable makes claims about the effectiveness of what the company dubs the Hunstable Electric Turbine, an electric motor (or generator) that would seem improbable if not for the fact that he says products employing motors from Linear Labs will hit stores early next year.
Consider this, the HET produces 2-3 times more torque than a conventional motor of the same size and specifications, it can be manufactured with no specialized tools or processes at comparable cost to traditional motors, it runs at lower voltage and uses simpler control electronics and it does all of this using iron ferrite magnets rather than the expensive rare earth Neodymium magnets that rely on Chinese suppliers.
It was developed while U.S. Military Academy alum Brad Hunstable and his father, nuclear power engineer Fred Hunstable collaborated on development of a old-fashioned many-vane-style water-pumping windmill, with the notion that it could be upgraded for use in the developing world to also produce small amounts of electricity.
The generator needed to work using the back-and-forth motion of the water pumping shaft that descends from the windmill to the well, so their generator was linear rather than rotary in motion. Hence “Linear Labs.”
A breakthrough in designing that motor led to the idea of applying their new configuration to electric motors. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Product, Technology
Tagged Breakthrough, Business improvement, Electric motor, Technology, Torque, Water pump
Essentra Components Achieves Cost Savings Up To 10%
By Emilia Maier – Essentra Components is a global leader in manufacturing and distributing plastic injection molded, vinyl dip molded and metal items.
The company is focused on being a low-cost producer, so they can secure revenue growth at attractive margins, and facilitate continuous improvement programs with tight cost controls and productivity gains, serving to reduce conversion costs.
With the integrated calculation system for component and tool costs from Siemens, Essentra Components delivers cost-effective, high-quality products in response to customer needs. Essentra is using the global costing solution in the bidding phase to deliver fast and accurate costs worldwide.
“Quote generation is done today within one hour, as opposed to five hours before we had Teamcenter product cost management, so we save 80% of our time,” Derek Bean, Manager, Divisional Engineering Solutions Essentra Components.
The cost estimators at Essentra consolidate and verify the cost results in terms of plausibility, competitiveness, opportunities and risks with the help of the Profitability Analysis module in Teamcenter Product Cost Management. more>
Posted in Business, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Internet, Manufacturing, PLM, Product lifecycle management, Siemens, Skills
Electronics manufacturer controls its production with plant simulation
Siemens Manufacturing Karlsruhe uses the Plant Simulation solution in the Tecnomatix portfolio within the framework of its continuous improvement process
Siemens – Electronics can be produced in Germany at competitive market prices only as long as the manufacturing process is continuously improved. For this reason, the Siemens Manufacturing-Karlsruhe (MF-K) plant introduced the Plant Simulation solution in the Tecnomatix® portfolio to support the company’s continuous improvement process. Today, not only are production lines simulated before they are built, but workers actually control daily production using the software.
“Our mission is 100 percent quality, 100 percent delivery performance and 100 percent waste-free,” says Bernd Schmid, plant manager at Siemens MF-K. “That means we want to manufacture our products with as few resources as possible. This requires that the manufacturing processes operate how we envision them to. Plant Simulation is a big help to that end.” For its consistent use of simulation software, Siemens MF-K was recently named one of the winners of “100 Places for Industry 4.0 in Baden-Wuerttemberg.” The jury of experts recognized the company for practical concepts that intelligently combined production and value chains.
Siemens MF-K is a prime example of the challenges that manufacturing companies are mastering with the help of Industry 4.0: a high degree of variance, continuously shrinking batch sizes and fluctuations in order volume that are increasingly difficult to predict.
For example, the plant manufactures 125,000 industrial personal computers (PCs) per year, but the average batch size per order is a mere 1.8. From 90 million different possible variations to choose from in the configurator, approximately 10,000 are actually used. The life of an industrial PC generation is 2.5 years − short compared to the proven SIMATIC controllers, but long compared to industrial communications where a new product has to be produced every two days. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Internet, Manufacturing, PLM, Product lifecycle management, Siemens, Technology
BAR Technologies uses Siemens Digital Industries Software solutions to create a new class of sport yacht
Siemens – With an optimized hull and dynamically adjusting foils that enable greater efficiency over a wider range of speeds, it’s a boat designed for both performance and comfort. The Princess Yachts R35 was made possible by BAR Technologies, which uses highly specialized techniques and processes when designing an America’s Cup racing yacht. BAR Technologies is now offering its unique expertise to customers across the marine industry.
Princess Yachts first approached BAR Technologies with the aim of creating a completely new design that would attract people who had not previously considered buying a boat. The new design was to be an entry-level purchase: a day boat that was exciting yet easy to drive. Paul Mackenzie, director of product development at Princess Yachts, explains: “We have a very high percentage of return customers and once they are in the Princess family they tend to move up our range, so introductory boats have always been important. However, most people who buy a Princess are already boat enthusiasts. We were looking to expand our potential market, closing the gap between boat owner and car owner, with a product that could be positioned alongside a super car.”
Simon Schofield, chief technology officer at BAR Technologies, adds “Our brief was to devise a technically driven design with increased efficiency and accessible performance, yet retain the luxury and quality that Princess is known for. The digital modeling and simulation tools and techniques that we have established over several years were critical to the fulfillment of the brief.”
The integrated virtual environment at BAR Technologies uses solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software. These include NX™ software for product design,Teamcenter® software for data management and the Simcenter™ software portfolio, which includes Simcenter™ Nastran® for engineering analysis and Simcenter STAR-CCM+® software for computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Manufacturing, PLM, Product lifecycle management, Siemens, Skills, Technology
Bearings manufacturer meets stringent accuracy requirements while improving productivity
Siemens – Humankind has been trying to improve the mobility of people and materials by reducing friction between moving parts for centuries. The creators of the pyramids and Stonehenge were able to move massive structures by placing cylindrical wooden rollers beneath great weights to reduce the coefficient of friction and the force required to move them. These world wonders were made possible by some of the earliest known applications of bearings.
Modern bearings with races and balls were first documented in the fifteenth century by Leonardo da Vinci for his helicopter model. Since then, the design, mobility and precision of bearings have developed dramatically in many application domains. In the semiconductor and medical device industries, miniaturization and increasing product complexity have revolutionized motion systems and their components. The precision and accuracy of motion systems are highly dependent on bearings assemblies and how they are integrated into systems. Precisie Metaal Bearings (PM-Bearings) is one of only a few manufacturers in the world that provide high-precision linear bearings.
PM-Bearings specializes in the design and manufacture of high-precision linear bearings, motion systems and positioning stages, and supplies the high-end semiconductor, medical device and machine tool industries. The company was founded in 1966 as a manufacturer of linear bearings, and has expanded to include design, manufacturing and assembly of custommade multi-axis positioning stages with complete mechatronic integration. Located in the Netherlands at Dedemsvaart, the company employs 140 people and supplies customers worldwide.
The company’s products range from very small bearings (10 millimeters in length) up to systems with footprints of 1.2 to 1.5 square meters with stroke lengths of one meter. The portfolio encompasses linear motion components including precision slides, positioning tables and bearings stages. PM-Bearings is part of the PM group, along with other companies specialized in hightech machining. Its global customer base extends from Silicon Valley to Shenzhen.
To maintain a competitive edge, PM-Bearings knew that complete control of the product realization, from design to delivery, was essential. This is why the company chose a comprehensive set of solutions from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software. These include NX™ software for computer-aided design (CAD), Simcenter™ software for performance prediction, NX CAM for computer-aided manufacturing and Teamcenter® software for PLM to make certain that all stakeholders use the same data and workflows to make the right decisions. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Product, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Internet, Manufacturing, PLM, Siemens, Skills, Technology