Nicholas P. Sullivan’s picture

By: Nicholas P. Sullivan

People in the world’s developed nations live in a post-industrial era, working mainly in service or knowledge industries. Manufacturers increasingly rely on sensors, robots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to replace human labor or make it more efficient. Farmers can monitor crop health via satellite and apply pesticides and fertilizers with drones.

Commercial fishing, one of the oldest industries in the world, is a stark exception. Industrial fishing, with factory ships and deep-sea trawlers that land thousands of tons of fish at a time, are still the dominant hunting mode in much of the world.

Bhaskar Ramakrishnan’s picture

By: Bhaskar Ramakrishnan

To ensure vehicular and pedestrian safety, it’s imperative that brake discs are of superior quality to enable safe braking distances, which is a key metric. Any imperfections on a brake disc can cause safety hazards, heating of the brake assembly, and increased wear and tear. Maintaining tighter tolerances enables superior manufacturing that in turn gets better braking distances, and improved noise, vibration, and harshness (NHV) performance.

Surface defects on brake discs are currently inspected by a combination of manual and associated inspection instruments, which can result in quality escapes. Because brake discs rotate at a particularly high speed, even the smallest geometric errors on these components can lead to vibrations and an adverse NHV profile. The result is lower effectiveness and higher wear, which in turn negatively affect driving safety.

New Vista’s picture

By: New Vista

‘I just want to avoid spinning gauges all day.”

We hear this from manufacturing professionals all over the world. We were discussing this recently with a manufacturer in Wisconsin that machines large quantities of threaded parts. Their customer requires them to “go” and “no-go”-verify every part. They were dealing with this requirement the way many plants do: Operators stood by and spun a gauge into every thread with their fingers. Unfortunately, this method was not only burdensome but also allowed plenty of room for operator error and repetitive-motion injury.

Our mission at New Vista is to work with manufacturers like these to provide the knowledge and tools they need to overcome thread quality obstacles, so they can stop spinning gauges with their fingers. This article, as part of that mission, presents an introduction to thread gauging.

Danielle Underferth’s picture

By: Danielle Underferth

As municipalities clamor for a slice of President Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending bill, one Johns Hopkins scientist is re-examining one of the basic elements of road-building: Determining the width of road lanes. But determining the width that provides the highest level of safety, access, and comfort for every road user—drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians—is complex, says Shima Hamidi, an assistant professor in Johns Hopkins’ Department of Environmental Health and Engineering, which is shared by the Whiting School of Engineering and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

It’s a data problem, she says, and she wants to help cities solve it.

Hamidi is undertaking a massive collection of data on urban streets across the United States to answer one question: How low can cities go on street width to make room for bike lanes and wider sidewalks?

NIST’s picture


Whether it’s bananas, olives, potato salad, or cereal, many products are priced according to their weight. That weight is likely determined on a scale tested and certified by a specially trained state or local inspector. Weights and measures underpin approximately half of the United States gross domestic product (GDP), so it’s important to get things right.

To ensure you are getting the correct amount of product at the supermarket, inspectors routinely examine and certify scales for accuracy. To do that, they carry what they call “field standard weights,” which are designed to be used outside of their state or local laboratory. For instance, the field standard weights for inspecting grocery scales usually contain increments of 1 lb, 2 lb, and 5 lb so inspectors can test a scale to full capacity (usually 30 lb for most grocery scales), as well as smaller weights to ensure that the scale is accurate at smaller loads.

David Chandler’s picture

By: David Chandler

Scintillators are materials that emit light when bombarded with high-energy particles or X-rays. In medical or dental X-ray systems, they convert incoming X-ray radiation into visible light that can then be captured using film or photosensors. They’re also used for night-vision systems and for research, such as in particle detectors or electron microscopes.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have now shown how one could improve the efficiency of scintillators by at least tenfold, and perhaps even a hundredfold, by changing the material’s surface to create certain nanoscale configurations, such as arrays of wave-like ridges. While past attempts to develop more efficient scintillators have focused on finding new materials, the new approach could in principle work with any of the existing materials.

Though it will require more time and effort to integrate their scintillators into existing X-ray machines, the team believes that this method might lead to improvements in medical diagnostic X-rays or CT scans to reduce dose exposure and improve image quality. In other applications, such as X-ray inspection of manufactured parts for quality control, the new scintillators could enable inspections with higher accuracy or at faster speeds.

NIST’s picture


Inside every cellphone lies a tiny mechanical heart, beating several billion times a second. These micromechanical resonators play an essential role in cellphone communication. Buffeted by the cacophony of radio frequencies in the airwaves, the resonators select just the right frequencies for transmitting and receiving signals between mobile devices.

With the growing importance of these resonators, scientists need a reliable and efficient way to make sure the devices are working properly. That’s best accomplished by carefully studying the acoustic waves that the resonators generate.

Now, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and their colleagues have developed an instrument to image these acoustic waves over a wide range of frequencies and produce “movies” of them with unprecedented detail.

Atul Minocha’s picture

By: Atul Minocha

Do you ever feel like you’re spending money like crazy on marketing and getting little or nothing in return? If so, you might be tempted to pull the plug on marketing altogether. That would be a big mistake.

An effective marketing strategy can mean the difference between your organization’s success and failure. To maximize your strategy, there are eight common marketing mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

#1 Focusing solely on data

Most marketers firmly believe the old saying, “What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get improved.” They track various metrics, hoping the data will show them how to improve customer engagement.

The problem is some of the most important elements of customer engagement—like emotional response—can’t be tracked easily. How do you measure whether or not you’re tugging at their heartstrings?

The real power of marketing comes from synergy of both the left brain (data) and the right brain (emotion). Focusing solely on the data will never lead to optimal results.

Prashant Kapadia’s picture

By: Prashant Kapadia

In four years, more than 30 percent of businesses and organizations will include edge computing in their cloud deployments to address bandwidth bottlenecks, reduce latency, and process data for decision support in real time. Edge computing accomplishes this by bringing the businesses’ computational processes closer to the data sources, increasing the speed of these actions.

Additionally, even if a single node is unreachable, the service should still be accessible to users. In this way, edge computing promises to deliver the internet of things (IoT) reliably and quickly while taking more care of security and data privacy. What’s more, 69 percent of organizations say that prioritizing edge-based analytics will improve their ability to meet IoT objectives for specific use cases.

Industries, including manufacturing, water and wastewater, utilities, and building, are implementing hybrid strategies to enable real-time analytics, such as machine-anomaly detection and diagnostics, quality analytics, energy analytics, and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

David Dewhirst’s picture

By: David Dewhirst

Digital transformation initiatives that aim at getting manufacturers to Industry 4.0 have been around a while and will assuredly continue to be with us for quite a while longer. But what can often get lost by manufacturers in the push to digital transformation are the reasons why one would want to undertake this journey in the first place, which in turn should all boil down to one essential reason: Preserving and enhancing the company’s position in the market.

There are many ways to do that, of course. You can improve efficiencies, for example, and increase throughput. But another area that’s incredibly well-suited to digital transformation initiatives is reducing total cost of quality and, in particular, reducing the costs of defects to manufacturers.

Syndicate content