This week GE announced that they had put in bids (totaling $1.4B) to acquire both Arcam and SLM Solutions, two manufacturers of industrial 3D printing machines. I believe this marks a big shift in the structure and future of the metal AM industry, with effects that span the engineering and manufacturing process chain. My notes - with a detailed recap of GE's existing AM portfolio - here.
Wayfinding & Strategy.
- I'm reading The Everything Store, Brad Stone's book on Amazon. So far it's *fascinating.*
- A thorough article on Apple's rationale for eliminating the headphone jack.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A team at the University of Wisconsin finally made carbon nanotube transistors that are significantly faster than silicon.
- A good video from an Alcoa aluminum rolling mill, and an outdated but good video of Alcoa's forged aluminum truck wheels. Somewhat related: I seem to have missed Alcoa's Ampliforge process, which combines a near net shape printed part with traditional forging to increase strength. Interesting.
- Avio Aero's overview video. As I wrote in the GE/Arcam/SLM post above, Avio was acquired for $4.3B by GE a few years ago - and is among other things a true leader in research on electron beam melting.
- Oak Ridge National Lab continues to push their large area FDM printing, which is like a room-sized MakerBot and referred to as "BAAM." Someone recently told me that this was part of a legitimate thesis - that they truly believe that FDM (and possibly AM in general?) is only going to be economical at huge scales. While that seems a bit broad to me, I agree that parts like the wing trim tool that they built for Boeing make a lot of sense.
- How to make a primitive forge.
Maintenance, repair and operations.
- A good analysis of the effect that SpaceX's recent explosion will have on their operations.
- It would cost something like $10B to replace all of the decaying gas lines underneath NYC's streets. That really puts the Arcam/SLM acquisition prices in context, huh?
Distribution & Logistics.
- Flexport's Ryan Petersen wrote an excellent blog post explaining the recent collapse of Hanjin, the 7th largest ocean carrier in the world. "The bankruptcy was an elegant solution to a very hard problem for the Korean Development Bank."
- A very good recap of Amazon's (land, air, and water) freight logistics efforts, and their history with Fedex, UPS, and USPS.
Inspection & Testing.
- Saildrone is making small autonomous sailboats that can sail around taking environmental measurements.
- The European Space Agency finally found Philae, which landed on comet 67P two years ago.
- Even if you live in Beijing, you need to bike almost 2 hours a day before the health benefits of cycling are outweighed by the harm done by air pollution. And if you live in North America or Europe, the benefits of cycling are pretty much *always* greater than the risks.
- An interesting analysis on short/long trading of Tesla/SolarCity ahead of the (continuously troubled, but still likely) acquisition.
- Apple Plugs.
- A spandrel is the area between an arch and its rectangular bounding box.
- I moved to Crown Heights recently, and have been curious about the distinction between the Orthodox Jewish culture there and the (seemingly more severe) Hasids in South Williamsburgh. This article is a nice peek into Brooklyn's Orthodox culture.
- The Second Federal Reserve District (which includes New York, part of New Jersey, and Puerto Rico) released a new jobs report, and the downstate (NYC metro area) tech/finance split is pretty interesting.