COVID-19, 3D printing and the digital supply chain reckoning

May 14, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

COVID-19, 3D printing and the digital supply chain reckoning Heather Clancy Thu, 05/14/2020 – 03:28 Proponents of 3D printing technology and digital manufacturing solutions have been seeking their breakthrough moment for years. It took mere weeks to showcase their potential as enablers of flexible supply chains — capable of decentralizing worldwide production and responding to violent, unforeseen disruption. Every day, there is news of some inspirational pivot that points toward the future possibilities for creating far more sustainable supply chains. The most vivid illustration, of course, is the literally hundreds of companies diverting at least some portion of their production capacity to creating urgently needed supplies for the medical community. It’s part altruism, part capitalism. Just a few examples: 3D printing provider HP Inc. and its network of customers and partners has so far “printed” more than 1.5 million parts for front-line healthcare workers — components for face shields and PAPR hoods. Digital manufacturing specialist Fictiv has mobilized its network to produce batches of 10,000 shields daily with lead times of as little as 24 hours.  Another player, Carbon , teamed up with Resolution Medical and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to design and start producing nasopharyngeal swabs for COVID-19 in just three weeks. The partnership is producing hundreds of thousands of swabs every week using Carbon’s M2 printers. Markforged , which makes metal and carbon fiber 3D printers, is part of a similar collaboration driven by several hospitals and research institutions in San Diego. With supply chains experiencing such significant disruption right now, we could see trends in different sectors toward decentralization and localization … “With supply chains experiencing such significant disruption right now, we could see trends in different sectors toward decentralization and localization, including in the way products are designed and made to rely less on centralized production and mass production,” noted Carbon CEO Ellen Kullman, in response to questions I sent her for this article. A similar sentiment was shared by Ramon Pastor, interim president of 3D printing and digital manufacturing at HP, also via email: “Many companies look to digital manufacturing service providers to help speed development of new products, shorten time to market, create leaner supply chains and reduce their carbon footprint.” The global 3D printing market was worth about $12 billion in 2019, with a compound annual growth rate of 14 percent predicted from 2020 to 2027. One of HP’s high-profile customers is Volkswagen, which is using its technology in the design of electric vehicles. VW aims to produce more than 22 million EVs worldwide by 2028. The pandemic is proving to be what Sean Manzanares, senior manager of business strategy and marketing for Autodesk, describes as an “unfortunate catalyst” that is accelerating corporate evaluations of alternative, more sustainable production methods. (To sate that interest, the software company is offering free access to the commercial versions of its cloud-hosted design applications through June 30.) Autodesk is putting considerable muscle behind demonstrative facilities that help companies explore the potential of 3D printing and localized manufacturing, such as the Generative Design Field Lab that is part of the 100,000-square-foot MxD innovation center in Chicago. Autodesk doesn’t make the hardware; it has added artificial intelligence to many of its applications to make “push-button” manufacturing simpler. One company exploring how these technologies could support its sustainability initiatives is IKEA, which has been examining how it might use reclaimed furniture scraps to create new products that combine wood and an emerging form of “sustainable power” from Arkema, which makes resins for 3D printers, Manzanares said. The first thing you have to do is show people that they have options. Dave Evans, founder and CEO of Fictiv and a former Ford engineer, said the pandemic has helped underscore the notion that digital manufacturing networks — ones that allow organizations to be more agile when it comes to sourcing — will be key to ensuring resilience in the long term, as disruptions brought on by climate change become more frequent. The seven-year-old company just logged its best first quarter. One ongoing dialogue within Fictiv is the role of design in moving toward a more circular, agile economy — one in which products can be repaired and serviced far more easily. The company’s gift to employees last Christmas: the 2002 book ” Cradle to Cradle ,” which it hopes will spur innovation from the bottom up. “The first thing you have to do is show people that they have options,” Evans observed. “If you can show someone a [total cost of ownership] or landed cost, you can show them the emissions of hyperlocal versus some different view. Our role isn’t to push sustainability, but it’s to give them a better choice. If you can do that, you’re enabling leaders to make both better business decisions and better environmental decisions.” This article first appeared in GreenBiz’s weekly newsletter, VERGE Weekly, running Wednesdays. Subscribe  here . Follow me on Twitter:@greentechlady. Pull Quote With supply chains experiencing such significant disruption right now, we could see trends in different sectors toward decentralization and localization … The first thing you have to do is show people that they have options. Topics COVID-19 Supply Chain Innovation Technology 3D Printing Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A piece of manufacturing machine from Fictiv’s digitally connected network. Fictiv Close Authorship

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COVID-19, 3D printing and the digital supply chain reckoning

Microsoft is building a ‘Planetary Computer’ to protect biodiversity

April 16, 2020 by  
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It’s all about collecting and connecting data, which is part of the software giant’s DNA.

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Microsoft is building a ‘Planetary Computer’ to protect biodiversity

Beyond renewables: How timing can reduce corporate emissions

June 4, 2019 by  
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There’s another way for corporations to achieve even deeper reductions in their climate emissions footprint.

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Beyond renewables: How timing can reduce corporate emissions

Why VMware’s sustainability team reports to its CTO

March 8, 2019 by  
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Sustainability execs Nicola Acutt and Nicola Peill-Moelter are tasking with dreaming up innovative ways the company’s software can aid in fighting climate change.

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Why VMware’s sustainability team reports to its CTO

How cleaning your closets can change your company’s culture

March 8, 2019 by  
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As a leader, circularity is going to be a key concept that you will want your team to understand. But how do you create a culture of circularity?

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How cleaning your closets can change your company’s culture

Forests, farms and the global carbon sink: the genesis

March 8, 2019 by  
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Deforestation is growing, and the fight against it is grabbing public attention. Here’s the full story.

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Forests, farms and the global carbon sink: the genesis

Inside Kathy Hannun’s quest to provide accessible household geothermal energy

May 16, 2018 by  
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It’s about the consumer-friendly product, yes, but for this ex-Googler, it’s especially about the right employees.

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Inside Kathy Hannun’s quest to provide accessible household geothermal energy

Salesforce dedicates $50 million to impact investments

October 3, 2017 by  
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It’s a bold move by one of the most aggressive corporate venture capitalists in tech.

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Salesforce dedicates $50 million to impact investments

New autopilot software update improves performance and feel of Tesla cars

May 26, 2017 by  
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Tesla may be the most valuable car company in the United States, but they are still raising the bar for autonomous vehicles. The company has been working to improve their software , and their new Autopilot update comes with relaxed speed restrictions that make driving on undivided roads and off highways even better. Tesla recently began pushing a new software update for cars with the second generation Autopilot. The new update allows cars to zoom along up to speeds of 90 miles per hour (mph), but also threw out the old limit of 35 mph for off-highway driving and aligned it with the old speed restrictions on the first generation Autopilot, which is five mph greater than the speed limit detected. If the Model S doesn’t detect a speed limit, the restriction is 45 mph. Related: Did Tesla Autopilot predict an upcoming accident before it actually happened? Vice president of Autopilot software Chris Lattner said on Twitter the performance and feel of the car is much improved. It appears Autosteer now is on par with the feature in the first generation Autopilot, according to Electrek – they said Autopilot 2.0 didn’t show signs of progress as Tesla moved away from using Mobileye technology and started using their own computer vision. Elon Musk said his company saw “a bit of a dip” after they unexpectedly transitioned away from Mobileye. But Electrek said it appears they’ve now largely overcome the issue. Musk said in a conference call, “…we had to basically recreate all the Mobileye functionality in about six months – which we did.” Electrek said Tesla has been better utilizing front-facing cameras on their vehicles. Handling around curves and turns looks better with the new update, as does driving on roads that aren’t divided and have little markings. Whether or not the car detects speed limits could be an issue; Electrek suggested that feature could be improved in future updates. YouTube user Tesla Trip took a spin with the new software and posted a 23 minute video showing the excellent handling on roads with few markings; you can check it out here . Via Electrek ( 1 , 2 ) Images via screenshot

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New autopilot software update improves performance and feel of Tesla cars

Toxics toolbox: A crash course on chemical management software

September 4, 2015 by  
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New tools could change chemical supply chains for Seagate, Boeing and Halliburton.

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Toxics toolbox: A crash course on chemical management software

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