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AMT Tech Trends: Paintenance

Ben and Steve discuss maintenance woes; how AMRs/IMRs get their charge and Ford’s AMR, Javier; shot peening metal AM parts; Canada’s first North American-made collaborative robot; and F1’s implementation of the latest inspection metrology.
Mar 28, 2022

Episode 68: Ben and Steve share their maintenance woes. Benjamin opens with how AMRs/IMRs get their charge and Ford’s AMR, Javier. Stephen talks about how shot peening metal AM parts can increase their surface strength multiple times over. Ben comes full circle with maintenance stating unexpected equipment failure is the biggest risk to production. Steve introduces Canada’s first North American-made collaborative robot. Benjamin closes with F1’s implementation of the latest inspection metrology being used for scrutineering.

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Benjamin Moses:          Hello, everyone. Welcome to the AMT Tech Trends Podcast where we discuss the latest manufacturing technology research and news. Today's episode is sponsored by AM Radio. I am the Director of Technology, Benjamin Moses, and I'm here with-

Stephen LaMarca:         Stephen LaMarca, Technology Analyst.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve, how're you doing today?

Stephen LaMarca:         Doing great.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, you're doing well doing?

Stephen LaMarca:         I am doing well. I am upset. I'm on a maintenance kick lately.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         MFG is coming up and I'm doing a small talk at MFG on maintenance.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         When people talk about industry 4.0 or advanced manufacturing, almost always predictive maintenance comes up. Just like when digital twin, I mean digital twin is still a hot topic, but a lot of people ... it's one of those topics that everybody admittedly pretends to know about, and really knows just enough about to keep up a conversation. But it's one of those things that needs to be explained more. And I feel like I've wrapped my head around it enough to explain all the different levels of maintenance. I'm trying to come off as this SME in maintenance and yet admittedly, as much as I love maintenance, maintenance isn't just for manufacturing.

Benjamin Moses:          Right, right.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's part of almost everybody's daily life unless you're one of those people that lives in a big city and you don't have your own vehicle to commute to work, loser. You need to maintain a vehicle if you commute, even if it's a bicycle. You still need to maintain it. There are things to do but one thing a lot of people don't think about in maintaining and certainly my fellow watch collectors, people who are getting into collecting watches, admittedly, even the ones who have been collecting watches don't like talking about maintenance.

Benjamin Moses:          That's fair.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because it's a schedule one maintenance with watch collecting. Even the highest end, the most advanced technology watches are level one maintenance. I like to call it binary maintenance. Meaning it is the farthest from predictive maintenance or prescriptive maintenance, which is advanced maintenance theory, but it's reactive. If something's broke, fix it.

Benjamin Moses:          So when my battery dies, and I would change the battery, that's level one.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         It would be much more advanced, you would have level three, condition base or predictive if you got a notification on your watch saying, "Hey, the battery is about to die."

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         So I don't want to ... No, I'm not going to say it, never mind. Smartwatches are dumb too. My Breitling has stopped working.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh, no!

Stephen LaMarca:         I have two watches. They're nice watches. So, which is why I only have two of them. One's on a leather strap. Well, not technically leather, it's horse butt. It's the subdermal membrane of a horse's butt, shell cordovan.

Benjamin Moses:          Thanks for that.

Stephen LaMarca:         But organic straps, I wear in the winter. And in the summer when you get sweaty and disgusting, that's when I wear metal straps, a metal bracelet, a stainless-steel bracelet, and my Breitling has the metal bracelet on it. And I have come to find to when I'm getting ready to take it out of its winder that it is stuck on the 30th and the second hand is not moving. And I tried giving it a wind, it is fully wound, and it will not start. I'll even give it like a gentle twist. That hairspring will go for like a few oscillations and then it stops and it's like, all right, something is jammed in the drive train and this is going to be dollar signs.

Benjamin Moses:          Sorry, man. Yeah, I was thinking about that too because I've ... for maintaining my cars ... I actually do enjoy working on my cars. Although the modern cars have annoyed me because the floorpan. I have to remove the entire floor pan to change oil, which I would like an access door. But whatever.

Stephen LaMarca:         At least a little hatch.

Benjamin Moses:          A hatch, something. I don't need to remove half the car length of floorpan.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, man.

Benjamin Moses:          I had to remove 15 screws on the Porsche. That's a headache. Underneath when you're on your creeper.

Stephen LaMarca:         Riddle me this because it is a Porsche, which is a semi exotic car.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure. I got to use it, guys. Let's take it easy.

Stephen LaMarca:         But still, have you changed the oil on it yourself?

Benjamin Moses:          I have, yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay, how many drain plugs are there?

Benjamin Moses:          Just one.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's really ... Are you sure it's just one?

Benjamin Moses:          It's an Audi engine.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          So this is the Audi supercharged engine and then it's electrified. So it's a hybrid. So that's not a Porsche in the model that I have.

Stephen LaMarca:         Got you. Okay. Because I remember it blew my mind the first time I read that the Ferrari V8 sometimes have as much as like 12 drain plugs.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's also a dry-sump lubrication system, so the oil is not collecting in the oil pan under the car. It's in a sump. And I have heard a lot of ... Going to car meets and car shows like Cars and Coffee, I've run into a handful of Audi owners and been like, "Yeah, I used to have an Audi with a dry-sump lubrication system. They stopped making them for a good reason. Because you tend to run those dry sumps dry every now and then, and then it becomes a big problem."

Benjamin Moses:          So in my car, I change the oil roughly on time as what the computer said, but I don't have the tool to reset the ECU to tell. I had notified that which is I need to look around it. It's a headache, but I'll let it ride but my wife's truck, it's fairly easy to change oil. I can drive it on the ramp, and so I have to remove the floorpan also, but I'm like 3,000 miles behind on the oil change on that because of the winter. I didn't change the oil before the winter hit. And it's been a fairly cold winter and I don't feel like changing the oil during the wintertime.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. I know a few people with Mazdas. We know a few people, Russ and Melissa both have Mazdas. My sister has a Mazda and they get a little notification when it's time for service. And the service light comes on either when they reach a certain amount of miles, or when it's been a certain amount of time.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         Not uptime, but uptime and downtime together. Regardless of whether or not the car has been running, I mean. And that light will come on. What's so cool about Mazda, you can access that from the menu.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         Before you start the car or even if the car is running, if you stopped, you can just dig through all like the menus and you can turn the light off yourself.

Benjamin Moses:          Is there something you actually like to maintain?

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay, so-

Benjamin Moses:          That you do yourself?

Stephen LaMarca:         I'm about to be shamed. With my car, I do very little.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         I change the air filters, the cabin air filter and the engine air filter, because there's no reason why you shouldn't be doing that. The one thing I do like to maintain other than the air filters, I've cleaned the ... not the EGR ... mass airflow sensor.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh, sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         That one's easy to do. You buy an aerosol can of mass airflow sensor cleaner. You unbolt ... there's two bolts, and then you unplug something, you take it out. You hold it in front of you, about six inches in front of the can. You just spray the hell out of it.

Benjamin Moses:          And then smell all those fumes, and then put it back in.

Stephen LaMarca:         And then you put it back in.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay, good.

Stephen LaMarca:         Well, you want to let it dry for 15 minutes first.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         But I just put it back in. I don't start it right away. But like I'll do that during lunch in the garage while at work. It's easy to do, it makes the car run a lot better. It's noticeable when you have a dirty mass airflow sensor, and then you clean it. You don't notice it as it's getting dirtier, but when you clean it up, it helps the throttle response wild. But other than that, I don't work on my car at all. So far with the new motorcycle, I've done all the maintenance myself. Now it is new. So I mean, I haven't even done the break-in service, but I've added a lot of parts to it, like Kawasaki original equipment parts. The instructions are good enough even though they're really tiny. Sometimes you need a loop, I think, to read those instructions. It's not like more than a magnifying glass. But I've done that.

Stephen LaMarca:         Jay Leno said once that he prefers standard or naked bikes to sport bikes. Sport bikes have aerodynamic fairings covering everything and a naked bike or a standard bike like a Harley Davidson or a UJM, a Universal Japanese Motorcycle are uncovered, so you can see everything. He likes those not only because they're easier to work on, but because it's like a mechanical watch that's either skeletonized or has a display back. You can just see all the engineering beauty that went into it. I subscribe to that.

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         But the beauty of a naked, unlike a watch, you can work on it yourself.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. Simple tools, you can get to everything. That's great.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          I like working on firearms. That's the coolest thing I like. There's a couple reasons why. One, I like the solitude. It's completely silent. Usually, I work at night usually in the garage, or in the basement. I try and do it in the garage because there are fumes involved. And then I actually recently have been doing gun maintenance with a friend so, we're doing that together.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, cool. Scott?

Benjamin Moses:          No.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          And then the other maintenance is once you get it cleaned and get a lubed, it actually feels really nice, like you can work the action and it feels significantly different than when it was dirty or if you look down the barrel and you see like there's no debris, no copper fouling or anything. I mean not going to see copper fouling but it looks clean when you shine the light down there. It feels really nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         I have to be honest with you. As much as I am a huge fan of maintenance in theory, I hate it in practice. I love maintaining because you brought up firearms, which is another thing. I love cleaning my Benelli, but that's because all of the internals are chrome plated. Chrome is the ... especially polished chrome, high luster chrome, is the easiest surface. It just wipes dry. You don't even need any solvents. Everything just wipes clean. I haven't cleaned my AR yet. I oil it because after you put one round through it, it's dry. All of the oil is gone.

Benjamin Moses:          I don't use oil.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's also really funny when you have an empty firearm, and you're just like hanging out in the living room or whatever. Firearms clear, unloaded, and you just rack the action really fast, a handful of times you rack it really fast and you can actually smell the oil burning off to the friction because it's such a tight tolerance system.

Benjamin Moses:          Let's get on ... We got an article we're going to talk about maintenance later on too. So, we'll get on that one later. 

Stephen LaMarca:         And before we get into articles, we have an ad read. This podcast episode is sponsored by AM Radio. AM Radio is the new podcast from Additive Manufacturing Media. Join editors Pete Zielinski and Stephanie Hendrickson 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 into Additive.

Benjamin Moses:          See, the first article I have is about new charging technologies in the warehouse automation from machine design.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, charging technologies.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, so some of our audience may not be using warehouse robots, but the big thing is, if you have a warehouse, it's probably going to be automated to using AGVs or AMRs.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, got you, right.

Benjamin Moses:          And then we have IMR use case later on, we'll talk about too but it talks about the value of automation and the challenges that they have on using this equipment on the floor. So, using an automated warehouse has 76% boost in inventory accuracy. And I'm sorry, 99% increase in accuracy as in picking the right object, and then 40% more likely to ship that same day. So in terms of the biz need, the Amazon ship that day or two-day shipping, you've got to get it in a box fairly quickly.

Stephen LaMarca:         Absolutely.

Benjamin Moses:          So, accelerating from order to picking to getting it into a box. Obviously, there's value in doing that and benefits the end user. But what they're talking about is, these remote vehicles have massive batteries. Just like an EVie car, you need to charge it, you can't drive it anywhere. So the article gets into issues on with the current state of the landscape of we've got all these autonomous vehicles or autonomous robots on the factory floor but how do we go to the next step and keeping them active, keeping them engaged all the time. So it's interesting where it looks at a couple of different ways where now you apply a little bit of intelligence system. So you'd look at opportunistic charging.

Benjamin Moses:          So similar to if you're actually driving across the world in a Tesla, you're not going to drive it until it's completely dead, you're probably going to drive it until like 50%, charge it, so it charges faster and then drive another 50% and then charge ... or down to 25%, or wherever the next EVie charging station could be.

Stephen LaMarca:         That strategy could change with the development of batteries.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because remember before smartphones became the norm, when it was still flip phones, and it slides and T-Mobile Sidekicks and Motorola RAZRs, the rule of thumb was you use the battery all the way down to zero, then you charge it all the way up to 100. Now with smartphones, if you want to keep that battery life, because the processing power is so crazy high, if you want to keep the battery healthy for longer, you charge it when it hits 50, and then you charge it to 80. And apparently, that's the healthiest for the battery. So obviously not a lot of people do that because-

Benjamin Moses:          Why would you?

Stephen LaMarca:         Because there's life. There's a thing called life that gets in the way of charging batteries.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca:         But if I would imagine, if you were to and if you could physically drive across the world in a Tesla, assuming this battery technology is the same as modern cell phones, which I have no reason to believe it's not, you would drive it until it's 50% power and then charge it to 80 and then continue again until you're back down to 50 if you want to keep that battery working.

Benjamin Moses:          The big takeaway is there's a really strong connection between batteries, right? There're significant advancements in batteries. You've talked about 3D printing batteries and the different minerals and chemicals used to extend the life and get charger, but also the charging capability. Using higher voltages, higher amperages in Evie vehicles to get that charge down fast.

Benjamin Moses:          But I think one thing that isn't talked about enough is charging strategies. And it's going to play a lot in the automated robots of how often do you charge? Do you even charge it, if it's ... In the article later on, we talked about Ford, if it's at a station, why not just have the robot, the IMR plug itself in while it's being operated? There's a lot of different ways to solve this problem. Because if that's a machine that needs power, plug itself in for a hot second and then do its thing and then unplug itself. Some random thoughts.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, I don't envy people who are in battery development.

Benjamin Moses:          Why not? [crosstalk 00:15:51]

Stephen LaMarca:         I was told at a very young age, I mean, early college years, from a condensed matter physicist, and because they are involved a lot in battery research and development. If you want all of your effort and your educational career, your climbing of the ivory tower to be faster than any other major, go into condensed matter physics.

Benjamin Moses:          I do want to piggyback off this because it is directly connected. So Ford rolls out autonomous robot-operated 3D printers in vehicle production.

Benjamin Moses:          The title is a little misleading. I think if you take it at face value from 3D printing industry. So, their advanced manufacturing center has a bunch of 3D printers.

Stephen LaMarca:         Is this your second article?

Benjamin Moses:          Just piggyback on the first.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          I have a different second article.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay, it was fascinating, man. You're putting baby in the corner.

Benjamin Moses:          I just want to tie it too because it's directly related. They have-

Stephen LaMarca:         And I love this article by the way.

Benjamin Moses:          ... an industrial mobile robot supporting material handling for additive machines. 

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          But they're able to take this, the material after it's printed to anywhere else in the facility. So it's not just within the cell. Say you have all your 3D printers on one side of the building and your post processing the other side, which is fair, because the different cleanliness requirements for both. How do you material handle or logistically move one to another? In additive, there's actually a lot of material handling that is not talked about. Both on the raw material side, you have build place, you've got post processing needs. So Ford is supporting this by using an industrial mobile robot, and they're able to communicate to each other. So the additive printer is able to say, "Hey, I'm ready" and then IMR will come pick it up and then move on.

Stephen LaMarca:         So I've got a few comments, because I love this article. And I had a discussion about this article yesterday. First off, it's cool that this IMR at Ford's advanced manufacturing facility, which is strictly their additive and automation. Well, hands off automation, it's supposedly entirely automated?

Benjamin Moses:          No.

Stephen LaMarca:         Which is not true and you can debunk it in the article and Ford's video in several ways. It never shows the IMR loading feedstock into the machine. So it can be assumed that that is done by a human, number one. Number two, the biggest tell that that is not an automation-only facility. If you watch that video, look at the lighting in that facility, robots don't need that much overhead light.

Benjamin Moses:          Maybe, I mean, depending on the vision system that they could be using.

Stephen LaMarca:         Then they're using the wrong vision system. They don't need light.

Benjamin Moses:          Give them a flashlight, put a little strobe light on top of it.

Stephen LaMarca:         I mean, I guess it needs a headlight if that. I don't see why it doesn't have night vision.

Benjamin Moses:          Also, I like the fact that they are using it on the Ford 500.

Stephen LaMarca:         The GT500?

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, the GT500.

Stephen LaMarca:         Shelby GT500.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, that's sick. Oh, but the other thing, the post processing or additive. Additive gets a lot of credit for having zero setup time whatsoever.

Benjamin Moses:          Sure.

Stephen LaMarca:         I didn't realize until I did Season Two of Road Tripping with Steve in our first stop at the University of Texas at Austin, when Jared Allison, who's the PhD that's working. He's the technician of their advanced manufacturing facility, their additive manufacturing facility or additive manufacturing center. I forget, forgive me.

Benjamin Moses:          Let's keep moving, Steve.

Stephen LaMarca:         He went into ... Yeah, there's zero setup time only because all of the setup time comes after the print has been done. Then you need to take the build plate with your parts on it, carefully over to a wire EDM, and cut it off or chisel it off, which is more realistic in a lot of cases because not everybody has wire EDM.

Stephen LaMarca:         You would think that if you have metal powder bed fusion, or laser powder bed fusion, direct metal laser sintering. If you have that stuff, you probably have a wire EDM on site. But ...

Benjamin Moses:          Maybe.

Stephen LaMarca:         ... if you're a school, probably not. Because that's a very select technology that you would need to be in a manufacturing facility to have that. But they're chiseling things off and then you need to move the build plate to a milling machine to resurface it. And then the build plate has a service life. Because you have to remove material from it to get it perfectly even and not smooth but have the right surface so it's smooth, but it's also rough so you can easily weld your new parts to it. It's-

Benjamin Moses:          I consider the build plate similar to the pink eraser. You just keep using it till it disappears one day.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes.

Benjamin Moses:          You turn around, "Where did the build plate go?"

Stephen LaMarca:         But let's put that myth to bed. There's not zero setup time. Just all the setup time comes after you're done with your print.

Benjamin Moses:          It's transferred the setup downstream.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's like cooking. Just because you started in a clean kitchen doesn't mean you're going to finish with a clean kitchen.

Benjamin Moses:          So you've got something about shot peening?

Stephen LaMarca:         I do. I wanted to ask you what you know about shot peening.

Benjamin Moses:          What do I know? I think we may have had it at my old facility briefly. It's a fairly caustic and tough environment so they do it a lot in chambers. We did shot peening for cleaning parts. But we have done so some of our machine components looked at enhancing the surface finish to increase the life of the parts. So we did a lot of chemical etching to increase the surface finish, but also did the shot peening to increase the hardness on the surface.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay, so I've got an article from 3D Printing Industry, "Research shows shot peening technology can increase 3D printed parts strength by up to 20 times."

Benjamin Moses:          Nice.

Stephen LaMarca:         20x.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         That-

Benjamin Moses:          It caught you by surprise?

Stephen LaMarca:         It caught me by surprise. Probably number one because I don't know enough about shot peening.

Benjamin Moses:          Okay.

Stephen LaMarca:         I always thought shot peening was something like, I guess higher velocity smaller bead blasting or something like that. Because I hear shot and I'm like, "Okay, we're talking about little beads." [crosstalk 00:22:11]

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, that's all beads and these are either ceramic balls or stainless steel balls, but in this application-

Stephen LaMarca:         With higher velocity?

Benjamin Moses:          Yes, it's high velocity.

Stephen LaMarca:         And are the beads smaller?

Benjamin Moses:          Very, very small.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay, so that explains why in the first paragraph, they also call it, was it cold microforging?

Benjamin Moses:          Yep, yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         Wow. And that explain ... forging, when I hear forging, I think, okay, you're definitely making something harder.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, you're plastically deforming just the surface. So similar to surface hardening with a laser or heat treating it. Just so the outside, that first layer, first couple of grains on the structure gets compacted. So that's increasing the stiffness on the outside.

Stephen LaMarca:         But it doesn't do anything to the internal structure.

Benjamin Moses:          Correct.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's only surface treatment.

Benjamin Moses:          Correct. Yeah, anywhere you're [inaudible 00:22:56]. So if you have an internal hole, you could shot blast the inside of it. But in terms of the thickness of the part, it doesn't change the microstructure and the thickness.

Stephen LaMarca:         So if they're talking about, well, two things, if they're talking about a 3D printed part with an internal lattice structure, they can't help it?

Benjamin Moses:          No, no.

Stephen LaMarca:         They can't do anything for it.

Benjamin Moses:          No. And if you look at most failure mechanics, it's going to fracture at the surface, unless you got internal defects.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, fascinating.

Benjamin Moses:          If you have a pore or something like that, which is probably an additive, but most common defects is going to start at the surface.

Stephen LaMarca:         Wow.

Benjamin Moses:          So that's why they're attacking the surface. That's why it increases the strength of ... Now that doesn't seem ... Is it fatigue failure or is it yield or ultimate failure? But in the end, it depends on the application. That's cool article.

Stephen LaMarca:         It was a cool article and my next question. And it's hinted too by the cover picture in the background behind the title, but I take it this only applies for metal additive, right?

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah. You wouldn't do that to plastic or anything else, it would just blow right through it.

Stephen LaMarca:         All right, so has anybody ever done that? I mean, I know it seems pretty obvious. But for science, it sounds like something really fun to do.

Benjamin Moses:          I will ask around.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's awesome. All right. Well, that was my first article.

Benjamin Moses:          I've got one on maintenance/unexpected failures on the [inaudible 00:24:16].

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh!

Benjamin Moses:          From VentureBeat, manufacturers say unexpected equipment failure is the biggest risk to meet production targets. Some people say it's common sense, but when you go through the article and all the issues that manufacturers are going to face today, it's a fairly broad spectrum, right. So obviously, it's getting material into your factory. That's still a problem, right?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          Just getting raw material into the factory. But they also say, the second is regulatory and compliance hurdles.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          And of course, skill and workforce upscaling. Workforce in general is still an issue. But of all those, a third issue that the manufacturer's facing is unplanned downtime.

Stephen LaMarca:         Got you. Maintenance issues.

Benjamin Moses:          Maintenance Issues, right. And to be fair, it could be a little broader spectrum not just the traditional sense of maintenance, maybe not even getting a cutter in place, right. So you set up for a machine, you're missing a 5/8 end mill or a form cutter.

Stephen LaMarca:         Or you don't torque something down the spec-

Benjamin Moses:          And it goes flying out of your machine. That's a broad spectrum of issues. But in the end, it's being able to keep your machine up and running with proper maintenance and all the accessories required to maintain and keep running the machine. So I thought it's interesting look at and of all the issues that they're seeing, unplanned downtime is still one of the top three.

Stephen LaMarca:         Wow. Because there's so many variables that can go wrong in production facilities, regardless of the actual manufacturing. The actual bringing stock material to part form. It's still the downtime. Wow.

Benjamin Moses:          We're talking very advanced technology. So we just talked about Ford and MR feeding additive machines. Great. But if you're not maintaining the additive machine or your robot, that's one of the biggest issues.

Stephen LaMarca:         So I guess that's why there's all that overhead lighting.

Benjamin Moses:          Exactly.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because somebody's got to be able to fix it.

Benjamin Moses:          There's always got to be this one guy with a wrench making sure the machine's running.

Stephen LaMarca:         You know the Ford acronym, fix or repair daily.

Benjamin Moses:          You got one on robots also and automation.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yes. Okay. So have you heard of a company Kinova, K-I-N-O-V-A?

Benjamin Moses:          I have not.

Stephen LaMarca:         So, Kinova has been around for 15 years. They are a Canadian automation company. They're Canadian manufacturing technology company. In their 15 years, they have just recently released their very first and they claim the first Canadian collaborative robot.

Benjamin Moses:          That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's cool. It's relatively significant. But I really wanted to bring this up because I'm a hack. And I just want to say that a Canadian collaborative robot, I guarantee you this is the most polite collaborative robot in the industry. They have cornered the market.

Benjamin Moses:          It's going to apologize every time it does something.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's not going to kill anybody.

Benjamin Moses:          Does it ship with-

Stephen LaMarca:         Not only does it have like collision detection and does it do forced stop if it notices anything, but it will apologize as well.

Benjamin Moses:          So this is a segment where we just blast Canadian jokes.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah. Collaborative robots, they even slow down as they detect something approaching. But it even apologizes-

Benjamin Moses:          For slowing down.

Stephen LaMarca:         Not even ... It prevents the collision, still apologizes.

Benjamin Moses:          Yeah, sorry.

Stephen LaMarca:         Sorry. Sorry for bringing this article up.

Benjamin Moses:          Steve, we talked about Formula One. Was that last episode?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, we did talk about it last episode.

Benjamin Moses:          I got an article from Metrology News about Formula One, interesting intersection.

Stephen LaMarca:         Heck, yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          The intersection and all the great things, F1 Race scrutineering to check car geometry using laser tracker and 3D laser scanning. Just a couple of questions here, Steve, I need you to educate me on.

Stephen LaMarca:         Okay.

Benjamin Moses:          What is scrutineering?

Stephen LaMarca:         Scrutineering is not just Formula One, it's also in Le Mans, but it's also not just in the highest level of motorsports. Scrutineering shouldn't be associated with racing, and it shouldn't be associated with like high-level motorsports. It should be associated with any time you put a vehicle out on a track. Race tracks are very expensive. They are very expensive to maintain because they're infinitely better than public roads. And they get a lot less service than public roads. And they don't have the beauty of the taxpayer to pay for them. So a lot of money goes into them.

Benjamin Moses:          Yep.

Stephen LaMarca:         And even if somebody shows up to the racetrack and wants to pay a lot of money to take their car or vehicle out onto the track. Before they can, the track owners, and it behooves anybody who has to maintain or anybody who is in charge of that track to the slightest degree to be all about scrutineering. Scrutineering is making sure the vehicle that is about to go out on this racetrack or a racetrack isn't going to harm the racetrack.

Stephen LaMarca:         The racetrack comes first, then you want to make sure the vehicle doesn't harm other people on the track. And then you want to make sure the vehicle doesn't harm the person who's trying to operate the vehicle.

Benjamin Moses:          That's fair.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's basically safety check. It's like your safety inspection, but way more intensified, or less so because you can take a vehicle that has not passed your state safety inspection to a racetrack and it might pass there.

Benjamin Moses:          Right.

Stephen LaMarca:         They do things like they make sure your headlights, if they're glass, even plastic in some cases, they make sure your headlights are taped off because they don't want shattered glass on the track. They check your machine for mechanical soundness, is it leaking oil or coolant because they don't want that on the track. If it will harm other people, it will harm the perfect surface of the track. They don't do stuff like checking alignment. But in racing, it's much more than that.

Stephen LaMarca:         In the lowest level, unlike on a public civilian level, they're making sure the vehicle is sound and not going to hurt anybody or more importantly, the track itself. It's to keep the track safe. In high-level racing, it is to make sure that the cars are following the rules. So in auto racing, like Formula One and the 24 hours of Le Mans, a driver ... Those are two totally different schools of race so let's just stick on Formula One. The faster racecar driver and race car isn't necessarily the fastest car.

Stephen LaMarca:         In Formula One, it sometimes sadly is. But in terms of driver talent, the only thing that determines one driver from another, like which one's better, is who makes less mistakes. They all do the same correct things but the faster driver makes less mistakes. One driver is passed by another because that person made one more mistake than the person behind them. And scrutineering makes sure that the playing field is as level as possible. Scrutineering in the 24 hours of Le Mans, there's actually a plank of wood underneath the cars, that as the cars go over this hump on the Mulsanne Straight, which is the back straight of the track. It wears away the bottom of the car if the car is too low.

Stephen LaMarca:         There's no regulation for how low the car is but there is a regulation for how much material you have on the bottom of the car. So they measure that wood at the beginning of the race and it is to some metric ... By the end of the race, by the end of 24 hours, it is allowed to deteriorate by, let's say, a quarter of an inch. I don't know what it is. And I'm sure it's in millimeters, not inches. If it goes beyond that, that car is disqualified.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         Because let's say they're using a thinner piece of wood to save weight, which sounds crazy. They do everything they possibly can. Formula One's the same.

Benjamin Moses:          So in this case, what they're using are handheld laser scanners to check the geometry of the outside of the car. So previously, you could use measuring tape or different mechanics or mechanical ways of checking the car. But in this case, what they want to do is get to a faster decision also. So being able to collect the data to make a decision.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's cool.

Benjamin Moses:          And also they talk about the complexity of the parts. So you've seen the Formula One which we talked about how interesting they look recently, it's a very, very complex surface. So making sure that there's compliance both on height and there's regulations on the overall shape and what they're allowed to do and aerodynamically, verify that both before and after the race. They're changing parts throughout the race also.

Stephen LaMarca:         Oh, yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          So it's interesting that they go through this part and also they're doing this at the race day, at the race weekend.

Stephen LaMarca:         That's so cool.

Benjamin Moses:          Friday's practice day, Saturday's qualification, Sunday's race day.

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah, there's no scrutineering that takes place for qualification or practice.

Benjamin Moses:          So, 20 cars, they're going to check over the weekend. And you have to make a decision very, very quickly.

Stephen LaMarca:         There's the track safety check. But the scrutineering is almost like an event on its own. Points can't be made in scrutineering but disqualifications can happen during scrutineering.

Benjamin Moses:          I really like the AbilityOne, it's massive, right?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          In terms of the size of the car and the environment that they're checking. And also, I mean to be fair, laser scanners, in general, have been in the industry for a little bit. But the application into open environment, they're in the open garage, they're checking these.

Stephen LaMarca:         No, they're out in the open, they're on the track.

Benjamin Moses:          And then they're doing this quickly enough for 20 cars at a race weekend to get all the information and a decision made very quickly throughout to make sure the race occurs. You'll continue the race and they could theoretically disqualify you afterwards, but they want to be able to make a decision very, very quickly. So I thought this very interesting lifecycle of checking a part, collecting that and getting into analysis in a non-manufacturing environment, right? These guys are Formula One.

Stephen LaMarca:         It's really cool. But it ties back to manufacturing. Because we have noticed a trend in handheld laser scanning technology has been blowing up lately. And it speaks volumes that Formula One is adapting it. That's the pro. That's the cool thing. The con, the only concern that I have, and it's probably minimal, is that it could cause scrutineers and the training of FIA controlled certified scrutineers to get lazier because the technology is better. That's with any technology. That's a risk with any improving technology.

Stephen LaMarca:         But I will say I bet you what drove the development of this handheld 3D scanning technology is the FIA regulations prohibiting the use of originally tire ovens and now tire warmers. So, tire warmers aren't allowed anymore.

Benjamin Moses:          Oh, really?

Stephen LaMarca:         Yeah.

Benjamin Moses:          This year they're not allowed.

Stephen LaMarca:         They're allowed before the race, but they have to be turned off at a certain time before the race starts.

Benjamin Moses:          Wow.

Stephen LaMarca:         And naturally, I'm sure a few of the teams have been like, well, the scrutineers better hurry up then because we're losing precious degrees. But yeah, to just elaborate on the background behind that, tires, especially high-performance tires, work their best ... they're produced and developed to maintain grip up to like four Gs of lateral force. And to do that, you need to be at an extremely high temperature to keep that rubber at a glue-like consistency, so it can literally stick to the road. And you want to keep it hot. And if you're not cornering hard enough, if you're like just driving Miss Daisy around the track, you're not driving hard enough to keep the tires at temperature. And when they go below temperature, they become like rocks, and they just slide everywhere.

Benjamin Moses:          Which is why you see them weaving back and forth after [inaudible 00:37:05].

Stephen LaMarca:         They're scuffing the tires.

Benjamin Moses:          They're trying to maintain temperature.

Stephen LaMarca:         And it's crazy, those tires degrade so quickly by the end of 60-lap Formula One race, you can see the perfect road where all of the cars have gone. That's the drivers align around the track. And on the outside, it's just like riddled with like black debris, which is called clag. That's the technical term. Clag is chips, if you would, of the tire material, the rubber.

Benjamin Moses:          It's a minefield outside the line.

Stephen LaMarca:         And what's actually really fun, I'm sorry, I'm saying on the final lap after the race, the cars that have actually completed the race, you will actually notice as their tires are still hot, they will drive over the clag to keep their hot, sticky tires to pick up some of the clag to add weight to the car after the race because there's a post-race scrutineering too to make sure that the car is not underweight.

Benjamin Moses:          That's clever.

Stephen LaMarca:         And they do that just as a safety precaution to make sure just in case it is slightly underweight, just picking up those extra few ounces of rubber on the sticky tires can keep you within spec and from being disqualified.

Benjamin Moses:          Scrutineering them.

Stephen LaMarca:         Scrutineering, baby, inspection. Everybody hates inspection.

Benjamin Moses:          Today's episode was sponsored by AM Radio. Where can they find more info about us, Steve?

Stephen LaMarca:         amtonline.org/resources.

Benjamin Moses:          Like, share, subscribe. Thanks, Steve.

Stephen LaMarca:         Bye.

Benjamin Moses:          Bye everyone.

Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
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