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AMT Tech Trends: Automation Boom(er)

Episode 52: Stephen tears off into a rant about self-checkout and how without it we wouldn’t have curbside pickup at grocery stores. Benjamin shares some vehicle performance data from his recent road trip to Tail of the Dragon. Ben then introduces ...
Jun 25, 2021

Episode 52: Stephen tears off into a rant about self-checkout and how without it we wouldn’t have curbside pickup at grocery stores. Benjamin shares some vehicle performance data from his recent road trip to Tail of the Dragon. Ben then introduces recent advances toward machine tools capable of making parts larger than the entirety of the machine itself. Steve talks about an ultra-premium audio company utilizing fully automated multi-million-dollar manufacturing cells. Ben closes with a discussion on design versus production.

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Stephen LaMarca:         Hello everybody and welcome to the AMT Tech Trends podcast. I am your host Stephen LaMarca, AMT's Technology Analyst, and I am here with...

Benjamin Moses:          Benjamin Moses, the Director of Technology. How's it going, Steve?

Stephen LaMarca:         It's going well, Ben. I can't wait to hear about your recent road trip, but before we get into that, minor gripe. While I was struggling to get out of bed this morning and flipping through Facebook, I saw a meme and it was a rather poorly done meme, and considering it was also on Facebook, I could tell what generation of American had generated this meme, and especially by the meme's content. It was basically a meme griping about self-checkout centers at grocery stores, self-checkout registers at grocery stores and how they're killing jobs and how you're not a employee at the grocery store so you are obligated to not use self-checkout and you should never use the self-checkout register.

                                    And this got me mildly butt-hurt because, number one we've heard of my rant on the podcast before, my love for McDonald's automation when it's implemented properly and when the staff is trained properly to use it. Boom, key word right there, when the staff is properly trained to use it. It still requires staff. You still need to have human employees at a location even though you're implementing automation. But anyway, moving on to like grocery stores and this terribly done meme with a distorted picture because it wasn't scaled and sized properly for the image. I'll stop there. But my beef with this meme, as anybody's beef with this meme and the manufacturing, not even just manufacturing industry, people who use grocery stores know that self-checkout is great. I mean, if you still want to use a human cashier and a human register, you have that option, but you're going to have to sit in a line for it.

                                    For example, I'll use self-checkout whenever I possibly can and it's because it's faster and my time is worth money. Sure, I'm not employed there, I'm not getting paid to use it, but my time is worth money and the faster I get out of there, the less it costs me. I mean, anybody who knows downtime understands that. If I've got like alcohol in the cart, if I've got a bottle of wine or a six-pack or a case of beer, I'm not going to bother with self-checkout because then I still need human interaction, somebody to card me, so I'll just get in line.

                                    And sometimes I'm really lazy and I don't want to bag my own stuff, so I'll get into the line for the cashier to have somebody do it, even though they're not necessarily trained to bag properly anymore, so sometimes it behooves you to bag your own stuff. But the whole point is that there's the argument on that it's taking jobs away when, no it isn't because there's a pivot in the employment, sure. There's less of a need for cashiers, but there will always be a need for cashiers, human cashiers, because there will be some people who want it and I just gave the example of why you would want a human cashier in some cases, and that's from somebody who likes to use self-checkout and likes the automation technology of self-checkout.

                                    But the other advantage is... This meme, this terrible meme was posted on the internet, a new tool to the person who probably created the meme, and the beauty of the internet and technological advance in general is you now have a new method of doing things and everything else has... It's a disruption, so everything else is disrupted by it and thus has to adapt to this new tool that is being implemented. And the beauty of that is, sure, while there are less cashiers at your local grocery store, now you can go online, do all of your grocery shopping without leaving the comfort of your own home, couch, or bed, select all of the things that you want to purchase, or you need to pick up for making dinner tonight, you can buy it online and then pay, do everything.

                                    You select all the stuff, you pay for it, and then check out online, and then you don't even have to get dressed. You just get in your car, you go over to the grocery store, don't even have to get out of your car. Somebody comes to your car, loads your trunk up with all of your groceries. You just created a job by doing that right and that person who did the shopping for you and loaded your car for you, they would have been a cashier if it wasn't for self-checkout. So before you start attacking people, I'm not saying that you're attacking people, but before this person started attacking people for using self-checkout and eliminating a job and saying that you don't work at the grocery store, you're right, you don't work at the grocery store so how dare you go to the grocery store and start looking through their aisles of inventory when they're supposed to be doing that, they're paid to do that.

                                    You don't belong in a grocery store, you belong in your car and they bring this stuff out to you. So it's a terrible argument and it was a meme that really got me fired up this morning. And I tried to keep that short and we're at six minutes now.

Benjamin Moses:          I have a couple of takeaways. One, you still go to Facebook for social media content, which a bad... You need to step away from that.

Stephen LaMarca:         I know. I know. I'm just as bad as those people, that generation.

Benjamin Moses:          The other thing is the hypothesis of this new technology is going to eliminate jobs is constantly being proven wrong, right? So, time and time again, yeah there is a shift in, "Hey, this new thing. We're not sure how this fits in the overall market or how we use it, or how humans need to be staffed around it," but then over time they solve itself.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          And it generally makes for a better environment. So your case of the self-checkout gets into a hybrid environment, right? So you have the option to go to full-serve checkout or self-serve checkout and it allows for more flexible environment. And that's one of the key takeaways in my road trip is that-

Stephen LaMarca:         Right, right. Before we get into the road trip, I just want to say the key takeaway, there's bad news and there's good news. The bad news is this argument will never die. People will continue to say that automation is taking people's jobs and the good news is this argument will constantly be proven wrong-

Benjamin Moses:          By people who make terrible memes.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes.

Benjamin Moses:          The other takeaway is if you're on social media and see a bad meme, you can't trust that person.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. So, I took a road trip down to Tennessee and I put about 1400 miles on the car over four days. So to summarize the entire trip, I can do that really quickly in miles per gallon. So driving back, I got about 34 miles to the gallon. I think it was mainly because it was more downhill I guess, versus going there. Going there, I got about 32 miles to the gallon.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay. 32 versus 34.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Not bad.

Benjamin Moses:          Great mileage for this big car. It was a massive car.

Stephen LaMarca:         Excellent, excellent mileage for a car that weighs as much as the USS Arizona and makes 400 plus horsepower combined. You know, so that's really impressive. Just as a reference, a control, my car, very lightweight for a modern car, it's 2700-2800 pounds, which is stupid lightweight. It's under 3000 pounds, and makes no power. Around 200 at the crank, but probably closer to like 160-170 at the wheel and manual transmission. And on road trips, I'll hit 34 occasionally, but if I'm driving flat out, it's 14 to 19 miles a gallon. And my average driving around town and highway mileage is around 24 miles a gallon. But you're doing better than I am at a car that's way heavier and makes way more power. So it's crazy how far we've come, but go on.

Benjamin Moses:          And while in Tennessee/North Carolina, I was driving on the tail of the dragon and I was getting about 19 miles per gallon.

Stephen LaMarca:         That a boy, girl.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that was great. So, the two stories are kind of related, right? So the idea of I don't need all that power on this long duration for 500 miles until I get to this point, so let's go more fuel-efficient style. So, the different mechanics of shutting down cylinders and in my case using more battery, but then once I'm there, I want all 400 horsepower and I can squeeze it all out of it. So I think the idea of flexible environment is, or flexible systems to tailor the system as you need it, makes a lot of sense. I was thinking about the other car I was going to buy last year and it was a Dodge Charger and I was thinking about would that get me the same level of efficiency, the same flexibility?

                                    I'm sure they had probably similar turnoff options maybe, but can I achieve the same level of high horsepower when I need it, but more efficient when I don't need that power?

Stephen LaMarca:         That's a good point.

Benjamin Moses:          There's a lot of parallels into how we design systems and how we design manufacturing processes as in if you have one process, you have a variety of customers, a variety of parts, maybe that one process isn't super robust for that flexibility. When you look at high mix environments, you have to have some level of flexibility and that's going to cost you something. It's going to cost you either different technologies or additional lines or more human power. The truly most flexible environment is having the human do most of the work. So, I thought it was interesting.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is really interesting. And what I find most interesting is how I just mentioned that your car versus my car, they're vastly different, different masses, different output figures, yet we have very similar mileages in terms of fuel economy. Highway mileage, you're probably doing a little bit better than me. You're certainly making more power than me. And with spirited driving, we're making about the same mileage, which is really impressive and it has a lot to speak for your vehicle. However, the only thing that I'm thinking of is this can't be right. This is crazy. How can he have more power, more mass, and we're pulling the same fuel economy?

                                    And then I realized, wait. There's another measurement to be taken here. Next time you do this, let's use the same tire, which is fair because it's the best tire on the market right now, which is the Michelin Pilot Sport 4S.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Let's both use those tires, measure your tread depth before the trip and measure your tread depth after the trip.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         I bet you're tires are hurting.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, so for everyone that's listening, ask me how my brakes feel after that trip. It'll be a fun conversation. Let's get in some articles, man. Is it all right if I kick it off?

Stephen LaMarca:         Do it.

Benjamin Moses:          I want to talk about a robot machining. So I ran across an article from the manufacturer and the article is talking about basically adding subtractive manufacturing, end of arm tooling, and I thought that was a really cool idea. It's been around for a little bit.

Stephen LaMarca:         The idea has certainly been around forever. It's been wanted forever.

Benjamin Moses:          It's been wanted forever.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's been like the dream. This has been the fantasy of manufacturing executives and people for as long as I've been in the industry, which is not very long, but I remember hearing this. This was one of the first wild rants that I'd ever heard.

Benjamin Moses:          I think one of the things that a lot of people are looking for is a subtractive process that doesn't have to encompass the entire part. So, the housing and... If you look at a gantry... We talked about Australia's giant, the world's biggest manufacturing gantry, whatever. So if I can go to a robotic arm on the slide, so I can reach around the part.

Stephen LaMarca:         Another way to say that is, and this is the way the idea was first presented to me, was the dream is to have a machine tool that can produce a part that is bigger than the machine tool itself.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. That's a better way to phrase it. Yep. So, the idea of putting a subtractive tool on a robotic arm has been around for a little bit, but I think there are some new things that are coming around that'll help facilitate this type of process. I mean, to be honest, pros and cons, there's a lot of pros for it. So, the ability to have a larger work environment, the ability to have like an open environment too, so I don't have to have an enclosure or a fully enclosed closure. I can have a fence, or if it's collaborative, I would be questioning whether or not you should fence it off because of the subtractive head, but whatever. But there's also a lot of cons too. So you've got the motor-

Stephen LaMarca:         I can think of one.

Benjamin Moses:          Go ahead. Tell me.

Stephen LaMarca:         One major con, the most chaotic and unpredictable and uncalculable, if that's a word, backlash ever.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, yeah. Yeah, not just backlash, but being able to react all the cutting forces and the torque from a cutting guide. So you're placing that directly into rotational motors, you know, the longevity, whether or not it can handle it. Robotic arms are incredibly precise, but if you keep beating on it, if you hit it with the hammer like every five seconds, how well is it going to perform for a year trying to cut that material?

Stephen LaMarca:         That's a good point.

Benjamin Moses:          So the article goes through a couple of current use cases where they're talking about willing away fairly soft stuff, you know like wood. In this case they're doing foam or plastics, things like that. So, it's not unheard of, but the other drawback is if you're not... and the picture that they have accurately depicts it where you're cutting it looks like maybe foam or maybe some plastic where there's chips everywhere. There's debris everywhere. There's no containment of the chips or in this case, they're not using any cutting fluids, dry cutting. So that's another we'll say limitation.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          I mean, you could add coolant, but now you've got a robotic arm that's surrounded by coolant.

Stephen LaMarca:         And now you're adding mass to the end of however many joints are on that arm.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, and if it's a high pressure system like through the spindle coolant, that's another force you've got to react. So, there's a lot of... It's very, very complex. That's the big takeaway is that this is a very complex scenario, but I think there are ways forward because of two scenarios. So, Oak Ridge has been testing additive or 3D printing on robotic arms, which I think is fantastic. There's very little cutting forces. And the ability to use gravity as a support tool, as opposed to building support, so I think that's one way. So the programming and logic of being able to make a part using a robot, that's growing quite a bit. But also the idea of multiple robotic arms. So the idea of I've got one on one side, one on the other, so I don't need the robotic arm to reach all the way across the part. They can coordinate and subtract either to make things faster or have better access.

Stephen LaMarca:         You could have a three-arm system and each of those arms could have its own cutting tool on it, or you could have just one of the arms on like a track with the the cutting tool, and the other two arms are just used for fixturing purposes.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         So one of the arms is the main fixture arm and then you have a third arm which can refixture the part, and then that initial fixturing arm could duck away while the main cutting tool arm is getting the underside of the part. What's so cool about this is, this isn't vaporware and you know it's not vaporware. It doesn't exist yet, but you don't need to be a high level engineer to tell that this will eventually happen. We don't know when it's going to happen. We don't know when this is going to be commonplace, but this is going to happen.

Benjamin Moses:          The article ends with, they talk about machining composites. And I think that's a very valid use case of if I've got a, a giant aircraft that's more composites, like Boeing has shifted to more composite structures, where I have to machine on assembly. So if you're on an assembly line, you could theoretically move this robotic arm to a fixed position on the aircraft, have it machine the rivet holes and then keep moving it around. So, it's great. I'd like to see more of this, and I'll probably see-

Stephen LaMarca:         That's the perfect example of like a dual arm system, because two riveters, like human riveters on an aircraft, need to be working in unison and have an awesome rapport with each other. You don't need to build that rapport, you have a program to do that and you have computers to do that for you if you use robot arms.

Benjamin Moses:          Definitely, and that's where I think the most value add to the industry will be on assembly machining. So if I've got a giant boat, I'm going to put a bunch of plates together, I'm going to do machining as it's being built. So, if I could wheel this big robotic arm out onto a gantry or something, and then do my thing and then have it leave, probably do a bunch of processes, but that's kind of where I see the industry headed. I thought it was a cool article.

Stephen LaMarca:         I think it's cool.

Benjamin Moses:          Steven, what do you have on automated cells for Hi-Fi?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, so I love Hi-Fi, another expensive hobby of mine. Production Engineering Solutions, PES Media, as I like to call them, has this article called Automated Cell Ramps up Productivity for Hi-Fi Manufacturing. And there's a Hi-Fi manufacturer, high end consumer listening audio manufacturer out of the UK, specifically Scotland, called the Linn, L-I-N-N.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         And they're pretty big in the industry for people that can afford it. So like when I'm talking consumer stuff, it's consumers with like corporate level of spending money. Put that into perspective. I'm happy that in my living room, in the living room of my apartment, I've got a really nice entertainment center.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         I've got a Bose 2.1 system, not really surround sound, but I tuned it, I got the speaker height right, the speaker distance from each other. I did a little bit of acoustic tuning for the room to make it sound as good as possible, but I'm not their clientele. Then there's the next level up from me, which is people who probably own houses and have multiple living rooms or a living room and a family room and one of those rooms doubles as a home theater, or they just straight out have a home theater. I know some people who actually have home theaters in their houses where it is a room specifically for watching movies or watching TV. You can close the door and it's totally sound proof. There's people of that level. I'm not talking about them either.

                                    There's another level up where people and their extensive multi-room manners that they have on their estate. These people have rooms in their mansions called listening rooms. It's like a bedroom size room with only one chair in it, placed somewhere near the middle, but the chair for listening is placed at the acoustic focal point of the room and the room is tuned with the appropriate carpeting on the floor, the appropriate ceiling tiles and these what look like artwork on the walls, but they're actually acoustic dampening tiles on the walls, and then a very extensive and elaborate stereo on one wall. And that's the customer that this brand markets to. That's the clientele that they sell to. And another way to put that in perspective is I was browsing their website for the least expensive full system they have, and by full system I mean something that you plug in, you send media to it and it plays music.

                                    The least expensive thing they have is a wireless speaker or Bluetooth. If you hate audio, you use Bluetooth. For quality audio, you don't use Bluetooth, you use a different means of wireless, typically a proprietary wireless connection. But their wireless speaker that they sell is, you know we're talking like a jam box thing, or a little wireless Bose thing, their equivalent of that is $3,700 and it's the least expensive thing that they have.

Benjamin Moses:          That's a down payment on a car.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's a solid mortgage right there, or mindfully mortgage payment. And when you have clientele like this who are actually buying your products and you actually make a product this expensive that's actually selling, you have a means to do some really cool stuff and that's what this company does. They use in the article I believe it's a DAC Amp that they mill the enclosure for. And it's milled on a quarter million dollar [inaudible 00:24:02] inside a multi-million dollar automated manufacturing cell.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it's hard to do something that awesome and not be a government contractor when you have clientele willing to drop that kind of dough on audio equipment. It's just a really cool article on application, which is something I'm kind of interested in, but would never be able to afford.

Benjamin Moses:          And I like that idea. I mean, I think they've shifted away from the paradigm of just because I make high-end equipment doesn't mean I can't automate it. So there's that association of ultra high-end stuff always being made by hand, and we're like you don't have to do that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Well, I mean, if you're going to sell the most ultra premium product for a niche market, especially a hobbyist market, and the beauty of hobbies and passions that people have is all hobbies and passions come back in some way or another to manufacturing. And if you're going to make the most advanced premium product of that particular market, you want to use the most advanced manufacturing processes to produce said product. And that's exactly what this company is doing, which is really cool.

Benjamin Moses:          Also, shout out to Linn Audio, the podcast at looking for sponsors. I wouldn't mind a new receiver, speakers, whatever. I'll take that a little jam boombox that you sell for a bazillion dollars.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, if they have a DAC Amp for headphones, I don't need a listening room, but I've got really nice open back headphones back in the office and a DAC Amp would be cool.

Benjamin Moses:          Definitely. One of the last articles I want to talk about was Designed for Manufacturing. So the article is actually labeled Five Tips to Improve Your CAD Designs for CNC Machining and its from Tech New, so it's a fairly light article and it talks about limiting your amount of tolerances, avoided thin walls, radii for internal edges, go into standard holes and watch out for small features. In a nutshell, yes, that all makes sense, but Steve, I wanted to talk about you a little bit more about design for manufacturing. So, you've got the transfer of knowledge. That's basically how something gets designed and made. So you've got the design engineer or maybe a couple of design engineers and a stress engineer and a bunch of guys that are trying to figure out what the shape should look like, but then that gets transferred to manufacturing and it's like, figure this out.

                                    The idea of embedding as much knowledge from manufacturing in the design, it's still an ongoing dilemma, ongoing problem, and I think that's what the essence of the article is, is trying to encapsulate that knowledge further upstream. So, the transition from design into manufacturing is like yeah, we're done, let's make some routers, let's make some work instructions, we can move forward, as opposed to toiling away trying to figure out how to make this a sharp edge on the inside when its not really needed. So it's the dilemma of ongoing conversation.

                                    So I was going to ask you, and I've been in that previous world where the idea of throwing something over the fence, that's still a reasonable example or a reasonable phrase to use, but you ran the test bed for awhile and you were a company of one for awhile, so walk me through your thought process of if you had to split that role up into two people, what would you do?

Stephen LaMarca:         So coming from nothing, starting at AMT and then taking a charge of the test bed and creating the test bed at that. Having started from college and no experience in manufacturing whatsoever, I got the blessing or probably more accurately described as a baptism by fire of the entire manufacturing workflow, at least for a milling or machining job shop. So that goes from what the customer wants all the way down to it coming off of the machine, and the machinist handing it to inspection, and inspection saying this is good to ship and then it gets delivered to the customer.

                                    So I learned really quickly that... You know, I thought all you needed to do initially was download your CAD design from like GrabCAD or something, pick anything off of GrabCAD, send to that STL file to the machine and click print. The machine does the rest, as long as it's got stock material and a tool, go. No, I thought design was the hardest part initially. Coming from nothing, I thought the design was the hardest part, and then I realized having a design, having a good design, design that doesn't need to be changed in any way, is at the most 10% of that work flow.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure. Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         And then the next 80% is the CAM or the manufacturing engineering. Russ got me onto Instagram initially back in the day and I've since then, one of my favorite things to follow is the manufacturing following on Instagram, specifically the amount of machinists on Instagram, Instamachinists. There's a huge amount of people on Instagram that are machinists and do manufacturing. And these machinists absolutely hate engineers. They hate their manufacturing engineers. They hate design engineers. It's not like, okay I'll work with this person, but as soon as we clock out, I'm not talking to this person until I have to clock back in the next day. No, they flat out hate them. I look at a lot of these posts and they'll jab at their coworkers that are operating like a wire EDM machine, those nerds, and they'll definitely take jabs at inspection, QAQC people. They hate it when this beautiful part comes off their machine, they got a batch of them, they send them to QA and then some pencil neck from inspection comes back to them and be like yeah your parts are off by like three-thousandths. They hate them.

                                    But they don't dislike those guys nearly as much as the engineers. I understand why thanks to the test bed, because it's a headache. The one example that I can think of, having worn a test bed, an R&D level, all of those hats, you came to me back in the day. So it was like, okay Steve, you've got the Pocket NC up and running, you've figured out how it works and you figured out how to use it, here's a part, make me this part. I want it by the end of the month.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Just one of them. Not a huge ask for an actual professional machinist or manufacturing engineer. And so you give me this file and you were making a Picatinny rail, well an M1913 rail bracket for like your GoPro or some camera so you could Mount it to your rail to do some cool videos while shooting and stuff like that. And I was like oh cool, all right, this is an awesome part. Let's take a look at it. And I was like oh this is a pretty simple part. I can do this. Even though there are specialty cutters for cutting rails into parts. I didn't have that, but it's just right angles so you don't really need it either.

                                    So, I can do this with a square end mill and a square end mill is all I had at the time. So single flute cutting it out of Delrin or plastic, we got this, this is easy. Did air cuts, did cuts in wax, and then once I was comfortable with it, we cut it out of plastic and I handed it back to you and then you were like, as the customer and design engineer, because remember you handed me the design. The design was already done.

                                    Man, I sweated this part because I'm still not good at CAM and CAM is awful. And I had somebody at Autodesk, you talk about him very highly, he's Andrew Luciano, who I think was an intern at the time. He was helping me with all of like the CAD CAM and even using a Pocket NC stuff. Absolute genius. He helped me a lot with it. But I hand you back this part and you were like there's supposed to be a fillet here and there's no fillet. And I was like well you know I can't make that like rounded off surface with just a square end mill, and you were like well don't you think you should have told me that. Don't you think we should have calculated the type of stresses that this new design can handle because it doesn't have that fillet. And I was holding back all the expletives.

                                    So I understand why there is so much hate... I'm sorry, it's hate, between machinists and their engineers, the engineers that they have to deal with. I totally get it and yeah it is a huge problem. And I'm sure some companies have minimized that problem and got a little bit of the stress and tension reduced and eased off of those two roles. But I totally see why it's there and I totally feel for all the Instagram and the Instamachinists man. I get it and I've only done one part. I'm not even doing batches. I don't even have to deal with inspection. It's miserable

Benjamin Moses:          And it's not just subtractive manufacturing, its welding, jointing, anytime you're transferring knowledge. And I think that's the key takeaway is that one is creating more of a collaborative and open environment as opposed to, it's not just a one way street. But at the same time, I feel like design engineering is always trying to push the envelope a little bit, trying to get a better design, so it's a struggle of hey we haven't done this before, this is new, versus we have this old part that we need to make again. Whereas the inherent knowledge or incrementally improve on an old design where the design engineer may come to something where we need a radically new process, where that takes time to explore.

                                    And in talking about it, I feel like that's the kind of core essence of the problem is that the idea of either prototyping the transition from a design into a manufacturing space or something that is manufacturable. I think that time is whittled away down to let's do design and then manufacture, as opposed to let's do a design, let's test prototype and then get feedback in the design and then feed that back into a new design that is more manufacturable, or creating an environment to draw information from the manufacturing engineer or operator to say hey I've got this design, before I go to a finite element analysis, how does it look? Do I need more features? And I think that's the dilemma. The design engineer's investing tons of time into validating the design, make sure the stresses, make sure the environment work.

Stephen LaMarca:         Absolutely and if anything, the manufacturing industry may even have this dilemma a lot easier than another industry I can think of. Having gone to college and a lot of my roommates and friends were studying to become architects, dude the headbutting between an architect and the civil engineer that actually has to build their mess of a structure. I know there's got to be a lot of civil engineers that look at an architect's design and be like well this needs to be changed, this needs to be changed, or they just get a design from an architect and be like oh my God I hope we can't get a permit for this. I really just hope this doesn't even get to the permit level. At least manufacturing, you don't need to worry about getting a permit for something unless you're making a firearm.

Benjamin Moses:          I think an old manufacturing engineer summed it up properly is that yeah we can manufacture anything once, the question is do you want to pay for it?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. That's the English automobile industry mentality. We can make the perfect car, but don't ask for two of them.

Benjamin Moses:          Awesome Steve. This was a great episode. Where can they find more info about us?

Stephen LaMarca:         You can find more info about us at amtonline.org/resources. Go ahead and subscribe.

Benjamin Moses:          Awesome. Take care everyone.

Stephen LaMarca:         Bye.

Benjamin Moses:          Bye.

Benjamin Moses
Director, Manufacturing Technology
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Episode 53: Ben’s fed up with seeing Spot the robot dog dancing and not working. Steve saw farming equipment at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Benjamin declares AI must get read up on material science to help put a stop to worldwide waste.
Episode 51: Ben and Steve share their pre-college manufacturing and tradecraft education and experiences. Stephen claims Boston is the new Switzerland in terms of precision manufacturing. Benjamin talks about the precision of manufacturing electric...
Episode 50: Ben and Steve are excited to be going back to the office soon! Benjamin tries to open with an article on printing crack-free tungsten, but Steve keeps interrupting with random facts about one of his favorite elements. Stephen compares Tesla...
Episode 48: Stephen gets wound up over digital twins helping to find real-life exploits and sim racing making its way to the Olympics. Steve also thinks that the latest photonics research could lead to a silicon replacement in computer chips.
Episode 49: Benjamin and Stephen deflagrate into a heated discussion over the recent gas pipeline breach. Ben eases into an article about robots with a gentle touch. Steve gets wowed by 3D printed wood. Benjamin explains Rolls-Royce...
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