Discrete Manufacturing Trends - Part 1
Discrete device manufacturers are affected by regional green agenda, servitization, and regional legislation. The influence of these activities has prompted manufacturing companies to transform their current operations. Such transformations include the use of de-carbonized energy, collaboration for the greater good, and research for efficient applications of bio-plastics.
CENTRAL FOCUS: DE-CARBONIZED ENERGY
- Green manufacturing is relevant to a low-carbon future. A low-carbon future is possible if the energy systems used across the globe are de-carbonized.
- After several years of plainly talking about change, significant progress has recently occurred in the transition from high-carbon systems to systems that have low-carbon energy.
- The extensive deployment of clean-energy systems has grown beyond a limited number of developed countries. Breakthroughs have been pioneered in Silicon Valley and Berlin, as innovations and large-scale implementations are equally happening in Shanghai and Mumbai. In the year 2017, renewable energy accounted for over 60% of power generation investments across the world.
- Processed regulations have been put in place to regulate current and future greenhouse gas emissions. The United States Supreme Court decision titled Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently clarified issues on the regulation of the Clean Air Act.
- Laptop and other electronic device manufacturers, such as Apple, have responded by convincing more of their suppliers to run their production processes on 100% de-carbonized energy systems.
- Each time one of Apple's suppliers joins its efforts to "address climate change, the move is closer to a better future" for upcoming generations, Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives recently stated.
- Apple is headquartered in San Francisco, the "greenest city in North America." However, some companies producing laptops for Apple are in China.
- Large-scale deployments of de-carbonized energy systems in Shanghai and Mumbai are essential to the future of discrete manufacturing in terms of the green agenda. Shanghai is one of the four municipalities in China which produced a total of over three trillion discrete electronic components in 2016.
- Experts estimate that from 2017 to 2021, the rapid advancement of mobile Internet, automobile electronics, new energy systems, and VR industries will account for the growth of the "electronic component industry."
- China is the global manufacturing headquarters for electronic components like as amplifiers, aluminum electrolytic capacitors, cathode ray tubes, printed-circuit boards as well as discrete semiconductor devices.
- The Chinese Government started drafting a climate change law back in 2009 and seeks ways to accelerate the process of its legislation to enact it as a comprehensive national law. China's regional legislation on climate change aims to de-carbonize its energy system. China has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions for each unit of its GDP by 60 to 65%, when compared to its 2005 emission levels, by the year 2030.
- Based on the recent Paris Agreement, India is also implementing policies to help it achieve its 2022 renewable energy target. Today, renewable energy is cheaper when compared to electricity generated from coal across India as it strives to deeply de-carbonize its energy system.
- Many manufacturers of discrete electronic components and electronic devices in China are adapting by switching to de-carbonized energy sources for the manufacture of Laptops and other devices. Sunway Communication based in Shenzhen manufactures laptop components using 100% de-carbonized energy sources.
- Quanta Computer recently evaluated several approaches, such as rooftop solar and capital investments, to achieve 100% renewable energy (de-carbonized energy) in the production of Apple laptops. Quanta Computer manufactures laptops from its facilities in Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Chongqing.
- Luxshare is also committed in the use of 100% renewable energy in the production of Apple devices.
- As of 2017, about 28% of emissions in the United States were produced by electric power generating firms, 22% by industrial processes, 7% by the commercial sector and 9% by the agricultural industry.
COLLABORATION FOR THE GREATER GOOD
- The World Economic Forum recently suggested that cobots can lend remarkable efficiency to the manufacturing process of automobiles. Collaborative robots (cobots) are designed and built for collaboration with human beings.
- Digital traceability of minerals through the use of private-permission-based blockchain technology is vital. It can chronologically and permanently store information on network computers accessed by multiple collaborating parties. This collaboration will ensure that only metals sourced sustainability can find their way into the electronic products value chain.
- Every component manufactured from the mining supply chain faces challenges related to traceability, transparency, interoperability between various supplier platforms. Traditional systems cannot efficiently trace the origin of minerals used to manufacture components. However, digital technology like blockchain can better this situation.
- Blockchains are distributed digital ledgers that keep a record of every transaction in a securely and reliably by third parties and reduces the exposure of data to hackers.
- Blockchain technology enhances productivity by replacing regular contracts with smart contracts.
- Tracing origin is vital as metals sourced sustainably are processed with lower quantities of greenhouse emissions. The process of mining metals produces greenhouse gases, which are warming the globe.
- The United States Geological Survey's (USGS) believes that collaboration to understand the system of resource flow is essential. Managing resources from extraction to the ultimate end product can help in managing the use of natural resources as well as protect the environment.
- Recent laws in the United States require certain public companies to collaborate with their supply chains to address human rights, supply chain risks, and sustainability concerns. Companies operating in America are required to identify, assess, and report how they implement due diligence in screening their suppliers. They also must report actions taken to prevent and address all potential negative impacts of their supply chain.
- CPA Journal reports that navigating the future of sustainability is difficult. This difficulty emanates from complex and continually changing sources used by international suppliers and inadequate transparency in sourcing information, primarily when related to smaller and faraway suppliers.
- Several market leaders operating in the gold and diamond segment recently partnered with IBM for a blockchain network solution, which will trace the origin of discrete pieces of finished jewelry. IBM announced this partnership in 2019.
- The TrustChain Initiative promoted by IBM is a partnership between Asahi (a metals refining company), Helzberg Diamonds (a jewelry retailer), LeachGarner (a precious metals supplier), The Richline Group (a jewelry manufacturer), and the independent verification service UL. The partnership aims to improve transparency across the supply chain leading to discrete pieces of jewelry.
- Gemvara is a member of the Richline Group and produces customized, discrete, identifiable pieces, of jewelry and gemstone Jewelry. Richline Group has its headquarters in North America.
- Richline Group is a Berkshire Hathaway company, which is headquartered in New York City.
- Blockchain utilizes a database to record supply chain transactions. Usually, a bar code, digital tag, or serial number, is assigned to each physical piece. Such identification tags make items traceable throughout its supply chain.
- Major automakers recently collaborated to use blockchain to track components used in the manufacture of vehicles. The partnership seeks to make the automobile industry greener by improving traceability. Companies in the partnership include Ford, GM, BMW, and Groupe Renault, as well as blockchain technology companies like IBM, Context Labs, and Accenture.
- Several thousands of discrete components and pieces are manufactured, tested, packaged, and shipped to vehicle assembly plants, which put these components together. Each vehicle is given a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) when assembled.
- Various automakers intend to use blockchain to transfer data using an encrypted ledger is distributed to every member of the chain. Each member keeps a copy of the ledger.
- Before any transaction takes place, it passes verification from all members of the chain. This verification requirement provides an added layer to automate their transactions through smart contracts.
- The utilization of bio-based plastics instead of heavy metals and plastic components is promoting the green agenda, servitization, and changes in regional legislation. In turn, this is driving manufacturing companies to transform their current operations.
- Thermoplastics and its composites are produced partially or wholly from plant feedstock using emerging chemical and nanotechnologies. They are used in various vehicle systems, power-train applications, and can make cars lightweight and more fuel-efficient.
- Synthetic biological materials of organic origin, such as bacteria and microbes, can help meet the rising demand for smaller and more powerful devices. Currently used to manufacture wires, transistors, and capacitors, bio-materials can cost-efficiently reduce the dependence on non-renewable materials and toxic components in digital electronics devices.
- The European Union is committed to a transition from a linear to a circular economic model. It has accelerated the pace of growth of its bio-plastic industry. Bio-plastics are playing a pivotal role in the transition as they intend to replace fossil (carbon-containing fuels) with renewable resources.
- Representatives of the bio-plastics industry are working closely with institutions in the European Union and relevant policy-makers to produce a legislative framework for bio-plastics to thrive.
- Japan has an objective to increase its bio-plastics production to 20% of its overall plastics market by the year 2020. Statistics indicate that Japan has produced over 19.9 million units of cars from 2010 until 2018.
- There is no legislation available at the moment, but there are indications that California may become the premiere state to pass a bio-plastic law or regulation in the United States. According to industry experts, California is known to be ahead of other states in terms of environmental legislation.
- Some companies in the electronics component industry are proactive. They are researching developments in substrate processing to enable them to use photonics in laser patterning and flash curing of flexible substrates.
- Brewer Science, in partnership with NovaCentrix and Atotech, is working on the development of new polymers. The new polymers will be quickly and neatly etched with mid-length ultraviolet waves usually used for laser drilling as well as etching on PCB's (printed circuit boards). The process improves the performance of printed-electronic-circuit boards which are discrete components in the manufacture of digital devices.
- Brewer Science intends to process polymers at less than 200°C and use them in many electronics devices.
Research only includes trends that appear across multiple resources. Resources show some manufacturers of discrete components like NovaCentrix and Atotech are proactive. They are planning ahead of the future. Also included are laws and regulations that seek to promote a green agenda.