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48V Revolution

World is going green driving the industries to follow up and adjust their manufacturing processes to the developing regulatory standards.

For the Automotive Industry this trend is becoming the most influential one. European regulations are targeted for significant CO2 emissions restriction in the nearest decade and meeting these targets becomes obligatory for the OEMs. Customers’ expectations are also turning towards greener solutions following growing social responsibility.

48V power and electrification systems implementation is a big step towards further digitization and automation of the vehicles. Higher voltage – higher efficiency: transition from the 12V systems doesn’t promise to be easy but will be beneficial for sure.

Fuel economy with the 48V implementation increases by almost 10%, wider connectivity and digitization perspectives are being provided as a bonus. But electrical architecture is not only about powertrains or fuel-economy improvement – it’s also about the growing amount of data being processed which is going to dramatically increase ensuring connectivity concepts development.

Visit our Automotive 48 Volt Power Supply and Electrification Systems


Child Labour in Artisanal and Small-scale Mining

Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) is usually being practiced by the small groups of individuals often illegally with minimal technology and machinery. ASM is commonly accompanied with the lack of safety measures and poor working conditions as well as with low productivity.

ASM is wide spread in the Third World countries rich in natural resources being the main source of income for the citizens. Bad news is that there are a lot of people willing to benefit from the cheap labour and the lack of social security of the miners.

Extreme poverty often leads to child labour when parents are starting to consider their children as additional workforce. Conflicts also produce thousands of orphans to be heartlessly exploited in ASM.

3TG mining is ASM by nature in Third World countries and the ever-growing demand for 3TG-using goods is heating up military conflicts, human rights abuse, child labour exploitation and human-trafficking.

There is no chance that 3TG production manufacturing will be cutting down the volumes any time soon, however there are opportunities for industry developers to make ASM conflict-free and quit on exploiting child labour. Risk-based conflict minerals management as well as due diligence and reporting is only half of the way – “conflict-free” not necessarily means “safe” and “child labour-free”. It’s all about the responsible sourcing and creating adequate working conditions as well as establishing adequate remuneration system for workers so their kids could just be kids.

Visit our Conflict Minerals Supply Chain Compliance and Transparency Forum

Conflict Minerals – Risk Management

Speaking of Conflict Minerals Supply Chain Compliance and Transparency, the term of “due diligence” cannot be dismissed. For all the 3TG utilizing manufacturers reasonable supply chain investigation is required in order to keep the production conflict-free. Risk-based management seems to be the most trustworthy way for establishing transparent supply chain.

Risk-based approach to the conflict minerals issue for industry developers includes:

  1. Creating conflict minerals company policy covering principles of conflict minerals use and the intention for conflict-free sourcing along with building a responsible team implementing national/international conflict minerals due diligence guidance and judging the progress and effectiveness of the company policy implementation.
  2. Exploring the risks in the supply chain by identifying the suppliers, collecting the data from their side and compare the names of the 3TG processing facilities from suppliers’ data to independently verified conflict-free smelters and refiners lists to assess possible risks.
  3. Designing and applying a strategy to respond to identified risks.
  4. Auditing smelters and refiners or acquiring third-party audit from the functioning authority.
  5. Publicly reporting about findings to increase the awareness and to generate public confidence in measures taken.

One company on its own might not be able to establish conflict-free manufacturing but within the united industry motion it’s becoming manageable.

Visit our Conflict Minerals Supply Chain Compliance and Transparency Forum!

Conflict Minerals – a Burden of Choice

Over the decades of booming technological progress industry developers have been facing the unpleasant picture of conflict sourcing. Demand creates supply but what is the price?

Natural resources have always been the most desired part of the planet’s treasures leading to the conflicts, slavery, wars. Conflict minerals are widely-used across the industries, electronics industry in particular.

Demand establishes a vicious cycle – conflict minerals trade constantly brings sources for the weapon purchase followed by the continuing violence against civilians.

Awareness is being improved though the past years with the industry moving towards “conflict-free” mining which, however, doesn’t necessarily means better working conditions or the end of children labor exploitation.

The problem of conflict mineral mining exists not only inside of the word “conflict”: solutions can be found in the field of responsible sourcing, holistic approach to recycling and alternative materials research. Increasing the Supply Chain transparency and thorough care of the human rights should be the main duty of the industry developers.

Interested to learn more? Visit our Conflict Minerals Supply Chain Compliance and Transparency Forum!

Project Management – Benefits

The role of Project Management (PM) implementation grows accordingly to the scale of business.

Needless to say that in terms of the whole industry sector such as Power Generation PM becomes inevitable.

Take a look at the major benefits for the PM implementation:

  1. An increase of cost-and-time-efficiency. Most of the business-processes can be standardized and templates-based thus reducing start-up time and shortening learning cycle.
  2. Planning and scheduling optimization based on the processes predictability. Predictability is growing through the experience and number of projects completed within the stated time and budget frames.
  3. Uninterrupted project delivery cycle being achieved through the thorough planning and control and allowing to fulfill final customer needs within minimized period of time.
  4. Increased responsiveness for problem-solving through the strict areas of responsibilities.
  5. Risk-based management approach.
  6. Fact-based decision making based on the KPI’s estimation allowing to improve the quality of the ongoing processes.

Teams are made up of individuals, each of whom has their own communication and working style. Having awareness of personal styles provides insights that improve cohesion and performance.  The main challenge continues to be that there is too much focus on completing tasks as opposed to spending time on building the team and relationships.  Fundamentally, project management is about getting people to do things.  Hear from the best on all practical aspects that you need to know about leading people and managing project for high performance – a spreadsheet or Gantt chart never delivered a project, projects are successfully delivered through people.

For more information click here.

SCADA Data Monitoring

In order to gather, assess and analyze big data related to wind turbines the process that is normally used is known as SCADA or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. With the help of this system present on modern wind turbines a treasure trove of data that needs to be evaluated and analyzed for greater efficiency and performance of wind turbines can very easily be determined.

One of the challenges that countries investing in wind energy have faced is in terms of efficiency that they need to invest in their wind energy mechanics and infrastructure. Since the investment in terms of costs when it comes to establishing wind energy infrastructure is quite massive, it becomes inevitable to focus on areas through which the overall efficiency of wind related operations and the energy that is being produced by it can be made cheaper as well as low in terms of costing and expenses. In order to fulfill this challenge, one of the most effective mechanisms and processes that has been devised and is currently being used in that of SCADA.

The nature of big data that SCADA provides is not just restricted to power curve data or error logs, but also contain a wide range of operational characteristics that can either be studied or evaluated individually or collectively to assess the impact that each characteristic has on the overall generation of energy through wind mills. Also, it is important to mention the function of Wind Farm Analytics that allows easy management and streamlining of big data.

It is equipped with computer programming and logic skills through which they can easily handle, store and manage SCADA data. With the help of the big data that is obtained any anomalies, shortcomings and loopholes that are present in the different processes related to setting, deployment and managing of operations of wind mills and the amount of energy that is produced from it can be improved, streamlined as well as more efficient.

Interested to learn more? Visit our Wind Power Big Data and IoT Forum!


Recycling and Reuse of the Composites

The use of composite materials in automotive manufacturing is steadily growing bringing up an important issue of materials recycling. EU end-of-life directives state that 80% of the materials in a new car have to be recyclable.

Recycling turns out to be a complex process for these materials due to the fact they are partially merged with metals/paints/etc.  Most of the composites can be ground down and used as a filler. Though for CFRPs (carbon fibre reinforced plastics), known for their expensiveness, mentioned solution doesn’t seem to be optimal.

Several companies in automotive industry are involved into the CFRP recycling development separating fibers from their polymer matrices producing a clean carbon fibre that provides 90-95% of its original mechanical properties.

Recycling stays a subject of ongoing research and the best solutions are still to come. However CFRP’s light weight, excellent mechanical properties and multiple options for combining them drives the industry towards the thorough research and development of the CFRPs recycling schemes.

Interested to learn more? Visit our Lightweight Vehicles and Materials Forum!

PMO Structure – Design and Application

Lately the main paradigm of the project management in Energy and Utility sectors is going through the great change: Quality-orientation is being replaced by ROI – orientation which is fair for all the spheres of market economy.

This global change leads to the collaboration development. Alliance agreements are coming instead of the multi-contracting. Alliance agreements come with the standardized equipment design, reduced prices, reduced lead time and improved Owner-Vendor relationship.

However meanwhile multi-contracting still holds a significant share of the market requiring intricate agile approach to management.

Project management in Energy and Utility sectors involves large number of small projects which increases the complexity and troublesomeness of governance.

Developing PMO, service center, center of excellence and governance is leading to the ergonomics enhancement and improved time-management. Nevertheless PMO structure should be thoroughly designed to manage complexity of interfaces and to overcome the existing challenges.

The main requirements to the PMO structure are:

  1. Structure should be well-centralized and vertically visible – all the participants should be reporting straight to the head of the PMO.
  2. All the instructions should be clear to establish an effective delivery capability framework.
  3. Structure should keep the value providing the support to any part requiring it.
  4. PMO should set visible goals to achieve in order to benefit and maximize the productivity.
  5. PMO human resources should be relevant, well-trained and highly manageable.

Fulfillment of these requirements ensures building agile, active and prospective PMO structure in order to manage numerous small projects.

For more information click here.

Lightweighting for the Electric Vehicles

Lightweighting stays relatively young concept of the automotive industry. Nevertheless, over the past decade it has been deploying over all the industry sectors, becoming an important subject for research and development.

With European commission setting more and more strict regulations for Driving Emissions in attempt to minimize carbon footprint, car manufacturers face an uneasy dilemma – to meet the requirements or to pay increasing penalties. One of the most ergonomic and environmental-friendly options – slowly but thoroughly increase the share of electric vehicles in production.

Despite numerous attempts to bring lightweighting into discredit doubting safety qualities of lightweight materials, it was scientifically proven that these materials are not only as good but at some point are even better than regular steel. At the same time concept designers don’t stop conducting the research on safety subject.

Lightweight materials are well known as expensive way to improve the design. However, experts are sharing the opinion that the gap in prices between steel and lightweight alternatives will shrink through upcoming years (especially on the background of rising penalties for the carbon footprint).

Electric vehicles can be considered as the ultimate aim for lightweighting. While lightweight materials can be used in regular vehicles design only on partial basis, in electric vehicles they obtain perfection in use – allowing flawless unibody design concepts.

Nowadays we observe increasing awareness among the consumers connected to their estimation of the environment impact humanity make. Remembering the world industry trends, moving towards the renewable energy sources and nature protection, electric vehicles seem to be an obvious future of the automotive industry.

Interested to learn more? Visit our Lightweight Vehicles and Materials Forum!

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