Planning & Strategy.
- A discouraging piece on Foxconn's plans for Wisconsin. The degree of incompetence (malice?) on the part of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is really remarkable here. "As the size of the subsidy has steadily increased to a jaw-dropping $4.1 billion, Foxconn has repeatedly changed what it plans to do, raising doubts about the number of jobs it will create. Instead of the promised Generation 10.5 plant, Foxconn now says it will build a much smaller Gen 6 plant, which would require one-third of the promised investment, although the company insists it will eventually hit the $10 billion investment target. And instead of a factory of workers building panels for 75-inch TVs, Foxconn executives now say the goal is to build “ecosystem” of buzzwords called “AI 8K+5G” with most of the manufacturing done by robots...The Walker administration had also exempted Foxconn from the state’s usual environmental rules, allowing it to discharge materials into wetlands and reroute streams during construction and operation."
- The job of a leader is simple: Always move the saltshaker back to the center of the table.
- Altair (which sells a range of finite element analysis software) acquired SimSolid (a startup that focused on meshless FEA).
Making & Manufacturing.
- Extrude honing an intake manifold. Extrude Hone makes abrasive flow machining equipment: Machines that push abrasive particles + a putty like fluid through internal passageways in a part with the goal of smoothing its walls. I've only ever seen one Extrude Hone machine in the wild, and the owner of the shop I saw it at (a very reputable aerospace metal AM company) had mixed things to say about its performance... But that's just one datapoint, and an old one at that. Interestingly, Extrude Hone is now working with BinCTechnologies (which I wrote about at length in "EBM surface finishes and MMP") on a finishing process specifically for metal AM. If anyone out there has used Extrude Hone personally, I'd love to hear about it.
- NYC CNC's video tour of a Sandvik Coromant carbide insert factory. I also recommend Sandvik's How carbide inserts are made video from 2018-09-24.
- A good video tour of a mid sized sausage & salami factory.
- On Relativity Space, who claim they want to print up to 95% of their rockets. I want to note how audacious this claim is, and remind you that "3D printing" is just a class of manufacturing technologies, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Whatever you think their collective futures are (whether any given printing technology will get faster, cheaper, or more reliable; whether "3D printing will really change the way things are made"), it would be truly remarkable if human manufacturing history went from homogeneity (everything is made of rocks, then everything is made of bronze, etc) to heterogeneity (some parts are machined, others are forged, others are injection molded or printed or etched, etc) and then *back* to homogeneity (95% of things are printed). Note also that Relativity has been a sponsor of The Prepared, and is hiring a director of additive manufacturing in LA.
Maintenance, Repair & Operations.
- What it's like keeping a 1960s era IBM mainframe functioning today.
- A clever little changeover tool, which acts kind of like a digital template for how to set a machine up. This article provides a little more context.
- Conceived in 1981, Venice's MOSE project is a series of mobile gates & coastal reinforcements to prevent flooding due to high tides. Originally projected at under €2 B, the project is now projected to cost ~€5.5 B - and is already showing multiple engineering & construction issues. Related, Venice flooded with up to thigh-high water last week.
Distribution & Logistics.
- A 24/7 live video feed of the conductor's view on a Norwegian train.
- The Transport Politic's 2018 Transit Construction report + their interactive map showing active transit projects.
Inspection, Testing & Analysis.
- Many recent Apple mobile products utilize MEMS oscillators, whose hermetic seals aren't *quite* tight enough to keep tiny helium molecules out. "Like an incredibly tiny grain of sand, the helium molecules are small enough to get inside the device, physically stop the clock, and turn your phone temporarily into a paperweight."
- How iFixit's iPhone teardown videos are produced.
- A good retrospective of Jenny Gao's Kickstarter campaign to make Sichuan chili sauce.
- "Kim Jong Un and his bro-squad absolutely chillin atop this mound of potatoes."
- The next NY Hardware Startup Meetup (which I co-organize) will be on 11.12.
Thanks as always to our recurring donors for supporting The Prepared.Credit also to Duann, Basheer, Gabe, Jordan, Saket, Lucas, Rich, Michael, Kendall, David, and Xavier for sending links.
p.s. - We should be better friends. Send me a note - coffee's on me :)
p.p.s. - Whenever possible, we work to encourage inclusivity. Here's how.