First a warm welcome to our new sponsor, Voodoo Manufacturing. Voodoo has an awesome shop here in NYC and are working on great things - I'm really excited to have them on board.
Also: Numina is moving to NYC and looking for a short term 4-6 desk sublet. If anyone has a lead, give me a holler and I'll connect you!
Planning & Strategy.
- Workers at Tesla's Fremont factory are pushing to unionize, citing above-industry-average injury rates. Also of note: "Most Tesla production workers earn between $17 and $21 hourly. The average auto worker in the nation earns $25.58 an hour, and lives in a much less expensive region. The living wage in Alameda county, where we work, is more than $28 an hour for an adult and one child." Tangentially related: Tesla's had a ~12% cancellation rate on Model 3 preorders over the course of a year.
- de Blasio wants a .5% increase to NYC's top income tax rate. It'll hit 32K people, raising $700-800MM per year to fund the MTA's capital budget & reduced fare program.
- Arduino is starting to get back on track.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A nice interactive robot configurator on the Igus website.
- Apparently Georgia Tech has developed a good automated textile manufacturing system, and it's being installed in a factory in Arkansas that's owned by a Chinese manufacturer, Tianyuan Garments. "[Tianyuan chairman] Tang said that with complete automation, the personnel cost for each T-shirt is roughly 33 cents. 'Around the world, even the cheapest labor market can't compete with us.'"
- On how battery pack architecture (rather than chemistry) can improve energy density. I'm also aware that Dagmy Motors is working on similar architectural improvements.
- A video piece on India's black market for sand.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- On the sorry state of the Green Electronics Council's Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool - "the only meaningful environmental and sustainability certification for electronic products in the United States." "When it was released for laptops and desktop computers in 2006, just 60 products attained bronze or silver status. No product attained gold...Now, nearly every new laptop that's released earns EPEAT's gold award." This piece is troubling, and it's hard to figure exactly what to do about it. It should be noted (as I have) that most standards orgs *will* let you contribute if you have the energy/interest. Nevertheless, the economic incentives for participation usually result in industry regulating itself, which (in this case and others) produces decidedly bad outcomes. I also think that the article takes a pedantic and impractical stance on what a "proprietary" tool is, though that's neither here nor there.
- A very good series of blog posts detailing the safety & ancillary equipment required to support metal powder bed fusion printing.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A *very* negative review of the planned new Livermore BART station. The project attempts to reduce capital costs by locating in the I-580 median, but this article points out a corollary: "capital cost (infrastructure, trains, systems) is based entirely on peak capacity," and trains that aren't located in walkable areas tend to have *very* peaky usage. The result is that its off-peak ridership (which is effectively free to serve) will be extremely low, meaning that on a per-ride basis it's capital inefficient - about $100K per weekday rider. Also: "As there is little development in the area, the station would involve 3,412 parking spaces."
- Sidewalk Labs on making mulit-tenant buildings' trash rooms more effective. I'm a bit confused by their conclusions, in particular that while touching a trash chute's handle is bad, touchscreens are fine. I would also question their claim that "any success requires cities to make pay-as-you-throw a policy priority;" isn't that the core question at issue here?
- San Francisco's new plan for Market Street would ban all private cars, which includes Uber & Lyft.
- Blue Apron is shutting down its current New Jersey facility and relocating all of its employees to a larger (and apparently more automated) warehouse later this year.
Inspection & Testing.
- Re: Impact testing (from last week), Chris sent a link to MIL STD 810 - Shock.
- How I feel when I use optimization software and/or think about automation in general: "When I listen to techno, I don’t just hear the electronics; I hear the hands operating them." cf. Displaced in Space or Time.
- Me, on what makerism means.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared. Credit also to Dan, Gabe, David, and Israr for sending links.
p.s. - We should be better friends. Send me a note - coffee's on me :)
p.p.s - If you know someone who does good work - especially if they're a minority in their field - please share The Prepared with them! And see our inclusivity policy here.