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
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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