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Why Should Manufacturers Care About CES?

It’s that time again. This year’s Consumer Electronics Showcase has struck the headlines and tech fans are lining up to see the coolest gadgets and innovations from some of the biggest names in the business.

This year’s exhibits are expected to draw about 170,000 people, including journalists, investors, analysts, researchers, and other tech enthusiasts, as well as the heads of multi-billion dollar companies who will be presenting everything from software and drones, to hair-loss treatment devices and even the world’s first fitness tracker bra.

While CES is a great place to see exciting and even outlandish devices for the first time, does it really matter to most people outside of the tech sector and its followers?

If American tech giants like Google, Apple, and Microsoft have only a minimal presence compared to smaller and international developers, why should other U.S. manufacturers pay much mind to what happens and comes out of CES 2016?

CESImage Source: Popular Science

Will Your Industry Be Affected?
You might be quick to say that your company isn’t likely to be affected by consumer electronic trends from a production and selling standpoint. No one could fault you for not showing the least bit concern with the latest virtual gaming console or a calorie counting smart-shoe.

However, we’ve already seen how products and technology featured at past CES exhibits end up playing a role in industrial and professional sectors.

That’s happened with drones that are now regularly used at construction sites, intuitively managed interactive robots that help with warehouse and factory tasks, and software that allows you to monitor virtually any aspect of your business.

Perhaps an electronic device, system, and technology featured at this year’s showcase could end up shaping the near future, collectively or within your niche.

CES1Image Source: USA Today

Shaping Your Future…Maybe
What are some of the biggest features from CES 2016 that will be most likely to affect manufacturers? Apart from new improvements on familiar tech like drones,  robots, and 3D printing capabilities, there are a few trends to which manufacturers may want to start paying close attention.

If you’re in or serve the automotive sector, you probably already know that cars are essentially becoming large gadgets. Connectivity, self-driving capabilities, and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology will probably become just as important as fuel efficiency, body material, and other conventional automotive factors.

We’ll also see new emphasis on data collection, use, and security as the Internet of Things builds across homes, businesses, and public spaces.

And while it’s true that many products at CES will only seek to create a need rather than serve as a real solution, maybe the next trendy wearable, super compact drone, or flashy virtual reality system could help make your life, and work day, a little bit easier.

Will you be following new developments to come out of CES 2016?

Is there a hyped technology that you’re especially eager to see?

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Autonomous Mobile Robots Unleash Greater Efficiency In Smart Factories

Autonomous mobile robots or AMRs increase production line flexibility by moving materials between robotic work stations. Instead of adjusting and rebuilding whole production lines to accommodate different products or materials, manufacturers need only reprogram AMRs integrated with robotic smart factories. AMRs can supply materials to production lines and move products off main lines into specialized assembly stations to achieve different outcomes. This versatility decreases factory downtime by eliminating a lengthy retooling of an entire production system.

Affordability Driving More Robot Adoption

The automotive industry has long been a leader in robotic factories due to automakers’ deep pockets. Financial barriers to entry for other industries have eased in recent years. The expense of adding new robots has gone down, but robot capabilities continue to rise.

Vector 3D HD omnidirectional autonomous mobile robot docking to EnZone wireless charging station. Credit: PattyK33

The packaging industry has noticed the ROI potential of AMRs. Packaging operations have always involved highly automated systems, and AMRs represent a natural next step. They offer an affordable way to increase packaging output and expand product packaging capabilities. Packaging industry experts expect reprogrammable AMRs to give packagers a competitive edge. Facilities with integrated AMRs could switch between products quickly and avoid costly adjustments to a whole production line.

Safety Improvements On Top Of Efficiency Gains

Supply chain specialist K. Hartwall has introduced an AMR called A-Mate. It is a robust AMR capable of moving loads up to 1,000 kg in tight spaces. The K. Hartwall CEO said that the A-Mate was designed with safety in mind. It can lift heavy loads up to one meter without supportive scissor lifts. Programmable movements allow it to mesh predictably with other automated production equipment and reduce human interactions with heavy machinery.

OTTO 1500 self-driving vehicle (SDV) for heavy-load material transport in warehouses, distribution centers and factories. Credit: M P Hennessey

Has the facility where you work added AMRs to the system? Comment about your experience or suggest how an AMR could improve your operation.

ABOUT K. Hartwall

Logistics is entering a transformative phase in which the speed of innovation will increase and handling volumes will grow exponentially.

Key industry trends such as robotics and automation, prediction enabled through IoT and data analytics and increased demand for sustainable solutions will shape the way forward for logistics in all industries.

At K.Hartwall we strive to create future-fit logistics solutions that answer the needs of our customers and bolsters their industry development. Over the years, we have become specialized in smart logistics solutions for the retail, post and parcel and automotive industries.

K.Hartwall is the driving force in logistics.

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New mRNA Technology to Remake Vaccine Research and Production

Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is the central technology behind the rapid creation of the Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines. Known as cell-based vaccine technology, mRNA mimics the way cells generate proteins that activate immune responses. The process provides advantages over old vaccine production methods that relied on culturing viruses within eggs. Cell-based technology allows for increased vaccine efficacy and makes it possible for manufacturing facilities to produce multiple vaccine products at the same time.

Marriage of Biology and Computation Power

The scientific discipline of bioinformatics sequences DNA, which produces RNA messengers to carry out its functions. Modern advances in computational power speed this process and help researchers learn how to manipulate the immune response. As a result, scientists increasingly have the means of controlling dangerous viruses, like coronavirus and Ebola. In terms of vaccine production, the new method increases vaccine yields, purity, and potency.

The breakthroughs resulting from bioinformatics and mRNA will require a new generation of production equipment, including bioreactors and fermenters. Demand for such vaccines will be high around the world due to the devastation and economic disruption caused by outbreaks and pandemics.

Vast Potential Beyond Coronavirus

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 has focused the global research and pharmaceutical industries on vaccine development and production. Science could bring many viruses under control, such as Zika, Epstein-Barr, or Lassa. The massive global efforts that delivered a coronavirus vaccine in under a year will also be called upon as new viruses emerge. Variations of influenza could threaten human populations at any time.

Higher Demand for Refrigeration Equipment

At this point, mRNA vaccines must be stored and transported at extremely low temperatures. The Pfizer vaccine must be kept at -70 Celsius, and the Moderna vaccine needs a temperature of -20 Celsius. Pfizer already maintains massive freezer farms for holding vaccines.

As the global population continues to cope with coronavirus and future threats, refrigeration manufacturers could experience greater demand for their products. Let us know if your industry expects additional business due to the ballooning growth of vaccine production.

ABOUT Pfizer

We help protect as many people as possible from life-threatening illness with quality vaccines that make an impact across all stages of life by combining unrelenting passion, global impact, and an enduring quest for progress to unlock the promise and value that vaccines hold for our world.

Our passion for science, for delivering excellence, and for people’s health drive bold advancements in Research and Design (R&D) and high-quality manufacturing to consistently make a meaningful impact on public health. Passion drives our organization and permeates everything we do.

From our research scientists to our business operations teams, Pfizer Vaccines is comprised of passionate, world-class employees who work every day to translate cutting-edge science into next-generation vaccines that improve people’s lives.

ABOUT Moderna

Every cell in the body uses mRNA to provide real-time instructions to make the proteins necessary to drive all aspects of biology, including in human health and disease.

Given its essential role, we believe mRNA could be used to create a new category of medicines with significant potential to improve the lives of patients.

We are pioneering a new class of medicines made of messenger RNA, or mRNA. The potential implications of using mRNA as a drug are significant and far-reaching and could meaningfully improve how medicines are discovered, developed, and manufactured.

Since our founding in 2010, we have worked to build the industry’s leading mRNA technology platform, the infrastructure to accelerate drug discovery and early development, a rapidly expanding pipeline, and a world-class team.

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GM Announces Plans To Launch Self-Driving Taxis As Early As 2019

General Motors (GM) has announced ambitious plans for a 2019 commercial launch of autonomous taxis, which the company aims to release in multiple cities. Described as a direct challenge to other autonomous vehicle tech ventures, including Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and Uber Technologies, the move represents a large step forward for prevalence of self-driving vehicles in everyday life.

FileCruise Automation Bolt EV third generation in San Franciscojpg

Image Source: Wikimedia

Autonomous Taxis In A Matter Of Months

With the success of the electric Chevrolet Bolt, its acquisition of Cruise Automation last year, and its $500 million investment in ride-sharing company Lyft also in 2016, GM’s move into the autonomous ride-hauling service race isn’t much of a surprise, but their claim that they can make this roll-out a reality in such a short time has turned a lot of heads. “If we continue on our current rate of change we will be ready to deploy this technology, in a large scale, in the most complex environments, in 2019,” GM President Dan Ammann said.

A Goal For Safe, Low-Cost Transportation

Ammann also stated that safety would be the deciding factor on when driverless taxis ultimately hit city streets. GM did not name specific locations for their launch but for “dense urban environments”. They have also stressed the economic benefits for riders. GM’s CFO Chuck Stevens has said that with the launch of their autonomous taxis, “We have a path to take 40 percent of the cost out of ride services,” taking charges to less than $1 per mile by 2025 compared to roughly $2.50 per mile today according to a Reuters’ report.

Image Source: The Detroit News

Who Will Win The Self-Driving Race?

While GM has the right umbrella of capabilities to make this type of autonomous launch a reality in less than two years, Uber, Waymo, and other companies are closing in on the race to get autonomous taxis deployed in major cities and adjacent suburbs. Whatever company will be most successful with their brand is not yet clear, but one thing appears sure: public access to autonomous vehicles is just around the corner.


What are your thoughts on GM’s plans? Comment and tell us what you think of this story.

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