Three cheers for you Dr. Jim! Maybe you can help me tell it like it is! When the day comes that "In Plant/On-Site/in-car" modular/scaleable power systems become a fact of life a the true renaissance of creative production will follow. Please help me explain why we need patent office upgrades NOW befor all the creative genious leaves this country.
Yes, this industry is entrenched, but they have also shown a history of breaking through the entrenchment when it means savings. The breakthrough here is high energy prices. That woke up the plant world to changes that can reduce energy consumption.
Another irony here is that automation and control technology is now frequently making the difference between alternative energy that is too expensive to match traditional energy and alternative energy the meets or beats the cost of traditional energy.
My initial reaction to this article is, "Its about time!" The energy grid is almost universally acknowledged to be arcane and inefficient... by everyone. Except those with a vested interest in its preservation. Close colleagues of mine who have developed high-energy storage flywheels (of the magnetically levitated variety) have been trying for years to penetrate this fortress. Unsucessfully. Despite the President's proclamation to emphasize energy independence, this industry is just to deeply entrenched in corporate and governmental politics to permit change. It so frustrating for those (99.9%) of us who really care.
Information about energy usage is definitely now more prevalent when purchasing injection molding machinery. Up to a few years ago, the only real information that was supplied with a piece of machinery was the size of the over current breaker. Machines now come with energy monitoring software as standard components to help manage energy usage. The addition of actual energy efficient hydraulic pumps and servo drives which were used initially in energy expensive Europe are working their way to North America. This is great news for the bottom line.
The in-efficiency of the power grid in China limits the ability to produce product in the country. In a recent trip to Asia, we experienced energy rationing in the city of Shenzhen where the power was shut off to industrial areas on rotating days. This created headaches where we travelled 6000 miles to produce parts, and there was no power to do so. This is another reason to bring production back to the US.
I remember covering the beginning of the concern about energy consumption in control and automation. It was only about four years ago. Before that, energy was so cheap, it wasn't a concern. There seems to be a progression. Cut labor costs, improve the efficiency of the process, and then cut energy costs.
This progression brings down the cost of production. Meanwhile, labor costs are rising in Asia and shipping costs are growing. Add it all up and soon it will be efficient to produce goods aimed for North America in North America.
This counter trend has already started. TI and others are bringing more production back to North America. Production aimed for Europe is beginning to migrate to Eastern Europe.
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Wearables are changing the way we see ourselves. With onboard sensors that have access to our bodies, we are starting to know our physical selves like never before, quantifying our activity, our heart rate, breathing, and even our muscle effort.
Last week, the bill for reforming chemical regulation, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015, passed the House. If it or a similar bill becomes law, the effects on cost and availability of adhesives and plastics incorporating these substances are not yet clear.
This year, Design News is getting a head start on the Fourth of July celebration. In honor of our country and its legacy of engineering innovation -- in all of its forms -- we are taking you on an alphabetical tour through all 50 states to showcase interesting engineering breakthroughs and historically significant events.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.