Planning & Strategy.
- Ofo says they'll deploy "tens of thousands" of e-scooters and e-bikes in the US this summer. In an aside, they also claim to "control more than half of global bicycle manufacturing capacity," which is insane if it's true.
- A rather depressing article explaining how putting tariffs on Canadian aluminum will hurt the US. Part of this is due to Canada's abundant, cheap, hydroelectric power: "The 14 U.S. aluminum smelters are typically older, smaller, and less cost-efficient than their counterparts in Canada, not to mention the ones in China and Russia. More than half of them are either closed or operating well below capacity. Just one Canadian smelter — Aluminerie Alouette Inc. in Sept-Iles, Que. — comes close to equalling the entire output of the U.S. aluminum industry." But another part of it is due to the maturity of the aluminum recycling industry: "Aluminum is one of the world's most recycled products. Scrap accounts for most aluminum production. Primary aluminum from smelters merely makes up the shortfalls...'The bottom-line intention of this duty is the restart of all of the idle smelters in the U.S., but what this is going to do really is incentivize more generation of scrap, which is going to unwind over the next 24 months any smelter restart. Because the more scrap you generate, the more primary aluminum production you cannibalize or destroy.' As the demand for primary aluminum declines, the least-efficient producers will be the first to suffer. That means U.S. producers."
- Walmart says that they'll pay (online) college tuition (at one of three schools) for employees who pursue degrees in supply-chain management and business.
- Matthew is looking for help with licensing a 3D printing technology to SLA/DLP 3D printing OEMs; you can contact him here.
- Both Lyft and Uber are rumored to be trying to acquire Motivate, which runs (among other systems) NYC's Citi Bike.
Making & Manufacturing.
- A short post on the (tight) supply chain for common capacitors.
- Amar Hanspal and Carl Bass are working on a company called AutoLab AI, which spun out of Flex last year and is apparently working on manufacturing software.
- How matcha is made.
- On creating a consolidated repository & visualization system for automation equipment utilization data.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- Another excellent, horrifying piece by Kiera Feldman on NYC's private trash hauling industry.
- DVD Netflix has a pretty awesome automated line for unpacking, inspecting, cleaning, and repackaging DVDs.
- 57st. design, a furniture company in Chicago, launched a program to buy back used pieces from customers in exchange for store credit - encouraging a circular product lifecycle.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A very nice looking multi-modal transit router, combining subway/bus, walking, and docked/dockless bikes.
- Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report claims (p. 215) that international trade has grown from ~12% of GDP in 1960 to ~30% today.
- A very short video of Amazon packing a Prime Air plane. Related, an older (and dorkier) video on UPS's cargo containers.
- A pretty cool looking automated grocery distribution center in England.
- Madrid plans to ban nonresident cars from the entire city center within the next year.
- Updates on the NYC MTA's (hopeful and almost certainly insufficient) plan to route L train riders to other (already overloaded) subway lines. The L train shutdown is, if you haven't been following, a looming (and absolutely necessary) nightmare, with few easy solutions to the cascading problems it'll set off; here, the JMZ capacity constraints are at issue.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- A strong call for research into how increased numbers of rocket launches will affect the environment, namely through the release of soot and alumina into the stratosphere.
- The NTSB says that the Model X that crashed on autopilot a few weeks ago actively steered towards the traffic barrier.
- During a test flight, a prototype electric plane built by Siemens and Magnus Aircraft crashed and caught fire, killing its pilot and passenger.
- On Ethiopia's totally unique time system. "Because Ethiopia is close to the Equator, daylight is pretty consistent throughout the year. So many Ethiopians use a 12-hour clock, with one cycle of 1 to 12 — from dawn to dusk — and the other cycle from dusk to dawn." This is way more practical than it sounds, though they're definitely optimizing for local relationships over global ones.
- A very realistic looking side table & gramophone being made out of chocolate.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Che-Wei, Jonas, Andrew, Gabe, Zack, Chris, Eric, Simon, James, and Brad for sending links.
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