How big does a company have to be to qualify as "small to medium"? And what are the steps a company has to go through in order to get involved in this sort of public-private partnership? This seems like a great way to help fund projects which could have a major impact, but might not pay off in the short term. I'm willing to bet that many engineers and their managers are completely unaware of these possibilities.
I remember that story, Doug. It was really interesting and you're right, Tom Lange is very easy and open to talk to. P&G believes it's in their best interest to make the technology readily available to smaller suppliers because the more they leverage simulation to take costs out of their processes, whether it's around materials or production operations, the more that will utlimately benefit P&G's customers. Of course, the simulation offerings are based on open source work, but Lange says P&G has developed interfaces to the core open source solvers that make it far more accessible to the mainstream. Let's hope a lot of the suppliers make use of the offer.
P&G's simulation software is world class, and the fact they are making it freely available up and down their supply chain is a big deal. Engineers at P&G use the company's proprietary simulation software to improve thousands of product designs every year. The result is significant materials' savings, as well as products that are more manufacturable and marketable. If you can get access to this software, get on the phone with Tom Lange ASAP. He's a good guy and easy to talk to.
Here's another example of large companies dragging their suppliers into the new technology world. Many have argued that technology adoption occurs when large companies push technology down their supply chain. Walmart did it like a hammer when it forced its supplier to adopt RFID a few years ago. Looks like P&G has friendlier approach with its suppliers.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.