Tips for remote working in a COVID-19 world

 

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Challenging times are ahead and companies are being asked to put to the test their digital readiness by remote working. Not every workplace will be able to enact this policy of course, but those that can should consider it a vital contribution to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Let’s not be fooled, working from home requires a great deal of effort to keep things churning in a timely and efficient manner. It is, however, the greatest possible time to be working remotely, with tools designed to make communication effortless, powerful cooperation and keep everyone as tightknit as they were in the office.

We at Authentise know that well. With a very decentralized and flexible team, we’ve come to adopt a series of behaviors and team dynamics that make it all work. We’d like to share a few tips on how to handle the day-to-day hustle as best as we can, from the comfort of our homes!

  • Let your team know your status ALWAYS: instant messaging platforms like Slack allow you to set statuses for availability (AFW, in a meeting). In a time when your team can’t peep over the desk and see what’s up, this is imperative. Avoid time wasted on ghost messages.
  • Show and tell in video calls and screen sharing: use video calls and screen sharing as a substitute for complex team interactions. When 3 or more people need to discuss a topic, consider starting impromptu calls. Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, even Discord!
  • Track what’s been said and done: it’s very important to have a record of what is discussed in daily reports, Slack threads and so on. Cooperative cloud documents like Google Docs have tremendous power in keeping things organized, coupled with tools like screen captures and GIFs.
  • Keep a tight conversation loop: be ready to answer questions from your team very quickly to avoid dropping tasks and threads. If you’re working on something important, set your status accordingly.
  • Recap and set clear deadlines: check-in regularly with your entire team (daily standup), keep everyone up to date and keep up with your deadlines.There are many other points to make (and strategies we don’t know about!) but hopefully, this will give a starting point to those scraping for new workflows.

Thanks to Gabriel Liwerant for the help in establishing these tips!

Authentise Supports Roundtable on Process Automation @ AMUG 2018

Once again – Authentise and AMUG hosted an incredibly interesting and sought-after roundtable for experts to exchange experiences and problems from the field, and find help from those that had gone through the same or similar problems already. There were no secrets in this room. This is AMUG at it’s best: A true User Group where people are looking to help each other.

This year, we got right into it and handled even more queries from before. We handled questions about

  • what data people share with their customers to protect intellectual property (design files, log files, data on process – the answers varied),
  • how people get hold of data from devices (laughter in the room on this one as Authentise is obviously a leader in this field – promise, we didn’t plant them 😉 )
  • how to go about accurate metrology in a cheaper way (scanning, integrated machines, critical dimensions, in-situ monitoring were some keywords mentioned)
  • how to retain people or deal with attrition (some secret tips were shared here – be there next time 😉 )
  • how to find an entry into the industry (again, some choice tips, including job boards, orgainzing regional meet-ups, independent study and so forth)

The room had a real mix of people in it, which was great. Though most attendees had, as is usual for AMUG, serious experience, there were also some newcomers too – which kept the session alive. Participate in #3, to be held at AMUG in Chicago, April 2019, to find out more!

War stories from the AM Battlefield

Despite its rapid growth in recent years, the Additive Manufacturing User Group is still just that: A user group of amazingly talented individuals with long experience with every aspect of the technology. It’s the reason we love being there.

So while we showed off our Manufacturing Execution System and 3Diax Modular Platforms in the Exhibits, we were keen to build on the ethos of AMUG during the sessions. The result was a roundtable on the challenges companies are experiencing while they seek to scale up their additive manufacturing operations. We act as organizers – the audience are the real star.

I do a lot of public speaking, and frankly – complete control via a prepared speech is a LOT less nerve-wracking than hoping that people participate. But we were not disappointed by the User Group; the collaborative nature of the event showed up in full force and thanks to the excellent moderation of Additive Manufacturing Media’s Editor-in-Chief, Pete Zelinski, came to highly productive uses.

Authentise AMUG roundtable on challenges in additive
Authentise AMUG roundtable on challenges in Additive Manufacturing

So what were some of the topics people came up with?

Multi-material Documentation

Challenge: Multi-material, for example ABS infused with carbon, is becoming more prevalent, but the file definitions remain a major barrier. Line drawings certainly don’t do the trick anymore, especially as the complexity grows with deviations, infill requirements, orientation and more.

Comments: One participant suggested using XML structures attached to the geometry, while others referred to Model Based Design efforts that help to go beyond simple geometries and address scalability issues with the first suggestion through NIST-sponsored standardization.

Managing Downtime

Challenge: Despite the digital nature of AM, there are still significant challenges even in basic operations: How do we know when something is down? How do we include expected, predicted or current downtime in our schedules? How do we maintain throughput in a failure scenario?

Comments: This one was close to our own heart, Authentise’s MES was mentioned not just once in this context. In addition, participants pointed out that solutions go beyond data-driven scheduling software – they include additional sensors, machine learning to better predict run times, standarizing machine data access, furthering the use of augmented reality for machine maintainance and more.

Part Certification

Challenge: Lack of fully documented testing knowledge means we might be spending too much time and money testing, documenting, standardizing and more. How much testing is really necessary to make sure a part can fly.

Comments: Naturally, answers here differ by industry. They range from dozens of successful builds to just two. Standard practice seems to be freezing particular machine and locking in orientation, build plate setting and support.
There was a vigorous exchange on these and other topics. Certainly, there were a lot of things we could have done better (like adding interactive voting tools, such as PollEverywhere), but the audience really took up the mantle; AMUG participants are collectively smarter than any speaker they could put up. Encouraging conversations about challenges and solutions is the best way to learn – for ourselves and for participants. We’ll certainly be back next year and build on this success.

Authentise Supports Roundtable on Process Automation @ AMUG 2017

We’re super excited to be a part of AMUG 2017, both as exhibitors and contributors. It’s always a great show.

The roundtable is titled “Identifying & Solving Process Inefficiencies in AM”. The idea is to bring together a number of experts in polymer, metal and hybrid production who all have challenges as well as ticks and tricks about how to improve the process. This is a chance to exchange ideas. There is no panel, but we are ensuring active participation at the event by making sure that certain experienced professionals will be there to share ideas.

We’re really excited to be working with Peter Zelinski, the Editor-in-Chief of the Additive Manufacturing magazine, who will moderate the session. He wants to speak to as many professionals in advance as possible. Are you one of them? Get in touch.

Time: Monday March 20, 3:30-4:30.
Room: Continental B (Lobby Level)
Content: This roundtable explores what inefficiencies additive manufacturing operations still exist and how they can be addressed. As additive technology enables more and more production use cases, it is becoming increasingly important improve the process: To reduce the latency of bringing a part to print, integrate the production into existing manufacturing processes, and eliminate manual steps from the process of preparing and making perfect parts, reliably. Nobody seems more excited or prepared to make this transition happen than operators, who have had to struggle with inefficiencies for decades. This roundtable taps that knowledge and helps exchange ideas of how manual processes can be automated and sidestepped. How to add serial numbers automatically, create cost benchmarks, know what is scheduled where, when the next available slot is, track traceability automatically and more

 

Why 3D Printing Needs Secure Streaming

This post was co-published with the Autodesk Spark Blog 

Authentise and Autodesk just announced a strategic partnership, which might have left some of you guessing. Why would Spark, the open platform for 3D printing, partner with Authentise, the leading licensing platform for the industry? Hopefully this post makes things clearer.

There’s been a lot of excitement about 3D printing over the last two years. Media outlets are hungry for new use cases, arriving peu-a-peu, niche by niche every other day. Those stories make for nice coverage. But the excitement is based on more: 3D printing has the promise to disrupt supply chains.
A distributed manufacturing future needs more than niches – it demands designs every part, ever made. Secure streaming can help get us there by reassuring rights holders that engaging with the technology is safe, easy and reliable. This brings a whole new class of content owners to the industry – those who own most of the world’s designs.
 
The massive injection of of high quality data can catapult the industry to new heights. It helps break a vicious cycle that’s currently delaying the industry. Without these designs, we’ll continue to niche by niche, depressing use cases, and as a result printer sales which drive industry revenue and R&D, which leads to reduced use cases again, and as a result less printer sales.
Samir Hanna, VP of Autodesk’s Consumer group, said that, “as 3D printing becomes more widely adopted by both corporations and consumers alike, protecting intellectual property is more important than ever.”
Streaming can be a boon for everybody: It can make printing safer and better at the same time. Certainly that’s what the partnership between Authentise and Autodesk aims to do. We’re delighted to be shaping the 3D printing future together.