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Author: Eric Sorensen

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Radio for manufacturing and engineering professionals. New industrial products, news and technical articles.
516 Episodes
Toyota wants to achieve annual electric vehicle sales of 3.5 million by the end of the decade. To accomplish this goal, the automaker is looking to cut its plant investment, production processes, and manufacturing preparation lead time in half. Recently, reporters were given a glimpse of the company’s technology poised to drive this transformation. According to Nikkei Asia, Toyota unveiled a prototype of its new gigacasting equipment capable of producing a third of a car body in approximately three minutes. 
New challenges are facing an already tenuous market for semiconductors as China is making some changes in the name of national security.As a key exporter of certain rare earth minerals that are critical to the production of some computer chips and solar panels, China holds the cards to a burgeoning market where semiconductors serve as the base of many electrical and electronic products.But instead of selling them on the global market, China has pulled back. The country is reportedly responsible for the production of 80% of the world’s gallium and about 60% of germanium, says CNN - who cites the Critical Raw Materials Alliance. But recent curbs in the name of national security meant China exported none of it in the month of August.
A space factory designed to manufacture pharmaceuticals while in orbit around Earth will now be hanging out off planet a little longer than expected.That’s because the U.S. Air Force denied Varda Space Industries’ request for re-entry, according to TechCrunch, which said the company asked for permission to land a capsule at a Utah training facility. The report said the Federal Aviation Administration also denied Varda’s application for a commercial space license.
Agility Robotics yesterday announced plans to open RoboFab, a robot manufacturing facility in Salem, Oregon. The company behind the bipedal Digit isn't just making a few of these things; they plan to produce more than 10,000 robots per year. So, let's see, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, we'll have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030—I'm not sure that we're going to make it. 
The Department of Justice announced that Navmar Applied Sciences Corporation, an engineering and technical services provider, will pay $4.4 million to settle allegations of False Claims Act violations. Between 2010 and 2012, the Department of the Navy granted contracts to Navmar related to the supply of enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, hardware, maintenance technical support services and the development and deployment of various advanced sensors and unmanned aerial systems. 
Ford this week unveiled the 2024 F-150 and eagle-eyed observers noticed a subtle change to the automaker’s iconic blue oval that came along with it.Car and Driver noticed that the new logo removed the smaller silver oval on the inside of the badge. The outer border of the oval and the lettering are also now white instead of chrome. The publication confirmed the changes with Rob Brancheau, who serves as senior designer for colors and materials at Ford.
In July, Tesla announced that its first production Cybertruck electric pickup rolled off the assembly line, nearly four years after its initial unveiling and two years behind the original timetable.As the long-anticipated vehicle approaches its scheduled delivery expected this quarter, reports have emerged of prototypes spotted charging, what the vehicle’s “frunk” and interior look like and how it fared in a ditch rollover crash test.
In March 2022, an Air Starter Components Inc. worker in Texas suffered a finger amputation. The incident occurred when the worker's hand became caught in a polishing machine that did not have the required machine safety guards.One year later, OSHA returned to the scene to conduct a follow-up investigation and determine if the manufacturer of air starters and other engine components and parts corrected the safety hazards.
It turns out a lack of ambition sunk the “Ambition,” a crane barge that was declared a total loss after capsizing in the Gulf of Mexico last year.The Ambition was being towed when it sank on June 15, 2022 and released nearly 2,000 gallons of oil. The vessel, owned by Rigid Constructors, was a $6.3 million loss. Results from a recent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation blamed the accident on failure to properly inspect and maintain the barge.
An extreme runner is in a bit of trouble following an ocean voyage. The runner, Reza Baluchi, was trying to traverse the Atlantic Ocean in a structure that resembles an adult-sized hamster wheel when the U.S. Coast Guard spotted him.According to a criminal complaint, the Coast Guard found Baluchi while transiting the Atlantic Ocean 70 nautical miles off the coast of Georgia in preparation for Hurricane Franklin. The officers saw Baluchi’s “Hydro Pod vessel” and later deemed that Baluchi was conducting a manifestly unsafe voyage when they discovered his vessel was afloat as a result of wiring and buoys.
The CEO of EV startup Lucid Motors had a really good year in 2022. A new CEO compensation survey from Automotive News and Equilar says the head of the luxury EV company's compensation package is valued at more than a third of a billion dollars. Peter Rawlinson's base salary, at $575,000, is reasonable. He also took home $5.5 million in stock options and some $373 million in stock awards. The total tally is about $379 million — not a bad year at all. 
 Toyota suffered a major production setback last month when it had to shut down all 28 vehicle assembly lines at all 14 of its automotive plants in Japan. The company is now saying that this bad memory was caused by a lack of memory.According to the Guardian, Toyota said the August 29 production stoppage occurred after “insufficient disk space” caused a system malfunction following a standard maintenance procedure. In a statement, the automaker said “data that had accumulated in the database was deleted and organized, and an error occurred due to insufficient disk space, causing the system to stop.” The data was transferred to a different server with more capacity, allowing production to start back up the next day.
Automatic speaker identification has gained popularity in security applications due to its proficiency in detecting and countering fraudulent attempts to mimic a user’s voice through digital manipulation. However, digital security engineers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered that these systems have a weakness when facing a novel analog attack. According to the team, speaking through customized PVC pipes can fool machine learning algorithms supporting automatic speaker identification systems.
One of the biggest appliance manufacturers in the country, with nine U.S. factories including five in Ohio, is out millions after mishandling a serious defect with some of its products.Whirlpool, which is based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, has agreed to pay an $11.5 million civil settlement. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the company failed to immediately report issues with 17 models of its JennAir, KitchenAid, and Whirlpool brand electric radiant heat cooktops. The appliances contained a defect that made them turn on by themselves, creating a serious risk for fire and injury.
The Lanzador features many design aspects that tie back to its legacy but it also differs from many other Lamborghinis by riding higher off the ground – likely making it a lot easier to get in and out of. According to CNN, the Lanzador will offer 1,300 horsepower but since it won’t have a gas engine behind the seats, it can provide optional seating for up to four. The extra seats can also be folded up so the rear space can be used for cargo.
On August 7, Ford CEO Jim Farley announced on LinkedIn that he would take a road trip across the American West in the automaker’s F-150 Lightning. Farley explained that the purpose of the trip was to visit researchers, businesses, dealers, salespeople, EV conversion shops and EV drivers to gain insights that could advance Ford’s electric vehicle division. Highlights on the tour included stops in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and an encounter with actor Dwayne Johnson. 
On Tuesday, VinFast went public after merging with a blank check company called Black Spade Acquisition. Motley Fool calls VinFast “a small electric vehicle manufacturer with large ambitions” and it’s just how large and attainable those ambitions are that investors can’t seem to agree on.
 Auto News is reporting that Mitsubishi is looking to eliminate the Mirage from its lineup – most notable for being the only vehicle Cox Automotive says transacted for under $20,000 new last month.With a starting price of just $17,340 – including shipping – the Mirage has offered entry to the new car market during a time period where the average new vehicle sells for a stunning $48,000.
On Monday, Deere & Company announced plans to build a new 115,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in North Carolina. According to the company, the new factory will expand production capacity for Kreisel Electric products, namely battery technology for e-mobility and stationary systems, as well as Level 3 charging solutions. If you recall, John Deere bought a majority ownership stake in the Austrian company in February 2022.
OSHA released its findings from a federal workplace safety investigation into a metal plant explosion that an agency official called "entirely preventable."The incident at the I. Schumann & Co. foundry in Bedford, Ohio, last February resulted in a maintenance supervisor's death and injured 15 other workers. Now, the company is facing six serious violations and $62,500 in proposed penalties.
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