Planning & Strategy.
- A good explainer on moats - sources of durable competitive advantage - told through the restaurant industry.
- The US Trade Representative put Taobao on its blacklist for selling counterfeit goods.
- The Pentagon is investing in manufacturing education.
- Simulating the print process on my titanium seatmast topper.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A tour of a big old sawmill in Oregon.
- On the prospects for using wood to build tall buildings. Note: When they say "steel-hard", they're not actually referring to hardness :/
- A good video explanation of Jacquard Looms.
- The first battery packs rolled out of the Tesla Gigafactory.
- Markforged announced a new metal printer. It uses an FDM-like process to print a metal-plastic matrix, which is then postprocessed in a (not included) furnace to create a solid-ish sintered metal part. The cost is right around $100K - similar to the 100 mm frame powder bed fusion machines. This is a hard one for me: Predicting shrinkage due to sintering can be really complex, and anyway who wants 90% density? I also suspect the dreams of closed-cell structures are a bit fanciful, and even if you can print them they can't be HIP'd, meaning that aerospace applications will be largely off limits. Regardless, we should be clear that this is *not* desktop manufacturing; the machine (plus the supporting equipment) is too tall to fit on a desktop anyway, and I suspect the parts it prints will be closer to functional prototypes than they are to production.
- Ikea's new table legs reduce SKUs (but not necessarily materials, as this article incorrectly says) significantly.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- The Gimli Glider is the name of an aircraft incident that occurred during the 80s, when Canada was switching from Imperial to Metric units. Due to unit conversion error (and communication issues), the plane was underfueled and eventually landed on a race track.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A pretty smart sounding energy storage system: Use excess power to generate hydrogen, which can then be blended into existing natural gas pipelines to be used in homes.
- Uber launched a product called Movement, which allows researchers (and apparently anyone) access to a huge database of GPS data from Uber drivers.
- Amazon says that it now has 45k robots in its fulfillment centers. They also patented a scheme to use dirigibles as mobile warehouses.
- Dominos & Papa John's are doing really well compared to their non-pizza, non-delivery competitors. Interestingly, though, the architecture of Pizza Hut's locations aren't conducive to delivery - making it hard for them to take advantage of the rising tide.
- Launching microsatellites is kinda tricky.
Inspection & Testing.
- The Titanic's hull may have been damaged by a smoldering coal fire prior to hitting the iceberg.
- The first look at a post tick-tock Intel desktop CPU.
- As of tomorrow, there should be cell service in every single NYC subway station. I'm curious how the construction & activation process for this worked - it seems to have happened all of the sudden.
- A selection of the most disappointing 30 under 30.
- NYC homelessness has increased notably under de Blasio.