Planning & Strategy.
- The L.A. Public Works Committee exempted The Boring Company's 2.7-mile test tunnel from environmental review, allowing them to move forward with plans that may conflict with (and/or raise the eventual costs of) a voter-approved L.A. Metro project in the same area.
- A somewhat sympathetic perspective on Amazon's HQ2 competition: That they legitimately want cities to engage with the potentially negative consequences that come with having a big tech giant move in.
- Airbus sold APWORKS, a spin-off known for using a lot of topology optimization on parts that are later printed out of their patented Scalmalloy material. The odd thing here is that APWORKS was sold to a company called Premium AEROTEC, a tier one supplier to Airbus who is also wholly owned by... Airbus. Note also that APWORKS is one of the very few confirmed owners of an Additive Industries MetalFab1, the behemoth all-in-one metal printers that are marketed towards serial production.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A good one: Sam Zeloof, a high school student in New Jersey, makes lithographically-fabricated integrated circuits in his garage. I recommend following him on twitter as well - very fun.
- Autodesk posted all of their Pier 9 machinery training on Instructables, allowing anyone to train themselves on a pretty good variety of equipment. Smart.
- "Methods for machining sharp internal pocket corners with rotating cutting tools." Chuck up a triangular cutter in a CNC mill and synchronize its movement in the XY plane with its rotation - like this, but with all of the synchronization done by spindle/workpiece translation rather than by an articulating cutter/spindle.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- Vélib', Paris's popular bike share program, has been crippled by complications arising from a transition to a new operator + upgrades that'll allow for e-bikes to be added to the system.
- Lisa on the software industry's insistence on 24/7 operation: "People sleep. Subways shut down. Gas station stores close. Factories have downtime for retooling and repair. What is it about software that its makers have decided that we need to perpetrate this illusion of always on availability?"
Distribution & Logistics.
- The world is shipping more stuff, and even *more* refrigerated stuff. This article claims that "refrigerated boxes make up 7% of total container volumes, but demand increased by 5% to 6% annually over the past five years, compared with 2% to 3% for regular containers that move almost all of the world’s manufactured goods." (Note, McKinsey puts global TEU growth at 3.9% between 2011 and 2017). Meanwhile: The current annual global population growth rate is about 1%, and global GDP growth is about 3% now and has typically stayed within the 1.4-4.4% range (with the exception of 2009) since 1990.
In addition to what I wrote on the subject almost a year ago, this is something I think about every time I hear the phrase "distributed manufacturing." If we are indeed getting closer to a place where goods are manufactured closer to where they will eventually be used, the ratio of global shipping growth to global GDP growth should be less than 1 - but the McKinsey report above shows pretty consistently (1.7-3.1x) positive numbers.
Do *you* think that global shipping capacity will increase more or less than global GDP over the next ten years? Let me know here - I'd love to hear (and share, if appropriate) your thoughts.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- The James Webb Space Telescope has been delayed again due to issues with its sunshield deployment; it is now scheduled to launch in "approximately" May 2020.
- Munro & Associates says that Tesla's Model 3 "has great battery design" and that other automakers would be "in peril" if they ignore their electronics - but that they're a mechanical mess.
- A comprehensive recap of what happened in additively manufactured orthopedic implants in 2017.
- A strong opinion piece encouraging high density housing near South San Francisco BART. San Fransisco as a whole has the smallest population under 18 of the top 100 cities in the US.
- Elon Musk did some rather odd stuff on last week's investor call, calling a few questions "boring" and "boneheaded." His defense, later, was that the investors asking the questions represented short positions and stood to profit from Tesla's demise.
- More on Joe Lhota (NYC MTA's chairman) conflicts of interest.
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