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AMT Tech Report: Issue #311

Kinky metal. April 2024 USMTO summary. GM vs. AM. AI in human English. #GenZ #BlueCollar.
Jun 14, 2024

“The fact that Custer died at Little Bighorn in June of 1876 and the Swiss were already producing machines amazes me.”

– Barry Rogers, machine tool industry stalwart

1. Kinky Metal

A groundbreaking alloy has emerged that combines refractory metals, like niobium and tantalum, with advanced engineering. Featuring "kink bands," which enhance strength by subtly altering the crystal structure and thus reducing brittleness, it withstands extreme temperatures, resists wear, and shows exceptional fracture toughness. This could significantly impact manufacturing and emerging technologies requiring robust materials in high-heat or cryogenic conditions – if it’s not terribly difficult to work with.

Read more here.

2. Aoril 2024 USMTO Summary

April 2024 manufacturing technology orders reached $317.9 million, a 25.6% decrease from March but only 5.4% lower than April 2023, totaling $1.43 billion year-to-date, 16.2% behind 2023. Orders have declined since late 2021 but are still above the historical average. Contract machine shops and the automotive sector saw reduced orders, while aerospace investment remained strong, particularly in the Southeast. Oxford Economics predicts a stable or slightly down year, with a potential order increase in late 2024.

Read more here.

3. GM vs. AM

GM's Paul Wolcott highlights that the high cost of additive manufacturing (AM) and slow machine throughput are the key barriers to AM’s broader use in automotive production. While AM is already used for low-quantity applications and end-use parts in high-end models like the Cadillac Celestiq, significant advances are needed. These include developing automotive-specific materials, reducing machine takt time, improving finishing processes, and aligning contract manufacturers with automotive standards.

Read more here.

4. AI in Human English

Some would say that this is too “low level.” I say to them: Shove it. I will never pretend to be above a solid glossary. The world of artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly evolving, bringing significant changes and a mix of hype. Tom’s Guide aims to clarify this complex field by providing an informed and balanced overview of AI terms in plain English to help readers understand the core elements of the AI ecosystem, distinguishing essential concepts from mere jargon. Too basic?

Read more here.

5. #GenZ #BlueCollar

Gen Z is increasingly choosing blue collar jobs over four-year degrees to avoid debt, leading to a sharp rise in vocational-focused community college enrollments. Some social media influencers document their work, boosting interest in trades – and earn up to $500,000 a year! Even non-influencers find construction pay more attractive than professional services like accounting. After watching their bosses put 37 grandchildren through college and believing homeownership to be unlikely, who can blame them?

Read more here.

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Stephen LaMarca
Technology Analyst
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