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Lexus has collaborated with a team of scientists from IFW Dresden and evico GmbH, who specialize in magnetic levitation technology, to finally make Marty McFly’s hoverboard a reality. The Lexus Hoverboard operates using magnetic levitation to achieve frictionless movement. Liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors (made of yttrium, barium, copper, and oxygen) and 200 meters of specially designed magnetic track allow the board to hover a couple inches off the ground.
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Enser has designed and built numerous tools and fixtures throughout all 3 of these Siemens facilities, proud to be a dedicated vendor for over 40 years!
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There are turbines that resemble trees, and turbines that resemble donuts, and now there are turbines that resemble… sticks. A Spanish company has designed tall, narrow pillars that generate vortexes around their circumference, bending the structures back and forth. As the pillars oscillate, embedded magnets convert the movement to electricity. The Verge points out that the towers capture 30% less power than a similarly-sized bladed turbine, but the lack of moving parts and gears vastly simplifies their construction and maintenance costs.
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Traditional food purveyors Hershey and the Culinary Institute of America take a step into the future, experimenting with 3-D food printing. From Hershey Park to Hyde Park, Bloomberg’s Ramy Inocencio goes into special labs and kitchens to see the 3-D printed food we may be eating in the near future.
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A company called MX3D plans to use robots to ‘draw’ a bridge into midair over an Amsterdam canal.
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by Megan Crouse, Digital Reporter Harry Moser, the former president of machine tool company GF AgieCharmilles, is on a mission to bring manufacturing back to the United States. His Reshoring Initiative offers resources and information for companies which want to move factories from overseas to the U.S. He spoke to Product Design and Development in an exclusive interview about the reshoring movement and what it can offer engineers. “It is very important to note that the design engineer can work most efficiently with the manufacturer if they’re in the same building or city or state,” Moser said. “They can optimize the product or the process of making it when they can get together and speak the same language. So the engineer will be more successful if he or she is physically close to the manufacturing site. “Second, if the manufacturer is going to China and the best way to improve efficiency is to bring the manufacturer and engineer together, you either move manufacturing and engineering together in the U.S., or move both to China. Would you rather move engineering to manufacturing in China, or rather do research to determine whether you can bring the manufacturing back to the United States and keep your job?” Moser recently contributed a chapter to a book called Remaking America, a collection of essays on reshoring. He has also visited several conferences in his capacity as founder of the Reshoring Initiative, and says that more and more companies are showing interest in reshoring. He spoke to the American Gear Manufacturers Association and American Bearing Manufacturers Association recently at their annual meeting, and said that 54 percent of people in attendance reported either they or their customers had reshored recently. “That’s a big number,” Moser said. “I know I wouldn’t have gotten that number three or four years ago, so to me that’s very impressive. This week I spoke at ISM (the Institute of Supply Management) and again a good percentage of people I met had interest, and some of them were actively involved in their company with trying to figure out what to bring back and how to do the analyses of what to bring back.” Chief among those analyses is the cost of reshoring. The Reshoring Initiative offers a Total Cost of Owning estimator, which factors in the various costs associated with manufacturing and calculates the possible difference if the company was to reshore. The biggest challenge facing companies that want to reshore is the cost, he said. The common belief that it costs more to make a product in the U.S. is true, due largely to higher wage rates, he said. He pointed to Germany as an example of a country that produces much of its goods within the country and still has a trade surplus. Germany, Moser said, is a good example of a country in which workers gain a lot of technical and hands-on training at university and afterward, and are therefore highly productive and adapt well to technology. This means, he said, that companies can afford to pay them more, because they make more per person and more per machine. “If you’re going to have high wage rates like we do you have to have more people with higher skills and better automation. And if we do that we can bring things back to the shore, because they can do it in Germany,” Moser said. While it isn’t a manufacturer itself, Moser said that WalMart has been doing a good job encouraging reshoring through its Made in the USA / JUMP (Jobs in U.S. Manufacturing Portal) program, on which he consulted. “They’re certainly doing reshoring the most,” he said. “Their commitment is to purchase an incremental $250 billion over the ten years ending with 2023.” Ideally, reshoring could save companies money, Moser said. Business owners, he said, need to ask themselves: “Does the overhead come down more than the labor cost goes up?” “You eliminate the duty and freight for bringing it into the country. You don’t have as much inventory because you make it and deliver it just when you need it. You don’t have travel when you go to the supplier. You don’t have much intellectual property risk. When you have engineers and manufacturers in the building next to one another, they can innovate more efficiently. You don’t run out as often. You don’t have as much excess inventory. When you add all those factors up, are they enough to make up for the higher labor costs? And in some cases the answer is yes and in some cases the answer is no.” Balancing all these numbers is the purpose of the Reshoring Initiative’s Total Cost of Ownership analyzer. Moser hopes that it will bring more manufacturing, and more jobs, back into the United States. Moser recommended both the analyzer and WalMart’s JUMP program to business owners who are considering reshoring. The Reshoring Initiative has something else that might be the key as well: success stories. Their website collects testimonials from business owners who have made the move. “The best way to get someone to consider reshoring is to show them that other people have been successful in doing so,” Moser said.new_shoring_made_in_usa_products
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Enser was recently contacted from a local inventor, Tom Scannell, an ironworker who had a great idea to save lives in the construction industry. Tom invented this device called the Cable Vault to maintain complete control of tie-off safety perimeter cables on construction job sites. This device goes over the safety wire cable and Crosby clips that secure the wiring to the frame so that none of the sub-contractors on the job can loosen the clips, very simple but will save lives. For more information, visit their web site: www.cablevault.net .
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smrInfographic%20long Nuclear energy continues to be an important part of America’s diverse energy portfolio, and the Energy Department is committed to supporting a domestic nuclear industry. While we are supporting the deployment of passively safe large nuclear reactors, both in the United States and around the world, we are also looking to the next generation of nuclear energy technologies. Today, the Department announced a new award that supports first-of-its-kind engineering, design certification and licensing for an innovative small modular reactor (SMR) design. Supporting this innovative technology will help advance low-carbon nuclear energy deployment in the United States. What is a Small Modular Reactor? Small modular reactors are approximately one-third the size of current nuclear power plants or about 300 megawatts — enough to power almost 230,000 homes each year. These reactors feature simplified, compact designs that are expected to be cost-effective and incredibly safe. For example, small modular reactors could be manufactured in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready for installation upon arrival, reducing both capital costs and construction times. SMR designs also have built-in passive safety systems that use the natural circulation of air, water and steam to maintain the right conditions for operation. At the commercial scale, SMRs could expand the options for nuclear power in the U.S. and around the world. The smaller size also makes these reactors ideal for small electric grids and for locations that cannot support large reactors, in addition to offering utilities the flexibility to scale production as demand changes. The investment made today builds upon the Department’s broader efforts to promote a sustainable nuclear industry in the U.S., including cultivating the next generation of scientists and engineers and solving common challenges across the industry. Check out more on these efforts at www.energy.gov/nuclear.
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As this stunning time-lapse video shows, engineers have made huge progress on the construction of Chernobyl’s New Safe Confinement, an immense shield that will replace the infamous reactor’s crumbling sarcophagus. As previously reported in The Engineer, in order to protect engineers from unsafe levels of radiation the development of this vast steel arch called for an innovative construction approach that has seen it assembled 600m away from the reactor and then slid into place along specially built tracks. The shield is being assembled in two halves which are being joined together before being moved into place above the reactor The shield is being assembled in two halves which are being joined together before being moved into place above the reactor Funded by 46 different countries and organisations through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the shelter is the key element in a €2.15bn international effort to clean up the remains of mankind’s worst nuclear accident. Completion of the project is scheduled for the end of 2017. The EBRD recently agreed (December 2014) to provide an additional €350m funding for the project in order to help close an anticpated funding gap of€615m. The G7 / European Commission are also organising a pledging event for other potential donors that is due to take place in the spring of 2015. Chernobyl’s New Safe Confinement – the facts Weight – 30,000 tonnes Height – 110m Width – 250m length – 150m
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