Jun 07 2016

From Atoms to Airplanes

From Atoms to AirplanesImagine the year is 2045 and you are about to board an airliner for a scheduled nonstop flight from New York City to Paris. The aircraft looks the same as commercial airplanes did in 2015, but advanced technology – from the airplane’s systems to the materials from which it is made – will make this flight different from any that humans experience today.

For starters, the airplane is powered by electricity instead of jet fuel, and its structure doubles as a giant battery that collects and stores solar energy. As a result, the aircraft emits no greenhouse gases. En route to their destination, window-seat passengers may notice that the wings – made from lightweight composite materials – will automatically change shape according to flight conditions. Meanwhile, on the ground, a digital “twin” of the aircraft is helping to predict how it will age throughout its 15- to 20-year service life, enabling technicians to identify and fix emerging maintenance issues as they develop and reduce and eliminate delayed or canceled flights due to mechanical problems.

Futuristic? Absolutely. Fantasy? Think again.

These and other advanced concepts are being explored at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Convergent Aeronautics Solutions program to help make possible new capabilities in commercial aviation. Like the NASA program, aerospace companies around the world are working in collaboration with their governments to develop and perfect advanced technologies, tools and processes to meet aviation’s most pressing challenges: faster new aircraft that can be developed more quickly and that are environmentally sustainable, more affordable, and more efficient to operate and maintain.

Civil Aviation Booming

Aviation accounts for only 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 83% of total airline traffic. As automobiles, trucks and trains reduce their greenhouse gas footprints, however, aviation’s footprint is increasing due to a global increase in air travel. The IATA projects that air travel will grow at a rate of 3.9% annually for the next 20 years. To meet this demand, Europe’s Airbus, as well as Boeing in the US, will produce nearly 1,900 airliners in 2018, up from about 1,400 in 2015 and more than double the number of aircraft the “Big Two” delivered in 2008. Add Canada’s Bombardier and Brazil’s Embraer into the mix, and more than 2,100 commercial aircraft could be delivered in 2018 – a historically high production rate.

In the case of business aviation, engineers are developing technology in anticipation of at least one globe-shrinking jet airplane capable of flying between continents at significantly more than Mach 1 before 2025; the actual speed will depend on the final design, but could be as much as 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) per hour at the high altitudes anticipated for the airplane.

Revolutionary Technology

But innovations won’t be limited to airframes, engines and subsystems. The high-performance composites and ultra-high-temperature materials used to build future generations of aircraft and engines also will take dramatic leaps, starting at the molecular level. Boeing and Airbus already have achieved major weight reductions and associated fuel savings by making greater use of composite materials in their 787 and A350 models, respectively, than any of the companies’ previous commercial airplanes. Meanwhile, private and government research facilities all over the world are modeling new types of alloys and various fibers with enhanced structural properties that will make them stronger and lighter, cheaper to produce and able to perform better under extreme operating conditions.

No less effort is being put into advanced production processes. One such process is additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, the process of producing complex parts by melting and building up layer upon layer of material; it’s the reverse of conventional machining, which carves parts from solid blocks of material. GE Aviation in Evendale, Ohio, for example, is using AM to make fuel nozzles of certain jet engines, and Pratt & Whitney (P&W) of East Hartford, Connecticut, is using AM to make advanced turbine components for some jet engines.

Still, the technology is in a very early stage of development, according to materials and manufacturing engineers. “This is a revolutionary technology,” said Lynn Gambill, chief engineer, Manufacturing and Global Services for Pratt & Whitney. “AM lends itself to rapid, energy-efficient manufacturing of products that can be produced no other way and with greatly reduced waste of material.”

While there’s no question aviation will evolve dramatically in coming decades, the speed at which this evolution will occur is less predictable. Bringing new technology to market will require substantial investment and a willingness to accept some level of business risk, two variables that rarely move in lock step in the aerospace industry, said Aaron Hollander, president, chairman and CEO of First Aviation Services in Westport, Connecticut, an engineering-focused, component-maintenance and repair company. “At the same time,” he said, “the aerospace industry has a proud heritage of pushing boundaries and advancing the state of the art, and I’m confident this tradition will continue.”

Continue reading the rest of this story here, on COMPASS, the 3DEXPERIENCE Magazine.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2016/06/from-atoms-to-airplanes/

Jun 01 2016

How Green Technology Is Transforming Traditional Manufacturing Methods

30700767_sManufacturing, along with other industrial processes, is one of the primary industry sectors being targeted for green technology use. Traditional manufacturing methods are transforming into lean, green conserving machines that benefit the planet and the bottom line.

More than that, companies need to communicate how they are dealing positively with climate change to customers who increasingly demand environmentally responsible practices. The consumer class has expanded to the point where upward price pressures are being placed on resources, including construction and industrial materials, energy, and water. The costs of conservation and green technology are more easily justified in this financial climate.

Globally, government-led incentives are being developed for businesses willing to adopt emerging green technologies (EGTs).

What Exactly Is Green Technology?

Plunkett Research defines green technology as the “application of advanced systems and services to wide variety of industry sectors to improve sustainability and efficiency.”

EGTs commonly show improvements in:

  • Energy efficiency and conservation
  • Water conservation and quality
  • Reduction of waste, carbon emissions, and emissions of toxic gasses

In addition, these technologies create systems that promote reuse and recycling of all types of materials.

EGTs can be split into a number of categories including energy; water; environmental, pollution devices and services; and engineering, architecture, and design.

Energy

Renewable and alternative energy production and storage coordinates with energy conservation through the use of green building materials and processes.

Water

Water saving is predominantly performed through conservation and recycling. However, production of potable water is also being promoted through alternate sources such as the desalination of sea water.

Environmental , Pollution Devices and Services

Waste management and disposal have changed over the years to emphasize recycling and reusing what were previously waste materials.

Pollution services include the reduction or elimination of toxic waste and controlling emissions. Services include compliance auditing and inspection as well as engineering, testing, and consulting. Other areas impacted by the green wave are product and systems design and re-engineering to meet new regulations.

Engineering, Architecture, and Design

EGTs are also creating changes within product design and industrial process design, including factory automation, in an effort to drive efficiencies in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning products and building design.

We Must Manage Our Resources

The EPA stated that in 2013 the industrial sector accounted for 21% of all greenhouse gas emissions, right behind electricity production and transportation. The increasing cost of water and energy has caught the attention of manufacturers since 22% of the GDP is produced in water-scarce areas. If things continue at this pace, up to 45% will be produced in these areas by 2050.

When resources are limited, so is growth. This means manufacturers must look for long-term annual savings, not just short term fixes.

Green Technology Can Boost Manufacturing Activity

Somebody has to design and fabricate wind turbine components and solar panels, as well as transport them to where they need to go. Diesel and port fees are rising, discouraging off-shore production and transportation. Green technology could be a boon to U.S. manufacturing.

Green technology will require skills and manufacturing expertise to cost effectively produce components for solar arrays, energy storage, and other technology.

  • The number of parts to build green technology must be reduced
  • Manufacturing of green technology must orient itself to mass production and efficiency
  • EGTs must align themselves to industry standards and capabilities
  • Supply chains for glass, steel, adhesives, and controls must be built

All of these things are needed to reduce the cost to manufacture green technology to the point where it is a (pardon the pun) sustainable business in itself. The demand is there. Green technologies are available and are being integrated into the manufacturing industry every day, making new companies eligible for government contracts and helping them attract and retain customers.

Traditional manufacturing is changing, as it always has, to incorporate new technologies that increase efficiency and decrease cost. It is now integrating green technology because it not only saves money, it saves the Earth. It’s the right thing to do.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2016/06/how-green-technology-is-transforming-traditional-manufacturing-methods/

May 26 2016

Aleksejs Volcenkovs

Why “Smart” Manufacturing Will Grow in 2016

Why Smart Manufacturing Will Grow in 2016Factories are typically thought of as dark places with people standing on an assembly line working side by side with machines, doing the same thing over and over again. But, that “vision” of the traditional factory has changed thanks largely to the influx of technological advances in how factories operate.

Technology driven factories are cropping up all around the globe in both established and developing countries. Many countries are recognizing the opportunity for change and investing heavily by offering grants and other benefits to help to implement these technology changes.

The EU for example is investing almost 2 Billion Euros into their private/public partnership “Factories of the Future” to encourage manufacturers to take advantage of new technology to improve their factories and to become more efficient, green and profitable. It is not just the EU that is offering a great deal of incentives for manufacturers to switch their operations over to something that looks a little bit like a “great idea”. Even developing countries are offering incentive packages to lure manufacturers to their countries.

Smart manufacturing offers a bevy of benefits and will eventually become the way that every organization creates their products.

The Labor Force

Naysayers like to point out all the workers that will lose their jobs, however, the fact is that these factories actually create indirect jobs. Who really wants to stand in less than ideal conditions all day long at an assembly line anyway?

Luckily one of the reasons that these types of manufacturers are going to be successful is because they will promote job opportunities that will greatly outnumber the jobs currently available with traditional factories.

Studies indicate that the number of indirect jobs that will be needed to support manufacturing in smart factories may actually triple or quadruple in quantity.  Indirect jobs will be a necessity for these types of factories to function.

When computers were first introduced for public/private use, naysayers then said that they would put people out of work and businesses would become completely automated. Similar to that era, the “factory worker” will still be very much part of the process just in a different capacity.

There will always be critics that will predict the worst case scenario, but the reality can be very different then the prediction. Smart factories do not put people out of jobs, it just means that people will have a different role in the process.

Environmental Impact

Smart factories are hailed as the wave of the future now because they can reduce the negative effects that manufacturing has on the environment. Since concern has turned to the environment in the last couple of decades, manufacturers have received the brunt of the criticism for creating an environment that is slowly turning hostile to humanity.

The smart factories utilize reusable packaging options and other methods that greatly reduce the impact on the environment.  Reducing the effects on the environment can include:

  • Reduction in greenhouse gases that have a negative impact on the environment
  • More efficient use of natural resources
  • Improved waste control measures to reduce environmental damage

As more consumers become aware of environmental issues more consumers are demanding change and looking to manufacturers to change how they do business. In response to consumer demand more manufacturers will look to smart factories as a solution.

Industry 4.0

This movement has even generated its own nickname.  The movement to use technology to improve production has adopted the name of Industry 4.0 because it’s the improved way to develop and manufacture all goods.

Since the emergence of Industry 4.0, more and more manufacturers have adopted the practice of utilizing technology that can greatly improve their productivity at a lower cost. Industry 4.0 will change the way manufacturers create goods.  You can expect that 4.0 initiatives will:

  • Look to “closed lifecycle loops” where there is ZERO waste
  • A concerted effort to use only sustainable materials
  • A drastic reduction in overall costs which may be passed on to the end user

Tax Breaks, Government Compliance and Sheer Profits

Smart factories will grow in 2016 because they are simply a more viable option. Governments help manufacturers with their bottom line by offering deep tax breaks. As government regulations become harder and harder to comply with via the use of traditional methods, more and more businesses will opt to choose a method that makes compliance both easier and more cost effective.

This movement is set to really grow by leaps and bounds. As more governments get on board with the idea that it is time for a change and they offer bigger and better tax breaks to entice manufacturers you will see a tremendous change in manufacturing. Manufacturers not only save money thanks to all the incentives but they are able to increase their positive cash flow.

The People Want It

It is not only the government that is making it easy to make the choice to covert. Consumers will be more likely to seek out brands that are using smart factories as their point of origination. It will get to the point in the near future where consumers will avoid products that are crafted in traditional factories.

If you give consumers a choice they will choose the products that are coming from a factory that causes less impact on the environment. But, consumers are thrifty as well – they do not want to pay extra for such products.

Overall

Increased profits, improved reputation, reduced taxes and greater job creation all together sounds an awful lot a recipe for success. The question is not “why” these type of factories will enjoy growth in 2016, but more “how could they not?”

Smart manufacturing has all the components of a successful enterprise. More correctly we should be wondering why there will be any traditional, environmentally offensive factories remaining.

If we have the solution to reduce impact on the environment and create more jobs should we not require that manufacturers take the option?

The growth of these factories will be very difficult to keep up with in 2016 and beyond. They are the solution to so many problems.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2016/05/why-smart-manufacturing-will-grow-in-2016/

May 19 2016

How the Industrial Internet of Things is Changing the Electrical Industry

44412130_sAutomation is an inevitable part of many industries, and the logical next step is automated systems that essentially communicate with one another. It’s commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT) and it is transforming how businesses operate. It’s an exciting trend and one that has accelerated dramatically in just the last few years. Connectivity is better, programming is smarter, and the manufacturing tasks that stand to benefit are now beginning to embrace the change.

The electrical industry is one that is ideal for adopting new technologies that increase efficiency. At virtually every level, processes can be improved with the help of intercommunicating systems and devices.

What Is the Industrial Internet of Things?

Generally speaking, IoT refers to networks that allow devices to communicate with one another. Just as two employees could send emails to each other in order to complete a task, the IOT allows devices to do the same — all based on careful, deliberate programming.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) means the same, only it is specific to IOT as it relates to manufacturing and other industrial processes. Put more simply, if the IOT allows a security camera to communicate with your cellphone or your cellphone to your thermostat, then the IIOT allows large-scale mechanical equipment to communicate with different machines along an assembly line. Right now, it’s a technology that’s still in a relatively early stage, but as more equipment is built with interconnectivity in mind, the IIOT is expanding.

Here are just a few of the key benefits of the IIOT for the electrical and manufacturing industries:

Automation

As noted above, the IIOT is, at its heart, about automating information flow— and in the electrical industry, automation can save you a lot of headaches. Automation reduces the risk of human error, and it ensures that all processes are carried out consistently. By allowing machines to communicate with one another, automation can be greatly simplified. In the electrical industry, the trend is to harness IIOT to better monitor electrical grids and respond much more quickly to power outages.

Tracking

In manufacturing, accountability is key — and you likely have to account for plenty. When you can track every stage of the manufacturing process, you have more control over the end product. You can also reduce potentially costly mistakes that might result from losing track of any given process or product.

Efficiency

Electrical processes that use the IIOT are streamlined. By eliminating unnecessary “middle men” who likely operate more slowly and are more prone to mistakes, the IIOT has unlocked a new world of efficiency for the manufacturing and electrical industries. For that reason, the IIOT is increasingly seen as a smart investment for manufacturers. The efficiency and increased productivity alone are huge benefits.

Access and Visibility

With the IIOT, virtually every process can be logged and more closely monitored. This level of transparency means that an electrical company or manufacturer can have much greater visibility and access to inner workings. What that means is that you can constantly be improving your processes, and you can see exactly what is and is not performing optimally.

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems have long been incorporated in the electrical industry. As IIOT is implemented, electrical facilities will be able to use more sophisticated sensors and actuators to collect data in real time.

Cohesion

The IIOT is also being employed in ways that improve how electrical companies work with customers’ systems. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems are a smart way to meter and manage energy use. In short, these two-way communication systems help to transfer data between the electrical companies and customers, helping both sides be more efficient.

Better Maintenance

Maintenance has long been one of the costliest and most time-consuming elements of manufacturing, and without the IIOT, there is plenty of room for error. Outside of regular maintenance checks, you largely depend on luck to catch problems that can be corrected through maintenance. Worse, you are forced to address the problem only after it’s resulted in malfunction. The IIOT gives manufacturers and electrical companies a key tool in getting ahead of maintenance issues by more easily spotting the warning signs early. What’s more, the IIOT gives us the tools to perform maintenance in a smarter way.

Because it’s still a young concept, the IIOT is likely to evolve to encompass even more processes to be even more efficient. The manufacturers and electrical companies that will thrive will be the ones that embrace and incorporate the IIOT. It will be exciting to see where the trend takes us next.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2016/05/how-the-industrial-internet-of-things-is-changing-the-electrical-industry/

May 12 2016

Philippe Virlouvet

Is Data the New King of Manufacturing Technology?

16982400_sThere’s an old saying, “The tail wags the dog.” It refers to any situation where a secondary offshoot of the main operation ends up taking control. Broadly, it can mean a shifting of the power base: the servant becomes the master. I think we may be looking at exactly this scenario in the world of manufacturing technology.

A major disruption is underway, and it’s all about the data. Or to be more accurate, it’s about what that data can tell decision-makers about quality, reliability, production processes, supply chains, materials, product design, customer demand—virtually everything a manufacturer cares about!

The ramifications will reach all the way from the far corner of the remotest shop floor to the corner office.

It’s Been a Long Road Getting to this Point

Originally, manufacturing data was merely a by-product of basic shop floor automation. Since the 1980s or so, shop floor data has been managed by Data Historian applications that capture key metrics from production equipment and processes at regular intervals, time-stamp them, and send them to an archive. Until recently, this kind of data was used primarily by specialists such as process engineers. Data was the “tail,” if you will.

How things have changed! Once management got a taste of Business Intelligence tools in the 1990s and early 2000s (and more recently analytics), they have wanted more, especially from manufacturing. “Why can’t I have more insights into manufacturing processes?” “Why can’t I relate our suppliers to quality?” “Why do we have a fortune tied up in materials?” “Why does it take a month to isolate a problem?”

Management is hungry for information about what’s going on in their operations, and the traditional Data Historian vendors are struggling to keep up with this demand.

A New Generation of Data Vendors

This need for meaningful data has spawned a new generation of software that is starting from big data “at the edge,” but is aiming for even bigger things.

Vendors in big data analytics for manufacturing are many, ranging from small start-ups to more traditional brick and mortar companies that see data as the real drivers of business. They are using the Cloud and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to create a new business ecosystem for manufacturing—one that is built on and profits from data, almost as much as from products themselves.

Based on open source software, these new data platforms are designed for an IIoT world. They can capture data from any sensor, equipment, mobile phone or any smart device and send it to the Cloud where it can be aggregated and analyzed. They can use both structured and unstructured data. They come with developer’s tools for creating applications, and communications tools for linking to anything. Analytics can be applied to mine the data, search for problems and opportunities, explore options, and so on.

Theoretically, in this new data ecosystem, it doesn’t necessarily matter what equipment is underlying it. What matters is moving materials, buying and selling them, adjusting to market demand.

Workers are data points as well, at least from a resource point of view. We can envision a virtual team, linked by their tablets and the IIoT, redesigning products and redirecting manufacturing resources on the fly. Where those people are located physically would be irrelevant.

Here Comes the Disruption

This new data ecosystem promises to be disruptive in many ways.

For one, it will allow manufacturers to treat their production-related assets almost as liquid assets. Big multinational companies want to redefine their business models to aggressively trade any asset at the globe scale. Once you have connected all your information systems, you can trade assets across divisions within a company, or even on the public trading floor.

For example, instead of materials in inventory sitting unused and tying up capital, those materials could become a dynamic, tradeable asset creating profits for the company. As long as you can get the right material to the right place at the right time that meets production requirements, why not?

This data ecosystem can also help drive mass customization and order-of-one manufacturing. With data extractable from everything, and cross referenced to all manufacturing processes, you can find more personalized ways of creating and delivering products—because you know more about your customer, and because you know more about how to manufacture fast.

The disruption in the IT world could go far beyond the impact on Data Historian vendors. Some people are asking a straightforward question: since these big data analytics solutions will be able to provide the means to see and control all the material assets of a company, shouldn’t they be the enterprise IT platform of choice? With the power of big data analytics, a manufacturer could mine vast amounts of production and customer data, identify markets, improve processes, and even drive product or process redesign. In other words, drive the business.

If information is power, and it certainly is in today’s global marketplace, then the center of gravity in manufacturing IT may well be shifting to the big data analytics players. What was once an offshoot of simple programmable machines could now be poised to become the enterprise platform of the future! The tail is about to start wagging the dog.

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.apriso.com/blog/2016/05/is-data-the-new-king-of-manufacturing-technology/

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