Makerarm’s robotic fabrication system combines the functions of more than a dozen manufacturing machines—3D printing, milling, laser engraving, soldering, vinyl cutting, circuit board assembly—and fits on a desktop.
Makerarm is taking preorders for the main tower and three basic tool heads on its website for $1,499. The tower with all 19 heads and add-ons costs $4,847.
But it’s not this blistering performance that has attracted a strategic partnership with France’s PSA Group. It’s the drastic drop in manufacturing cost and complexity that Divergent Manufacturing Platform promises. Here’s what Czinger reckons it will cost to set up a factory for annual production of 10,000 units: 16 3-D printers, 10 flexible robots, 50 technicians, 20 additional staff, and a 100,000-square-foot building. That’s $42 million for the factory and $30 million in tooling.
Those numbers compare with $250 million to build a traditional factory plus $250 million for comparable conventional manufacturing tool-and-die equipment. By his accounting, the rolling chassis unit cost also comes in $500 cheaper (at $3,500), which brings the fully amortized per-vehicle savings of about $3,900. Imagine PSA’s savings on the mainstream Peugeot or Citroën it plans to build this way within three years at 180,000 to 200,000 units annually. Much of that cost and emissions reduction comes by eliminating the paint shop. The aluminum and carbon-fiber chassis doesn’t need it, and the unstressed composite body panels get molded in color or wrapped.
When it only takes a small fortune to get into the car business, Divergent envisions many 10,000-unit microfactories springing up around the country, which would create local jobs and promote local entrepreneurship—just like at the dawn of the automotive age when 1,800 automakers dotted the U.S. landscape.
Must be spring – in the last couple of weeks I have noticed neighbors getting new sod, redoing their HVAC, their roof and their driveway. In each case I have stopped at talked to the contractors – amazingly they can do all their projects in a day or two.
Each one benefits from efficiencies at the “factories” designed to make the implementation at our homes so much more efficient than 10-30-50 years ago – from the squares the sod is cut into and the palettes they are delivered on, the dense packs the insulation comes in and expands as it is blown in, the design of the shingles to work with modern guns designed to staple them and survive hurricane strength winds, the cement designed to be mixed in small lots at our houses.
Watch the four videos below if it interests you on how sod, insulation, shingles and cement are manufactured. BTW, none of these factories are the biggest or most efficient for each product class, but I can spend hours watching such videos.
Along with Warren Buffett’s annual letter I look forward to that from the GE CEO. It is chockful of STEM and innovation angles and anecdotes.
The graph below from his latest annual investor letter shows some of Immelt’s moves to turn GE into a “Digital Industrial” company - sensors, material science, additive manufacturing and much more in its changing product portfolio and processes around the world.
In writing my recent book, Silicon Collar I saw several mismatches in the labor market. There have been nearly 5 million unfilled jobs for 4+ years. Yet, people have racked up over a trillion in student debt for education many cannot parlay into jobs. Higher education still thinks in terms of 4-6-8 years of formal school when the average job is lasting 5 years or less. We need to revisit our learning methods and fast.
I have also written about how cities like Greenville, SC and Fort Worth, TX have reinvented themselves with next-gen manufacturing and logistics.
So, I was pleased to see that DeVry offers an Advanced Manufacturing Bootcamp. I got this from their CMO
“Advanced manufacturing teams play an important role in building America’s future. The landscape of U.S. manufacturing is changing, and there are good opportunities for people with the right technical skills.
DeVry’s ONLINE SKILLS TRAINING is a blend of step-by-step explanations, interactive visuals, simulations and assessments that enabling you to master up to 11 career-oriented Advanced Manufacturing Programs at your own pace.
Many of the programs can be completed in as little as 2 to 3 months, quickly preparing you to pursue specific, entry-level manufacturing positions across a variety of industries.”
If you have heard of the Golden Triangle, it might be because of this: Mississippi State football. Around here, everybody loves the Bulldogs. And “bulldog” is an apt description of the man who runs economic development for the area: Joe Max Higgins. He considers job creation a full contact sport.
At 6.0 percent, unemployment is now just above the national average and a lot of people here credit Joe Max Higgins. He has attracted $6 billion of advanced industry including this mill run by Steel Dynamics. It’s one of the most hi-tech steel mills in the country. He got this helicopter factory up and running. Truck maker PACCAR used to build engines only in Europe. It opened its first U.S. plant in the Triangle.
Aerospace giant Boeing (BA), the country's largest exporter, started delivering 787 Dreamliners from its new plant in South Carolina in 2012. Both that factory and the company's plants in Washington state are running at record production. Boeing delivered 768 airliners in 2015, up 163% in 10 years. Archrival Airbus delivered its first U.S.-assembled airliner from its new Alabama factory in April, and Brazilian plane maker Embraer (ERJ) recently moved assembly of its smallest private jets to Florida.
U.S. auto production and employment has also been growing steadily since bottoming out in 2009 with the bankruptcies at GM and Chrysler.The industry is operating within 7% of record levels, making 12 million cars and trucks a year. Not only have GM (GM), Ford (F) and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) all been hiring and investing in U.S. plants, but foreign automakers are expanding operations here as well. The largest BMW plant in the world is now in South Carolina, and the plant exports most of the cars it builds there (see video below)
And the boom isn't just about big-ticket items. Chemical production hit a record $797 billion last year, up 30% in the last 10 years. The chemical boom has been fueled by the record U.S. energy boom, which has made oil and natural gas particularly cheap. Petroleum is a key raw material for many chemicals, most of which are produced using energy from natural gas.