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How the First Internet-connected NHL Home Scoreboard…

How the First Internet-connected NHL Home Scoreboard…

Apr 14, 2016

“How the First Internet-connected NHL Home Scoreboard Got to Market Fast” This article was contributed by Design 1st, and featured in Design-2-Part Magazine. A startup’s co-founders found that IoT product development experience was key to quickening turnaround, reducing cost, and ensuring on-time delivery of their new product.  Connected hardware products are complex: They require design for user experience, cloud navigation, and manufacturing expertise to successfully prepare a new concept for production. Because hardware development is a high risk business, it’s essential to choose an engineering design partner that has a proven track record of success in this area. The founders of Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) based Fantasy Scoreboards Inc. had a vision to bring a real-time NHL score-tracking experience into sports bars and homes, where hockey fans could follow game scores through a wall-mounted Internet-connected display that streams all of the score and game data from the arena scoreboard. Then, they learned first-hand the challenges of bringing an Internet of Things (IoT) product to market. After selecting a couple of organizations to assist with the product creation, their project became disjointed, filled with delays, and plagued by more cost increases than their business model could permit. With little time to spare, Fantasy Scoreboards Inc. engaged Design 1st, an Internet of Things (IoT) product design company in Ottawa, Ontario, to turn around the complex project. By following a predictable development process, Design 1st brought the IoT scoreboard from design to a market-ready product in a short time frame, ultimately delivering the completed project in half the usual industry design time. After the complete design restart, the scoreboard was shipping units within five months. Equally important were the cost savings and reliability of the product’s performance. Production cost was slashed 50 percent, and the complete redesign, new components, and a new manufacturing process were reported to yield “huge cost reduction,” the company said in a release. A new IoT architecture overcame the original design flaws, and the new product is said to easily handle real time streaming data volumes and enable complete cloud-based control and firmware updating. “After a costly false start with another design and development company, we came to Design 1st and they quickly got...

9 Composites You Need to Know About Now

9 Composites You Need to Know About Now

Apr 13, 2016

By Ann Thryft, Design News At the renamed JEC World 2016 composites show in Paris last month, makers of composite materials and systems showed off their latest innovations. Last year’s JEC Europe show featured several earth-shaking step-changes we told you about, including new carbon composite materials and faster processes for production car volumes. This year’s show also saw some announcements related to automotive applications, like Dow Automotive’s promised higher-temperature processes, but many of the improvements came in the aerospace and industrial worlds. In this slideshow, we also tell about you about some outstanding winners of the 2016 JEC Innovation Awards. For its new 7-Series luxury cars, the BMW Group has specified an EPIKOTE epoxy resin system from Hexion for volume production of structural carbon fiber composite parts. Some of these components were on display at the JEC World 2016 composites show. The composites in the roof cross-members, center tunnel, and sills, are made of all-Hexion resins, along with a 2.7-meter arc along the roofline of the carbon core body structure. Hexion developed EPIKOTE Resin TRAC 06000 with EPIKURE Curing Agent TRAC 06130 to meet BMW’s performance and production speed needs in liquid compression molding and high-pressure resin transfer molding processing. The materials system cures in less than two minutes, enabling fast and cost-efficient part manufacture. The weight of the new 7-Series cars has been reduced by 130 kg (287 lb) compared to its predecessor.   At the show, Hexion also contributed materials and processing expertise that helped speed production and reduce weight in a 2016 JEC Innovation Award for an automotive decklid concept designed by Continental Structural Plastics. The decklid consists of two parts. An outer component is made of sheet molding compound. The inner structural component, made of preformed carbon fiber mats infused with Hexion’s latest fast-cure, epoxy-based resin system using resin transfer molding, helped reduce the component’s overall part-to-part cycle time to less than three minutes. It also helped reduce the decklid’s weight by 13% compared to aluminum. The award was in the Automotive Exterior Parts category and other winners on the team were Altair Engineering, Owens Corning, Compose Tooling Expert, Brandolph, and PPE/Composite Integrity. For BMW’s M4 GTS, the car company...

Demand Planning Evolves To Better Serve Manufacturing

Demand Planning Evolves To Better Serve Manufacturing

Apr 12, 2016

By Glenn Jones, Manufacturing Business Technology As manufacturers compete in a global marketplace where demand signals are often volatile, increasingly dispersed, and critical to efficient operation, the need for more effective demand planning looms ever larger. It’s fair to say that many struggle with the task. In an article from noted supply chain consultant Lori Cecere comments on both the frustration with demand planning and its importance: “After two decades of process and technology refinement, excellence in demand management still eludes supply chain teams. In fact, it is the supply chain planning application with the greatest gap between performance and satisfaction. At the same time, it’s the application with the greatest planned future spending.” The general perception of planning predisposes those involved to expect less than satisfactory results; forecasting is typically seen as always wrong, obsolete upon its completion, and ultimately reactive to events “on the ground.” Yet the investment manufacturers are making in demand planning belies that belief. Among other things, advances in technology are making demand planning more science than art; of course, the biggest carrot is that increases in demand forecast accuracy typically accrue directly to the bottom line. Manufacturers know that better demand planning improves efficiency and profitability. The question is how to go about it. Best Practices There are different techniques to employ for effective demand planning. Two are longstanding; one is emerging rapidly. The first involves collaboration. Collect what your customers think demand is for a product. This can be gathered from channel partners. If a manufacturer is doing direct sales, it can be gleaned from account managers and sales teams, either communicated directly or through CRM systems. The second technique subjects historical data to statistical modeling. This provides a different perspective than collaborative information, giving demand planners comparative data from which to build a consensus forecast. These techniques have been used for many years. As Gartner noted in research that surveyed supply chain experts across a range of manufacturing organizations, defining the balance between statistical modeling and collaborative forecasting “helps improve accountability for the forecast and enables continuous improvement across the organization.” However, even with this balance defined, demand planning after these steps remains a kind of...

Massachusetts Company Has Singular Focus on Medical Micro…

Massachusetts Company Has Singular Focus on Medical Micro…

Apr 11, 2016

“Massachusetts Company Has Singular Focus on Medical Micro Molding” By Design-2-Part Magazine MTD Micro Molding is one of the rare specialists in micro molding of advanced medical products. MTD Micro Molding is a micro medical device manufacturer that focuses its efforts in one area: the micro molding of advanced medical products. Located in Charlton, Massachusetts, MTD Micro Molding is an ISO 9001:2008 certified manufacturer of micro-molded parts that have microscopic features or are microscopic in overall size. “Medical micro molding is what we do,” said Lindsay Mann, MTD Micro Molding’s director of marketing, in an email interview, “and all we do. Our operation isn’t a small corner of a bigger plant; it’s our entire plant.” About 80 percent of the components produced by MTD are implantable devices, with 75 percent of those targeted for bioresorbable applications, according to Mann. The micro medical devices produced by MTD Micro Molding support a variety of medical categories, ranging from cardiac to neurosurgical, gastrointestinal, bronchoscopy, oncology, urology, orthopedic, endoscopy, and drug delivery, among others. Examples of thermoplastic products manufactured by the company include permanent screws, micro links, and ejector rings; bioresorbable examples include absorbable stents, staples, and screws. A successful micro part starts with a very exact mold, an area of capability in which MTD takes a great deal of pride. Having the tooling and molding department under one roof is a huge differentiator for the company, according to Mann, who said that MTD doesn’t outsource any of its work. “We build and mold everything ourselves,” she said. “The MTD team, with 400-plus years of plastics experience, includes the tool builder and the molding technician, and they work very closely together with the goal of producing the best part possible. This means instantaneous feedback and excellent internal communication and documentation, which allows for first shot quality.” The company often recommends micro molding design refinements and alternative materials to enhance manufacturability. Material selection is critical, Mann said, because it can affect critical features and everything from tolerances and dimensions to strength, usability, design, speed-to-market, and cost. “Our material database also lets us predict how a specific material will flow in an application,” she said. “We’re here to help our customers...

Medical Machining Tightens Up

Medical Machining Tightens Up

Apr 7, 2016

Regulations, competition are causing part makers to tighten profit margins, part tolerances and cycle times By Michael C. Anderson, Manufacturing Engineering The medical device market finds ways to stay in the headlines in one way or another, whether it’s because of big mergers (such as Medtronic’s acquisition of Covidien) or tax-inversion moves (such as Medtronic’s subsequent relocation of its headquarters to Ireland). Medical device companies and their lobbyists continue to push back against the US medical device tax used to cover some of the costs of the Affordable Care Act. And recalls of medical products certainly get into the media. But away from the front page of the business section, manufacturers in the medical device field are feeling the effects of a shift in health care practices. “The regulatory environment in North America and Europe has driven a shift to value-based healthcare solutions, which in turn has resulted in increased competition, changing business models, and innovative strategies to achieve sustainable growth,” medical market analyst Bryan Hughes of P&M Corporate Finance LLC (Chicago) said. The ripple effects from all of these developments are reaching the medical device side of the machining business, resulting in a tightening of a number of parameters, from profit margins to part tolerances and more. Tighter Margins Scott Walker, president of Mitsui Seiki USA Inc. (Franklin Lakes, NJ), gives an example of the way hospitals do business has changed—and how that change affects medical manufacturers and their suppliers. “Ten years ago, a hospital used to go in and buy the entire range of components,” Walker said. “For knee replacements, for example, a hospital would buy a box and in it would be, say, 15 sets of knees. They didn’t know until they cut your leg open what size would fit in there, so they were ready with a range of sizes that they had purchased.” No longer, he said. “Today the way it works is, a knee-replacement salesman goes into the room with the surgical team, he brings in a box of knees, and the hospital only buys and uses what goes into the patient.” That kind of practice means a lot fewer knees get sold, and so the manufacturers are...

These students are paid to go to college

These students are paid to go to college

Apr 6, 2016

By Louis Foglia, CNN Money Apprenticeship2000 has a new model for higher education, it’s a hybrid program in which students are paid to work part-time at a manufacturing company while taking classes    ...