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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IIoT is the future of workplace safety (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #118)

The increasingly connected systems in place at the factory floors are enabling safer workplaces. The most straightforward approach here is to don workers with sensors that can detect hazardous environment parameters like air quality and temperature or even automatically alert someone if they are injured. In most cases, however, it’s about bypassing the need for human workers to do dangerous tasks. Technologies like predictive analytics can do tremendous work in alerting supervisors before parts get broken and become hazards. Similar smart systems need to be put in place when cooperative robotics start working alongside human counterparts. Using machine learning and computer vision, safety can be guaranteed as robots can have comprehensive knowledge of their surroundings and predict human actions, as well as maximizing the robot’s effectiveness.

Using IIoT-Connected Devices for Worker Health & Safety

IBM announced collaborations with Garmin, Guardhat, Mitsufuji and SmartCone to help organizations monitor their workers’ safety with Watson IoT. Source: IBM

Workplace safety is important in any field. For example, in my line of work, I’m always vigilant of dangers from hot coffee, eye strain, or paper cuts. But in industrial environments such as the manufacturing, petrochemical, or mining industries, the potential dangers are more severe. That’s why researchers and engineers are exploring new ways to use industry 4.0 technology to protect the health and safety of industrial workers.

Read the full article here.

How IoT and Computer Vision Can Enhance Industrial Safety

Welder's safety is protected by IoT

Using IoT sensors can feed the algorithm with real-time data and allow it to make decisions on the spot. For example, if sensors detect gas leakage, increased temperatures or unwanted humidity, work can stop at once or at the very least inform the floor manager. These type of decisions are deterministic and don’t provide much insight into the future. Another way of creating a safer environment is to use the power of computers and machine learning. By creating different scenarios, the algorithm can sense the difference between what is safe and what is not.

Read the rest here.

Collaborative Robots Learn to Collaborate

An automated mobile robot (AMR) uses 3d vision and machine learning to navigate in a more natural manner past a person moving a cart in a warehouse aisle.

To be truly collaborative, robots must be capable of more than working safely alongside human beings. Russell Toris, director of robotics at Fetch Robotics, says robots also need to act (and “think”) more like people. This is particularly true of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) like those manufactured by Fetch. Typically employed for material transport and data collection (such as counting inventory), these wheeled systems use vision sensors and navigation software to dynamically adapt to new environments and situations. Increasingly common in warehouses and distribution centers, this technology is likely to spread to other applications and industries, including our own.

Read the full article here.

 

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