Willow Ascenzo’s picture

By: Willow Ascenzo

During the late 19th century, Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays and soon after discovered their properties for medical and industrial imaging when he created a radiograph of his wife’s hand. From this discovery, the powerful tool of X-ray radiography and tomography fell into the hands of medical professionals and industrial materials professionals.

Several decades later, during the 1930s, James Chadwick discovered the neutron, an electrically-neutral particle that resides in an atom’s nucleus. Soon afterward, the neutron was also recognized as a potential powerful tool for industrial radiography, just like X-rays.

As the technology behind X-ray imaging advanced and X-ray sources became more plentiful, X-radiography became more widely used in the field of nondestructive testing, and exhaustive quality standards were set in place to ensure that the use of this tool led to standardized and consistent results. The development of, and adherence to, these standards have helped push X-ray imaging along, leading to the development of both digital radiography, as opposed to film, and computed tomography as a powerful expansion of planar radiography into the third dimension.

Ryan Ayers’s picture

By: Ryan Ayers

Data are valuable assets, so much so that they are the world’s most valuable resource. That makes understanding the different types of data—and the role of a data scientist—more important than ever. In the business world, more companies are trying to understand big numbers and what they can do with them. Expertise in data is in high demand. Determining the right data and measurement scales enables companies to organize, identify, analyze, and ultimately use data to inform strategies that will allow them to make a genuine impact.

Data at the highest level: qualitative and quantitative

What are data? In short, they are a collection of measurements or observations, divided into two different types: qualitative and quantitative.

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By: Farhana Ahmad

When Intelex developed its return-to-work program, we decided the best approach would be a phased one. Similar to the concept of continuous deployment, breaking down the plan to allow individuals to quickly process, adapt, and execute practices and procedures makes it more manageable for employers and employees alike.

To summarize each phase and their objectives:
1. Respond: involves the immediate steps taken during the initial outbreak
2. Return: introduces short-term changes implemented to address all the newly discovered issues
3. Reimagine: implements long-term policies, procedures, and best practices to create an agile and resilient workforce

Our role in the Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER) initiative

On top of our internal developments, we’ve joined the National Safety Council’s Safe Actions for Employee Returns (SAFER) initiative. With the aim of delivering a framework designed to ensure an effective and seamless transition back to the workplace, we have joined the ranks of more than 100 experts across 50 leading organizations.

Celia Paulsen’s picture

By: Celia Paulsen

Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robots, 3D printing, the internet of things (IoT)... there’s a whole world of advanced manufacturing technology and innovation just waiting for small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) that want to step up their digital game. Unfortunately, manufacturing digitization can present some fundamental challenges, like added cybersecurity risk.

So how do smaller manufacturers increase their advanced manufacturing technology capabilities while balancing the associated risks? Let’s dissect some of the top challenges for SMMs.

1. Cybersecurity plan

All technology implementations should begin with a plan that includes cybersecurity. A sound cybersecurity plan not only helps manufacturers identify and improve current security protocols, it also positions them to manage future risk.

Key stakeholders should identify the most critical information assets to protect, map how that information flows through the organization (currently and with any proposed technology or process changes), and determine the level of risk if that information were lost or compromised.

Davis Balestracci’s picture

By: Davis Balestracci

“With data from an epidemic there is no question of whether a change has occurred. Change is everywhere. The question is whether we are getting better or worse. So while the process behavior chart may be the Swiss army knife of statistical techniques, there are times when we need to leave the knife in our pocket, plot the data, and then listen to them as they tell their story.”
Dr. Donald J. Wheeler

I agree with Dr. Wheeler’s comment about process control charts. Yet, I’m seeing far too many of them being inappropriately used as naïve attempts to interpret the mountains of questionable Covid-19 data being produced. I’ve done a few charts myself out of curiosity but none that I feel are worth sharing. Dr. Wheeler’s two recent, excellent Quality Digest articles have been the sanest things written—with nary a control chart in sight.

NIST’s picture

By: NIST

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated a potentially new way to make switches inside a computer’s processing chips, enabling them to use less energy and radiate less heat.

The team has developed a practical technique for controlling magnons, which are essentially waves that travel through magnetic materials and can carry information. To use magnons for information processing requires a switching mechanism that can control the transmission of a magnon signal through the device. 

Although other labs have created systems that carry and control magnons, the team’s approach brings two important firsts: Its elements can be built on silicon rather than exotic and expensive substrates, as other approaches have demanded. It also operates efficiently at room temperature, rather than requiring refrigeration. For these and other reasons, this new approach might be more readily employed by computer manufacturers.

Angelo Scangas’s picture

By: Angelo Scangas

A manufacturer’s ability to maintain high-quality products and regulatory compliance depends largely on its suppliers’ own quality-related activities. Supplier audits can be an important tool for manufacturing organizations to ensure their suppliers are consistently delivering high-quality parts, materials, components, or ingredients for their finished products.

Leveraged correctly, supplier audits can identify, address, and prevent problems in a supplier’s product quality or processes before the problems spread.

Knowledge at Wharton’s picture

By: Knowledge at Wharton

While sales of products like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and even home appliances have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, auto sales have experienced the opposite. Through March, April, and May 2020, total vehicle sales in the United States fell to levels not seen since the Great Recession a decade ago. Demand crashed as millions of commuters suddenly found themselves working from home or laid off, and consumers responded predictably to the economic uncertainty by putting off expensive purchases such as new cars, trucks, and SUVs.

But with the lockdowns gradually lifting across all 50 states and life returning to a more normal pace, auto dealers are feeling cautiously optimistic that sales will pick up again and increase throughout the summer months. The bigger question is whether the rest of the year can make up for the springtime slide.

Michael Weinold’s picture

By: Michael Weinold

After nearly 130 years in business and a series of breakthrough innovations that shaped the way we light up our homes, General Electric has sold its lighting division to the U.S.-based market leader in smart homes, Savant, for a reported $250 million (£198 million). Although a licensing agreement means that consumers will continue to see GE-branded light bulbs in stores, the sale marks the end of an era for this quintessential giant of the illumination industry.

GE traces its roots to Thomas Edison’s invention of the electric light bulb in 1879. Since then, GE Lighting and its direct legal predecessors have shaped illumination technology like no other company: building on Edison’s legacy, the company went on to patent the tungsten filament in 1912 and the first practical fluorescent tubes in 1927.

Ken Voytek’s picture

By: Ken Voytek

I’ve made it my personal crusade to keep a focus on the fundamental importance of productivity to manufacturers, to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and to the MEP centers that do the daily work of helping small manufacturers boost their performance. It may seem strange to consider productivity right now, given the current environment, but it remains important to both national economic and business success. Indeed, productivity will be even more critical as we recover from the current health and economic crisis.

Currently, there is significant excess capacity of both capital and labor that we can reengage to help the economy grow faster and return to full employment and capacity utilization of plants. In his 2004 book, The Power of Productivity (University of Chicago Press, 2005), William Lewis argues that the real solution is not necessarily more capital or working smarter (although these things certainly help), but rather how a company organizes and deploys its capital and labor.

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