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Manufacturing

Elegant Gathering in the Apricot Garden (Xie Huan Ca. 1437)

Made in China 2025 and Intellectual Property Protection

By | Electric Vehicles, Mergers & Acquisitions, Supply Chain | No Comments

China IP Protection Practices Snapshot and Predictions

Product companies and research organizations have long complained about theft of intellectual property (IP) and lax enforcement of intellectual property rights in China. Forced technology transfers have been another major grievance of foreign companies setting up local operations in China.

Despite the potential risks of IP leaks and bureaucratic limitations, the lure of the enormous Chinese consumers market is impossible to resist and for some companies it may very well represent an essential component of their long-term growth strategy.

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Wine is a Mocker (Jan Steen, 1663–64)

The Industrial Internet of Things: When the Party is Over

By | AR/VR, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Internet of Things, Manufacturing, Mergers & Acquisitions | No Comments

IoT Industry Snapshot and Predictions

The industrial Internet of Things community is finally beginning to sober up from the bacchanalia of counting connected IoT devices and terabytes of cloud data storage that has dominated the IoT narrative for too long.

IoT platform vendors and consultants are shifting their focus from the lower rung of the IoT technology stack that focuses on device connectivity to the other end of the stack, to technologies that provide meaningful business value: multidisciplinary data aggregation, complex data analytics and higher capacity for optimal decision-making.

Robust articulation of the business value of industrial IoT has been absent from much of the narrative, in the vein of “if you build it, they will come.” Many IoT platform vendors provide tools to draw snazzy dashboards, plot complex data graphs and display virtual gauges. But their data analytics tools are not as robust and trending and predictive capabilities are over optimistic. And the recent rush to add statistical analysis tools (often linear regression tools masqueraded as artificial intelligence and machine learning) will face real-world challenges of data biases, inconsistency and scale. Read More

PTC Rockwell Partnership

PTC and Rockwell Automation Partnership: A New Era of PLM Competition Begins

By | Internet of Things, Manufacturing, PLM | No Comments

PLM software vendor PTC and factory automation equipment maker Rockwell Automation recently announced  a partnership agreement. As reported, Rockwell is making a $1 billion equity investment in PTC to acquire 10.6 million newly-issued PTC shares and will become its third-largest shareholder. Rockwell will also get a seat at PTC’s board of directors.

This partnership is significant and will change the balance among the top-tier PLM and factory automation vendors for years to come. Read More

Suprematist Composition (Kazimir Malevich, 1916)

Design for Manufacturing as a Knowledge Management Tool

By | Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Manufacturing | No Comments

In the first part of this two-part blog article, I discussed how two global high-tech manufacturing companies use validation tools to formalize and automate the design review process for downstream manufacturing, thereby reducing costly and time-consuming rework and engineering change orders, manufacturing defects, and costs.

In this article, I discuss the benefits of using formal manufacturability validation tools as a mechanism for best-practice knowledge capture and continuous improvement.

A Growing Manufacturing Knowledge Gap

Many design engineers lack theoretical and practical manufacturing process knowledge in well-established manufacturing disciplines such as injection molding, casting, and sheet metal fabrication. This gap is more pronounced in newer manufacturing processes that involve composite materials and additive manufacturing. Read More

Suprematist Composition (Kazimir Malevich, 1916)

Design for Manufacturing: Getting it Right the First Time Pays Off

By | Manufacturing | One Comment

Competing in a Global Market – What’s Your Competitive Advantage?

Today’s global marketplace gives companies access to more customers and greater growth possibilities. But to succeed in a crowded, hypercompetitive market requires companies to outperform the competition in speed to market, product quality, competitive pricing, and strong margins.

Traditional product leadership tends to focus, not unreasonably, on competitive functionality and cost. But all too often management neglects to consider the far-reaching impact that suboptimal design could have during prototyping and manufacturing volume ramp up.  Whether because of time pressure, lack of experience, or just complacency, many product organizations often ignore downstream manufacturing during product design.

Study after study shows that inept design for manufacturability leads to unnecessary engineering changes, slower time to market, and higher manufacturing ramp up costs. Meeting project schedules, achieving a high level of quality, and controlling production costs are highly dependent on getting designs right the first time. Read More