Fennel

Industrializing Additive Manufacturing: From Trinkets and Toys to Turbines and Trucks

By | 3D Printing, Manufacturing | No Comments

For most of its short history, additive manufacturing technology innovation focused on demonstrating and proving its viability. Commercial 3D printer manufacturers have been busy making fanciful trinkets and miniature plastic replicas of industrial parts, while only a small number of industrial manufacturers have been using the technology in a limited role in prototyping and a product development stage between 3D model design and small-scale manufacturing.

From the introduction of stereolithography technology as a rapid prototyping technique in 1980, additive manufacturing evolved as a technology rather than an engineering and manufacturing discipline. While the 3D printing technology and material science have demonstrated rapid progress over the last couple of decades, the process and practice of additive manufacturing still lack industrial manufacturing orientation.

There are, of course, notable exceptions such as 3D-printed water pump impellers in a nuclear power plant in Slovenia and 3D-printed titanium bracket used in serial production Airbus A350. Read More

Drawing Hands (M.C. Escher, 1948)

The Internet of Things and Blockchain: When Overhyped Technologies Intersect

By | Internet of Things | No Comments

What’s the role of blockchain technology in the industrial Internet of Things?

This is a question I am frequently asked during my webinars, lectures, and casual conversations about Internet of Things. Many argue that blockchain technology is the missing element that will now fuel the rapid growth in IoT and bring the value we’ve been promised by vendors and pundits, while other observers believe that both technologies are still nascent and overhyped and will take time to mature and prove value.

When blockchain and IoT technologies, each promising to revolutionize all aspects of our lives, are brought together, do they result in something greater than the sum of their parts? Or is it yet another case of overhyped technologies that cause much excitement but are slow to mainstream and deliver on the promise? Read More

The Red Queen (Sir John Tenniel, 1871)

Connected Assets Drive Business Agility

By | Internet of Things, Strategy | One Comment

Business Agility

All organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve productivity, streamline internal processes, respond to changing business circumstances, and serve customers better and quicker.

But today’s ever-changing global markets present threats and opportunities at every turn. Since 2000, more than half the companies in the Fortune 500 have either been acquired or merged, gone bankrupt, or joined their peers in the graveyard of failed businesses. These organizations failed to recognize and respond quickly enough to the pace of change. Poor business agility led to their demise.

Business leaders are worried. A new research reveals that two thirds of C-suite executives believe that 40 percent of the Fortune 500 will not exist in 10 years.

Organizations must perform better and faster to remain competitive, as the Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass observed: “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” Read More

Focal Point (Leon Zernitsky)

Automakers: You’re Not Going To Get There From Here

By | Automotive, Autonomous Cars, Connected Cars | No Comments

The Race to Reinvent the Process for Developing Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

Forward-looking automakers are recognizing how the convergence of technology, business, and societal trends is transforming the automotive industry, posing an unprecedented level of new opportunities as well as unfamiliar threats. These manufacturers have already begun to refine their structure and processes to embrace the changes, face the threats, and build organizations that can deliver on the ever-changing possibilities for new mobility solutions for customers.

Industry in Flux

Just over 100 years ago, Henry Ford disrupted the auto industry of the time with the introduction of the mass-production moving assembly line. To say that the auto industry is again in flux is almost cliché. Most everyone is aware of the massive changes the industry is undergoing, although the cumulative long-term effect of rapid technology innovation, disruptive business models, and evolving supply chain ecosystems is probably not fully comprehended yet. Read More

Triple Self Portrait (Norman Rockwell, 1960)

Beyond the Digital Twin: From Equipment Monitoring to Better Decision-Making

By | Internet of Things, PLM | No Comments

Enterprise digital transformation initiatives that exploit the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) are expanding the boundaries of newly-created managed networks of connected assets spread over large geographical areas.

Fundamentally, the industrial IoT helps asset owners to move away from traditional routine maintenance schedules and visual inspections and invest in new methods such as remote asset tracking and monitoring. Product organizations initiate highly optimized data-driven operations to drive greater efficiencies and cut costs of asset management and maintenance.

But forward-looking organizations do not stop there. They evaluate and deploy cyber-physical models that provide unprecedented visibility, insight and decision-making capabilities to optimize existing operations, and for new value creation through innovative customer-centric engagements and new revenue streams. Read More