Tag Archives: Industrial economy

Update from Siemens

BOM Management: An introduction
By Susan Zimmerlee – What exactly is BOM Management?  Is that the same as BOM Configuration Management?  Or product variability management? Or Master Data Management?  Or a PLM BOM???

The answer seems to be that it depends on who you ask!

BOM management is a tough topic because those words mean something different to each company that I work with.  Even within a single company, you could ask different departments and get different answers.

Which bill of materials management or BOM management solution is best for you? I’ve sat on both the selling and buying end of this discussion, and there is no single answer for everybody. It’s like asking – which vehicle is best?

The answer depends on if you’re hauling heavy loads or trying to get someplace really fast. The BOM management discussion needs to be similar – what is it that you need your BOM management system to do for you? Whether you make paper towels or space ships, at a basic level, BOM management is a critical element that takes you from an idea to a delivered product. To have more detailed discussions about BOM management, we need to establish a baseline of some of the key elements involved:

  • Part: Managing a part bill of materials, also known as the physical product definition or product master, is commonly the main topic of Master Data Management (MDM) discussions.
  • Design: In a design BOM (often called the virtual product definition), mechanical designers and engineering are usually focused on generating the 3D components that make up the product.
  • DMU: Digital mock up (or DMU) refers to the ability to virtually view and interrogate your configured BOM throughout its lifecycle.
  • BOM Configuration Management: BOM configuration management is the discipline of managing the content of the product definition throughout its lifecycle.
  • Variability: Product variability is part of BOM configuration management.
  • Architecture: To better manage configuration and product variability, product architectures help to organize similar content across several products.
  • Coordinated Change: Coordinating product change across various product representations is an issue that is gaining more and more visibility as products grow more and more complex.

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Eleven facts about innovation and patents

By Jay Shambaugh, Ryan Nunn, and Becca Portman – It is difficult to overstate the importance of technological progress for living standards. Consider the example of Argentina and Austria, as shown in figure A. These countries have roughly the same level of per capita inputs (labor and capital), but there is a vast gulf between them in economic output: Austria’s per capita income is more than double Argentina’s.

Labor and capital play vital roles in generating economic output and helping to explain differences in national incomes, but large disparities in per capita national income—in other words, national living standards—are due to the various ways that economies use their resources, and not just to the quantities of resources available.

In the language of growth accounting, total factor productivity (TFP) is the measure of how effective an economy is at producing economic output with a given amount of inputs. Across developed and developing economies, the majority of per capita income differences are due to total factor productivity variation (Hall and Jones 1999; Klenow and Rodríguez-Clare 1997).

In other words, most of per capita income differences are not explained by differences in available capital and labor. Moreover, sustained growth over time in per capita incomes requires growth in TFP (Solow 1957). Without technological progress, increases in labor and capital have a bounded potential to raise per capita income. more>

Don’t be fooled by China’s grand plan to rule the world

By Gwynn Guilford – The “China is taking over the world” meme is a perennial one.

As usual, this argument overlooks what’s happening within China’s borders. That includes: a credit-driven growth model that has left debt growing faster than the economy, the continued dominance of inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs) at the expense of dynamic private firms, and a fiscal system that depends on a housing bubble to sustain it.

David Ignatius bemoans the rail line buildout connecting China to Europe and Eurasia while bypassing US-controlled sea lanes, but by exporting its short-term growth formula for wasteful investments abroad, Xi Jinping is compounding the already huge risk that befouls China’s financial system.

Thanks to China’s size, running even a slight surplus means foisting massive deficits on its trade partners, as well as the debt and unemployment that accompany those, as we’ve argued before. And as Xi’s goal of self-sufficiency and manufacturing-export dominance—articulated in the Made in China 2025 plan, which focuses on Chinese dominance of artificial intelligence, robotics, and other high-tech sectors—makes clear, it’s not just BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) countries that will be on the receiving end of Chinese mercantilism.

The core problem for China is: Power doesn’t guarantee competence. And Xi’s handling of the domestic economy in the past half-decade suggests a dearth of the latter. more>

Updates from GE

By Maggie Sieger – When Hong Kong started planning a road tunnel 50 meters (164 feet) below sea level in 2012, local engineers had to find a way to keep the cutters in the massive boring shield in shape and the blades sharp enough to cut stone. Workers would squeeze between the shield, which is 17 meters in diameter, and the living rock to inspect the business end of the machine — a tight spot the Hong Kong team wanted to avoid as much as possible.

The founders of OC Robotics, a U.K.-based builder of “snake arm” robots, thought they could help. They suggested replacing the human inspectors entirely with OC’s innovative machines that can thread their 6-foot-long mechanical limbs into tight spots.

Today, an OC robot not only inspects the shield but also cleans it with a high-pressure water jet and measures the sharpness of the cutting surface with a laser. “This is faster and easier, and it keeps people safe,” says Andrew Graham, OC Robotics co-founder.

The robot’s dexterity and skills so impressed engineers from GE Aviation that they acquired OC Robotics last summer. The company believes snake-arm robots will be useful for jet engine maintenance, allowing workers to do as much work with the engine still on the wing as possible. That’s because removing an engine not only takes time, but also could take a plane out of service for days, impacting an airline’s bottom line. more>

Updates from Autodesk

ProNest® – ProNest is an industry leading CAD/CAM nesting software designed for advanced mechanized cutting. It provides a single solution for all of your profile cutting needs, including plasma, laser, waterjet, and oxyfuel. ProNest helps fabricators and manufacturers increase material savings, boost productivity, lower operating costs, and improve part quality by offering the highest level of cutting expertise.

Across the globe, Hypertherm products are known for quality, consistency, and reliability, and it’s no different with our advanced CAD/CAM software.

FEATURES & BENEFITS

  • Part creation and development including: Integrated 2D CAD program to create and edit CAD files; Variable Shape Parts feature to develop common parts from templates
  • CAD/CAM import and conversion including: Import CAD and CNC files (many industry-standard file formats); Import Bill of Materials properties from CAD files; Automatic CAD file correction
  • Job set-up including: Material database; Plate list; Part library; Safe zones
  • Nesting including: Inside of parts; Multi-head; Edit leads from the nest; Auto part revisions; Grain constraint; Tabbing; Edge pierce; Cropping; Auto sequencing; Cut direction and sequence by part
  • NC Output including: Flexible post-processor with standard NC output; Automatic kerf / pre-kerf compensation; DXF output; OneClick™ feature runs all of your most common job tasks from Automatic Nesting to output and more

more> cadinnovation.com

War once helped build nations, now it destroys them

BOOK REVIEW

Voices from Iraq, Author: Mark Kukis.

By Mark Kukis – Organized violence – the term war boils down to – has long been a unifier of peoples.

Orchestrating raids on neighboring Nubian settlements took coordination among villagers, as did fending them off. Attackers and defenders alike had to marshal resources, make plans and build trust among one another in order to fight effectively. Cooperation, mutual dependence, trust – even in killing others – are building blocks of political order, the foundational elements of states.

Since the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), wars have tended to be mainly destructive forces for nations.

Countries amid the throes of war now seem to be breaking down rather than rising up. In countries today ranging from Libya to Myanmar, conflict is undermining governments, and threatening to undo nations much as strife tore apart the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. In Iraq, a war initially launched 14 years ago by the United States to save the country has gone on and on, and become a source of the nation’s internal decay.

Meanwhile, South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, is in a downward spiral of internal violence. The country won its independence from Sudan after more than two decades of fighting. Patterns in history suggest that South Sudan should have emerged from that ordeal unified despite the many challenges the country faced as a young nation. Instead, it essentially collapsed amid infighting upon independence, launching yet another war that has displaced more than 2 million of its 12.5 million people.

The experience of South Sudan is the new norm. more>

If You Look Behind Neoliberal Economists, You’ll Discover the Rich: How Economic Theories Serve Big Business

The road to serfdom – sponsored by big business
By Dániel Oláh – Social classes have always embraced ideas and social philosophies. Not only to understand and interpret the real world, but most importantly to change it to their benefit. These theories (primarily in social science) have become beweaponed ideas called ideologies, as they are used to influence rather than to understand the human universe.

Of course the two are related: the nature of our understanding, i.e. what we consider important and what we leave out from our theoretical framework, is called modelling.

But what if modeling is just an euphemism for modern ideologies?

The great Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek didn’t favor mathematical modeling, but he had clear philosophical models in his head. One of his most famous statements is related to the slippery road to dictatorships: if you introduce a little bit of state involvement in the economy, you have already stepped on this messy road to serfdom. The main intention of this model was to call for action and to raise awareness against the increasing governments in an era when the battle between the West and the East hadn’t yet been decided.

Hayek’s model was working as an ideology in real life, not at all different from that of the Soviet side. At least we get this impression if we take a look at the cartoon version of Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. This was his main work on social philosophy and economics, arguing for individualism and liberalism. Hayek’s argumentation in defense of a minimal state was so powerful that General Motors decided to sponsor the production of the comic version.

So, Hayek’s well-written piece of social philosophy was turned into a black-and-white, stylized world, where keeping the wartime planning roles of the government deterministically leads to the planning of thinking, recreation and disciplining of all individuals. more>

Updates from Boeing

Boeing’s robotic and human workers join up to start production of 777X jets
By Alan Boyle – The 777X is bigger than the 787 Dreamliner, but it picks up on a lot of the technologies pioneered by the smaller plane, ranging from wider windows to a common layout for the flight deck and the cargo handling system.

Boeing says it has improved the production process as well.

The 777X production process builds upon lessons learned from the 787 Dreamliner program, which has shifted Boeing toward greater automation and wider use of lightweight carbon fiber for components.

Boeing’s two 777X variants, the 777-8 and 777-9, are designed to carry between 350 and 425 passengers. That stretches well beyond the 396-seat capacity of Boeing’s biggest current-generation 777. The new jets are expected to be 20 percent more fuel-efficient as well.

The 777X’s 235-foot wingspan is so wide that each wingtip has an 11-foot-long section that’s built to fold upward, just in case extra clearance is needed at small airports.

The showcase for the upgraded production system is Boeing’s 1.3 million-square-foot Composite Wing Center, the billion-dollar facility where the carbon-fiber wing components for the 777X are being fabricated. more>

Updates from GE

Inside This South African Smelter, Software Is Going Platinum
By P.D. Olson – Demand for platinum, also known as the rich man’s gold, has been growing because of a long list of evolving industrial applications, including computer memory chips, dental crowns, defibrillators, catalytic converters for cars and even wedding bands.

The metal is so rare that miners and smelters literally move mountains to extract only a few hundred tons of the metal out of the earth’s crust every year. Following an expensive and time-consuming process, it takes them half a year and around 12 tons of ore to produce just a single troy ounce, or 31.1 grams, of platinum worth around $1,100.

No wonder producers like Lonmin, a platinum-mining company in South Africa, where 70 percent of the world’s platinum is produced, are looking for an upgrade.

Percy French, operations manager at Lonmin, is betting on a digital solution. A decade ago, he began using a smelter software application from GE’s Digital Mine suite to make his operation more efficient. By 2016 the software had helped him increase throughput at Lonmin.

Based on this early success, French upgraded his systems to include a new application that allows him to track plant performance and key performance indicators and also automate operations. The app, called Operations Performance Management (OPM), uses real-time and historical data along with advanced analytics to help Lonmin make better-informed operational decisions and help the plant troubleshoot and prevent issues with its machines and other assets. So far, the app has reduced chemical waste at Lonmin by 3 percent and has led to a 10 percent improvement in throughput. more>

How Technology Is Driving Us Toward Peak Globalization

By Banning Garrett – New technologies are moving us toward “production-at-the-point-of-consumption” of energy, food, and products with reduced reliance on a global supply chain.

The trade of physical stuff has been central to globalization as we’ve known it. So, this declining movement of stuff may signal we are approaching “peak globalization.”

To be clear, even as the movement of stuff may slow, if not decline, the movement of people, information, data, and ideas around the world is growing exponentially and is likely to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.

Peak globalization may provide a pathway to preserving the best of globalization and global interconnectedness, enhancing economic and environmental sustainability, and empowering individuals and communities to strengthen democracy. more>