In yesterday’s post I introduced the concept of “process robots”, and showed how they are already being deployed within supply networks to automatically do the work. For the most part these process robots have been hidden from view, lurking deep in the bowels of our supply networks solving a range of problems from simple matching […]
Earlier this month, I participated in the CONECT 12th Annual Northeast Cargo Symposium where I gave a talk on Hours of Service and shared some words of advice with CONECT’s Young Professionals group, which had their own session at the conference.
In 2000, five MIT Media Lab alumni co-founded ThingMagic to help bring radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology—wireless readers and data-transmitting tags—to the supply chain. This meant companies would be able to track products, from the warehouse to delivery.
I believe we’re witnessing the birth of a new transportation mode, one that will take many years to develop and mature (but will probably happen sooner than we think), and one that will make our current discussions about driverless cars and...
ERP enabled Business Process Reengineering. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes of an organization to achieve dramatic improvement.
There is no escaping the social media hype in today’s press. While the platforms are not necessarily geared for logistics, there are important parallels in logistics to what has made the social media market so successful.
Using a 3D printer, people can already determine the length, width and depth of an object that they create. Thanks to research being conducted at the University of Colorado, Boulder, however, a fourth dimension can now be included – time. And no, we're not talking about how long it takes to 3D-print an item. Instead, it's now possible to print objects that change their shape at a given time.
The scientists, led by Prof. H. Jerry Qi, have developed a "4D printing" process in which shape-memory polymer fibers are deposited in key areas of a composite material item as it's being printed. By carefully controlling factors such as the location and orientation of the fibers, those areas of the item will fold, stretch, curl or twist in a predictable fashion when exposed to a stimulus such as water, heat or mechanical pressure.
The concept was proposed earlier this year by MIT's Skylar Tibbits, who used his own 4D printing process to create a variety of small self-assembling objects. "We advanced this concept by creating composite materials that can morph into several different, complicated shapes based on a different physical mechanism,” said Martin L. Dunn of the Singapore University of Technology and Design, who collaborated with Qi on the latest research.
This means that one 4D-printed object could change shape in different ways, depending on the type of stimulus to which it was exposed. That functionality could make it possible (for example) to print a photovoltaic panel in a flat shape, expose it to water to cause it to fold up for shipping, and then expose it to heat to make it fold out to yet another shape that's optimal for catching sunlight.
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