The Folding Plug

By Kate

Three weeks ago one of our readers named Matthew sent me the link to a really cool product innovation: the folding plug. There were some other bloggers up for bat here at 3D Perspectives, but now it’s my turn again. ;-)

Matthew, thanks for tipping me to this; you’re right I love it for 3D Perspectives because it represents several themes we talk about here:

  • Innovation: revamping an every-day object for better living, i.e. cleaner personal spaces, better fits into backs and packages, etc.
  • Sustainability: the folding plug uses less materials to produce
  • 3D: the beauty was designed, experienced, sceneriod and presented in 3D (see video below)
YouTube Preview Image

Many thanks to Matthew for the tip-off and Min Kyu Choi the inventor.

Now what I’d like to know is, when can I get rid of all my bulky plugs and sockets?

Best,

Kate

Hi-Tech Trade Wars

By Robert

With the global recession in full swing we see some cracks appearing within the global movement towards ‘free trade’ (the trade between nations without protective customs tariffs), and these cracks appear to be moving towards a more regulated environment. Governments are increasingly adding regulation to favor locally manufactured products as a way to support local economy growth.

This is nothing new when you look at the BAA, NAFTA, G7, and the ‘China Government Procurement Program’ as good examples of ‘free trade’ with some regulations, restrictions, or down-right favoritism. What is new is the pace at which changes are being proposed and in some cases forced upon the global enterprise in terms of compliance as a way to push for localized growth in a recessionary environment.

What does this mean for the future of compliance?

Well, we can see from our experience with materials and substance compliancy that software solutions are often needed in order to comply efficiently. The tracking of compliance to numerous and varying government mandates from different regions becomes overwhelming on an ad-hoc or manual basis. Compliancy roll-ups related to trade compliance will require the right schema, good business processes, and a scalable platform.

PLM may be the right place to start such an endeavor since the ability to manage rolled-up data from items to assemblies, and the tracking of engineered, planned, and manufactured BOMs are capabilities that already exist today.

Extensions to allow for end-to-end trade compliance tracking by country-of-origin/trade region, commodity spend and other parameters are also capabilities that fit well within the context of PLM, and allow for the possibility of a single version of the truth for trade compliance reporting and analysis.

Of course, this becomes a complex topic based upon the complexity of today’s hi-tech supply chains. One only has to ‘look under the hood’ of any mobile device or laptop to see the global nature of technologies and components that are involved in any single product.

We should all keep our eyes out on the opportunities and risks presented by the slippery slope of ‘free trade’ into ‘regulated trade’. What is clear is that the landscape is changing.

Please feel free to comment on this thread with your thoughts and opinions on trade compliance, and the opportunities and threats this topic to offers the hi-tech enterprise and supply-chain.

Best,
Robert

Did you hear that? (follow-up from HT/Semicon Bounce pt1)

By Rick

Just following up with everyone on my last post “Listening for the Bounce in the High-Tech/Semiconductor Market“. The first of the two upcoming industry events, SEMICON WEST, is over. While the Design Automation Conference that is coming up at the end of the month focuses purely on the design tools, SEMICON covers pretty much everything else (manufactuing, test, industrial equipment, solar, you name it).

As you may have seen in my Twitter (@rkstant) posts, EE Times has a couple of “before” and “after” views for the event. The before views are pretty optimistic. Everyone has been talking about how the worst is over and things are looking up. The federal stimulus package in the US has some high tech components, including “smart grid” and “broadband” projects. That funding is just hitting the streets in June and July, respectively. The industry analysts seemed optimistic and touted some new memory orders placed by companies like Samsung, Hynix and UMC for 2H09. And they looked at some continued spending in the Taiwan semiconductor market.

However, the “after” feedback from the industry execs was more cautious. It seems as though must of the industry leads weren’t quite willing to make such definitive, optimistic statements. Terms like “this will be a telling quarter” and “we are still in unknown territory” still prevail. Most still seem to be pointing to 2010 as the target for recovery, with the memory market taking a bit longer (2011).

The nice part about those statements is that they weren’t pessimistic. I’d like to think that many of these leaders see daylight, but don’t want to be caught in the crossfire if things take a little more time. After all, we are now a people that expect things to move fast. 2010 is rapidly approaching. Success in 2010 is reaped on the seeds sown this year. Let’s see if DAC show more good signs.

Best,

Rick



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