Bringing the future of eco-thinking through smarter manufacturing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #122)

The impact that our human civilization is having on the environment is unprecedented and we need to be conscious and proactive about it. Fortunately, there are more benefits to be had through smart manufacturing technologies other than improved quality and lead times. By better monitoring the production process, we can avert hugely wasteful discrepancies, as NASA has been experiencing with faulty materials through 20 years (!!) of launches. Cutting edge tracking, monitoring and reporting tools, like Authentise 3Diax, enable companies to do just that, potentially saving millions of dollars. In parallel, new materials, designed to be recycled indefinitely and easily, will cast new light on everyday products and their construction. This is particularly important, as the mentality behind the design process has to change significantly to make the system work. Examples like the Apple AirPods show us how we must keep recyclability into much higher consideration, along with sources life-standards and production health concerns, when designing products that will help us preserve scarce resources and stay out of landfills.

NASA was sold faulty rocket parts for almost 20 years

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When the launch of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory missions failed in 2009 and 2011, the agency said it was because their launch vehicle malfunctioned. Now, a NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) investigation has revealed that the malfunction was caused by faulty aluminum materials. More importantly, the probe blew a 19-year fraud scheme perpetrated by Oregon aluminum extrusion manufacturer Sapa Profiles, Inc. wide open. LSP, along with NASA’s Office of the Inspector General and the US Department of Justice, have discovered the Sapa Profiles falsified critical tests on the aluminum it sold.

Read the full piece on Engadget.

Plastic Gets a Do-Over: Breakthrough Discovery Recycles Plastic From the Inside Out

A team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has designed a recyclable plastic that, like a Lego playset, can be disassembled into its constituent parts at the molecular level, and then reassembled into a different shape, texture, and color again and again without loss of performance or quality. The new material, called poly(diketoenamine), or PDK, was reported in the journal Nature Chemistry.

Read the rest here.

AirPods Are a Tragedy

AirPods are a product of the past. They’re plastic, made of some combination of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, chlorine, and sulfur. They’re tungsten, tin, tantalum, lithium, and cobalt.

Humans extract these elements from the earth, heat them, refine them. As they work, humans breathe in airborne particles, which deposit in their lungs. The materials are shipped from places like Vietnam, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, and India, to factories in China. A literal city of workers creates four tiny computing chips and assembles them into a logic board. Sensors, microphones, grilles, and an antenna are glued together and packaged into a white, strange-looking plastic exoskeleton.

These are AirPods.

Read the rest of the article on Vice.

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Safety & Security Angles of 3D Printing (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 28)

There has been much talk in recent years about what AM can accomplish. Likewise, the community is starting to take into consideration different sides of the equation. The health-related safety of the printing process has been often put under the media’s spotlight and questioned: a 2 years investigation conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and other institutes has provided a thorough answer to put everyone’s mind at ease. Also, as new frontiers of cybersecurity are exposing the risks involved in a digital manufacturing pipeline, the US Navy is exploring blockchain technologies to secure its IPs and production processes from outside interference. Nonetheless, AM is also fuelling safe practices, enabling University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering researchers to develop nuclear sensors that will be able to withstand the prohibitive environments within a nuclear reactor. Advanced situational awareness is critical to the safe operation of nuclear reactors, a lesson we learned at our expense in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

Is 3D printing safe? UL publishes Safety Science of 3D Printing

Assessing the powders at the CMU lab. Photo via CMU College of Engineering.

The short answer to the question, Is 3D printing safe? YesMarilyn Black, Ph.D. VP & Senior Technical Advisor, UL Inc calls for a “standardized method for measuring and assessing the emissions released during printing.” In a welcome to the study Black explains, “This will allow for consistent and comparative data to be obtained from laboratories, machine manufacturers, and suppliers of filaments.”

Published as the proceedings of the Safety Science of 3D Printing Summit held in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this year, the authors:

“hope this exchange of information will enable more collaborative discussions, research, innovation, informed policy advancement, and science based initiatives leading to the safe of use 3D printers.”

Read the article here and the entire study right here.

US Navy to employ blockchain to control 3D printers

The USS Gerald R. Ford. Image via the U.S Navy.

The U.S Department of the Navy (DoN) has revealed plans to use a blockchain to control its 3D printers. Lieutenant Commander Jon McCarter has now revealed in a blog post that the DoN will begin trialing blockchain this summer before issuing a report in September on the proof-of-concept. Blockchain is an example of a decentralized network which means data is shared across the network and not secured in one location.

By having a distributed network in this way the Navy can “both securely share data between Additive Manufacturing sites, as well as help secure the digital thread of design and production.”

Read more about the project here.

DoE grants University of Pittsburgh $1.3 million for 3D printed nuclear sensors

Inside the Unit 2 cooling tower at the DoE's Watts Bar Nuclear Plant. Photo by Mark Zaleski/AP

he University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering has won a grant of $1.275 million from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). The fund will support research into the development of additive manufacturing techniques to make electrical sensors – used to monitor conditions inside nuclear turbines.

At the time of this initial grant, Dr. Kevin Chen [the Paul E. Lego Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UPitt who will lead the project] explained the necessity of nuclear sensor systems,

An important lesson of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 is the lack of situation awareness of nuclear power systems especially under stressed or severe situations. When the plant was evacuated following the earthquake and tsunami, we lost the ability to know what was happening in key systems. This information blackout prevented the implementation of proper control mechanisms, which then triggered a disastrous chain of events.

Read more about it here.

 

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