Resilience in transport and logistics
The transportation-and-logistics sector is especially susceptible to economic shocks. Here’s how to prepare your operations for a smoother ride.
By Sal Arora, Wigbert Böhm, Kevin Dolan, Rebecca Gould, and Scott Mcconnell – The transportation-and-logistics (T&L) sector has benefitted from many of the most important business trends of the past half century. Globalization, the evolution of sophisticated just-in-time supply chains, and the rise of e-commerce have all helped the sector grow at a rate broadly similar to the overall economy.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Economic downturns tend to hit the sector particularly hard. Our analysis of the past five US recessions shows that T&L companies suffer more on average than the economy as a whole. And in recent cycles, the problem may have worsened. Truck transportation, for example, experienced little contraction in the recessions of 1980, 1982 and 1991. In 2001, by contrast, the industry shrank by 6 percent, and the 2008 recession triggered an 18 percent contraction.
As in all industries, sector averages don’t tell the whole story. Some companies ride out downturns much more successfully than others. When McKinsey analyzed the performance of around 1000 large, publicly traded companies through the 2007-2008 global recession, we identified a subgroup of “resilient” organizations that outperformed their peers by a significant margin over the cycle. The performance of these companies dipped less overall during the recession and improved faster during the ensuing economic recovery.
By 2017, resilient companies had delivered a cumulative total return to shareholders (TRS) that was more than 150 percent higher than their non-resilient counterparts. Among the logistics and transportation players in the study, the gap was even starker, at 267 percent. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Manufacturing, McKinsey, Resilience, Skills, Technology, Transportation and Logistics
Industrial design company uses NX to set new standards of performance and consumer appeal in rideable technology
Siemens – Subtle weight transfer may be the key to gliding casually through the urban environment on an electric unicycle, but thoughtful design is the key to comfort and performance. It was an industrial design ethos that prompted Uniwheel to set about transforming a generic unicycle design into one that is both ergonomic and reliable.
“We were aware that most of the electric unicycles on the market followed a rather simple design: internal electronics inside a clamshell with square pedals sticking out,” explained Steve Milton, company director and chief executive of the London-based company. “User feedback revealed that the rather boxy shape hurt the legs. We, therefore, set out to provide a comfortable, safe and enjoyable user experience.”
Uniwheel’s aim was to be the first to market with a design that was thoroughly thought through. That target was met at the end of 2015 when the company launched its first consumer product, just seven months from the first concept. The use of NX™ software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens Digital Industries Software was fundamental to the success and speed of the entire development project.
From first concept, the design team began using NX to create basic 3D models of elements such as the external styling of the plastic case, which has integrated lighting; the metal for the pedals and motor; and fine details such as the grip on the surface of the pedals. The main challenge was to package the sophisticated electronics and software, the removable battery packs, the motor and the wheel housing. Allocating appropriate spaces for the wiring looms was critical. With an emphasis clearly on the ergonomics of the main casing, 3D curves had a big role to play. “NX styling is great; the surfacing capabilities are really comprehensive,” comments Carson Brown, designer. more>
Posted in Business, Economy, Education, How to, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Product lifecycle management, Siemens, Skills, Technology
Rocket Lab to use Siemens software to explore new frontiers of space
Siemens – Rocket Lab plans to implement Siemens hi-tech industrial software to help digitally manage the lifecycle needs of the business. The software is from the Xcelerator portfolio, which is from Siemens Digital Industries Software and includes Teamcenter®, the world’s most widely used digital lifecycle management software, and NX™ software for computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing.
This announcement comes as Rocket Lab prepares to integrate all its design, engineering and production systems to establish an end-to-end digital thread that enables increased transparency and efficiency across various offices.
Speaking on the decision, Rocket Lab’s Vice President of Global Operations, Shaun O’Donnell, said: “As we’ve grown, so has our production capacity and the platforms associated with various products and processes. Using Teamcenter, we’ll be able to combine various aspects of data related to the same part, assembly and system to maintain a single source of truth across the life cycle of the product. Also, as we grow, NX will give our designers increased performance and stability to cope with larger assemblies.”
“Investing in the right digital platforms that allow us to easily scale with growth is critical to the sustainability of our business. With offices around the world, we rely heavily on the access of relevant information that impacts the efficiencies of our production processes,” said Mr. O’Donnell. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Net, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Manufacturing, PLM, Product lifecycle management, Productivity, Siemens, Technology
Why noise is one of the biggest problems with electric cars
By Steven Dom – Imagine your company is engineering the next line of electric vehicles. You create technical specifications that reduce range anxiety, you’ve perfected the colors that pop and entice customers to buy and with battery technology advancement, you’ve priced it right.
But there are problems with electric cars.
Because the electric vehicle engine emits no noise, pedestrians are more likely to be struck by an electric vehicle. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicated that hybrid and electric vehicles are 57 percent more likely to cause accidents with cyclists, and 37 percent more likely to cause an accident with pedestrians, than a standard internal combustion engine vehicle.
Countries are requiring the quietest cars emit a sound to warn those around the vehicle of its presence.
Now, imagine after creating the ideal electric vehicle, the customers reject it based on the noise it emits. What if your vehicle’s noise is too strange or annoying?
This is just one of the many perils facing the quiet electric vehicle.
The goal of successfully getting an electric vehicle to market, one that a consumer would be interested in and enjoying, was about improving range. In a world lacking in electric vehicle infrastructure, solving range anxiety would allow customers to feel more comfortable driving the electric vehicles to-and-from work and longer trips beyond.
Engineers focused on vehicle architecture including the number of motors driving the wheels, managing the HVAC system’s energy consumption and finding ways to reduce weight, such as using thinner panels and less sound deadening components to provide better mileage. Without the roar of a combustion engine, there was no need to reduce noise. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Electric vehicles, Industrial economy, Noise, PLM, Product lifecycle management, Siemens
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
Tiny Vibration-Powered Robots Are the Size of the World’s Smallest Ant
By John Toon – Researchers have created a new type of tiny 3D-printed robot that moves by harnessing vibration from piezoelectric actuators, ultrasound sources or even tiny speakers. Swarms of these “micro-bristle-bots” might work together to sense environmental changes, move materials – or perhaps one day repair injuries inside the human body.
The prototype robots respond to different vibration frequencies depending on their configurations, allowing researchers to control individual bots by adjusting the vibration. Approximately two millimeters long – about the size of the world’s smallest ant – the bots can cover four times their own length in a second despite the physical limitations of their small size.
“We are working to make the technology robust, and we have a lot of potential applications in mind,” said Azadeh Ansari, an assistant professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We are working at the intersection of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. It’s a very rich area and there’s a lot of room for multidisciplinary concepts.”
A paper describing the micro-bristle-bots has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. The research was supported by a seed grant from Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. In addition to Ansari, the research team includes George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Jun Ueda and graduate students DeaGyu Kim and Zhijian (Chris) Hao. more>
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- Reinvented Toilets Could Provide Safe Sanitation for 2.5 Billion People, John Toon
- GTRI Wins $245M Air Force Contract for Engineering, Advanced Technology Support, Joshua Stewart
- Metal Oxide-infused Membranes Could Offer Low-Energy Alternative For Chemical Separations, Josh Brown
- Peanut Plant’s “Chemical Breath” Could Give Clues to Drought and Other Stresses, John Tibbetts
- Georgia Tech Faculty Among Presidential Science and Technology Award Recipients, Denise Ward
- Think Small: Working with clinicians, Georgia Tech researchers develop innovative technology to fill the gaps in pediatric research – and save children’s lives, Kenna Simmons
- Georgia Tech Research Institute Develops and Teaches Tactics to Defend Transport Aircraft, Josh Brown
- What Delayed Earth’s Oxygenation? Maureen Rouhi
- Rising Tundra Temperatures Create Worrying Changes in Microbial Communities, John Toon
- Instability in Antarctic Ice Projected to Make Sea Level Rise Rapidly, Ben Brumfield
- Scientists Discover the Biggest Seaweed Bloom in the World, Josh Brown
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, How to, Nature, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Climate change, Georgia Tech, Health, Internet, Skills, Technology
Paragon VTOL Aerospace adopts solutions from Siemens to streamline next-generation design
By Alisa Coffey – The need for increased performance and reduced time-to-market has led Paragon VTOL Aerospace, a global vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft provider for numerous industries, to adopt solutions from Siemens Digital Industries Software through its product development process. Paragon produces industry-specific drone hardware ranging from security applications for agricultural theft and commuter law adherence to human passenger drones.
Paragon is also partnering with Aerotropolis Jamaica, a national project spearheaded by the Hon. L. Michael Henry in the Office of the Prime Minister, to build an ecosystem for Urban Air Mobility (UAM). The company plans to achieve positive results by reducing time and cost of its product development and testing through implementation of key technology from Siemens.
“Our vision is to provide a portfolio of intellectual property, industry specific drones, human passenger drones, and virtual highway platforms in Jamaica,” said Paragon VTOL founder and oil executive Dwight Smith, a native Jamaican and American citizen. “We currently have plans to implement software and hardware programs in 2019 and begin testing their two to four passenger drones by year-end 2019.”
Paragon has been developing their platform and much of the technology through collaboration with Siemens, major American universities, Silicon Valley experts, and ex-military personnel. Siemens is providing an integrated set of software solutions including STAR-CCM+, Simcenter, and NX for Paragon to design, test, produce, and monitor its extensive range of drone systems. more>
Posted in Broadband, Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, How to, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Internet, PLM, Product lifecycle management, Siemens, Skills, Technology