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AMT Tech Trends: Hot Air Superiority

Ben and Steve tear off over manufacturing adjacent sector shows, namely Blade Show, and succumb to the event horizon of a pocket knife rabbit hole...
Jun 24, 2022

Episode 74: Ben and Steve tear off over manufacturing adjacent sector shows, namely Blade Show, and succumb to the event horizon of a pocket knife rabbit hole. Benjamin gets things back on the rails with his first article: augmented reality and Industrie 4.0. Stephen takes it away with 40 pounds per hour of titanium printing and how Chevy legitimately uses additive to manufacture the Tahoe. Ben declares that NOTHING is flawless! Steve goes on about the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and its recent developments as a 5th going on 6th generation fighter, and he promises it’s relevant to manufacturing. Benjamin lets his true colors show by getting super technical with non-destructive testing. Stephen thinks about how industries will be affected by the EU’s ban on Chromium VI.

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Benjamin Moses:          Hello, everyone. Welcome to AMT's Tech Trends Podcast, where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology, research and news. I am the director of technology, Benjamin Moses, and I'm here with...

Stephen LaMarca:         Steven LaMarca, technology analyst.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve, today's episode is sponsored by AM Radio.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes, sir. AM Radio is the new podcast from Additive Manufacturing Media. Join editors, Peter Zelinski, Stephanie Hendrixson, and Julia Hider as they share stories of companies succeeding with 3D printing today. Talk about emerging trends and discuss the future opportunities and potential for AM in the context of the larger manufacturing landscape. New episodes are published every other week. Subscribe now on Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts. Tune in to Additive.

Benjamin Moses:          Thanks, Steve. Before we get into some articles and some of the nitty gritty of the content, Blade Show occurred.

Stephen LaMarca:         Blade Show. I totally forgot about it, man.

Benjamin Moses:          I did. I ran across it when a couple of the YouTube channels I follow started talking about some of the knives and I thought, "Wow, I completely forgot about this."

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, yeah. I only found out about it or was reminded of it because of a few of the gun tubers that I follow on YouTube were there.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. [inaudible 00:01:28] gives me the hairy eyeball when I watch some of the gun tubers.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, yeah. No, I feel that. Sometimes I give myself the hairy eyeball when I watch the gun tubers. I mean, some of them are a little bit extreme. But I tell you what, one cool thing. I had two cool things that I would want to talk about for Blade Show. I forgot one of them, but one thing I really like, that I would be interested in seeing at Blade Show, better yet, materials.

Stephen LaMarca:         One of the easiest things to nerd out about when talking about pocket knives with other people that need some sun, and talking about pocket knives, is blade steels, and blade materials. Whether it's high carbide ceramic blends that just use metal as a binder for the ceramics, and the carbides in the blade, or just your run of the mill powder metallurgy that pocket knife people think nothing of, but it's a big deal in our industry, where powdered metals are what's up in Additive. But one of my favorite things is, you can't look at a high end pocket knife without seeing CPM, S9Dv, or CPM-D2, even for a lower rent knife, or my favorite, CPM 20CV, which is the CPM American competitor to Bohler M390. But anyway, CPM stands for Crucible powder Metallurgy. It might be Crucible particulate Metallurgy, but I'm pretty sure it's powder-

Benjamin Moses:          We'll go with powder.

Stephen LaMarca:         Anyway, Crucible they're like the premier company when it comes to powdered knife steels. And they were bought a couple years ago because all they focus on is pocket knives, and seriously, how big is that industry? I mean, a lot of us in that industry like to spend too much money on things that we use to open cardboard boxes and Amazon packages with, but that industry's not that big. Even though, you and I spend way more than we should admit spending on a stupid pocket knife... Even Victorinox, a Swiss Army Knife is way overpriced for what it is, but still way cheaper than what you and I probably have in our pockets.

Stephen LaMarca:         And Crucible, because they're a niche industry, they do really awesome stuff for a small niche industry that is fed financially by a bunch of nerds, they would go spiraling kind of downhill. And this other company comes along that we know about, especially the guys from AM Radio know about because they sponsor them, Carpenter, Carpenter steels, they buy up Crucible and we're like, "You guys are going to keep doing your pocket knife thing, but we're also using your powdered metals for Additive."

Benjamin Moses:          That's awesome.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is the coolest thing. It's probably one of my favorite little stories of the Additive industry.

Benjamin Moses:          There's a couple of reasons why I like these sector shows. So Blade Show is one of them, SHOT Show is another one for firearms, and there's a bunch of other defense related stuff. But the reason I like these is because a lot of people, they look at the final product, they gloss over the heavy manufacturing involved in those sectors. So, like plates-

Stephen LaMarca:         Heat treatments.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly. Blade Show is a very good example of, it's just manufacturing. It's the art and science of manufacturing. You have a cool design, how do you manufacture it?

Stephen LaMarca:         Every facility that we've ever toured that does metal working, which is 99% of them, they can all be repurposed to make pocket knives.

Benjamin Moses:          And that's the thing-

Stephen LaMarca:         All of them.

Benjamin Moses:          You'll see higher end knives that are more handmade.

Stephen LaMarca:         And for the entire process.

Benjamin Moses:          And for the most part, the ones that we're talking about are more machine driven.

Stephen LaMarca:         I would still say it's handmade, because you take these talented machinists that are appreciated, but probably not given as much appreciation as they deserve, who on their free time with some downtime on the machine and some material that they hopefully paid for out of pocket. And like, "I'm going to machine myself a sweet pocket knife. I'm going to design it, and I'm going to throw it up and then I'm going to machine it on this fancy machine, because I can't do it with my bare hands." I mean I could, but it's going to... You've seen that show on Netflix of where they make knives. Dude, those knives... I'm sorry that show, those knives that they make look like junk.

Benjamin Moses:          Those are not good.

Stephen LaMarca:         Get a machinist that uses a CNC machine, an expensive high end, or not even a high end, any CNC machine on their free time to make themselves a pocket knife, they show it to any of these pocket knife nerds at Blade Show, they're going to be like, "I'll take three." It's like, "Oh well, I can't make them all the time." It's like, "Name your price, I'll take three."

Benjamin Moses:          And the cutting edge stuff I'm looking for. And there's been a couple use cases is when we talk about Additive, getting into blades, and the cost of it may be prohibited at this point. But bi-metal applications we've talked about varying the material through the blade itself. And I see that kind of a new niche trend in knives.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. It is really cool that the little knife makers are really taking off. And you look at a lot of them, they're all like all of the boutique knife manufacturers are machinists. They're machinists that saw opportunity by people willing to buy pocket knives.

Benjamin Moses:          Good for them.

Stephen LaMarca:         And they took off. It's amazing.

Benjamin Moses:          Very entrepreneurial industry. Good for them. Can we get us some articles?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, absolutely. I'm ready.

Benjamin Moses:          The first-

Stephen LaMarca:         Dude, that was a good warm up.

Benjamin Moses:          I like that. I love some knives also.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes. Tell me your first article.

Benjamin Moses:          How AR fits into industry 4.0. So we talked about augment reality quite a bit.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, we have.

Benjamin Moses:          And this article gives us a little more something tangible, also. So there's three areas that we want to talk about. One is, the technology behind AR what does the actual projection look like? So there's two main scenarios you see. One are kind of a projector or it's called spatial AR. So if you're wearing glasses, it's projecting on into the inside of the lens. That's a use case, where that sits in the industry that's here or there, but there's also computer based AR.

Benjamin Moses:          So if you imagine using like a tablet or some other device where it has a camera and you're using the screen or an HMI interface to depict the environment. And the latter is probably more prevalent than the former, probably just because of cost. Using AR glasses, it's probably a little more expensive versus the value of just going to a tablet or a computer based device. So that's the first thing is figure out, what is the projection source, or how do you want to project? The second is maintenance, maintenance sale comes up as a value add use case for-

Stephen LaMarca:         Not maintenance of the AR technology itself?

Benjamin Moses:          No.

Stephen LaMarca:         Using AR for maintenance.

Benjamin Moses:          Correct. Correct. And there's a couple of scenarios that they talk about in the article. One is, annotating the device itself. So if you're working on a big machine, where is power cord A, or where is the box that you need to access? And you're using AR to figure out where you are in relation to some of these big machines, that's one scenario. So having the information of, and what you're looking for being shown to you. And there's the common use case of, we'll call it a conference call. So I'm from working on a machine and I need an expert. I'm the doer, but I need someone that's got 30 years experience. They're probably not going to be at the facility. Like if I need to work on a fancy mill, I need to contact the OEM for that mill.

Stephen LaMarca:         And the OEM's going to charge you to ship somebody out to fix it for you.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly. When I have a maintenance tech here, why can't I just have them communicate? So being able to communicate through your AR devices, to either annotate the field or just being able to see what the technician sees is significantly valuable. I mean, when I used to place order, just placing an order by telling them my credit card information, that is the worst way to communicate. So being able to visually transfer information, I mean, that's the whole point of basically a visual conference call is being able to transfer the information much smoother. So they also get into assembly. So being able to project what needs to be connected to where and showing the orientation or the object itself in the future state. So if you're assembling like a cable harness, which wires go into the connector, a lot of those are still very, very difficult to assemble.

Benjamin Moses:          Even if your alternate is a big piece of paper, right? You have a sheet of paper hanging over your table, you probably can get away with using some type of AR to augment that and visually handset. So are you going to print a color D size drawing for every single connector you need to connect, or do you embed all the information in AR? So I thought that's a very interesting use case and I see that prevalence. So you see that occurring a lot more on larger assemblies and more complex assemblies.

Benjamin Moses:          The other side is, human to robot collaboration. And they see this growing a little bit more. So they talk about the aim of improving productivity and efficiency. So being able to control the robot and seeing what the robot sees through the glasses, or through the tablet, or through the device, and then controlling that machine through what the machine sees, basically. I've seen a couple use cases where basically teleremote into the robot for troubleshooting. So they're a couple of companies are doing renting cells and they are promising that if the machine has trouble, they'll get flagged and they have a big command center, one guy is monitoring 30, 40 cells. So if one goes down, he just remotes in, fix that issue and then remotes back out and then allows it to continue, and he watches the other machines when they're down.

Stephen LaMarca:         An on call technician could work from home.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly. I mean, the scenario that this company had talked about. This one guy is watching 30, 40 cells at 30, 40 different companies. There's no need for him to be... he's troubleshooting one every couple of minutes, every couple hours. So, being able to scale and this is the common theme for automation, right? One person is doing tours when they get into automation, one person's doing multiple things. So I think they've escalated that quite a bit. So I thought this was a very good look at where we sit and the potential of AR, not everyone's going to have AR in their facility. But everyone could have the potential. Look at maintenance, a service tech. Even if you call a service tech, they might be communicating back to the OEM to help repair machines. So that was a good article on AR.

Stephen LaMarca:         I think the industry will certainly come back to AR. It's kind of gone stagnant and gone cold, but it's definitely a back burner, and not totally mothballed. Because automation, as I said this a million times, automation is foundational to the development of the industry. And there will be a robot in every facility, which means eventually there will be a vision system in every facility. And once there's a robot and a vision system in every facility, you don't have to do too much more to get AR.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. And it doesn't have to be-

Stephen LaMarca:         Especially like a drone AR.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. And it doesn't have to be a vision system specifically for that robot doing those tasks. You could have a cell control but it helps using a vision for the whole cell just in case you have to troubleshoot, or a camera. So, awesome. Steve, you've got an article on additive?

Stephen LaMarca:         Dude, I got two articles on Additive, but I'm going to treat them as one.

Benjamin Moses:          Do it.

Stephen LaMarca:         So first off, PR Newswire released either earlier this week or last week, Sciaky's Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) surpasses 40 pounds of titanium per hour, making it the highest deposition rate in the world for industrial metal 3D printing.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow. That's really-

Stephen LaMarca:         We don't need to discuss that anymore. This is a world record, Sciaky did it. That's the machine they did it with, the technology they did it with. Titanium, 40 pounds of titanium per hour.

Benjamin Moses:          That's a large volume.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is a large volume. And now titanium, it's a light metal, it's a lighter metal, it's not aluminum. But 40 pounds of titanium an hour, that's effectively like coming from the wine industry, the average wine box is 40, 50 pounds. A box of wine, 12 bottles of wine. That's like growing a box of wine every hour in titanium.

Benjamin Moses:          That's pretty cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is. That is a lot of volume. And to be fair, this is on the machine's highest speed. So if you look at some of the pictures in the article, the surface finish is like non-existent, but they're trying to throw down material. Like this looks like 3D printing that was done in the '80s, it's that kind of quality. But as we all know, there's like a slider in Additive. You either go for speed... Well, the closer to speed you go, the more you prioritize speed, the more finish suffers. And the more you prioritize finish, the more speed suffers.

Benjamin Moses:          And I'll play the devil advocate to that, because I think we've gotten very complacent about accepting a high surface finish for a design part. So in the end, if you have those rough surface tech fixture, surface finishes on the outside, so you have those large circular edges. The question I was asked, if it's not an interface or if something's not rubbing on it, can the design live with that? Does this intersections of those circular points create a stress concentration? If it doesn't, if it's perfectly acceptable, I think one thing maybe the industry may want to get comfortable with is accepting a more rough or more non-machined surface texture. And I think, you're talking about internal cavities and things like that may make sense. So I would definitely start seeing more boundaries being pushed on what is acceptable from that industry.

Stephen LaMarca:         Sure. And my next article to supplement this came from seeing it actually. Every now and then we have seen it on here doing something manufacturing related, this one's really cool. GM 3D prints 60,000 parts to keep Tahoe deliveries on time. Now-

Benjamin Moses:          That's a lot of parts.

Stephen LaMarca:         That is a lot of parts. That's mass production for a mass production vehicle and a consumer like a civilian vehicle at that, so there is a caveat. Number one, kudos to GM. This is kind of big. Everybody's been hit by delays and supply chain issues. I am so sick of hearing that stuff. And finally, just like during the lows of the pandemic, Additive was our savior making those ventilators and PPE and stuff like that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Good for you, GM. Good for you, Additive for coming up with a cool story out of this, because 60,000 parts is nothing to scoff at. Each Tahoe requires two. So this is 30,000 Tahoes that they've supported with Additive. It does mention a... No, I'm not going to talk about the machines used. I'm pretty sure it was HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers, which is just, Multi Jet Fusion is HP's name for high speed centering, but I'm not so sure. But what's a big deal about this is, I don't think Chevy or any auto manufacturer would've done this with any other vehicle. It is impressive that we are talking about available to civilian vehicle here.

Stephen LaMarca:         If the DOD was doing something like this for the Hummer, it would still be a cool story, not the Hummer, but what's that new thing called? EMRA, it would still be a cool story, but it'd be like, "Yeah. Well, they've got the big funds of the DOD breathing down their neck. Of course, they can make this happen." But Chevy's doing this, not just for the government, but for civilian vehicle. And CNET of course is reporting on it as if it's a civilian vehicle, which the Tahoe is. But we have to remember that in the United States, motor vehicles have to be supported by their OEMs for up to 10 years after the final model of that generation stops production.

Stephen LaMarca:         So let's say this Tahoe, it stopped production in 2023. If it was just regular civilian vehicle, that means GM isn't allowed to stop making replacement parts for it until 2033. However, the Tahoe isn't just any normal civilian vehicle. Yes, it's available to civilians, but it is designed, it is a la carte designed by the US government and state governments for that matter to be used as a government vehicle, both for police and military and government, I'm not going to stop saying government. I'm repeating myself a lot, but government vehicles have to be treated differently. Government vehicles have to be supported by their OEM for 25 years. So they plan on supporting this thing with Additive technology for mass production 25 years after they stopped producing the final model.

Benjamin Moses:          That's pretty cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's wild.

Benjamin Moses:          That's a good-

Stephen LaMarca:         This is a big deal. I talk a lot of smack about GM. I'm not done talking smack about GM, but dude, they're finding some positives.

Benjamin Moses:          That's a good point. You bring out the life of the part and that's something that I really considered that they'll continue the manufacturing process for the life of the part. And that's going to be a lot of parts in the long run. So thanks, Steve. That's a really good article.

Stephen LaMarca:         You, bet.

Benjamin Moses:          I've got one from Quality Mag, one of several, about flaw detection. So, we've been talking about Additive for quite a while and we talk about defects and Additive, but taking a step back, this article from Quality Mag gives the fundamentals of what is a flaw, what is a rejection, things like that. And there are fine lines and it'll piggyback off my article later on, but I thought this was a very good look and a step back of what we consider flaw versus what we consider rejection. So first is, what is the definition. And also, I think it's very important for me to convey that within manufacturing, nothing is flawless. You can always zoom in more and always find it a flaw, let's call it a flaw for now. So nothing in the world is flawless.

Benjamin Moses:          And the article goes over the proper definition of flaws, indication, which is determined to be a discontinuity, but does not exceed rejection limits. If it exceeds rejection limits, then it's a defect. So there's a thing that someone notices, and if it's within the limits, just let it be. But if it's not, then obviously then it gets escalated to a defect. So I thought that's completely fair, because if you look at a machine part, if you see a hairline, we'll call it flaw. That could be allowable.

Benjamin Moses:          So back to our point about Additive and what we consider flaws versus rejects, and they also go over a couple of groups. One is an inherent flaw, one is a primary process, one is secondary process, one is service. So starting backwards, a service flaw would be, as you're using the part, there could be a crack or a flaw developing in how you use the part. Secondary process is something developed in the manufacturing process that we would describe in the discrete manufacturing world, if you're machining apart and you detect a flaw there.

Benjamin Moses:          Primary process refers to the raw material processing. So if you're doing cold forming or creating the bar, or the NGAD. And then [inaudible 00:22:21] is basically how you're producing the part. There's always going to be some type of flaw and then it gets in different techniques. So I thought this is a really good overview of, we're still handling raw materials, still handling machine parts. With subtractive manufacturing will never go. We wouldn't talk about Additive, it is 3D printing plus subtractive. So the idea of, what is a flaw versus a defect, I think we could definitely be more descriptive about that in the industry.

Stephen LaMarca:         I like it.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve, is the next one you have on F-22?

Stephen LaMarca:         It is. It is.

Benjamin Moses:          Let's do it.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because I was kind of waiting for you to talk about the flaw detection, stuff like that, but also go into non-destructive testing.

Benjamin Moses:          That's coming up.

Stephen LaMarca:         But okay, we'll talk about the stealth coded F-22, and then you can talk about all the testing that goes into making sure that coding is working all right. All right admittedly, I saw, I feel like two weeks ago now, Top Gun: Maverick.

Benjamin Moses:          Congratulations.

Stephen LaMarca:         I loved it. It was incredible. I will go back and see it again.

Benjamin Moses:          Go Tom Cruise.

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm not going to say all of that, but I'm going to say, go modern film making and a minimal use of CGI, and-

Benjamin Moses:          I do like practical effects.

Stephen LaMarca:         And go fifth generation fighters and fourth generation. We don't leave out the F-18s after all they were the star of the show, but I don't want to spoil anything. So this article came up, I think a while back. Anyway, the F-22 Raptor is testing NGAD sixth generation fighter tech. Let me explain, NGAD. Well, let me explain the F-22 first.

Benjamin Moses:          Yes.

Stephen LaMarca:         There are 187 operational F-22 Raptors. It doesn't sound a lot for somebody like myself that doesn't know any better about fighter jets, and air superiority technology. But actually 187 is a lot of fighter jets, especially the best of the best, F-22s. The F-22 is the USs primary, fifth generation air superiority fighter/ tactical jet.

Benjamin Moses:          Can I interrupt real quick?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes.

Benjamin Moses:          So it is different than the F-35?

Stephen LaMarca:         It is different from the F-35. There are going to be a lot more F-35s. But the F-35 also is a fifth generation military jet.

Benjamin Moses:          The F-22 was developed a little earlier than the F-35, and F-35 is meant to be used across multiple branches of the armed forces.

Stephen LaMarca:         Right. If you had to compare the F-35 and the F-22 to Ferraris, your F-35 is whatever the current V8 one is. I'll say the 458 Italia. It's special, it's expensive, but it's mass produced and they made it for all of the branches. The F-22 is like the Ferrari LaFerrari. It's like their premium hyper car. And it's also so special that they're 187 of them operational and only in the US. And the government straight up put a law onto the F-22 saying to all the government contractors. "You're not allowed to sell this to anybody else. This is only staying in the US, it's not going to anybody."

Benjamin Moses:          Continue, please.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay. Continuing. The only opposition to the F-22 and F-35, the only opposition, the only other fifth generation aircraft out there that could put up a fight to the F-22 and barely, I'm being generous, is the Russian Su-57, and all of its derivatives. Like China has a derivative of it, but the Su-57 fell in. I mean, it looks cool, it is cool. I've flown it in its combat, because you know that means a lot. But the Russian Su-57, there are six of them. I think the there's actually like 16, but there's 10 experimental, for testing purposes, to which the US only needed eight testing versions. But there's only six operational.

Stephen LaMarca:         So, even if it could put up a fight, it would be six versus 187. But what's funny about this? So the Su-57 is a thing, though. And it is a blip on the F-22s radar. And just the fact that there's a potential threat, or even the slightest competition with the fifth gen F-22, the US being the US, wants to upgrade the F-22 to a sixth gen fighter with the NGAD next generation air dominance program. We are so good at spending money, I love it. It gets me mad come tax season, but oh my God, right now I love it. Which would develop the F-22 into the super Raptor. Because if the Raptor isn't cool enough, now we're calling in the super Raptor.

Stephen LaMarca:         But yeah, this was just a fun article talking about it. And it made me... I wanted to bring up this article, this news item for two reasons that we will get into later in the article. But the first one, the first segue being, this is a stealth fighter. So there is so much demand going into testing the integrity of the codings on these fighters, including the F-35. Two, one of the versions of the NGAD F-22 has gotten some spy shots on it. And it looks like they have painted it chrome. So stealth fighters, since I have been baby, and my dad took me on the Tidal Basin in D.C. once, and we saw this bat wing flying above and we went home and my dad was like, "That was a B-2 Bomber." We saw a B-2 Bomber fly overhead, and it was incredible. I'll never forget that. I was like five.

Stephen LaMarca:         But anyway, stealth coatings are dark and they're matte in color. And it's effectively shifted the auto industry to going matte and dark. So you see all these high end cars like Porsches, Mercedes Benz, Ferraris, in some cases, that's a shame. Even the Ferrari Formula 1 car currently has a matte paint job, and it's disgusting. And people think it's cool. Anyway, that was... All these dummies think it's cool because of the F-22 and the F-35, and the B-2 Bomber and the F-117 Nighthawk, because they're matte and dark and sleek looking with all of these angles and totally inspiring Lamborghini for everything that they're going to do for the next two decades.

Stephen LaMarca:         F-22 NGAD prototype was just spotted a second time. First time it was spotted was in November, had a chrome paint job, it was shiny, shine bright like a diamond. It was just spotted again two weeks ago with a second one with another chrome paint job. We're going to watch a shift so hard from matte paint jobs to chrome paint jobs. It's not even going to... Next 20 years of our existence, if the world lasts that long, chrome paint jobs on cars.

Benjamin Moses:          That's gross.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because of the F-22 and the NGAD program, and stuff like that. But I also want to segue that because I'll get into later a thing on the ban on chromium (VI), which has been recently brought to my extension, but you give us some articles first, before we get to that.

Benjamin Moses:          I got one on non-destructive testing trends of 22. So again, last one I have from Quality Mag. And the thing about non-destructive testing is fascinating because obviously there's a lot of science behind that, but it still comes down to a human making interpretation based on what they see. And it gets into some of the trends that they're seeing. One is, just like everyone else in the world, they have workforce issues. They have an aging workforce that's leaving and a younger force that's coming in, and they just don't know how to merge the two. They're having issues with some of the older workforce leaving just because they don't want to adapt to new changes to either new technology or processes. And a lot of the companies noted in the article are having issues retaining the younger workforce, because to get to a level two level three requires a fair amount of investment and experience and training that once they're trained up, then they have the opportunity to leave however they feel.

Benjamin Moses:          So it's interesting trend on generational workforce and the perception of loyalty to the company. So I thought that was the first point. There is one upside to the current workforce issues. There's a greater percentage of women entering the workforce for non-destructive test inspectors. So anytime that's we have growing demographics in that area, I think that's definitely a positive.

Stephen LaMarca:         Do you have any percentages?

Benjamin Moses:          I got no percentages.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay. That's fine. That's interesting, though.

Benjamin Moses:          The last one. Not the last one, but one of the other ones is level three inspectors. So this is the chief of the chief at your facility, right?

Stephen LaMarca:         That's your fifth generation fighter of inspection people.

Benjamin Moses:          So they're going to help not only set up processes, but also oversee all the level ones, level twos to make sure quality of work is going through, making sure they pass audits, making sure if they want to bring in a new type of equipment, level three is going to help support that. And there's issues in getting enough people trained high enough for that level three experience because the certain number of hours that they're either doing training or being trained by someone. So the level of requirement to achieve level three, the barrier is high at this point. And they're seeing a significant shortfall that near in the field.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's amazing.

Benjamin Moses:          I have two positive trends here. One is, a shift towards robotic handling for components during inspection. So a lot of these are, we'll call it subsurface inspection, so they have to either x-ray the parts or use some other subsurface technique. So typically to get in the chamber, someone will have to reorient the part in relation to the sensors. So either the sensors are static and you move the part or the sensors can move around.

Stephen LaMarca:         There's also a call for surface crawling robots-

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... for this. Maybe you are getting that. I'm sorry.

Benjamin Moses:          No. No, that'll get into a little bit later, but the ability to manipulate part, just material handling and subtraction manufacturing, being able to manipulate the part to get to the shot faster. So they're using a lot more automation and robotic handling. And to your point, large surfaces that do require visual inspection, like a wing on a jet.

Stephen LaMarca:         Or a bridge.

Benjamin Moses:          Or a bridge or a giant ship, 50 feet of welds, who's going to inspect that? Someone's got to walk it or you can put a robot on it, a drone and visually inspect it. That gets into some of the inadequacies of vision systems based on resolution, lighting conditions and still there's standards that can be updated to make sure either the humans viewing the quality or things like that, so.

Stephen LaMarca:         This is wild. This is also ties back to last episode where you're talking about how CMMs are starting to add another access.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, absolutely.

Stephen LaMarca:         And rotary tables and... Cool.

Benjamin Moses:          And the last point that the article talks about is, digital radiography. So when you're x-raying a part, the best resolution you still get is actually still with a piece of film, as opposed to digital radiography there, the resolutions is better. So there're significant trends in shifting digital radiography to be a better replacement. And a lot of aerospace companies are adopting this and ACM standards are maturing fast enough to allow this adoption also.

Benjamin Moses:          So I thought overall, it kind of sucks the workforce issues, but that's a common issue, but I feel like non-destructive testing is one of those foundational things in a lot of manufacturing facilities that does get kind of gloss over. I mean, if you're doing assemblies, any type of [inaudible 00:34:48], this is going to be a core part of your skillset. And it's a fortune that... And there's a divide between the workforce generations, but it's more of, what are acceptable means for different generational behaviors and figuring out how to adapt to those and then adopting technologies to supplement us to be more efficient, because it is just like every other quality process or inspection process. It's always a pillar, nobody likes it. But when you're inspecting welds for flight criticality, it's an important part of the process.

Stephen LaMarca:         Imagine if they implemented non-destructive testing into automotive safety regulations, do you have any idea how many more car companies we would probably see? The reason why the Italian supercar company doesn't export more Pagani Huayras into the United States or around the world for that matter isn't just the fact that it's a $1.5 million car. But it's also because we're making five of these because we can only make five of them. We legit can only make five of them. And the US wants us to crash four for safety ratings? It makes this a one off car. We have to make five cars to make a one off.

Benjamin Moses:          Automobiles.

Stephen LaMarca:         The US needs some NDT.

Benjamin Moses:          Well on that side, there's a shift for simulating failures.

Stephen LaMarca:         That digital twin?

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         You're telling me about that digital twin baby?

Benjamin Moses:          So there's qualification by analysis and aerospace has adopted that quite a bit. So the shift for that into the automotive. Not to be fair, do we want 100 Huayras rolling around the streets? I really don't care.

Stephen LaMarca:         No. No, because half, well not half, but a good amount of the desirability of Huayra is its exclusivity. That there aren't a lot.

Benjamin Moses:          The issue we're running into the digital simulation is, how much can you trust that simulation? Because there's so many factors that go into... Like if I physically crash a part, I'm much more confident in that because I've simulated the environment, it's going to be much more with higher fidelity than I can with the digital simulation at this point, because you include the ground velocity. There's other little things that may not be picked up in the simulation. So there is a point in the future where we are doing a more closed loop. So I have a digital simulation, I crash a thing and then I compare the results and then I iterate from there on the next design. And I see that growing, because it's to your point, why do I need to crash five, four $1.5 million cars when I can-

Stephen LaMarca:         Why haven't we done this better?

Benjamin Moses:          ... and just do one of them. But then again, I have no issues with their current safety requirements the way that...

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm not going to get into that, I'll get in trouble if we get into safety stuff.

Benjamin Moses:          Let's get into chrome.

Stephen LaMarca:         My last article. Okay, so I wanted to get into chrome because of talking about the shiny coatings on the new NGAD program F-22, but it was brought to my attention late last week from Tim, he's like, "Hey, there's this huge thing, a ban on chromium (VI) that has taken over Europe. And supposedly everybody is shifting away from any use of chromium (VI), whatsoever. And this was kind of news to me, it's really not that new because it's been all over Europe for a while and it's now coming over to the US. But chromium (VI), or chromium with six electrons, it's a hexavalent chromium, meaning there are six electrons orbiting the chromium nucleus, is apparently pretty... It's like our generation because the world isn't tough enough right now. The newest bestest on the block is chromium (VI), it's the easiest way to put it.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure. That's fair. It's used everywhere. It's used a lot.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is used everywhere. Even though, like I was just saying style trends in automotive, and motorcycles have gone totally away from chrome. It was for the better, because it is awful for you.

Benjamin Moses:          And chrome is resilient. It's used more of like anti-abrasion material.

Stephen LaMarca:         It is. It's a great to line barrels of weapons. You want a resistant barrel that can put a lot of stuff down range? Line it with chrome, and it's easy to clean, but it's carcinogen. Now, Tim wanted me to look into chromium (VI), the European ban on chromium (VI), because he wanted to see if it was going to affect our industry. He wanted to see if we need to do an article to determine its effect on our industry, a businessy article.

Stephen LaMarca:         And I've learned pretty quickly that, comparing to other things that the manufacturing industry is run into, this'll be a minor speed bump, but we'll brush it right off. I mean, we've got much bigger problems right now, like silicon shortage and the supply chain. But, oh man, we can't get our hands on chromium (VI)? Good, we don't want it. So, we're going to brush this off.

Benjamin Moses:          That's good.

Stephen LaMarca:         However, there are other industries that are not. So the article that I found... One of the first things that I thought of when Tim and I had this meeting was, "Dude, wait a minute. So I read that the ban on chromium (VI) will effectively be a ban on chromium (III) as well." Because going back to the electrons in the valence shells of the atoms, chromium (III) only has three electrons, but you've got to another valence shell of the atom that it can easily take on three more electrons. If you have start with chromium (III), it can easily become chromium (VI), the bad one. So by default, we also need to put a ban on chromium (III). Guess who uses chromium (III)? Everybody.

Benjamin Moses:          Of course.

Stephen LaMarca:         Chromium (III), how many leather products are out there today?

Benjamin Moses:          Everything.

Stephen LaMarca:         A lot of things use leather. Because of the speed of production and manufacturing on things, we don't have time to oak bark tan leather hides the old ways, we use chrome to tan leather. So a lot of leather out there, if it's even real leather, is chrome tanned leather. One of the big ones, one of the most popular chrome tanned hides available is from Chicago, US, Chromexcel made by the Horween Leather Company. And it uses chromium (III). I don't mean to throw them under the bus, I'm not, it's not my intention. I love Horween. But it means the products are going to get better since oak bark tan, vegetable tanning is better for the leather. It's a little bit more expensive, takes more time, but it is better quality, but it's going to affect all of the leather goods, everything that taps into the leather goods industry. And the article that I have is from Visordown, a motorcycle news outlet. Alpinestars, a motorcycle clothing company, a safety clothing company.

Benjamin Moses:          Very big company.

Stephen LaMarca:         Huge company. They also do auto racing, too. Like Nomex shoes and gloves for car racing. Alpinestars recalls that GP plus gloves containing cancer causing chromium (VI). And before anybody thinks that this is demonizing Alpinestars for using chromium (VI) in their gloves. Because again, chromium (VI) is the asbestos of our time. Everybody is using it, it's not just Alpinestars, everybody that uses natural leather, real leather, not pleather, not that synthetic vegan stuff, which is just plastic that's going to end up swirling around in our oceans, uses chrome tanned leather. So it's not just Alpinestars, and it's already making an impact. From the moment I heard about this last week, it is already screwing things up. So I don't think it's going to affect the metal cutting, metal removal manufacturing industry. It's going to affect every other industry, though. This is crazy.

Benjamin Moses:          And it's interesting. I was thinking about that also like sewing needles. I mean things where those are probably-

Stephen LaMarca:         Paperclips.

Benjamin Moses:          There's a lot of things that are-

Stephen LaMarca:         Do you think paperclips are made out of steel to look all silver and metal like that? No, it's a cheap, awful like bronze alloy that's coded or plated in chrome to look like it's steel or iron.

Benjamin Moses:          So within our equipment, I'm glad to see that there probably is an impact on producing manufacturing equipment. They're probably not using too many chrome line parts. And it's also good see that if you're a manufacturer, having the ability not to process chrome parts anyway. Because one, processing chrome in general is very... It's hard, so anything you're kind of coding and then grinding afterwards, that's a terrible environment to be in.

Stephen LaMarca:         Nobody is making a product or a part out of billet chrome. That's not a thing. The good news for our industry is, chrome is only a post-production like coding material, usually I'm not going to speak for all of it. But I think our industry, manufacturing is going to brush this off. The rest of the world, not so much.

Benjamin Moses:          Man. Good luck tanning industry. Glad that I'm not not tan. To heck with them. This was a great episode. What could they find more info about us?

Stephen LaMarca:         AMTonline.org/resources. See you there.

Benjamin Moses:          I'd like to thank our sponsor, AM Radio. And bye everyone.

Stephen LaMarca:         Bye.

Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
Recent technology News
Episode 117: Speaking of amusement parks last episode, the tech friends will be at MFG in Orlando this year for a live podcast! Ben gets into machine learning for robots. Elissa shares a new found excitement for robot vision ad object recognition.
Episode 116: The gang shares their love for amusement parks. Stephen is happy to announce that there are a lot of testbed updates. Elissa presents further evidence that Elon Musk is dumb. Ben closes with an allegedly new method of 3D printing.
Episode 115: The gang talks about dogs and other furry friends. Elissa reports that Japan’s about to land on the moon. Ben discusses stainless steel corrosion. Stephen closes with an “ICYMI” on everything we may have missed with the Boeing situation.
Episode 114: Steve talks about jarred tomato sauce and hardware store struggles. Elissa reports on Boeing’s purchase of Spirit AeroSystems (not to be confused with the airlines). Stephen found out what the next milsurp machine tool is.
Episode 113: The team discusses what works and what doesn’t with the sales of Girl Scout Cookies. Ramia shares her excitement as the team’s new studio is coming together! Elissa talks about how women could get burnt out in STEM.
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