Multiple Authors
By: Charles Tarrio, Thomas Lucatorto

In 2019, after decades of effort, manufacturers used a new technology to create smartphones with individual circuit features as small as 7 nanometers (nm), or billionths of a meter, enabling them to cram 8.5 billion electronic devices, known as transistors, on a single small chip. Fitting more transistors in the same small space means faster, more powerful smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices.

Where does the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) come into play here? NIST was an early collaborator with those in the microelectronics industry who saw that it might be possible to use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light to create electronic devices with smaller features like those we have today. This challenging goal was realized after a long, hard struggle.

Celia Paulsen’s picture

By: Celia Paulsen

Nobody likes business to be slow. If you’re in a fast-paced world like manufacturing, seeing your machines or employees idle can drive a person insane. If you’re used to your production line working to capacity and suddenly business slows down, it can be a frustrating time.

When I was in the U.S. Army, we used our downtime to train and clean. On one occasion, we spent nearly two weeks waiting for a change of orders. By the end of the first week, every weapon, every desk, and every blade of grass was spotless. There was nothing left to clean, so we cleaned it all over again!

Over time, I learned that downtime can actually provide a good opportunity to refocus before driving forward again. It offers time to take inventory, get a little creative, and do some renovation, literally and figuratively. My personal downtime to-do list includes organizing my papers, redesigning my closet, playing with my 3D printer, replacing my stair treads, fixing that one light switch, learning something I’ll soon forget, and though you may laugh, improving my cybersecurity posture.

It’s true; I’m a cybersecurity geek. I’ve been a cybersecurity researcher at NIST since 2011 and am now detailed to NIST MEP as the cybersecurity services specialist.

Greg Hoeting’s picture

By: Greg Hoeting

Nuclear power has long been a clean, dependable source of energy throughout the world. However, as power plants age, concerns grow about their continued reliability. Many components make up the infrastructure of a nuclear power plant with the design intent to reduce radiation and contamination exposure to personnel, equipment, and the surrounding environment.

One of the biggest sources of this radiation and contamination comes from the vast network of pipes throughout the plant.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

Long stretches of empty supermarket shelves and shortages of essential supplies are only the visible impacts to consumers of the global supply-chain disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unseen are the production stoppages in locations across China and other countries and the shortages of raw materials, subassemblies, and finished goods that make up the backstory of the impact.

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak is unprecedented in its scale and severity for humans and supply chains, not to mention medical professionals and governments scrambling to contain it.

Businesses dependent on global sourcing are facing hard choices in crisis management amid the supply chain disruptions. But in planning to mitigate the risks of similar disruptions in future, they confront other questions that have no easy answers: Should they broaden their supplier choices, or do more local or near-shore sourcing? How much inventory of raw materials, subassemblies, and finished products should they stock to tide over the crisis?

Multiple Authors
By: Alan Rudolph, Raymond Goodrich

We [Alan Rudolph and Raymond Goodrich] are both biotechnology researchers and are currently seeking to repurpose an existing medical manufacturing platform to quickly develop a vaccine candidate for Covid-19.

This process is used for the treatment of blood products such as plasma, platelets, and whole blood to prevent disease transmission when people receive transfused blood. It utilizes a common food ingredient, vitamin B2, or riboflavin, which is a light-sensitive chemical. When used in combination with ultraviolet light of specific wavelengths, B2 can alter genetic material, whether RNA or DNA, of infectious pathogens in the blood, making them unable to transmit disease.

Those genetic changes prevent pathogens, such as viral, bacterial, and parasitic contaminants, in blood from replicating. By stopping the replication process, the method protects people from disease they could acquire through a blood transfusion.

Olympus America’s picture

By: Olympus America

F unction often relates to form, and this is particularly true within the world of manufacturing. Rigorous quality assessment procedures ensure that components are manufactured according to their precise specifications before being assembled into the fully functioning whole. These assessments might include tasks such as geometric product specifications, fracture analysis, and surface roughness testing, and they form the core of quality control in many manufacturing processes. As such, identical tasks may be performed across industrial sectors as diverse as medical engineering, electronics, and the automotive industry. This article explores the limitations of existing approaches to quality assessment within industry, and details how opto-digital technology can be used as a more efficient alternative.

Techniques commonly used to accomplish tasks in quality assessment include contact profilometry and traditional light microscopy, and these demand a high level of accuracy in both inspection and metrology. Although these successful approaches are heavily relied on within industrial quality assessment, the novel approach of opto-digital microscopy is becoming an increasingly popular solution, bringing industrial quality control into the digital era.

Jason Chester’s picture

By: Jason Chester

Even in the midst of the pandemic, product safety and quality remain critical. For many manufacturers, complex quality management systems and procedures stand in the way of agile responses and effective operational optimization. Cloud technology provides the means to dramatically simplify quality management.

If you’re like many quality pros and manufacturing leaders right now, you’re working crazy hours, possibly on a different schedule or from a remote location. You’re struggling to find new ways to get the data that operators are collecting on the plant floor and support workers as they adapt to rapidly changing demands. You’re also likely scrambling to coordinate with your plant managers and create custom reports for your executive teams.

It’s a challenging time, and if you’re lucky, you’re keeping on top of the unique demands this time has put on you. But even in the middle of this sprint, product safety and quality remain paramount.

Cheryl Carleton’s picture

By: Cheryl Carleton

The labor market is changing rapidly with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many organizations are laying off almost all of their workers, while others are considering which workers to lay off, which to furlough, and which to keep. Alternatively, some are expanding their labor forces.

When the economy starts to open up again, employers will need to consider rehiring or replacing workers, or hiring workers with a different mix of skills. The cost of replacing an employee is high for employers, and being out of work is harmful for workers, who may be replaced with artificial intelligence or contractors and risk losing their skills.

Multiple Authors
By: Amber Dance, Knowable Magazine

This story was originally published by Knowable Magazine.

As Covid-19 cases fill the hospitals, among the sickest and most likely to die are those whose bodies react in a signature, catastrophic way. Immune cells flood and attack the lungs they should be protecting. Blood vessels leak; the blood itself clots. Blood pressure plummets, and organs start to fail.

Such cases, doctors and scientists increasingly believe, are due to an immune system gone overboard—so that it harms instead of helps.

Normally, when the human body encounters a germ, the immune system attacks the invader and then stands down. But sometimes, that orderly army of cells wielding molecular weapons gets out of control, morphing from obedient soldiers into an unruly, torch- and pitchfork-bearing mob. Though there are tests and treatments that could help to identify and tamp down this insurrection, it’s too early to be sure of the best course of therapy for those who are suffering a storm due to Covid-19.

Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man’s picture

By: Jay Arthur—The KnowWare Man

Story update 5/6/2020: The charts and some data have been updated to reflect the data available on the date this article was published.

During the Covid-19 stay-at-home order in Colorado, I've become increasingly frustrated by Covid-19 charts. Most of what I see are cumulative column charts, which don't give any real insight into what's going on. Are we really flattening the curve?

So I decided to use the state's Covid-19 statistics for Colorado and Denver county, and see what I could learn using control charts. Control charts have been around for almost 100 years. They use formulas to calculate control limits that encompass 99.7 percent of the data points. This makes it easy to monitor any process and detect process shifts and "out of control" conditions.


Source: https://covid19.colorado.gov/case-data Click image for larger view.

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