Public Appeal: Applicants needed to find face of new line of robots

Public Appeal: Applicants needed to find face of new line of robots

October 11, 2019

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Robots have been at the forefront of technology for decades, and are widely considered the future of our technological advancement. However, there is still a long way to go, and new robotic products are coming into fruition all the time. 

Here at Geomiq.com we help people develop and create products and prototypes across practically any sector, including robotics. However, after a recent request came in, we realised that we needed some assistance fulfilling it.

A few weeks ago we were approached by a robotics company asking if we could help it with the finishing touches of a state-of-the-art humanoid robot it’s been working on. Details of the project are scarce due to a non-disclosure agreement we’ve signed with the designer and his investors, but this is what we do know.

The company is searching for a ‘kind and friendly’ face to be the literal face of the robot once it goes into production. This will entail the selected person’s face being reproduced on potentially thousands of versions of the robots worldwide. 

Obviously, this is not our usual remit of request, which is why we’re making this public appeal to try and find the right person. The designer knows that this is a big deal, and has agreed a fee of £100,000 to license the rights to the right face.

The company is privately-funded and says the robots’ purpose will be to act as a ‘virtual friend’ for elderly people, and is set to go into production next year. The designer has said that the project has been in development for five years, and has since taken on investment from a number of independent VCs as well as a top fund based in Shanghai. 

The company says the need for anonymity is due to the ‘secretive’ nature of the project, however it believes the robot will soon be ‘readily available’ to the public and hopes the campaign will create extra buzz ahead of its eventual release.

In conversation with the designer, he has also asked us to convey to hopeful people that even though we can’t release too many details at this early stage, candidates who make it through the next phase will be given full details on the project. The designer has also stressed that unsuccessful candidates will not be contacted.

We know that this is an extremely unique request, and signing over the licenses to your face is potentially an extremely big decision. However, if you think this could be one for you please make a submission below:

Submissions are now closed. Unfortunately due to the large volumes of applications, only those successful will be contacted.

 

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Fueling the Future of Tech campaign, Crowdcube, Britbots & Linklaters partnership.

October 7, 2019

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Fueling the Future of Tech campaign, Crowdcube, Britbots & Linklaters partnership.

We’re excited to announce our partnership with Crowdcube. Who have launched Fuelling the future of tech campaign, enabling the brightest minds in robotics, AI and automation.

Big changes are occurring in the robotics industry and radical new forms of robotic technology are not far away from reality. Over the years the UK has proven to be a strong advocate of pushing the boundaries of technological development. Automation and robotisation is just one of the solutions to address global issues posed by industry inefficiencies and falling productivity.

Crowdcube in partnership with Britbots (The British Robotics Seed Fund) has allocated a £2m early-stage investment fund. Seeking the most promising emerging tech business in the UK to help them move into their next phase of growth.

This partnership has the ability to strengthen our ties with the community and give the necessary kickstart to companies who are set to change the relationship we have with technology.

With the support of Linklaters, innovators and early-stage companies will receive access to their online platform designed to give tech businesses key legal documents, insights and resources needed during early stages of growth.

We’re proud to support UK businesses who leverage advanced robotics, AI and automation technologies.

 

Read more & apply here:

https://www.crowdcube.com/explore/raising/robotics-ai-automation

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.

Why Choose Injection Moulding?

Why Choose Injection Moulding?

October 2, 2019

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Injection Moulding

Injection moulding is the process of manufacturing parts in large quantities. It is mostly used in occasions where the same parts are being produced thousands or millions of times at a time. One of the advantages of using injection moulding is the ability to produce in masses. After the initial cost has been paid, the prices per unit in the process are extremely low. The prices also drop further as more parts are produced. Some of the other advantages of the injection moulding process include:

It Produces Low Scraps and is Repeatable

When compared to other manufacturing processes like CNC machining, the rate at which scraps are produced in plastic injection moulding is very low. CNC is known to cut off substantial percentages off the original plastic block. However, injection moulding can also not be compared to processes like 3D printing which has even lower scraps. The waste produced in plastic injection moulding services come from four areas: the runners, the sprue, gate locations, ejector pins, and the runner system. The sprue is the part that guides molten plastic from the spout of the injection moulding machine to the injection moulding tool. The runner consists of channels that meet with the sprue.

Their function is to guide the molten plastic to cavities within the plastic injection moulding tool. The gate is the part that comes after the runners leading directly to the part cavity. After the injection process, the cooling plastic leaves solid pieces along with the sprue, runners, and gates, if not appropriately contained. After the first part has been created, the second and the rest that follows are practically identical from shape to part size. This is a brilliant characteristic, especially when trying to keep up with brand consistency as well as high volume production of parts.

What Is the Down Side To Injection Moulding?

The process has an upfront cost which is usually very high due to the testing, design, and tooling requirements. Now that the other parts look identical to the first one produced, you will need to make sure that you get the first part right when producing in high volumes. Otherwise, the process that follows including thousands of parts will be a mess. For the first part to be perfect, you will need to:

•    Design and the prototype the part itself to specification- The prototype is first designed on a 3D printer using a different material such as ABS plastic.


•    Design an injection unit tool for the initial production- This is required for generating 300-1000 prototypes with the production material.


•    Refine all surface finish in the injection moulding tool before mass production.

Injection moulding requires uniform wall thickness. For instance, if you were to cut a cross-section, you would realise that the wall thickness is about 2-3mm. This prevents uneven cooling and deformation of part shapes, their wall thickness, and strength. Some of the potentially negative aspects of injection moulding include:

High tooling cost and large lead times

Tooling is quite a huge process by itself and is only a phase in the whole moulding process. The high cost and time needed come about because you’ll first need to produce a prototyping part before producing the actual moulded part. After the prototype is made and perfected, you’ll now need to come up with a perfect mould tool that can produce duplicates in large volumes with zero error. As you can now see, getting a prototype right and moulding tool with fine details for mass production requires both time and money.

Difficult to make changes

These tools are typically made of steel, so making any changes to them is quite a hustle. In cases where you need plastic added to the tool, you can always make larger cavities by cutting away steel or aluminium depending on what the tools made of. If in your case you need plastic removed from the metal, then what you need to do is decrease the mould cavity size by adding metal to it.

Material Suitable for Injection Moulding

One of the most important factors to consider during injection moulding is the type of material used. These plastic materials directly affect the moulding manufacturing process and performance as well. For you to choose the right material, you have to consider its function and environment. Other factors to consider in thermoplastics are material strength, flexibility, durability as well as color and cost. Below is a list of the most commonly used materials:

Nylon

Due to its toughness and high melting temperature, nylon is mostly used to produce plastic products like gears and bearings. It is best known for resisting chemicals as well as tear and wear and is cost-effective.

Acrylic

This material is used to produce transparent parts like lighting equipment, window panes, and walls. Due to its tensile strength, it’s often used as an alternative to glass. It’s also scratch-resistant. One of the most common uses is to create food containers. This is as a result of its tasteless and odourless nature hence making it perfect for food preparation and storage.

Polyoxymethylene

Often used for making parts that would be made of metal, this material is used for the production of hardened plastic parts. Its chemical compound makes it very strong, rigid, and tough. Its common uses include making knife handles, gears and ball bearings.

Conclusion

What makes a material suitable for use in injection moulding machines or not depends on what is being manufactured. The materials used should meet property requirements as well as be resistant to the environment of the application. For instance, parts that are often used in the kitchen or as part of a moving mechanism would require the use of Polyoxymethylene due to extreme heat and clamping. Places that need lighting or translucent walls like public offices would mean that the material used for construction be made of acrylic material. There are many other considerations to make during the injection moulding process. It all depends on the purpose of the parts being produced. 

We’re Heading to TCT Show 2019

September 19, 2019

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We’re Heading to TCT Show 2019

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be traveling to Birmingham, UK to attend the annual TCT Show.

This event is particularly notable and relevant to our industry as it’s one of the very first tradeshows to directly address 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping. It’s been in existence for some twenty years, for a long time it was only one of the few events that you could attend and see 3D printing equipment in action.

With over 10,000 visitors yearly and well over 300 exhibitors, it is the one we are most excited about this year. The show features a number of hands-on activities, presentations and speeches. Most importantly TCT learning zones which allow industry leaders and practitioners to dive deeper into all aspects of digital manufacturing services that are available now and in the future.

It is important for us to meet face to face with companies who are interested in digital manufacturing services but maybe are not yet convinced. It is quite another level to understand on a practical level how digital manufacturing services are applied to a given business.

If you are thinking of attending the TCT Show UK 2019, and would like to learn more about how Geomiq’s digital manufacturing services can benefit your business, come by our booth B62 and one of our design engineers will give you a walkthrough our platform and the services we offer.

We are looking forward to this event, and if you happen to attend as well, we’ll be very pleased to meet up with you and discuss your project. Drop us a line at [email protected] and we can make arrangements. See you there!

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.

Aluminium Anodising Process and Benefits

Aluminium Anodising Process and Benefits

The core benefit of anodising aluminium alloys is that it improves its durability and wear resistance. Though it won’t provide everlasting protection against weathering, you will not have to incur the exaggerated maintenance cost. However,
September 19, 2019

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Everything You need to Know about Anodising

Anodising is a process that is used to convert a metallic surface into corrosion-resistant, durable, decorative, and anodic oxide finish. Aluminium alloy is the most suitable material for anodising. However, other metals such as titanium alloys and magnesium can be anodised.

The anodic oxide that is used in the process is retrieved from the aluminium substrate and only contains aluminium oxide. However, this oxide cannot be applied on surfaces like plating or painting; but is resistant to chipping since an aluminium substrate underlines it. Another feature of the substance is porosity. This particular feature allows it to be used for secondary processes such as sealing and colouring.

Why is Anodising Important?

Due to the facts mentioned above, it is accurate to mention that anodising process that can be employed to protect the surface of the metal from possible damages caused by abrasion. By anodising aluminium alloys, a protective coating of aluminium oxide is added, and it is resistant to rusts and other causes of wear and tear. Aluminium oxide is a durable, corrosion-resistant material. The electrochemical process also lets you colour the surface with dyes without the possibility of peeling and flaking.

Now let us go into the nitty-gritty of the benefits of anodising.

The core benefit of anodising aluminium alloys is that it improves its durability and wear resistance. Though it won’t provide everlasting protection against weathering, you will not have to incur the exaggerated maintenance cost. However, you will notice that anodised surfaces tend to pick up dirt and stains quite easily, but they are easy to clean using a piece of cloth or wool. Better still, you can do it using a mild detergent, and the surface will look as good as new.

Anodised surfaces can last up to 20 years before showing any sign of wear and tear. This is far much better than organic paints that peel off as soon as they get into contact with sharp and scratchy substances. Since anodised surfaces are far much harder than powder-coated surfaces, they are the best for areas with high traffic or even heavy equipment use where contacts are likely to happen. The surface will not easily take damages from contact, even when it is exposed to harsh chemicals.

Thankfully, the surface cannot be affected by the UV light, which is a common destroyer of many surfaces.

Key Advantages of Anodising Aluminium Alloys

– Corrosion resistance 

– Natural metallic anodised finish

– No risk of adhesion failure of the anodic film  

– No risk of surface finish fading

– No risk of chalking 

– No risk of filiform corrosion 

– Preservation of the original surface finish texture and design

– Optimal surface coverage  

– Anodic film is totally impermeable

– Exceptional abrasion resistance 

– Anodised Aluminium components are  100% recyclable

Are there Good and Bad Applications?

Yes, just like with any other product and application, there are wrong ways to anodise aluminium, and you should learn to avoid them at all cost. The main factors that must be considered in the process are the micron thickness and quality of the anodic element. Also, it is important to know that thinner coatings tend to provide minimum protection against destructive elements.

That said, the bottom line is that the higher the quality and the thicker the anodic material is, the better the protection it can provide against various damages. Aluminium products tend to be more susceptible to wear and tear, and the best way to ensure maximum protection is through the provision of high quality, thick anodic process.

What are the Downsides of Anodising?

While there are tremendous benefits linked with anodising, it still does not offer enough resistance to chemical damages. When exposed to corrosive substances for a long time, the surface of anodised material starts to break down. And when this starts to happen, you can lose the entire product.

This problem is mainly encountered in urban areas where there is a lot of chemical emission going on from active industrial activities. Most building materials in the urban centres tend to break down after long exposure of acidic chemicals.

Can Stainless Steel be Anodised?

Yes, though it does not have the kind of use that aluminium has, we can anodise stainless steel into different colours such as brown, black, white. However, compared to other substances such as titanium, stainless steel colours are not quite durable enough. This means that even when you manage to anodise stainless steel, you might not protect the surface long enough since it will peel and wear off faster compared to aluminium and titanium. If you want to make it more durable, there are special protective coatings that you might have to add to the mix. But that is a lengthy process which is unnecessary altogether.

 

If you are not sure whether you need soft anodising or hard anodising your aluminium, then you might want to contact an expert. It is essential that you protect the surface of your materials using the processes that guarantee longer effectiveness.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.

Industry Insight Hardware Roundup – September

Industry

CNC Machining Is changing the manufacturing industry…since 700 B.C. CNC technology is not as recent as you might think, the oldest machined part (a bowl) was discovered in Italy around 700 B.C made using a lathe like machine. By the 18th century attempts were made to automate various machining process. Today CNC Machining is ever-more enhancing manufacturing of tomorrow, it’s convenient, its versatility, high precision and wide selection of materials makes it appealing to rapid prototyping.

Moore’s Law of 3D Printing? – New Holographic 3D Printing can create object I seconds by printing a 3D shape all at the same time. How? Simply put 3 Laser beams overlap to define an objects geometry from 3 different directions, creating a 3D image suspended in a vat of photosensitive resin. The laser light stays on for just long enough to cure the shape excess resin is drain and what remains is a fully formed 3D shape. LLNL engineer Chris Spadaccini says this is the next generation of 3D Printing.

How Manufacturing Plants Can Prepare for Industry 4.0 – disconnectedness i.e. more efficient digital technologies. Think, the modern state of digitisation including more advanced computing solutions, cloud and remote computing, IoT and connected devices, and the adoption of AI and machine learning. Step by step process follows by first Focusing on Improving Processes which will help shape collaboration within your organisation, even with the necessary hardware and systems. That means investing in training and education, process automation, related hardware and maybe new tools or software. 

Tech Future

BIOLIFE4D, a Chicago startup has demonstrated the versatile applicability of 3D printing. Transforming every industry from space to manufacturing 3D Printing is now transforming Healthcare. Led by Chief Science Officer Dr. Ravi Birla, BIOLIFE4D achieved its successfully replicated a human heart at JLABS research facility in Houston. To print the heart BIOLIFE4D researchers create a bioink using specific composition of different extracellular matrix compounds that replicates the properties of a heart.

NASA Image: ISS056E073247 – ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst works on the Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS) experiment aboard the International Space Station. MICS is researching how cement reacts in space during the hardening process and may help engineers better understand its microstructure and material properties. Observations could improve cement processing techniques on Earth and lead to the design of safer, lightweight space habitats.)

Are we Edging closer to building man-made structures in space? The moon? Mars? Recent investigation on the International Space Station (ISS). Astronauts performed cement solidification in microgravity to see how it turned out. Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification (MICS). Full results of the investigation can be found here.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Takes 3D Printing for Rocket Engines to the Next Level – a California-based rocket and missile propulsion manufacturer, has announced successful hot-fire testing of its 3D-printed thrust chamber for the RL10 engine. It is the largest copper-alloy thrust chamber ever built with 3-D printing and successfully tested. The RL10 rocket engine has played a pivotal role in placing satellites of all types into the Earth’s orbit. Benefits of this technology include, Cost Savings due to it being faster and less labour-intensive & Higher Flexibility as it has fewer constraints on the size and shape of materials. The new chamber design reduces the time to manufacture from several months to just under one month, and the number of parts by 90 percent to just two. With 3D printing, also comes the ability to design and build advanced features that allow for improved heat transfer.

Events & Community

Events

​Come speak to our team at TCT2019, Booth # , 24-26 September 2019. The event for Design-to-Manufacture innovation, at the NEC Exhibition Centre Hall 3 &3A, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Sam Al-Mukhtar Speaking at Advanced Engineering 2019, 31st October 2019, 14:00pm. At the Manufacturing of the Future Session – Speaking about “Removing the pain of Cost Estimating and Quoting Jobs – for both Engineers and Manufacturers”.

Geomiq is organising London Industrial Designers/Engineers Meetup event in London. Location & Date TBD. Sign up to the Meetup group to get exclusive updates. 

Geomiq will be speaking at WebSummit 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. 

This Month

Apple Unveils the next Generation of iPhones

The iPhone 11 boosts chip performance by 20% with the new A13 processor. The new chip is built with a more power-efficient transistor technology, saving battery life. Among other hardware improvements the new iPhone features improved camera sensors. The new iPhones come in a Pro version and a standard version. Available from 20th  September.

Geomiq is proud to bring you this new series of Industry Insight. We would like to share with you the technologies, products and companies that inspire us! Working closely with some of the most innovative companies around the world is what get us out of bed everyday!

This is our first issue and we would like to hear your opinions. If you have an interesting story or exciting product you would like to share with us, get in touch at [email protected]

The Benefits Of Online Manufacturing Services

The Benefits Of Online Manufacturing Services

Manufacturing is currently being shaken by the rapid, unstoppable onslaught of the fourth industrial revolution. The integrated, digital fabrication processes outlined by the Industry 4.0 initiative are universally connecting through the IoT (Internet of Things) improving industrial procedures beyond recognition.

Manufacturing is currently being shaken by the rapid, unstoppable onslaught of the fourth industrial revolution. The integrated, digital fabrication processes outlined by the Industry 4.0 initiative are universally connecting through the IoT (Internet of Things) improving industrial procedures beyond recognition.

Outstanding Efficiency

The digitalisation brought about by Industry 4.0 and IoT technology is enabling factories to experience unparalleled efficiency by using intelligent automation procedures. An original concept can be rapidly developed, tested, manufactured and delivered in an incredibly short timeframe. Data collection from printed sensors built into machinery is being used to gather information on all aspects of industrial techniques enabling further enhancement of improved productivity. Streamlined initiatives regarding automated replenishment of raw materials and stock combined with detailed analytics are allowing industrial processes to become highly efficient. Being able to instantly discover where improvements can be made enables managers to organise the time and energy of employees to the best advantage resulting in cost-effective efficiency.

Integrated Technological Tracking

Products manufactured digitally benefit from the intelligent tracking offered by smart labels and printed sensors. These can be customised to a client’s individual requirements and installed during various production techniques. Initially used for data collection during manufacture these incredibly thin sensors transmit information using NFC (Near Field Communication) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). Data is transmitted through Bluetooth wireless technology to desktops, mobiles and wristwatch devices. Intelligent tracking enables products to be reliably and accurately monitored while in storage or transportation. It also eliminates the likelihood of counterfeit goods being circulated. The introduction of sensor-driven smart packaging has benefits such as achieving ambient temperature control and complete traceability during delivery.

Geomiq Industry 4.0 Digital manufacturing Advantages of Iot

Increased Innovation and Investment

Factories that have already taken steps to become fully digitalised are realising the flexibility and efficiency to be gained. One of the greatest benefits is in the early stages of designing a new product. Sophisticated three-dimensional imaging allows designs to be created using virtual reality technology. A product can be planned and developed simultaneously. Flaws in a virtual prototype can be detected before the decision is taken to manufacture. Three-dimensional modelling has had an enormous impact on investment. Entrepreneurs can confidently develop an innovative new product without the costs and delays that have always been inherent in linear production techniques. Through remote Bluetooth connectivity data can be transmitted directly to a CNC machine without the need for separate programming. It enables innovative designs with increased geometric complexity to be manufactured in a variety of metals or plastic. The use of a Bluetooth CNC machine results in components with critical surface finishing and an unsurpassed accuracy.

Cost-Effective On-Demand Production

Switching to a digital production system has positive economic benefits. Goods no longer need to be produced in high quantities followed by the expense of storing them in warehouses. Digital designs interconnecting with advanced tooling options are ideal for the manufacture of on-demand (MOD) products. Small batches of components can be cost-effectively manufactured whenever they are required. Digitalised injection moulding techniques can be used for a range of components in various industries including aerospace, construction and automotive. These goods are typically required in high volume rates with strict deadlines. Injection moulding is an ideal procedure for large orders but by using the flexibility of on-demand digitalised procedures, components can be economically produced with increased speed and efficiency.

Sheet Metal and 3D Printing

Components manufactured from sheet metal can be rapidly produced by using digitalised techniques. Blanks from two-dimensional designs are first formed by computerised laser-cutting techniques using either chemical etching or water jet sprays. Three-dimensional components are created once the blanks are pressed into shape. Digitalisation enables the whole process to be conducted at speed from beginning to end, increasing productivity while reducing costs. Direct 3D printing is suitable for a range of metals including stainless steel in a process that has a fast turnover with a reduced cost. Other techniques such as stereolithography (SLA) enables the rapid processing of master patterns, prototypes and fabrications with a snap-fit assembly. Selective laser sintering (SLS) is ideal for the rapid development and testing of prototypes and the manufacture of components with a low volume. Throughout the process of using digitalisation to manufacture goods, productivity is fast, efficient and cost-effective.

Shared Information and Technology

A major benefit of digitalised online services in the manufacture of a wide range of components is the opportunity for sharing knowledge. Flaws within a design can be accessed remotely by experienced staff in another department or company in a different location. Such instant problem solving saves time and money enabling a project to progress with streamlined efficiency. Machinery and equipment designed specifically for digitalisation and Bluetooth connectivity are uniformly manufactured. Centralisation of stored analytical data, the interchangeable nature of spare parts and flexible running procedures significantly reduces costs. The repair or upgrading of a system is quick and simple. When employees relocate, they can immediately begin using machinery they are already familiar with resulting in streamlined productivity.

Progressive Development

As networks of digitalised machines and equipment interact with each other the opportunity for progress and development is vast. Streamlined production techniques benefit from collaboration at every stage. A digital system is extremely responsive to its surroundings due to the gathering of highly detailed analytics. Such data is continuously processed warning of potential difficulties and even providing solutions before they are encountered. With a network of shared knowledge throughout the industry there is instant access to records concerning fabrication techniques. the result is an improved performance in every area of production. Digitalisation increases compatibility, quality control and compliance with regulations. The streamlining of production techniques throughout all areas of industry create a reassuring environment for customers and factory managers.

Futuristic Technology

The futuristic development of Industry 4.0 and the IoT is a green technology relying on digitally transmitted instructions and improved production techniques. The speed at which innovative designs can be perfected by using three-dimensional imaging to highlight flaws is revolutionising the manufacture of components. Prototypes can be developed at cost-effective prices within a much shorter time-frame than using the techniques of a previous generation of machinery. Investment in designing innovative new products is being encouraged by a combination of reduced costs and the certainty of increased productivity. Digital manufacturing promises streamlined efficiency across a wide range of equipment including futuristic CNC machines and techniques such as 3D printing. The reliability of intelligent tracking through smart labels adds to the efficiency of digitalisation. The reduced costs involved in developing products through advanced digital manufacturing are proving to have many benefits. The cost of initial investment is balanced against futuristic techniques in creating flawless designs and products that are of superb quality. The sudden impact of the fourth industrial revolution is already transforming the factories that have been eager to implement its exciting capabilities. Businesses that have adapted to the new technology are discovering the limitless opportunities and benefits of online fabrication and machining services through increased efficiency and reduced costs.

Navigating Trade Tariffs During Brexit

Navigating Trade Tariffs During Brexit

The rising costs associated with Brexit are edging ever closer to industries and consumers alike.

With Brexit looming large, companies are beginning to assess what a drop from the EU means for them. Large companies will not be the only ones impacted by rising costs and impending tariffs as the consumer base will face higher prices. Current deals within the EU keeps international trade at a reasonable tariff rate, however, if the UK leaves, these restrictions fall away, and different organizations begin to apply their tariff rates.

Politics of the matter aside, Brexit will take a heavy toll on many industries including metalworking. Manufacturing costs will rise due to the tariffs affecting imported materials, cost of labor will go up, and the price of the finished product will be higher. The thought of rising costs due to extended tariffs can be frightening, but this doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. In this article, we will inform you on what you might expect from Brexit regarding this industry, how to navigate these coming tariffs, and what this means for you.

Different restrictions and applied tariffs will result in different outcomes. Manufacturing costs may rise in one area but decrease in another. Trade deals could affect one field but leave another untouched. Attempting to predict what Brexit will cause is nearly impossible as so many outcomes could occur. Understanding what is happening and what this could lead to in the manufacturing industry is an important first step to navigating the new economy. Understand trade tariffs and how they affect your money will help you avoid major pitfalls and financial distress.

WTO Rules Apply

Firstly, what is the WTO? The WTO is the World Trade Organization, a place where 164 countries negotiate trade deals and establish rules and regulations with each other. The EU has established their own set of trade deals within its barriers, but once the UK leaves the EU, WTO rules automatically apply. You can think of the WTO as the bare minimum allowed when it comes to trade deals. If a country doesn’t have an established trade deal with another country, the WTO rules automatically apply to taxation on imports and exports.

In the deal terms hosted by the EU, most imports have a rather low taxation rate. Some industries as low as 2.8% tax on products. Other industries experience a slightly higher tariff on their imports and exports. Once the UK leaves the Union, they will be subject to the WTO rules even when trading within Europe. This could see tariffs as high as 10% on an imported car, or 35% on imported dairy products. Most industries will face these hikes in taxation under WTO rules and will face them almost immediately once Brexit occurs.

The UK government has made strides to protect companies and citizens against this steep shift in trade tariffs. What this means is some industries will have their tax rates cut to 0% in a temporary schedule. Batteries, in the EU, faced a 4.7% tariff rate, but will have 0% tariffs imparted on them for the time being. Once the UK can stabilize itself, it’s presumed that the tariffs will be brought back on items, but not before industries are given time to prepare and the economy steadies itself.

This can all sound rather scary, and the thought of these impending trade tariffs might send a sense of panic. Brexit does not indicate that industries will experience crippling tariff hikes that will destabilize our economy. Some industries might experience a tariff decrease with the WTO rules applied. Once Brexit occurs, trade deals with countries can be enacted that will allow the UK to establish their own tariffs with other countries.

Trade Deals

The WTO is a safety net for tariffs and treaties between the 164 member countries. The EU had established their own set of tariffs that each member had to comply with and thus were not subject to the WTO. Once the UK leaves the EU, trade deals that better suit our needs can begin taking shape. This means that any countries that we establish a trade deal with, our imports and exports with them will no longer be subject to the WTO.

Trade deal with countries will allow the UK to establish new tariff rates and possibly grow our economy if handled correctly. After Brexit, the UK cannot alter tariffs with specific countries unless through a trade deal. If the UK wants to lower tariffs on cars from Australia, they can only do so through a trade deal with them.

Establishing trade deals that suit the UK and the country being traded with could help establish the UK as its own economic entity. This could also be a benefit to you as industries that might have high tariff rates under the WTO, could see lower tariffs with specific trade deals.

What Brexit Means for Us and You

Depending on the established tariffs, we could see an increase in manufacturing costs. Necessary imports from external countries could see a tariff rate hike through the WTO. The ability to navigate trade tariffs to find the cheapest cost for the cumstomer. Importing could depend on trade deals established with individual countries. Brexit could be straining but keeping the quality of products high and the cost low is still a priority.

Tariffs established on exports can also lead to a price hike. Customers who bought from us from European countries might see higher pricing on products due to the raised tariffs. Brexit will not only affect citizens in the UK. Customers from external countries may have to deal with raised export tariffs. As mentioned before, it’s impossible to say what effect Brexit will have on every industry.

Facing raised tariff rates is imposing. Paying more for a product solely because the UK established new trade deals can be disheartening. But by understanding what these new tariffs mean and what trade deals affect them, can help ease your mind. Brexit could lead to raised manufacturing costs for companies and in turn, higher prices on products. For customers outside of the UK, imposed export tariffs could be the reason for raised prices.

At Geomiq, our philosophy will remain the same. We will continue to offer online manufacturing services and will continue to stand above the rest in our industry.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.

Special Steels – Hardox®, Strenx®, Domex® and Laser®

Special Steels – Hardox®, Strenx®, Domex® and Laser®

Of all the materials available on Earth, none is more widely used or more recycled than steel. Whether it is stainless steel, flat carbon products, high-temperature steel, etc., a wide range of applications use the material. This is because the various alloys and forms all offer different properties that are usable in a wide range of scenarios.

Additionally, steel is known for being very strong and for having a relatively low cost associated with manufacturing it. Today, there are five sectors of steel application, which are:

  1. Transport
  2. Construction
  3. Energy
  4. Packaging
  5. Industry and Appliances

Types of steel such as stainless steel are well known; however, this article focuses on a few of the uncommon and specialized steel types. These are Hardox, Strenx, Domex, and Laser. Below is an overview of their composition and merits.

Hardox

Hardox is known for being an incredibly wear-resistant variation of steel. It is manufactured by Svenskt Stål Aktiebolag (SSAB), which is a Swedish steel corporation. The manufacturer is credited with the development of the first modern piece of wear-resistant steel, which took place in 1974.

Hardox has been given the name “wear plate,” as even when placed under heavy and large mechanical loads, the wear rate does not differ. It is highly sought after by companies that are into the quarrying of sand and gravel. This is because dump truck bodies and excavator buckets made from the material tend to last longer than those that are not.

Characteristics of Hardox include its high hardness, incredible strength, and uniformed evenness. Constructions based on the material have a highly reduced weight as its strength allows for the use of thinner metal sheets, without compromising overall integrity. Furthermore, even when placed under low temperatures, it maintains its impact resistance.

The possibility for repair is usually of great concern but this is not the case with Hardox as the sheets and plates have very good machining and welding properties. Note that it is a tempered and quenched variation of steel, which is why it has such outstanding properties. However, they can be lost if the material is worked on incorrectly. Therefore, whenever Hardox is being bent, welded, cut, or ground, there must be proper protective measures put in place, and proper precautions must be taken.

You may obtain this steel type in various grades such as 400, 450, 500, 550, etc., which all have various sheet thickness and Brinell hardness metrics.

Domex

This is the brand name of a form of hot-rolled steel produced by SSAB. It is a high-strength grade of steel, which is a low alloy, and is cold formed. Its intended uses is in the engineering and automotive industries. This means it is great for applications such as those in CNC machining. This steel type boasts low levels of both carbon and manganese, and it has precisely added grain refiners such as vanadium, titanium, and niobium. The result of this and the clean structure throughout is one of the most competitive alternatives available for both cold formed and welded products.

There is a wide range of Domex steel types available. Variations include the regular cold-forming types, to wear resistant types, to corrosion resistant types. There are even ballistic protection and electrical sheet variations available.

Not only is it high-strength, but it also has an excellent formability property, in addition to good weldability. This means that it can undergo and withstand numerous manufacturing processes including pressing, fabrication, and machining.

Domex is superior to mild steel as it offers better strength and higher quality. Therefore, projects tend to require less steel and have a lower structural weight, which can result in lower costs associated with manufacturing. If done right, cost reductions can run as high as 30%. Therefore, it is a perfect material for the automotive industry. By reducing the cost of production, the cost of the finished product (the cars in this case) can be lower for buyers. Also, car manufacturers aim for having a low structural weight, while maintaining high handling. This material is perfect for balancing such objectives.

This type of steel is available in numerous grades such as 240YP, 355MC, 600MC, etc.

Strenx

Strenx is one of the many Domex variations. In 2015, Domex 700MC was rebranded as Strenx. Like all other variations, it is thermo-mechanically rolled in modernized plants under carefully controlled heating, rolling, and cooling process.

Where it stands out is with designation D and E. This means it not only meets the demands for steel S700MC in EN-10149-2, but it also exceeds them. Due to this, it has superb strength and is the go-to material in applications such as cranes, earthmoving machines, and truck chassis. The high strength results in saving of weight and/or increasing of the payload.

Strenx is available in numerous variations such as 100, 100XF, 110XF, etc. These variations all have different dimensions, they meet different standards, and they have different optimal applications.

Laser

Laser grade steel is a high strength, cold forming steel type with an advanced structure that has been optimized for laser cutting. The design aims to achieve both speed and precision. This steel type is also manufactured by SSAB. This high-performance steel variation is efficient because of several factors, which include:

  • Consistent and optimized chemistry
  • Superior cleanliness
  • Consistent and narrow dimensional tolerances
  • Impact toughness enhancement at low temperatures
  • Tight nesting with shared cutting lines

There is total process control throughout production, which results in a dead flat material. Therefore, it meets the most challenging of needs when fast and error-free cutting is required, which results in reduced production times and less of a need to rework for better precision.

Assuming the right parameters are set, SSAB Laser ® helps you to maintain immaculate cut edge quality, even when plate thickness approaches 30 mm.

Final Remarks

SSAB makes a variety of specialized steel products including Hardox, Domex, Strenx, and Laser. They are well designed with various applications in mind. The manufacturer offers detailed overviews of all products plus online quoting to make your decision making and purchasing processes easier.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.

Does the UK Have a Trade Deal with China?

Does the UK Have a Trade Deal with China?

Trading is an essential part of any county’s economy. The United Kingdom has enjoyed the benefits of trade that are synonymous with being a part of the European Union for years. However, the membership also prevented the country from engaging in similar deals with other territories external to the union.

With the UK’s decision to leave (termed Brexit), the possibilities for the establishment of such deals are somewhat endless. China, for example is well on its way to taking the United States’ top spot as a global superpower. Establishing trade deals with such a country is both strategic and beneficial.

Current UK-China Trade Status

To understand the current status, you need to first look at the current relationship between the European Union and China. The EU is currently China’s largest trading partner, while China is the EU’s second largest trading partner behind the United States. Based on this, the union is committed and open to establishing a trade agreement with China. The issue is that the EU is not comfortable that China is trading fairly, respecting intellectual property, or meeting the required obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

China joined the WTO in 2001 with an economy that needed some restructuring. Therefore, it agreed to liberalize and to reform parts of its economy. The Chinese have made significant progress on this agreement, however, there are a few glaring problems that remain, which have placed a block on the EU’s confidence to move forward. These problems include:

  • Lack of transparency.
  • Poor policies for the enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights.
  • Non-tariff measures and industrial policies that show discrimination against foreign companies.
  • High government intervention In the Chinese economy, which results in a position of dominance for state-owned firms, plus inequalities in access to cheap financing and subsidies.

Back in 2016, the EU adopted a new strategy where China is concerned, which mapped out the relationship between the two over a five-year period. The point of the strategy is to promote a level playing field, reciprocity, and fair competition in all areas of cooperation. The strategy also contains a trade agenda, which has a strong focus on the improvement of market access opportunities.

The result of all this is that while progress is being made, there is still no formal trade agreement between the EU and the Chinese.

As the Brexit deadline has been extended to October 31, 2019, the UK still operates under the umbrella of the EU. Since the EU currently does not have a free trade agreement with China. By the transitive property, this means that the UK does not have a trade deal with the Asian territory either. The possibility of such a trade deal emerges once Brexit has officially taken place.

Potential for the Future

In fact, China has made it abundantly clear that it is willing to establish such an agreement with the UK. The possibility has even been further incentivized as the Chinese promised a “top notch” deal if the agreement should come to fruition. As stated before, having China in its corner has a great deal of benefits for the UK. The Chinese are involved in the manufacturing of many useful products and components than can go a long way in boosting the UK’s manufacturing, as well as other sectors.

The only issue here is that China and the UK are not the only variables involved in this equation. This is the part that many analysts of this trade situation do not cover well enough or at all.

Once Brexit has happened, the most likely scenario is that London values a free trade deal with the United States more than it does one with China. This is understandable based on the USA’s current status, which can result in massive gain for the UK once EU ties are cut. A huge dependence on industry 4.0 can be expected at that point. This means a need for state-of-the-art technology for investment into areas such as CNC machining, engineering, and digital manufacturing. A deal with the United States is a big step in facilitating this, which is why the prioritization is understandable.

There is no expectation of any direct challenges in securing such a deal with the USA, however, it is likely that such a deal has conditions set that London must meet. The United States must secure its position and its own terms with China. This means that it is likely that the conditions of a UK-USA deal end up dictating that any UK-China agreement has similar conditions to any established between the USA and China. This is a bit of a grey area considering that there is still yet to be a concrete agreement on US-China tariffs. Incidents such as the Trump Administration’s soft ban on dealings with Chinese suppliers such as Huawei only serve to lengthen the process.

For the UK, this means that establishing a free trade agreement with China likely cannot occur until the United States has first established one. Also, based on the discussion concerning the stipulations, London’s deal with China must follow the US-China one. The major reason this is likely is because without placing such restrictions on the UK, the USA risks the possibility of Britain becoming a de facto Chinese warehouse for various Chinese goods. Alternatively, it could end up becoming a “soft” port of entry for many of the Chinese products entering the United States. Of course, this could potentially occur at lower tariffs that those agreed to by Washington.

Currently, you could say that the shots surrounding UK trade are being called by Brussels. With the passing of Brexit, the reigns are simply handed over to Washington as they then become the ones who impose the do’s and don’ts on London where trade is concerned.

If all this is correct, then the only thing that British businesses can do is watch what is happening between Washington and Beijing closely to get some clues and to attempt to ascertain the most likely trade deal blueprint.