The future of manufacturing technology

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The global manufacturing market reached $38 trillion in 2018, contributing a 15% increase in global production output. Within this market, a broad range of goods is produced and processed, spanning from consumer goods, heavy industrials to storage and transportation of raw materials and finished products.

To sustain ongoing growth, today’s manufacturers are hyper-focused on three key mandates. First is to improve utilization rates of expensive fixed assets that are below optimal capacity. Second is to fill the current and increasing void of specialized labor. Deloitte estimates that by 2028, the skills gap in the US will result in 2.4 million unfilled seats out of a total of 16 million manufacturing jobs. Lastly, manufacturers must protect operating profit as industry average EBITDA margin continues to decline from 11.2% in 2015 to 8.6% in 2018.

Many startups are now starting to offer tailored products and services to help traditional manufacturers meet these goals. Until recently, hardware components such as sensors were expensive and had unclear ROI. Data was siloed, and no solution to scale insight was available. However, since the AI revolution in the early 2010s, startups are finding ways to overcome these challenges through technical innovation.

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Fiber-reinforced hydrogel is 5 times stronger than steel

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Hydrogels have shown significant potential in everything from wound dressings to soft robots, but their applications have been limited from their lack of toughness – until now. A team of scientists at Hokkaido University have developed a new set of hydrogel composites or “fiber-reinforced soft composites” that combine hydrogels with woven fiber fabric to create a material that is five times stronger than carbon steel.

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Capsules of stem cells placed on injured bones works to heal the bones

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Materials science may be a big help in healing broken bones.

How do medical researchers best cultivate certain kinds of cells and spur them to function in the body? The details are still being worked out. Materials science may be a big help, according to University of Rochester researchers.

 

 

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Engineers Create A Strong But Lightweight Isotruss Bike Using Carbon Fibers

Bike frames average about 2.6 pounds!

Engineers used elements of architecture and geometry to create a strong but lightweight triangle-based isotruss bicycle frame. To make a road bike or mountain bike, the isotruss is first wound with carbon fiber using a sheet that holds the tension constant. The engineers then hand-wind Kevlar strands over the isotruss. The process creates a bike with a large strength-to-weight ratio.

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New on-Off ‘Switch’ Triggers and Reverses Paralysis in Animals With a Beam of Light

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This tiny worm became temporarily paralyzed when scientists fed it a light-sensitive material, or “photoswitch,” and then exposed it to ultraviolet light.

In an advance with overtones of Star Trek phasers and other sci-fi ray guns, scientists in Canada are reporting development of an internal on-off “switch” that paralyzes animals when exposed to a beam of ultraviolet light. The animals stay paralyzed even when the light is turned off. When exposed to ordinary light, the animals become unparalyzed and wake up.

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Cement’s Basic Molecular Structure Finally Decoded

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Concrete being poured from a cement truck chute on a new sidewalk construction project.

In the 2,000 or so years since the Roman Empire employed a naturally occurring form of cement to build a vast system of concrete aqueducts and other large edifices, researchers have analyzed the molecular structure of natural materials and created entirely new building materials such as steel, which has a well-documented crystalline structure at the atomic scale.

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