Crypto-currencies like Bitcoin have been around for a while. Yet, most people seem mystified by the concept of how virtual end-to-end transactions work. Fewer people probably have an inkling about the potential benefits/uses of blockchain technology for large organizations, particularly those with large-scale supply operations. Here, we take a closer look at the emerging uses in manufacturing, and what technological advancements we can expect in the near term.
The pandemic has proven that virtual learning (“VL”) is possible at every school. With the extremely high cost of higher education, much is being made of the need to move away from traditional models. It is unfortunate that it took a global pandemic to get countries to realize not only that VL is the way of the future, but that an overhaul of teaching and learning approaches and degree/certifications offerings is the only way American education can become relevant again, and that remaining relevancy is an ongoing effort. Advancements in technology have brought changes to nearly every aspect of our lives, including the way we learn. Innovation is as important in education as it is in any business.
The atmosphere is becoming cluttered with space debris at an alarming rate. Decades of astronauts dumping garbage into the atmosphere in orbit, as well as defunct satellites from many countries and, now, private companies, threaten future development in our atmosphere. Here we take a look at plans that might be in place, or planned, to remove human-made space debris. Further, we seek to understand the risk of an accident in the atmosphere such as a collision of defunct satellites with viable ones, and what a cleanup might look like. Space debris is an essential part of space exploration, yet few articles address the consequences of accumulating “space junk.”
The world of 3D printing moves fast, and it's not easy to keep up with the latest developments. Here are some of the stories that have caught our eye in the past year.
As a kind of mechanical part, bearings are used in all types of machines. You might not be aware of how important they are because their use is often obscured.
At its most basic level, a belt is a looped strip of flexible material used to bind two or more rotating shafts mechanically. They can be used to transfer objects, transmit mechanical power efficiently, or monitor relative movement.
The robotics market has been growing for years. That’s hardly surprising given the variety of tasks robots can handle and the demand for supplementing human effort. Robotics applications generally limited to industrial usage in its infancy, have expanded to applications such as personal assistants, surgical assistants, autonomous vehicles, delivery vehicles, crewless aerial vehicles, and exoskeletons. Valued at USD 24 billion, in 2020, the robotics market could reach USD 74 billion by 2026 quite realistically.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most disruptive situations that many of us have faced. What was a “luxury” for executives, and a “reward” for top performers, telework has become a necessity for many organizations in the present situation. For a few years, working from home was becoming a popular option for many Americans. In fact, by 2019, about 43% of workers were teleworking at least part of the time. An additional 25 – 30% of employees have had to work from home full-time since the “lock down” began. Many companies are anticipating that telework arrangements will continue after the pandemic. Some, like REI and Nationwide Insurance, have begun to close facilities based on that expectation.
Anyone who has ever tried to ride a bicycle up a very steep hill knows how hard it can be. If you don't use the correct gear to maximize your climbing force, it is pretty much impossible. It's a different story once you're back on a straight path - after some momentum, you can go flick to another gear and make the wheels spin around even quicker than you're pedaling.
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned a painful lesson about outsourcing. The fact that there few or no domestic manufacturers of ventilators, face masks, and other critical medical equipment and supplies added to the severity and spread of the virus. In addition to the medical supply industry, 60% of manufacturers experienced significant disruptions in their supply chain. It is time to take a hard look at insourcing/reshoring as part of America’s strategic preparedness plan, and that is exactly what astute manufacturers are doing.