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By: Quality Digest

(Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence: North Kingstown, RI) -- Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, which provides engineering, production and quality technology and services to the world’s biggest and most innovative manufacturing leaders around the world, has announced a revolutionary take on supporting startups.

The open innovation platform Sixth Sense brings together startups and industry-leading companies to create transformative solutions that benefit everyone. It promotes sharing resources, data, and ideas to fast-track progress and solve real-world problems that address some of humanity’s greatest challenges, such as the journey to net zero. The challenge areas include sustainability, big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensors, and robotics.

Sixth Sense’s first themed challenge—Artificial Intelligence (AI) for sustainable Smart Manufacturing—encompasses all these areas and is also accepting dedicated applications. Startups are encouraged to register their interest for future themed challenges and events.

Is it possible to realign the supply chain?

The supply chain is in desperate need of realignment. Although pundits predict improvement later in 2022, that is a hope, not a solution. We talk with Lisa Anderson, supply chain expert and president of LMA Consulting Group.

Related article: Is It Possible to Realign the Supply Chain?

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By: Gleb Tsipursky

A tall, thin man in his late 50s approached me after my closing keynote for a manufacturing association conference on how leaders can avoid business disasters. He looked distraught and agitated. I hoped he wasn’t angry with something I said.

Mark introduced himself and asked me to tell him more about one of the dangerous judgment errors I’d discussed: cognitive bias, or the MUM effect (Minimizing Unpleasant Message). This bias causes those lower down in the organizational hierarchy to avoid passing bad news up the supervisor chain due to fears of the “shoot the messenger” problem—namely, that they’ll be blamed for the bad news. Given how often quality professionals must bring bad news to their leaders, it’s a big challenge.

Such mental blind spots stem from how our brains are wired, according to research in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics. Fortunately, recent research in these fields shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to address these judgment errors.

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By: Quality Digest

(Vision Research: Wayne, NJ) -- Vision Research, a leading manufacturer of digital high-speed imaging systems, brings extreme throughput to machine vision applications with the introduction of the Phantom S991 machine vision camera. The Phantom S991 employs CoaXPress-over-Fiber technology to deliver up to 9 Gpx/sec (70 Gbps). This throughput translates to more than 900 frames per second (fps) at a full 9 Mpx resolution of 4,096 x 2,304, and more than 52,000 fps at lower resolutions, including 2,304 x 16.

The Phantom S991 offers users high quality and detailed images. The 9 Mpx sensor in the S991 is the same sensor used in Vision Research’s high-speed media camera, the Phantom Flex 4K. The sensor has 12-bit imaging and provides both rolling and global shutters to meet a variety of applications. Also, its 6.75 mm pixel is larger than many high-resolution machine vision cameras, translating into higher light sensitivity, with a daylight ISO rating of 1,600 for monochrome and 400 for color in global shutter.

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By: Emily Newton

Welding technology has progressed over the years, thanks to innovations that improve accuracy and overall productivity. Some advances have been in welding automation handled by advanced robots. Other breakthroughs rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine vision for better defect detection. Here’s a closer look at how those two technologies have helped the industry move forward.

Welding automation reduces human labor needs

One of the reasons for manufacturers’ interest in welding technology is that it could solve or at least ease labor shortages. According to the American Welding Society, more than 50 percent of human-created projects require some type of welding. Additionally, American Welding Society data forecast 400,000 unfilled welding jobs by 2024. Some analysts believe the shortage could surpass that figure.

Training programs make younger generations aware of their opportunities in welding roles. Such programs are good starts, but they won’t bring about an immediate change. AI-powered robots could assist with the deficit in the meantime.

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By: Quality Digest

(AMUG: Milwaukee, WI) -- The Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) has announced its keynote speakers for the 2022 AMUG Conference, which will be held in Chicago April 3–7, 2022. Kevin Czinger, founder, lead inventor, and CEO of Divergent 3D and Czinger Vehicles,; and Ellen Lee, technical leader additive manufacturing research at Ford Motor Co., will take the stage to discuss innovations and change in the automotive sector.

“It will be interesting to hear Kevin’s and Ellen’s ‘similar but different’ perspectives on the present and future of manufacturing in the automotive industry,” says Jordan Weston, AMUG director. “On one hand, we will have the perspective of a young company seeking to disrupt. On the other hand, we will hear from a large, established company seeking to adapt and lead.”

“Ellen represents a 118-year-old company that changed the game over a century ago yet continues to innovate in response to shifting demands,” Jordan continues. “Kevin represents a company that will make its mark by changing the process, altering vehicle architectures, and localizing adaptive, sustainable manufacturing.”

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By: Quality Digest

(LMA Consulting: Claremont, CA) -- Manufacturing and supply-chain expert Lisa Anderson, president of LMA Consulting Group, has advised manufacturers and distributors throughout the pandemic on maximizing and leveraging their supply chains. She suggests that prioritizing is a must to optimize the supply chain. LMA Consulting Group works with manufacturers and distributors on strategy and end-to-end supply-chain transformation to maximize the customer experience and enable profitable, scalable, and dramatic business growth.

“One thing is for certain, shortages aren’t going away any time soon,” says Anderson. “From suppliers’ suppliers to transportation challenges, the supply chain is being taxed like never before. Manufacturers need to make hard choices to keep products moving and customers satisfied.” Although their expectations can be tempered, customers have choices, and they won’t hold out for long if they can’t receive what they want when they want it.

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By: Innovating Service With Chip Bell

It all started when we drove up to the speaker menu at a quick-service restaurant. “Can I take your order?” the attendant coldly barked. When my wife, on hearing the deep voice of the attendant, politely said, “Thank you, sir,” she got back a sharp, “It’s ma’am.”

The attendant bristled with obvious disdain when we got our meal and asked for napkins (not included). When we requested catsup (not included), she darkly said, “This was supposed to be my day off, and I was ordered to come in for someone who didn’t show up.” We wished she’d been the “missing in action” employee.

The next day I read an article that provided a list of 53 restaurant chains likely to close in the next year. I thought to myself: This restaurant needs to be among the ones going out of business. It was. Based on their frontline ambassador, they were earning the right to go bankrupt. Sadly, it was completely avoidable.

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By: Josh Wilson

Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Rahm Emanuel, a former White House chief of staff and Chicago mayor, famously quipped that you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. Few of us will face the number of crises that a big-city mayor or a presidential aide may deal with in a day, but we still need to be prepared. Otherwise, a clumsy or tone-deaf reaction may cause more damage than the event itself.

Every crisis is unique, but crisis management is always about communication. For manufacturers, the present calamity is a series of breakdowns in the global supply chain. Automakers have been hit hard, particularly those that rely on advanced semiconductors to run innovative safety features like assisted driving.

Only a few months ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded to a software crisis by publicly acknowledging that his company’s “full self-driving” technology was “not very good.” Shortly thereafter, Tesla announced record sales and deliveries. Other manufacturers have a lot to learn. If they want to emerge from the supply chain crisis on top, they won’t just emulate Musk’s transparency; they’ll avoid the following common mistakes.

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By: Quality Digest

(Datanomix: Nashua, NH) -- Datanomix, the leading automated production intelligence platform for precision manufacturers, today announced a major new reporting workflow designed to give business leaders and continuous improvement personnel insights into overall factory performance, as well as top opportunities for improvement. Called the Continuous Improvement Hub (CI Hub), this new workflow consolidates key performance indicators for factory health into a single dashboard that allows users to quickly track and validate improvements and identify risks and opportunities to meet factory business goals.

The CI Hub is a logical extension of Datanomix’s mission to deliver actionable insights that empower manufacturers to monitor and manage production in real time, while giving them the deep insights into overall factory performance over time. The CI Hub consolidates and analyzes data across all of the machines and jobs in a factory that are monitored by Datanomix, providing an overall production score for the entire factory, along with simple breakouts of key metrics that are critical to Continuous Improvement personnel, such as cycle time performance, asset utilization, and schedule efficiency.