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AMT Tech Trends: Steve's Shorts

Episode 62: Ben and Steve wrap up 2021 by sharing fond memories, lessons learned, and predictions for 2022. Stephen blabs about silicon micromachining and silicon wafer earbud speakers. Benjamin covers recent trends in AM and Manufacturing USA institute...
Dec 10, 2021

Episode 62: Ben and Steve wrap up 2021 by sharing fond memories, lessons learned, and predictions for 2022. Stephen blabs about silicon micromachining and silicon wafer earbud speakers. Benjamin covers recent trends in AM and Manufacturing USA institute, REMADE’s, research grants. Steve closes with a real-life firearm that was originally only in a videogame. Happy Holidays!

For the latest in Manufacturing Technology news https://www.amtonline.org/resources


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

Stephen LaMarca: Stephen LaMarca, technology analyst, AMT.

Benjamin Moses: Steve, way to come in like the Kool-Aid man. That's impressive.

Stephen LaMarca: Due, I just want to send 2021 out with a bang. It was a great year. I don't think anybody's denying that it wasn't a great year. Everybody went into 2021 a little wary, where it was like, please don't be a repeat of 2022.

Benjamin Moses: Please let me get by toilet paper.

Stephen LaMarca: Then three months later, it's over.

Benjamin Moses: In the blink of an eye, '21 just passed.

Stephen LaMarca: You know it's a good year when it goes by way too fast.

Benjamin Moses: That's true.

Stephen LaMarca: It was an unbelievable year.

Benjamin Moses: Yep.

Stephen LaMarca: A lot of things recovered. It's not done recovering yet. But especially when we wrapped up last year, we all ... at least you and I agreed, and a few of my friends agreed, that 2020, there was a lot of crying and it stunk that there was a lot of lockdowns-

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and deaths, but all in all, there was a lot of good things that came out of 2020.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Well, thankfully, 2021 was a repeat on 2020 in its good things.

Benjamin Moses: All the good things carried over.

Stephen LaMarca: It just carried over and was even more, and there was way less of the bad. I'm really excited for 2022, which is going to be an IMTS year.

Benjamin Moses: That's true.

Stephen LaMarca: I can't wait for us to have another show, and I'm excited to go traveling again.

Benjamin Moses: Are you? Do you miss travel?

Stephen LaMarca: So initially, I would say up until yesterday, I would say, "No, I don't miss travel." I may have missed travel a little bit.

Benjamin Moses: The logistics of travel, I don't.

Stephen LaMarca: Let's go over Steve's good things about not having to travel.

Benjamin Moses: Yep.

Stephen LaMarca: I get a little bit of anxiety before I have to travel for work. Not just flying, but even if it's a road trip.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: It's like, okay, do I have everything? I get a fraction of that anxiety every time I of go out the door.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: But when you're going to be away for a long time and especially when it's work related, it's like, you have to make sure you have everything and you're mentally prepared to do work while away and in a new environment that you're not used to working in. So get a little bit of anxiety there. So the positive has been, there was none of that.

Benjamin Moses: That's good.

Stephen LaMarca: Then the other big positive for me is not having to do as much laundry. The negative to that is I've definitely been slumming it a lot more.

Benjamin Moses: That's what-

Stephen LaMarca: I've definitely, after buying the first motorcycle, I realized that, dude, I got to start looking a little bit more rugged.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: You know?

Benjamin Moses: Sure. You want to-

Stephen LaMarca: I'm riding. I'm on two wheels, brother.

Benjamin Moses: ... look that part.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm on an iron horse. I got to live. I got to be about that life.

Benjamin Moses: Iron horse.

Stephen LaMarca: But there's been a few days this year, if not a couple days in a row this year, where I've just woken up, gotten ready for a Zoom meeting or to come into the office, regardless of being totally washed up-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and showered, still look in the mirror and be like, dude, I look pretty homeless right now. So that's a negative, but it's nice not having as much work to do, like homework to do at home.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Like doing laundry and stuff like that. But the biggest positive of all of the non-traveling stuff is you've been the safest.

Benjamin Moses: That's fair. That's fair.

Stephen LaMarca: You're exposing yourself as little as possible to the coronavirus and any pandemic, if you subscribe to that. I realize it's lightening up a little bit.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: We're learning more and more every day. The more we're learning is that this is preventable.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm going to stop there. It's preventable. There are measures we can do to be safe and to continue life as normal.

Benjamin Moses: I agree with your hygiene concern. So the transition from office to working from home. I understand that maintaining that pattern or that routine is important. So trying to wake up at the same time, carry the same pattern.

Stephen LaMarca: Dude, props to Doug. He warned us on our first all staff meeting that was over Zoom, when we were all still figuring out how to work Zoom and working through the VPN issues at the beginning. Doug straight up said, "Listen, start every day the way you would normally as if you were going to come into the office. Try to wake up on time," which I definitely didn't do.

Benjamin Moses: Well, to be fair, you never did that when you worked in the office.

Stephen LaMarca: Yes. I did. Maybe my first two or three years, but then I stopped caring. But wake up on time, do your morning routine.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Get dressed. You're just not getting in the car and you're not coming to the office.

Benjamin Moses: Yeah. Yeah. Totally.

Stephen LaMarca: You're going to your living room or whatever you have until you've set up a work from home. He was right about that. You got to stay in the habit.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Because breaking habits is hard, but starting, restarting good habits is even harder than breaking habits.

Benjamin Moses: That's really hard. Yep.

Stephen LaMarca: So props to him. He was right about that. On the other hand, now what are the bad things about missing all this travel? I didn't realize it until I had a meeting with Dayton yesterday, but even though we stay on top of all the manufacturing news through tech trends and through our various news feeds, I didn't realize until yesterday how much I've actually missed in the industry.

Benjamin Moses: Oh, right.

Stephen LaMarca: How much that has actually changed while not traveling.

Benjamin Moses: Oh, absolutely.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm asking Dayton, who's not even ... He is a technology guy, but-

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: He doesn't have our job, which is staying on top of the manufacturing technology. I'm like, "Dude, how are you this well-versed in the current stuff?"

Benjamin Moses: Right, right.

Stephen LaMarca: "Not just stuff from a year ago. You know exactly what's going on." He's like, "I go to the events. You have to go to the events to know this stuff." I'm like, "Okay, I got to start going to events again." Because I used to.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: We used to. You guys, Tim, especially started going to events again.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: But I've been playing it safe, especially since the plan to go to Formnext in 2020 and having to cancel that flight and not getting AMT's money back on the refund for that flight to Germany, intimidated me. I was like, "I don't want to cost AMT any more money, especially when money's getting tight because of a pandemic or something like that." Now that things are recovering, it's like, I need to get out there.

Benjamin Moses: Yeah, absolutely.

Stephen LaMarca: I can't wait. You sent our travel plans, our department's travel plans. You mapped all the shows for 2022. Bro, I'm telling you right now, get ready to spend some coin because I'm putting my name on a lot of those events.

Benjamin Moses: Yeah. That's why I sent it around . It's already a full schedule. I saw an interesting trend where it looks like a lot of conferences didn't book their normal schedule in the year. So a lot of events, in the second half of the year, they got booked, pushed to October, November. So second half of the year is going to be very, which actually I'm happy about. We can see a continuance of reduction in the-

Stephen LaMarca: Right.

Benjamin Moses: ... COVID and stuff like that.

Stephen LaMarca: So I have a lot of friends and colleagues who are like, "No, you really shouldn't be traveling. This isn't over. There's still more variance coming out."

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: "You need to be as safe as possible." I totally respect that, and I want to do that, but their job isn't the same as mine-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... in that they don't need stay on top of this latest and greatest trending stuff. That's where I've had my vision blurred and fogged. It's like, no, we got to get out there. I'm going to have to do more to be even safer.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm going to keep that thing on me. You see the mask right on our desk now, our table now. But like-

Benjamin Moses: It's a good point because we hosted AMT Forecast and MFG at the end of November, end of October. Sorry. Dave Burns and I brought in a panel on additive and these guys are doing some cutting edge stuff. You wouldn't hear about this in an article or anything because they did an open panel about advancements in additive, how to continue harvesting value from additive for your business. They were talking about tons of use cases of everyone's very interested in getting additive in production, which is cool, but there's still tons of other cases. But the other cases no one talks about like, L'Oreal the cosmetic company, they're printing mascara brushes through 3D printing.

Stephen LaMarca: Right, right.

Benjamin Moses: That was published, but talking about that and how they [crosstalk 00:09:27]-

Stephen LaMarca: That's still 2020 news. But it's still cool.

Benjamin Moses: It's still fascinating. But they also hosted the Female Technology award. So they're seen as a cosmetic company, but their manufacturing capabilities, surprisingly deep. Hearing about those interesting use cases, the only way you're going to hear about it is going to an event, talking to people and understanding what use cases that they've seen recently. So I thought that was very fascinating.

Stephen LaMarca: I think Cat last year, early last year, posted an article about L'Oreal's work in additive.

Benjamin Moses: Right. Right.

Stephen LaMarca: I always loved, when I was a little kid, I will always remember their children's shampoo, the No More Tears shampoo. L'Oreal made their little shampoo bottles look like a fish. They still make them.

Benjamin Moses: Do they? That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, apparently.

Benjamin Moses: I guess.

Stephen LaMarca: I had to look it up on Amazon. They're available. They might be new, old stock, but they're there.

Benjamin Moses: What about technology predictions for next year?

Stephen LaMarca: Technology predictions? Okay. Let's go back to the last time I had at least a major technology prediction after seeing IMTS 2018, walking around the floor, especially of the student summit, and seeing very expensive $70,000 robot arms unplugged, sitting there on the floor with custom end effector, end of arm tooling, to be coat hangers.

Benjamin Moses: Yep. Yep.

Stephen LaMarca: It's just like that's awesome. What a flex to have a $70,000 coat hanger.

Benjamin Moses: Just hanging around.

Stephen LaMarca: They were everywhere. Then I realized, dude, robots are going to become way more popular-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and are going to go way down in price. For the most part, I was right about that. I called that one.

Benjamin Moses: To emphasize that point, I'm the liaison for Automation and Manufacturing Committee, and the entire group, in the beginning of the pandemic, they were obviously like everyone else, very concerned about their business forecast. Throughout the entire year, they stayed at plan or above. Everyone was asking for automation equipment, to the point where their lead time, they had difficulty keeping up with their lead times because so much new business was coming in, between packaging. So many other industries were clamoring for automation equipment. So I completely agree that the trend was there and I think the pandemic just amplified that trend-

Stephen LaMarca: Right.

Benjamin Moses: ... to outrageous levels.

Stephen LaMarca: Right. We saw in 2020, especially, automation and additive blow up.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Additive with PPE and coronavirus treatment solutions that needed to be developed quickly.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Additive was awesome for the prototyping and, in some cases, the production-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... phase, especially in Italy. Of course, automation all over Europe and especially Germany with ... Was it Siemens that made the autonomous robots for sanitizing airports?

Benjamin Moses: Right. Yep.

Stephen LaMarca: I think it was Siemens. I don't want to inappropriately credit them.

Benjamin Moses: We'll go with that for now.

Stephen LaMarca: But automation and additive blew up because of the pandemic.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Then something happened unexpected. Just like the pandemic, something else happened after our lockdown. Was it this year or was it tail end of last year? The chip shortage.

Benjamin Moses: Sure. Yep.

Stephen LaMarca: silicon shortage. I think it was last year.

Benjamin Moses: Toward the end of last year.

Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. That's right. Because the GPU's came out and they couldn't make them. The chip shortage. I'm leading into both the first article that we're going to talk about, but finally, to get to my prediction. The chip shortage has been crazy. What would normally be a $40,000 Toyota RAV4 Prime-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... you can find on dealer lots marked up $50,000 to $95,000. Seriously. A RAV4 is the new luxury. Now, the RAV4 Prime is actually really nice and competes on a flexing scale, on a Instagram clout scale, with the Tesla model 3.

Benjamin Moses: Oh, that's interesting.

Stephen LaMarca: You have to look into it.

Benjamin Moses: I won't.

Stephen LaMarca: Because it's a Toyota RAV4, but, man, it's the new craze.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Just crazy to me. I'm happy to hear that because I'm a Toyota fan, but the silicon shortage has really messed things up.

Benjamin Moses: That's cascaded into our industry significantly.

Stephen LaMarca: Yes, like Taiwanese chip manufacturers coming to the US, opening production of facilities in the US. And it's not just one. It's a handful of them. Chip manufacturing is coming to the States.

Benjamin Moses: It's not it's small. It's not like they're opening up a 100 square foot facility.

Stephen LaMarca: Dude, it's a big old square footage.

Benjamin Moses: These are billion dollar facilities.

Stephen LaMarca: Yes.

Benjamin Moses: Obviously, it's going to take a while for them to build these facilities. I was like, "This is a lot of money. This is outrageous how much"-

Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. What's the one that's in Phoenix area? It's a 13 billion plant.

Benjamin Moses: Intel or TSMC.

Stephen LaMarca: TSMC. It's TSMC.

Benjamin Moses: It's 13 billion dollars or something like that.

Stephen LaMarca: But that leads into my prediction finally, which is silicon chip cutting.

Benjamin Moses: Yeah, sure.

Stephen LaMarca: What goes into cutting a chip.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: It is subtractive. It's micro machining.

Benjamin Moses: Okay.

Stephen LaMarca: Dude, micro machining was really cool when I was learning about it when I started here at AMT. But it seemed like a Switzerland Germany kind of thing.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: It's coming to the States. American manufacturing companies, manufacturing builders, have had the technology for a long time.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm not going to say they haven't had the demand, but none of that high precision, small work stuff has ever really been done in the States.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: Now you can think of ... I mentioned Switzerland and Germany, but also a lot of the Far East.

Benjamin Moses: Right. Yeah, Korea-

Stephen LaMarca: East Asia, Southeast-

Benjamin Moses: Japan.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and East Asia with the electronics and stuff.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: But it's cool to see that stuff could be coming from the States.

Benjamin Moses: That'd be cool.

Stephen LaMarca: That's why I think the craze, my prediction is finally micro machining's going to blow up again.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: We're finally going to be chasing after that almighty micron again.

Benjamin Moses: That's exciting.

Stephen LaMarca: Not just full on assemblies of products, but individual parts. I can't wait to see cutting tool developments on the next Harvey Tool catalog. Because because I remember last year, I thought it was really cool that on the cover of Harvey Tool and Helical Solutions catalogs, they had an end mill that looked like it had a tire tread-

Benjamin Moses: Okay.

Stephen LaMarca: ... to its flutes.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: It's for cutting composites.

Benjamin Moses: That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca: It's for milling composites like carbon fiber and stuff like that, to keep it from fraying.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: That's why it looks like a tire tread, to keep those the weave tight as it's cutting it. I can't wait to see those catalogs with cutting tools for silicon wafers and-

Benjamin Moses: Little guys.

Stephen LaMarca: I really want to see that.

Benjamin Moses: I'm excited, Steve.

Stephen LaMarca: So that's cutting silicon. That goes into the first article that I have-

Benjamin Moses: That you're going to get into. Let's get right in.

Stephen LaMarca: ... which is related to manufacturing of silicon and the silicon shortage. By Gizmoto, a revolutionary silicon chip micro speakers, promised to make wireless earbuds even smaller with better battery life.

Benjamin Moses: That's cool.

Stephen LaMarca: You know all them kids love that. We love our technology, especially our personal technology, our phones and our wireless earbuds.

Benjamin Moses: You like a small one, too.

Stephen LaMarca: I'm also big into the audio. Looking at this silicon wafer on Gizmoto's picture, that looks like a miniature ... not a dynamic driver. A pointer magnetic driver.

Benjamin Moses: Right. Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Typically, when you want very small drivers and earbuds like IEMs, you want additives big in IEMs for custom fit IEMs.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: But typically the driver is a balanced armature driver and you need 17 of them-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... in each year because they only do a very narrow band of frequencies.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: This is really cool because Planar Magnetics typically aren't seen in IEMs or earbuds-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... as the general public calls them. So it's going to be cool to see something other than an air volume moving dynamic driver or a very narrow range of frequency, 17 balanced armature driver earbud on the market. Now alongside them is a silicon wafer, some sort of driver.

Benjamin Moses: I like the carryover into other applications. So, yeah, the driver itself is very fascinating, but the general trend of, "Let's get more out of these batteries," I think that's a very popular trend.

Stephen LaMarca: Sure.

Benjamin Moses: So this is not just-

Stephen LaMarca: But what has changed in the manufacturing technology to make, to drive these advancements in silicon chips? In the last year we saw Intel go from 14 nanometer chips, whatever that means. I don't know what that means.

Benjamin Moses: No, they don't even know.

Stephen LaMarca: To less than seven. They've cut in half, something with the manufacturing technology change. I feel terrible that I don't know what it was.

Benjamin Moses: That's a research project for you, Steve. We'll look into that next year.

Stephen LaMarca: Micro machining man.

Benjamin Moses: To be fair, so they're general trend of half reducing their die size by half has been growing around for time. So they've doubled the transistor account and half the size, every series. AMD is keeping up. They're close to that threshold where there's actually discussions of changing the definition of measurement. So going from nanometer to something else to accurately describe it, because I think, was it TSMC is close to two nanometer manufacturing?

Stephen LaMarca: Right.

Benjamin Moses: Once you go past two, how do you go right now?

Stephen LaMarca: The nanometer is an indicator of how many transistors are in the chip, right?

Benjamin Moses: That's a question will answer later.

Stephen LaMarca: Okay. Because I know it's easier to say, "Oh, well it's a seven nano die."

Benjamin Moses: Right, right.

Stephen LaMarca: As opposed to trying to remember that the new chips have 46 billion transistors in them.

Benjamin Moses: Right. It's more of a density count. Right. So, but it is interesting that the trend-

Stephen LaMarca: It's not how thick it is.

Benjamin Moses: I think we're getting to a point on a lot of these things of, we're changing the paradigm of what we consider the size of that for electronics. I think that's a good representation of where electronics is headed, where we're getting so small, that we have to think about new ways to measure, new ways to quantify so the consumer can understand it. There's a lot of applications for that, too. We've been talking about smart work holding, smart tooling. We've got sensors in tool holders and things like that.

So the carry over to better battery life. Now, you don't have to worry about this Bluetooth tool holder losing battery. Or you could obviously charge wirelessly through the machine itself, too, but this incremental improvement on battery life and miniaturization just brings everyone along with it.

Stephen LaMarca: Sure.

Benjamin Moses: Are you going to buy them?

Stephen LaMarca: No.

Benjamin Moses: It's funny because-

Stephen LaMarca: Unless the Sennheiser name's on them or Audio Technica or Audeze.

Benjamin Moses: Some brand.

Stephen LaMarca: If a premium audio brand. If it's apple AirPods, no, absolutely not. I'm going to throw them in the toilet and flush.

Benjamin Moses: If someone buys them out, if they private label them for that. So I just bought some Active Jabras.

Stephen LaMarca: Oh, well there you go. At least you didn't spend a lot.

Benjamin Moses: No, they're cool. The article I've got is from 3D Natives, material trends in additive. I thought this is a good way to end of the year on additive of also-

Stephen LaMarca: That's awesome. Yeah.

Benjamin Moses: We've been talking about the explosion of adoption for additive.

Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, and the quick implementation.

Benjamin Moses: And the quick implementation, and there's been significant technology growth, too, in the past couple of years of the machine itself and printing stuff that has incrementally improved. But being able to do closed loop additive, that's grown significantly. So the ability to get a more accurate part that you initially designed and printing what you expected. Right?

Stephen LaMarca: Yeah.

Benjamin Moses: So I think that's the biggest challenge in additive is I have a design. Did it warp as I print it?

Stephen LaMarca: Right.

Benjamin Moses: Did the machine crash or-

Stephen LaMarca: Or apparently there's a common problem that-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... at least with home printers, is they'll find out layer 37 is totally absent.

Benjamin Moses: Exactly, and sliced [crosstalk 00:22:35].

Stephen LaMarca: Somewhere in the process, they've totally missed a layer.

Benjamin Moses: So I thought this was an interesting trend on materials where they looked at a couple of categories. One of the categories obviously is polymer metals. They're moving towards sustainability and accessibility. What we were talking about with this other company earlier, that they're going public and they make high end premium materials. The shift in additive materials is a couple folds.

One is there's a couple of examples of going to a hundred percent biodegradable materials, right? So if you're talking about one off stuff in your garage, yeah, maybe you don't need it to last forever. It's an extension of from mine to back to mine, right? So you harvest the material. How do you get this material back in the earth? So it's looking at a broader look, a broader view of the life cycle of materials.

The other area is growth of ceramics and composites in additive. We were talking about composites, particularly carbon fiber earlier. Then at the technology forum earlier this year, we talked about carbon fiber additive and how that sits in the industry. The article talks about it's still in its infancy, but the ability to use that and the value to the end use is so, so high that they only see those two materials just skyrocketing in the next couple years. Because if you could imagine converting something that's machined out of aluminum or plastic and you can do that in a higher end material like a carbon fiber-

Stephen LaMarca: Right.

Benjamin Moses: ... imagine how much stronger it is and how much more robust it is. That is almost a win-win for everyone. So I thought that was a fascinating look at the trends in materials and the potentials for next couple years.

Stephen LaMarca: I think additive has helped go carbon fiber be more accessible as well.

Benjamin Moses: I think so, because it's not-

Stephen LaMarca: We're used to seeing those beautiful weaves and then forged carbon fiber started becoming popular in exotic cars because the weave stuff started becoming too mainstream. So it was like, "Hmm, how can I stay above these plebes?" Forged carbon fiber was absolutely gorgeous. It is a beautiful material. And now additive carbon fiber. Carbon fiber-impregnated polymers is a very cool application that makes carbon fiber manufacturing accessible to virtually everybody.

Benjamin Moses: Next one I want to talk about is remade. Do you know the manufacturing institute, REMADE?

Stephen LaMarca: I've heard of it. Yeah.

Benjamin Moses: So they're big in acronyms in the-

Stephen LaMarca: Didn't they used to be called something else?

Benjamin Moses: I'm sure they were. So they're manufacturing US Institute. There's, I think, up to 15 now, and REMADE stands for Reducing EMbodied-energy And Decreasing Emissions.

Stephen LaMarca: Oh, the government.

Benjamin Moses: So it is an acronym. They're based out of Rochester, which I-

Stephen LaMarca: Oh, we better be nice to them or else Doug and Ed will get on us.

Benjamin Moses: I missed the opportunity to visit them because I was in Gleason, The Gleason Works up in Rochester for one of the committee meetings and I had some free time after a meeting. I should have stopped by.

Stephen LaMarca: I shop at Wegmans a lot.

Benjamin Moses: Congratulations.

Stephen LaMarca: They're based out of Rochester.

Benjamin Moses: You going to keep dropping Rochester references down?

Stephen LaMarca: They're so expensive. It doesn't look like one of those luxury grocery stores like Balducci's or Whole Foods, which has totally become a luxury grocery store.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Wegmans just looks like a giant or anything else. Then you look at the price. It's like, there's nothing on sale.

Benjamin Moses: They sell ... Oh, let's get into the article.

Stephen LaMarca: Sorry.

Benjamin Moses: So REMADE focuses on driving down costs of technology essential to reuse, recycle, and remanufacture material such as material metals, fibers, polymers, electronic waste. So the big thing about this-

Stephen LaMarca: Sure doesn't drive down the cost of Wegmans.

Benjamin Moses: They do technology progression. So what they're doing is they have a couple ideas that either a university has developed the concept. Now they're trying to foster these concepts into something industry-worthy, industry ready, and they have $33 million that they're pumping into 25 projects. Of the projects, they have a couple of good ones I think might be interesting. So one is recycling and refining aluminum foils and other difficult scraps.

Stephen LaMarca: Oh, cool.

Benjamin Moses: I thought it was interesting.

Stephen LaMarca: Aluminum.

Benjamin Moses: The other category they have is equipment remanufacturing, hybrid repair and non-destructive evaluation technologies for aerospace components.

Stephen LaMarca: Very cool.

Benjamin Moses: Led by Pratt & Whitney of course. Hybrid laser processing for metal surface remanufacturing. Volvo's sponsoring that one.

Stephen LaMarca: Wow.

Benjamin Moses: I thought that was interesting.

Stephen LaMarca: Volvo trucks?

Benjamin Moses: It says Volvo.

Stephen LaMarca: Okay. They probably mean Volvo trucks.

Benjamin Moses: Development of computational tools for predicting seam weld integrity and thick-walled hollow, aluminum extrusions. So there's a bunch of others actually, but they're not just interested in picking up your recycling. They're further interested in looking at the whole manufacturing as an industry and how do we improve the life cycle of materials and recycling. So I thought a very interesting project, very difficult problems that they're trying to solve. So I thought that was pretty cool.

Steve, I think we should end with at the intersection of many of our hobbies. You found one that talks about weapons-

Stephen LaMarca: And video games.

Benjamin Moses: ... and video games.

Stephen LaMarca: Firearms and video games.

Benjamin Moses: Tell me all about this.

Stephen LaMarca: Of course, it comes to manufacturing. Now, typically, we like our firearms. We like our video games. We especially like our video games with firearms.

Benjamin Moses: Correct.

Stephen LaMarca: Most of the time, a firearm exists in RL, in real life, and is used by some cool people like the Seals or the Green Berets or maybe the Russian Spetsnaz.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: Video game developers take a note of that and be like, "These people look cool. They do cool things, saving the world and stuff like that, and using these awesome tools. Let's put them in a video game.,"

Benjamin Moses: Let's do it.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and let people have fun with them that will never get to play with them because they're regulated materials.

Benjamin Moses: Correct.

Stephen LaMarca: Typically, it goes that way. It's very digital twin-ish.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: Not quite, but video games are closer to digital twin than one would think because it starts with a real life thing and then they make a digital model of it.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: But it has to exist in real life first. This firearm company that everybody knows whether they like it or not, and a video game company went in total reverse.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: This video game company, I don't know the video game. I've maybe heard of the company a few times, Ward B. I don't know what game they made, but it doesn't matter. Maybe it was, I don't know. In one of their games, they had this futuristic Elysium looking shotgun. The Russian firearm company, Kalashnikov Concern. But Kalashnikov Concern used to be called Izhmash, and Izhmash was the company that made the AK-47, the AKM.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and whatnot. The AK's. Kalashnikov Concern contacted this video game developer and was like, "Hey, you guys have a really cool shotgun. Can we make a real life version of it? Can we go in reverse? This gun does not exist in real life, but it looks cool. We're Russian and crazy. We want to make it real." You read more into it than I did. I guess the video game developers thought it was cool, were very flattered by it, but never responded.

Benjamin Moses: They didn't hit reply all.

Stephen LaMarca: I don't think they took it seriously, even though they should have recognized that, yeah, it was by Kalashnikov. Everybody knows the Kalashnikov. They just never responded or whatever. They just shared the email around the cubicles, and it never went any further than that. So Russians will Russian and were like, "Okay, we're going to make it anyway."

Benjamin Moses: Yep. They just move forward.

Stephen LaMarca: Because it's not like it's a patent.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: It's not like there's actual plans. It's not like the video game developer. They just made the looks of it and how the gun functions in a game, how it works in a game and its game stats. They didn't actually go into the CFD, the finite element analysis-

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and the physics of what makes the firearm operate.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... what kind of operating system it has. So Kalashnikov was just like, "Okay, we're going to design this gun and we're going to make it look like this video game gun." To be fair, it was really a shotgun that they already had and they just produced a dress up kit-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... to make it look like this futuristic shotgun and make it look as cool as it is. Now the company's all butt hurt about it.

Benjamin Moses: I think they're suing the company, suing-

Stephen LaMarca: If you're going to go after a gun company for some money, you may as well go after the biggest one. But at the same time, how much are they going to get from a Russian gun company?

Benjamin Moses: I think it does speak to the shift in, I'll call it loosely the entertainment and video game industry, that they are shifting towards more physics-based, more realistic. The game designer, they pride themselves on fairly functional. Obviously it's a fantasy world, right? But they do have physics built into their firearms. They're very proud of that. Right?

Stephen LaMarca: Yeah.

Benjamin Moses: They're very excited that this gun could actually work. For Kalashnikov to take their idea, to be fair, it's addressing, like you said-

Stephen LaMarca: Oh, yeah.

Benjamin Moses: But it is very fascinating that manufacturing is looking to the digital side of the world, and then the digital side was like, "Yeah, we can replicate anything we want in the real world and make it work." Right?

Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. What's also really funny is I forgot to mention that Kalashnikov made said weapon, said shotgun. Then another Russian video game developer, Battlestate Games, the makers of one of my favorite games currently, Escape from Tarkov, they reached out to Kalashnikov and be like, "Hey, can you send us some models of this thing? Because it looks really cool and we want to put it in our game. "

So Ward B's like, "What is this? Not only does you guys make a real gun based off of our video game gun, then you gave it to another video game that we're not affiliated with it all. We don't have a partnership with them." It's like, "Well, you know what? You should have replied to our email."

Benjamin Moses: It's Russia, man. What are you going to do? To be fair, there are some legal concerns about their path, but it is completely, it's absolutely fascinating to me, the accuracy to what the video game industry can do for physics based.

Stephen LaMarca: Honestly, if it wasn't for Escape from Takov and their incredibly-detailed gunsmithing feature in the game, I wouldn't realize how badly I don't want that shotgun because we both just touched on it. It's a dress up kit for an already existing shotgun. You have to remove all of these parts like a barrel shroud. You to remove a bunch of rails, 1913 rails, and you have to remove the stock just to get to the operating system, which is the total opposite of what other quality shotgun companies are doing, like Baretta and Benelli. They know that shotguns put a lot of rounds down range. A lot of people don't realize that.

But where an AR-15 sees a maximum round life between 50,000 rounds before a barrel needs to be replaced-

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: ... and upwards of 100,000, shotguns are made to do 100,000 shells in five years. You'll never need to replace a barrel unless you want a different barrel.

Benjamin Moses: There are heirloom shotguns for a reason because they just never die.

Stephen LaMarca: Shotguns don't break. Well, they fail, but they don't break.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: They're made to be maintained easily. If you want them to make it to a million shells, you need to clean them regularly. So a lot of these shotgun companies make a point of "Look how easily our shotgun breaks down."

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: You don't need tools to disassemble it to field strip it. Instead of twisting off a cap, you only need to do a handful of turns. Baretta has their new, quick disassembly cap, which only requires a quarter turn. Then the whole thing just pulls apart with no tools whatsoever. You do this with your bare hands and then you clean it. This Russian shotgun is ... you don't want this because you have to clean shotguns regularly. This thing would-

Benjamin Moses: I do like the feel of a clean gun. When I first started-

Stephen LaMarca: It's nice cleaning a gun.

Benjamin Moses: I used to clean a gun after every range day. Back then, I was going twice a month. So that was a lot of cleaning. Now I've cut back a lot. But cleaning your gun after a good range day feels fantastic.

Stephen LaMarca: Right. It also made me appreciate, I'm not a big fan. When it comes to cars and motorcycles, I don't like chrome.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: That's so 90s and boom. Old people love chrome. I always thought this is really gaudy to have all this chrome on the inside of a firearm.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: Then you realize they do it for a reason. Chrome internals in a firearm.

Benjamin Moses: Fantastic.

Stephen LaMarca: You don't need any solutions. You don't need any solvents.

Benjamin Moses: Right.

Stephen LaMarca: You wipe it clean. If you want to polish it, sure, then you use a solution.

Benjamin Moses: Sure.

Stephen LaMarca: But they clean so ... Debris and all that carbon buildup and grime just wipes off-

Benjamin Moses: It's fantastic.

Stephen LaMarca: ... of chrome. I love my Benelli.

Benjamin Moses: If you guys see us in real life, ask me how easy it is to clean the 10-22.

Stephen LaMarca: Then ask me how easy it is to clean a Benelli, my favorite gun that I own.

Benjamin Moses: Fantastic. This is '21 still, right?

Stephen LaMarca: It is '21.

Benjamin Moses: Okay. It's a fantastic '21. I'm looking forward to next year. Happy holidays, everyone.

Stephen LaMarca: Happy holidays.

Benjamin Moses: Bye.

Benjamin Moses
Director, Technology
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