BMW announces PartChain supply blockchain for tracking automotive parts

BMW | April 02, 2020

Major automotive manufacturer BMW Group announced the planned launch of its blockchain-powered supply chain management solution called PartChain on Tuesday. According to the company, PartChain will launch in conjunction with 10 of its suppliers in 2020. BMW intends to use distributed ledger blockchain technology to provide transparency and traceability of components and raw materials used in the production of automobiles. In 2019, we conducted a successful pilot project for purchasing front lights, said Andreas Wendt, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for purchasing and supplier networks. This year, we want to expand the project to a large number of other suppliers. According to the BMW, automotive supply chains are highly complex ecosystems that involve numerous players at different delivery stages. All the stops in an automotive supply chain can also change rapidly according to the needs of various parts of the industry including the availability of raw materials, the supply of specific components from particular factories, and the demand for automobiles in different regions.

Spotlight

For decades the construction industry has been watched as one of the last frontiers for a technological Revolution-an industry ripe for digitization that could fuel productivity growth on par with its peers in manufacturing, oil and gas and other sectors that have successfully embraced technology. Even in recent years, technology and software options for construction firms were limited to legacy, desktop-based solutions that were built for managers and admins for office use only.


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ENGINEERING TECH

Tamarack Grove Engineering Selects Unanet for CRM to Help Manage Customer Pipeline

Unanet | May 26, 2022

Unanet, the leading provider of project-based ERP and CRM for the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry, announced today that Tamarack Grove Engineering, a leading structural engineering and design firm with more than 2,500 projects each year throughout North America, has selected Unanet CRM AEC. Tamarack Grove expects Unanet CRM to enable widespread collaboration across project teams that will grow the business by potentially doubling their current customers and prospects. Tamarack Grove Engineering is a Boise-based structural engineering and design firm that specializes in manufacturing, commercial, and facilities markets including fast food restaurants and grocery chains. It also specializes in natural disaster evaluation, restoration, and maintenance for facilities. As a Unanet ERP AE customer for approximately three years, Tamarack Grove found that as they continued to rapidly grow, they needed a CRM solution to effectively manage existing and new client relationships, and provide visibility into the company's project pipeline to help shape strategic direction and understand the resources needed for potential projects. "Unanet ERP had positively transformed our productivity and profitability over the last three years. When we realized that we outgrew our rudimentary CRM system and needed a robust CRM solution, we immediately looked at Unanet, Unanet has already provided huge value to us on the ERP side, and the CRM had received positive reviews from other AEC firms. Now our ERP and CRM tools will be integrated in one, easy-to-access solution and we have a platform that we are all familiar with." Duncan Robertson, director of business development and marketing at Tamarack Grove Engineering Tamarack is implementing its CRM quickly, which is another advantage Unanet offers over competitive products. Once implemented, Unanet will give Tamarack a variety of benefits it needs to succeed in growing its business including the ability to: Simplify and coordinate new leads and existing client data entry and management through Microsoft Outlook Easily scan in the company's vast, incoming new contacts and leads through the business card scanner feature Manage customer relationships and information around projects to effectively direct teams, partners, and resources More than 1,850 architecture, engineering and construction companies like Tamarack Grove Engineering select Unanet ERP and CRM because they have the right mix of functionality and accessibility, while also offering the ability to scale and grow seamlessly. About Unanet Unanet is a leading provider of project-based ERP and CRM solutions purpose-built for Government Contractors, architecture, engineering, construction, and professional services. More than 3,400 project-driven organizations depend on Unanet to turn their information into actionable insights, drive better decision-making, and accelerate business growth. All backed by a people-centered team invested in the success of your projects, people, and financials. For more information, visit www.unanet.com. About Tamarack Grove Engineering Tamarack Grove Engineering is a Boise-based, leading structural engineering and design firm with more than 2,500 projects throughout North America. The company specializes in manufacturing, commercial, and facilities markets. For more information, visit www.tamarackgrove.com. Founded in 2003, the company's mission is to serve clients by providing responsive, safe and trusted solutions with the highest quality, most dependable engineering and design services while providing an environment for its team members to grow.

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CONSTRUCTION

CREO Solutions brings Predictive, Controllable Processes to Canada's construction sites with CraneView

CREO Solutions | April 29, 2022

CREO Solutions, a Montreal based firm that offers professional project management services with a focus on implementing technological solutions in the construction industry, and Versatile Inc., a Bay Area construction technology pioneer using artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) to optimize construction processes, announced their partnership to bring Versatile's innovative CraneView solution to the Canadian market. CraneView analyzes thousands of data points from under the hook of any crane to deliver transformational insights on job site performance and streamline decision-making. This first-of-its-kind technology offers production data to provide visibility into crane utilization, outliers, construction progress, and more. Since its 2019 launch, CraneView has been adopted by more than 40% of the leading general contractors in North America. "We believe data is an incredibly powerful tool on the job site and insights from CraneView will make operational processes more transparent and efficient," said Enzo Conte, CEO of CREO Solutions. "Deploying artificial intelligence on construction sites is a logical next step to complement CREO Solutions' technological offerings." Innovation and process improvements in the construction industry have been a major focus for CREO Solutions. Since its founding in 2010, CREO Solutions was among the first in Quebec to use cloud-based collaborative platforms and implement recognized project management best practices. CREO Solutions' highly qualified team of professionals supports the construction industry by optimizing its operations through data analytics. This digital transformation enables informed decision-making using business intelligence. "As we continue to expand throughout North America, it's important for our clients to have access to expert, local representatives. We're excited to provide capable boots on the ground through our partnership with CREO Solutions, Local construction companies can now harness the power of CraneView and CREO Solutions' extended suite of technologies to empower their teams to create new efficiencies on their job sites." Meirav Oren, CEO and co-founder of Versatile About CREO Solutions Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, CREO Solutions offers specialized professional services in the management of building and infrastructure construction projects as well as top innovative technological solutions dedicated to the construction industry. CREO Solutions is also an integrator of the most widely used technological solutions available on the market. About Versatile, Inc. Headquartered in Los Altos, CA, Versatile creates technology that gives construction professionals unmatched visibility into their production rates. By delivering the right data to the right people at the right time while naturally fitting existing processes, a fragmented industry becomes a controllable manufacturing process. The result? Increased productivity, predictability, and safety with the insights needed to manage and bid on future projects more competitively.

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CONSTRUCTION

Onyx+East and Pretium Start Construction of Inaugural Build-to-Rent Community

Pretium | March 21, 2022

Onyx+East, an award-winning homebuilder headquartered in Indianapolis and known for its modern and functional home designs, and Pretium, a specialized investment firm with $40 billion in assets, today announced the start of construction of Monterey, the first build-to-rent ("BTR") community under development through their previously announced joint venture. As part of the joint venture, Onyx+East and Pretium are committed to investing approximately $600 million to develop, build, and operate new single-family, BTR communities across key Midwestern markets and along Florida's West Coast. Monterey will be a 24-home BTR community in Tampa, Florida with brand-new townhomes that incorporate sustainable home features such as luxury vinyl plank flooring and stucco exteriors, providing a sustainable and modern rental option. Located among the vibrant neighborhoods of West Tampa and Westshore, the location also provides easy access to Midtown Tampa, a 22-acre mixed-use district featuring Class A office space, mixed-use retail and entertainment, luxury apartment residences, and a boutique hotel. Residents will have the option to rent three- and four-bedroom townhomes with attached garages and will be walking distance from Midtown Tampa's coveted urban amenities including Whole Foods, REI, a community dog park, and a watercourse trail. Monterey is a short commute from employment centers with over 160,000 jobs and major economic drivers including The University of Tampa, West River Development, and the Tampa General Hospital. "This attractive location in Tampa's Midtown offers residents convenient transportation options throughout the Tampa/St. Pete metro area and plentiful opportunities for shopping, dining, and outdoor activities, Monterey will provide a desirable alternative to typical apartment living, offering residents a higher quality rental experience featuring private garages, dedicated outdoor spaces, and open and flexible floor plans." Onyx+East's CEO, Kelli Lawrence "Our partnership with Onyx+East and the Monterey project are emblematic of the high-quality, accessible, and affordable homes we are committed to building, renting, and operating," said Matt Johnston, Managing Director and Head of Build-to-Rent at Pretium. "This BTR community will offer Tampa residents a single-family lifestyle of modern, sustainable, and healthy homes with amenities and a location that we know our residents want. With today's national housing supply shortage only intensifying, we will continue to work with our partners to build homes and play a leading role as part of the private capital solution." Monterey will be located at 1315 N. Himes Avenue. The joint venture purchased the land in February 2022 and the first units are expected to be available to rent in Q4 2023. About Onyx+East Onyx+East is a full-service homebuilder executing development, construction, marketing, design, and sales with four offices in the Midwest and Florida. Founded in 2015 to deliver homes in the most desirable locations with an exceptional customer experience, Onyx+East creates places designed for modern living that are connected within growing cities and suburbs. Through creativity, innovation, and sustainability, Onyx+East creates communities that are changing the way people live, work and "do life." For more information, visit onyxandeast.com. About Pretium Pretium is a specialized investment firm focused on U.S. residential real estate, residential credit, and corporate credit. Pretium was founded in 2012 to capitalize on secular investment and lending opportunities arising as a result of structural changes, disruptions, and inefficiencies within the economy. Pretium has built an integrated analytical and operational ecosystem within the U.S. housing, residential credit, and corporate credit markets, and believes that its insight and experience within these markets create a strategic advantage over other investment managers. Pretium's platform has approximately $40 billion of assets under management as of February 1, 2022 and employs more than 3,000 people across 30 offices, including London and Dubai.

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MATERIALS

Aerospace and defense materials continue to challenge toolholding

cutting tool engineering | December 14, 2021

From Rene 41, 718 stainless steel and 625 Inconel to titanium and carbon fiber, the materials used in the aerospace and defense industry sector as well as space exploration continue to present significant toolholding challenges. Magnifying these challenges are complex workpiece geometries with deep cavities, features that require long tool overhangs, and jobs requiring small-diameter cutters. Toolholding is just as important as the machine that runs it, and sub-par tooling can keep a machine from running at its full potential. For these reasons, shops turn to high-quality, precise toolholding. Because many of these materials are hard on cutting tools, shops constantly strive for the longest possible tool life. For one shop, the simple switch to a high-precision mechanical-type toolholding system skyrocketed its tool life from machining 100 steel parts per cutter up to 700.Toolholder reduces TIR When it comes to toolholding, one key to increased cutter life is a holder that provides ultra-low Total Indicated Runout (TIR). The goal is to get as close to zero TIR as possible. With every 0.0001" of TIR reduction, the company says that tool life can increase by upwards of 50%. Another example when reduced cutter TIR is required are long tool overhangs to reach complex part features in parts that do not provide much clearance. Shops within the Aerospace, Defense and Space Exploration sectors often run cutters as small as 0.128" diameter in a CAT 40 machine tool spindles with the tools hanging out up to 8" from the spindle nose. To achieve TIR of 0.0002" and under in such overhang applications depends almost entirely on the precision of the toolholder. Part characteristics and features that involve 5-axis machining, such as those typically associated with 3D metal printed parts, compound the risk of cutter runout and breakage. In the Aerospace, Defense and Space Exploration sectors, 3D metal printed parts made from materials such as 718 Inconel and titanium are commonplace, and some of these parts can take as long as 40 hours to produce. Shops have one chance to machine them correctly, and must use toolholders that not only provide low TIR, but also offer the necessary strength and stability. Cutters create dillemma In addition to challenging parts, solid ceramic cutters for machining nickel-based and other heat-resistant alloys present a dilemma for shops in the aerospace, defense and space sectors.. Solid ceramic cutters generate significant amounts of heat that can affect the holding integrity of certain types of toolholders. For instance, toolholders that use heat or hydraulics for clamping would be at risk from the higher-than-normal levels of heat generated during machining with ceramic tools. Mechanical-based systems, however, are unaffected by extreme heat. Beyond the challenges of metal workpieces, those produced from carbon fiber composites also cause issues with tool life and for toolholding. Shops must use tools designed specifically for the materials, which are extremely abrasive. While cutting, these tools force the part material downward and upward simultaneously to prevent delamination of layers. When holding these tools, maintaining low TIR is once again critical to achieving part quality and the longest-possible tool life, but tool pullout is also a major concern, especially when shops want to run cutters at maximum rpm. To combat this, toolholders need tremendous gripping strength paired with some type of locking tool-retention mechanism. CO2-based cooling Because shops cannot use conventional coolant when machining carbon fiber composites, many have incorporated the use of CO2-based cooling systems. These systems use supercritical CO2 not only to cool, but also to lubricate and to evacuate chips. Not all toolholders are suited for CO2 coolant delivery, and with some, tool changeovers can be time consuming as well. Combined with the latest cutting tool technology and the right toolholders, CO2 cooling systems can provide productivity increases in the 70% range. Compared to shrink-fit toolholding systems, mechanical-based systems offer optimum CO2 delivery and the fastest, easiest tool changeovers. For heat shrink, the delicate ruby nozzles used to deliver the CO2 to cutters would need to be removed prior to heating the holder to change out a tool – a task that can require hours. Conversely, some mechanical toolholding systems incorporate modified collets specifically for either through-tool or external CO2 cooling that have no effect on tool changeout time. CO2 coolant also can be supplied through modified toolholding collets with 150µm slots that direct coolant around the shank and along the exterior sides of a composite tool. CO2 cooling offers especially beneficial performance when profiling and drilling carbon fiber composites. Those benefits include dramatic cooling of the cutting tool tip, which reduces wear and extends tool life. Most importantly, however, the tool will cut through the carbon fiber layers much better with fewer, if any, ragged edges. For drilling, instead of the large through holes used with flood coolant, the holes for CO2 are much smaller, in the 150 to 300 µm range. These tiny holes not only cool the drill but also the material, so the drill makes clean entries and exits. Both internal and external type CO2 toolholders ensure drills cut through the last layer, as opposed to punching through it and leaving ragged edges. High tool usage rates provide the first indication that a shop may not be using the right toolholding. Regardless of workpiece material or geometry, a shop that runs through many instances of the same tool for one part needs a better toolholder, especially one that is high precision, makes for fast and easy tool changeovers, provides extreme gripping force and, most importantly, delivers near-zero TIR.powRgrip achieves near-zero TIR toolholding Out-of-balance, poorly manufactured toolholders generate vibration that increases exponentially from the toolholder to the cutting tool tip. So, the longer the cutting tool, the higher the levels of runout. While the complete elimination of TIR and vibration is impossible, the REGO-FIX powRgrip toolholding system reduces both to near-zero levels. The powRgrip system consists of three basic components – holders, collets and press-fit assembly mounting units. In manual or automatic configurations, the hydraulic press-fit assembly units quickly press collets into holders with up to nine tons of force. The collets have high-precision tapers that match with equally high-precision internal tapers in the holders, all of which creates the system’s extreme levels of transferable torque. Unlike other clamping systems where heat or hydraulics are used, the powRgrip system uses the mechanical properties of the holder material to generate its tremendous gripping force. Such taper-to-taper collet-holding systems deliver extremely high levels of precision, and as a whole their TIR is typically less than 3µm, which ensures accurate finished parts. Such precision optimizes the machining of complex, critical Aerospace and Defense industry components through the use of high speed cutting (HSC) or high performance cutting (HPC) strategies. The lower the TIR, the less tool vibration, and the less vibration, the longer cutting tools last, which in turn reduces overall tooling costs.

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Spotlight

For decades the construction industry has been watched as one of the last frontiers for a technological Revolution-an industry ripe for digitization that could fuel productivity growth on par with its peers in manufacturing, oil and gas and other sectors that have successfully embraced technology. Even in recent years, technology and software options for construction firms were limited to legacy, desktop-based solutions that were built for managers and admins for office use only.

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