Episode 50: Ben and Steve are excited to be going back to the office soon! Benjamin tries to open with an article on printing crack-free tungsten, but Steve keeps interrupting with random facts about one of his favorite elements. Stephen compares Tesla’s business efforts to Hyundai but doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Ben found something on a large-scale robotic additive. Steve discussing four ways additive will be used for electronics in the future. Benjamins closes with the current state of industrial metrology.
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Benjamin Moses: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Tech Trends Podcast, where we discuss the latest manufacturing, technology, research, and news. I am Benjamin Moses, the Director of Technology, and I'm here with?
Stephen LaMarca: Stephen LaMarca, AMT's Technology Analyst.
Benjamin Moses: Steve, it's good to see you again.
Stephen LaMarca: It is good to see you, Ben.
Benjamin Moses: Are you excited that things are looking up and up, and we may be getting back in the office sometime soon?
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, I'm actually really pumped to get back in the office. Even though I've really warmed up to working from home, I am not somebody that likes working from home. I'm happy to finally not just be able to get out of the house on a regular basis, but be forced to get out of the house. I mean, I like stay-cations. But at the same time, I need somebody to tell me to leave the house, to actually leave the house. Fortunately, I have a dog to do that on a regular basis. But the one thing I'm really looking forward to most... And I've got my Hi-Fi sound system back in the office, which shockingly, I didn't bring home. I never brought that home, and I didn't bring a lot of things home. But the one thing I'm really looking forward to getting back to the most, a proper office chair.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, sure, sure. You didn't invest in an office chair early on?
Stephen LaMarca: I didn't invest in an office chair. I didn't take the time to go visit a chiropractor. I probably will need an x-ray done to see how many years I added to my spine. Because I guarantee you, these past 18 months or whatever it's been, I guarantee you, if I went to a chiropractor, I don't know, man, whoever looks at your skeleton, they'd be like, "Oh, you have like the question mark-shaped spine of a 47-year-old." I'm like, "Great, that's exactly what I want to hear. Thanks, COVID."
Benjamin Moses: I do remember as soon as we started working from home and they shut down schools, Amelia was working on my... Using my computer, of course, a kindergartner at that time, learning how to use the computer, and I was on the couch, next to me, working. So that was the worst setup I've ever had in my life where I'm hunched over for seven hours a day, trying to do stuff, and then Amelia is just doing stuff on my computer.
Stephen LaMarca: And then next to your kid. What a punishment?
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. There's two things I'm conflicted about. One, is I've got a killer setup for conference calls. So I've got a really good personal camera that I've been using. I've got a soundboard that I'm using for recording the podcast. I know once I go back to the office, I'm still going to have tons and tons of conference calls and it's going to be a janky set up that I've got to figure out, that I've got to rebuild somehow, once I get back at the office. And the other side is luckily, I don't have too much I need to take to the office, but there's a ton of stuff I left in the office that I should've taken home. I took a bunch of textbooks that I wanted to keep in the office short-term, but I didn't get a chance to bring those back. So there's a ton of stuff that I want to bring back home from there too. So I'm kind of looking forward... The other thing I would like to use is a whiteboard. I miss using whiteboards.
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, wow, yeah.
Benjamin Moses: But then again... Go ahead.
Stephen LaMarca: Our neighbor across the hall from us in our apartment building, actually, at one point during the pandemic, there was these big boxes. It looked like they had ordered boxes of sheet rock or drywall. And I looked closely at the label and was like, "This person ordered a bunch of whiteboards." They missed it that much. So you're not alone.
Benjamin Moses: No, no.
Stephen LaMarca: It's good for you for not buying it because now that everybody's going back, it's like, "What are you going to do with all this whiteboard in your house?"
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, this giant whiteboard. I do like the digital tools that came up to support whiteboard replacements. So Miro is a fairly collaborative tool where everyone can write on the same digital whiteboard at the same time.
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, wow.
Benjamin Moses: It's not quite the same, but it's a good replacement. And the only drawback with the whiteboard is trying to get it to a digital format. So now that I'm talking about it, when I go back in the office, I may contradict myself as like, "Why don't we use Miro more often instead of this stupid whiteboard?"
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, who knows? Yeah, that could change, and then we would have wasted all of that wall space on whiteboard at the office. I think that would kill Tim and Doug. They wouldn't like that at all.
Benjamin Moses: Like thousands of square feet of whiteboard.
Stephen LaMarca: We'd be saving money on dry erase markers though.
Benjamin Moses: That's a struggle. We can't keep track of our dry erase markers.
Stephen LaMarca: What are some other... I noticed when we were talking about this earlier, the key takeaways from your pros and cons of going back to the office were... Well, your con was you were so used to your scheduling and so much time was freed up to do actual work because you didn't have to do a commute. And now, you're going to have to go back to... You're having to cut the hours that you work in a day because you're going to have to compensate for a commute. However, I want to counter your point by saying that won't it be nice though having so many less distractions?
Benjamin Moses: Well, so I was chatting with Kristen. She went to the office the other day and we had a call scheduled, and she was late because people kept walking up to her desk or walking up to her and having conversations.
Stephen LaMarca: Ooh.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, that is a problem with the open office we have, where people won't schedule meetings. They'll just walk up to your desk and ask questions, where like, "Yeah, you're not scheduling a meeting, but you're still occupying someone's time as opposed to, I don't know, send an email or do something passively." So I conceptually agree with you, Steve, that there might be more focus time, but the open office is still fairly killer to me.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, it's still a lot of distractions. I don't know. I guess it's just the environment. Seeing other people work makes me want to focus and actually get stuff done.
Benjamin Moses: And that's the dilemma I face. So as a manager, most of my day should be meetings. I'm trying to figure out strategy. I'm trying to work on collaborative things. But at your level, if you're sitting there writing a tech report, there's no reason to have the meetings, the volume of meetings that I have. You're doing more focus work. So that's the concern I have, is when we get back in the office, everyone's like, "Yeah, listen to me. This is a brand new awesome..." Can we just get some work done?
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah, or people just swinging by your desk, or more chances of a lot of people swinging by your desk when you're in hyper-focus.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. Yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: That's one thing I... You know what? You got a good point. I'm totally wrong about distractions because I've been actually able to... At home, I've been able to essentially zero in on hyper-focus whenever I want, essentially.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, and I've been reading-
Stephen LaMarca: I may still choose to do it at 2:00 AM.
Benjamin Moses: I have been reading about the concept of deep focus and rhythmic working and things like that. Those are real things. There are widgets and tools to help you with that.
Stephen LaMarca: Sure. I'm definitely going to have to look into Miro though. I hadn't heard about that. Well, let's get into some articles.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. Great, man. Let's talk about 3D printing techniques to keep brittle tungsten crack-free.
Stephen LaMarca: Ooh.
Benjamin Moses: So tungsten, the value of tungsten, it handles high temperature.
Stephen LaMarca: It is dense.
Benjamin Moses: It's dense.
Stephen LaMarca: It is heavy.
Benjamin Moses: Very strong.
Stephen LaMarca: It's very strong. Jinx. But I do know this, tungsten is an incredibly brittle material. And I say brittle, not because it's weak. It's not weak, but it's brittle in that it fractures and breaks and cracks before it bends. I do know that. And I also know that that's why a common version of tungsten that you'll come across... If you're shopping for tungsten for whatever reason, a lot of the time, the most common tungsten you'll find is tungsten carbide. Because a lot of cutting tools are made out of carbide. I'm not sure which types of... What type of carbide because all the manufacturers have different recipe.
But carbide is really dense, strong, and hard. But funny enough, adding the carbide to tungsten or having carbides of tungsten, actually helps make it a little bit more malleable, which is crazy to me. Because every other material, you add carbide to to make it stronger and tougher. Tungsten is the one metal that's like, "Come at me," and you add carbide to it to make it a little bit more malleable. That's nuts. I'm sorry. I got distracted again.
Benjamin Moses: It's like the kryptonite to Superman.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah.
Benjamin Moses: So yeah, it's the highest melting point of all the metals, according to this article.
Stephen LaMarca: Yes, it is.
Benjamin Moses: It melts at 3400 degrees Celsius, which is really, really high.
Stephen LaMarca: Let me distract you again. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
Benjamin Moses: Go ahead.
Stephen LaMarca: The other name that... Well, I think, the scientific name for tungsten, I think, it's atomic symbol is W for wolfram, which is German for wolf's froth, which sounds really weird, and it is really weird. I'm not sure where they got the wolf from, I guess, because they think, the Germans think wolves are strong or something like that. But the froth, the foaming of the mouth, is because... I guess it's to make it sound like a rabid wolf, like I guess they foam from the mouth.
Benjamin Moses: An angry wolf, sure.
Stephen LaMarca: But when you are cracking ore, to separate the metals out from ore, all of the other materials will foam around the tungsten and the tungsten will be leftover. So that's how it got its name.
Benjamin Moses: That's fascinating. That's a good tangent. I appreciate that.
Stephen LaMarca: Sorry.
Benjamin Moses: That's all right.
Stephen LaMarca: Keep going.
Benjamin Moses: Mining materials is fairly fascinating, how they actually extract it. It's really interesting where this is fairly relevant, fairly cutting-edge, but the techniques that they use are so old. It's mind-boggling to me. So the idea is they want to be able to 3D print tungsten carbide, be able to have a solid liquid, solid transformation phase. So they have this powder...
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, wow.
Benjamin Moses: They're going to melt it, and then allow it to cool to get to another solid. It's very similar to welding or casting, but of course, now they want to create shapes in this pattern. So what they have done, they used an electron-beam welding machine to preheat the tungsten before melting it. So the idea of cracking this material because of, say, welding or a heating process can be alleviated by preheating the material, so the spike or the transition from basically room temperature to melting is significantly less steep.
And I think that's one of the underlying things that they've taken away here is that when they allow EB weld to preheat it and they maintain that temperature before they get into the melting phase, and they're able to do this repeatedly. So one, 3D printing using electron-beam welding, electron beam, has been around for a fairly long time. It's one of the earlier techniques I think they adopted, but also the idea of preheating objects through electron beams has been around for a long time. The fact that they finally applied it to tungsten and get some very positive results was fairly fascinating. So I'm very happy Physics World helped publish this info on this new technique.
Stephen LaMarca: Heck yeah, dude. I love tungsten.
Benjamin Moses: Let's talk about some Tesla, Steve. You got some Elon Musk news on Tesla?
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, yeah. Of course, I changed everything on my computer screen because I got fascinated by tungsten and I was just looking up things. And another last, final tangent, the word tungsten is actually Swedish and means heavy stone.
Benjamin Moses: Heavy stone. That's awesome.
Stephen LaMarca: They're not wrong.
Benjamin Moses: No, no.
Stephen LaMarca: Okay, so the Tesla article that I had, I found on entrepreneur.com. "Tesla aspires to become a robotics firm in artificial intelligence," and I found this really interesting. It was published this morning at 7:00 AM. And this is a big deal because good ole Elon has finally recognized the emerging threat coming from the Apple and Hyundai partnership.
Benjamin Moses: Sure.
Stephen LaMarca: Because we know that Apple is trying to make an electric car, and they've partnered with Hyundai to do that. And if from an industrial standpoint, not a consumer automobile standpoint, but from an industrial standpoint, we know, and we've talked about it a whole lot, Hyundai is becoming an automation powerhouse, and they have gone full in-house on their robotics production and the robots they use. So Tesla sees that and they are trying to maybe not raise them, but they're trying to call them.
Benjamin Moses: Sure.
Stephen LaMarca: And it's good because it means that our beloved American electric car company, that's run by a really cool dude, is trying to do more than that, and more than... More than electric cars and more than SpaceX. Now, he's actually looking at making some really awesome advanced manufacturing technology.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, that is fascinating he's able to... A couple of years ago, they were talking about all the struggles that Tesla had in terms of just manufacturing-
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, yeah.
Benjamin Moses: -ramp up a production and automate everything, and then he realized you can't automate everything. And so he's got to scale things back and all the issues that come with meeting production demands.
Stephen LaMarca: And you know what? I apologize. I apologize to Musk because I said that he's finally recognizing Hyundai, the threat from Hyundai and Apple, and trying to match them, he's trying to call them. But in truth, I think, Hyundai actually is trying to match Tesla first because I remember hearing... It wasn't last year. It was maybe 2018, 2017. This was a while ago, that in their production line, at least for the Model 3, their robot supplier was slacking on them, wasn't delivering them robots on time, and the robots they were delivering were not good enough. So Musk is like, "You know what? I'm going to buy a robots company and I'm going to make my own robots. I'm not outsourcing robots anymore. I'm not buying robots from people anymore. Now, we're making them." So yeah, I actually backpedal a little bit. Let me correct myself. Tesla started making robots before Hyundai. Actually, that's probably inaccurate too.
Benjamin Moses: That's inaccurate too, but that's fine.
Stephen LaMarca: And I think Hyundai's trying to follow Tesla's model, but on a larger scale, maybe that's more accurate.
Benjamin Moses: The big takeaway I see is the ability to transfer the technologies that they have from their automobiles, to robotics, to other instances. We've been talking about... In the past, we've mentioned how much NVIDIA, the graphics card manufacturer, computer hardware manufacturer, is now getting into industrial space a couple of years ago. And the ability to take this tool and now make it cross-cutting, where basically anywhere you're doing math, can be accelerated by this. And what they're doing is anywhere that requires artificial intelligence, they could solve that problem.
So getting into manufacturing seems like a slam dunk. They could easily get into medical where they're doing stuff with imaging, anywhere where they're applying machine learning techniques now. So I find it very fascinating that they can... They potentially have this underlying knowledge set that they can start transferring into other sectors. I'm not a Musk fan. I think he's a little too much hype man for me, but he seems like he's doing all right.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. I don't know. We just need somebody cool. I like him more than Bezos and... What's the other guy's name? Microsoft... Bill Gates. Yeah, he divorced recently. Bill Gates. I don't have a problem with Bill Gates, but clearly somebody else did. At least Musk is cool. He owned a McLaren F1.
Benjamin Moses: Sure, sure. I don't think I like any billionaire.
Stephen LaMarca: Fair enough. Yeah, that's a good point.
Benjamin Moses: The next article I've got, Steve, is about 3D printing with robots. "Large-scale, robotic-mounted 3D printer aims to expand AM size limits," from CompositesWorld.
Stephen LaMarca: Did you find this article on your Google Feed?
Benjamin Moses: I think I did. I think I did.
Stephen LaMarca: I found it on mine too. I saw that this morning. I was scrolling.
Benjamin Moses: I like that our Google Feeds are the same. So what they're doing is fairly awesome. So the idea of additive and 3D printing and the bias of that equipment towards small-scale, say like less than a foot, cubic area. It has been around for a long time. There's size limitations for 3D printing and it's same for subtractive manufacturing. You have a box, I can machine in a box. When you get to Naval-scale or building-scale stuff, then you get into gantries and things like that. The thing that you need for subtractive is some level of robustness to counteract the cutting forces. When you get to 3D printing, there's not much in terms of forces that you need to react. Now, you're looking at positional accuracy and being able to push a certain amount of material to a specific surface. So like plastics or we've talked about concrete printing in the past. We've talked to Oak Ridge on some of their additive stuff on metallic printing and using gravity as a support feature as opposed to building supports.
So this article talks about what they're doing on adding a robot to basically a slider, so they can print basically the length of whatever they want of how long that they want this robotic arm to print. So it gets into the different type of materials that they're experimenting with, the software behind achieving the solution, and the use cases they get around talk about printing parts up to four meters wide, and you could do up to like 10 meters long with a trolley. So some 30-feet long object can now be printed in a single pass, basically, as opposed to a hundred different pieces.
And then Oak Ridge, and not only Oak Ridge, but I think it was, I think, the University of Kansas or one of the universities in Kansas were doing multi-arm positioning. So they could have a cell with like six robotic arms. So can all six coordinate with each other to help print this object? Most likely. So don't rely on one robotic arm. Now, you're coordinating with several to help you achieve... So the ability to scale to something that you want infinitely long... Well, not infinitely long. Basically, it's, "How many robots could you chain together to make this object and interconnect it to?" So it's a fairly cool article in that I like the idea of breaking the size issue with additive or 3D printing.
Stephen LaMarca: Absolutely. It's funny, as you were talking about that article, I was swiping through my Google Feed again to see if I could find that, so I could follow you, and I actually ended up stumbling across the tungsten article you mentioned earlier. How convenient.
Benjamin Moses: That's great. Steve, what's your next article on?
Stephen LaMarca: The next article that I found on Tech Trends, not Google this time, but is additive optimized electronics. And it's basically an article that highlights four use cases or four ways that additive manufacturing will optimize electronics in the future. And the first one, the first method that the article highlights is locally grown space antennas.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, cool.
Stephen LaMarca: So antennas are, as you can imagine, is a large and kind of awkward piece of electronics equipment that isn't necessarily complex, but it's awkwardly shaped if you want an effective one. And instead of investing millions and billions of dollars to get one and escape velocity to leave earth and throw one in space, why don't you make it in space? And that's one way additive is being used in the future, is going to be to make space antennas. The second way is embedded sensors in everyday products for convenience.
Benjamin Moses: That's cool, yep.
Stephen LaMarca: And what they meant by that was integrated wearables. So when you think... When you and I think wearables, and I think when most people think wearables, that you think the Apple Watch or the Google Glass for the few nerds that bought those. But what they're saying is in the future, additive is going to be used to integrate those wearables into normal-looking clothes. So what they mentioned was you could have electronics printed in your jacket sleeve. So if you wanted to go to the next track in your ear buds, of the music that's playing in your ear buds, you could swipe on your sleeve or do some gesture on something that you're wearing, and it wouldn't necessarily be an awkward raspberry pie strapped to your wrist or something like that. The third way is, of course, military and defense. They're going to optimize additive printed electronics, specifically additive-made, additive-produced electronics in some way or another. We don't need to get into it. Use your imagination. They're going to do a... There's a million ways to do that.
Benjamin Moses: Let's place a bet on the next integrated electronic Australia comes out with that's 3D printed...
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, gosh.
Benjamin Moses: In their military, and then they take over the world.
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, man. Please be nice, Australia. You guys are scaring me. And the fourth and final method they highlighted was accelerated prototyping, even faster than additive has already been able to accelerate prototyping. But imagine printing a prototype, which is... Obviously, we know additive is faster for making a single one-off prototype or a bespoke part than doing CAD/CAMed for a CNC machine, and getting all the tooling right, and doing your air cuts, and then doing some mock-up passes with Delrin, or something, or cutting wax to make sure that your operation looks good, and then finally making a prototype part. We all know that additive as much faster at making that, but how much faster would additive prototyping be if your prototype also had the electronics already embedded in it?
Benjamin Moses: Sure, you don't have to sample anything, yeah.
Stephen LaMarca: And that's the fourth way that they mentioned.
Benjamin Moses: That's awesome.
Stephen LaMarca: So it was just a cool manufacturing.net article. It was fun.
Benjamin Moses: That's good. That's a fun article. I do like the idea of integrated electronics. Of course, it raises a whole bunch of new problems like, "Now, I've got to throw this thing away as opposed to trying to replace a battery."
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. Yeah. Well, maybe you can... I'm sure batteries won't be a problem, but imagine the first... It's okay, I can say this. I am Italian, but imagine just the first Italian 3D printed thing that has electronics embedded in it.
Benjamin Moses: Oh, it's going to be broken.
Stephen LaMarca: The wiring's going to be shot. You look at it the wrong way, it's like, "Oh, I to fix the wiring loom." Good luck! That means printing a new one.
Benjamin Moses: Exactly. Exactly. It was fun times I had though. I have been keeping track of wearable technology. And to be honest, I haven't fully latched onto it because I had a similar problem when I first got into smartphones way back in the day, where I used it for a little bit, and I realized, "There's three things I use it for, and I could easily use the computer I sit in front of for eight hours a day for the same solution." Now, times have progressed significantly from that use case where you can do significantly more. But if I have a smart watch or a digital watch or... Yeah, a smart watch, I mean, am I benefiting more than my analog watch that I have than a smartphone? So I am curious to see what... Obviously, the first couple of iterations of this are going to be, say, very culture-focused or semi-consumable-focused.
Stephen LaMarca: Wearables are cool. I am not going to deny that. They're cool. There are quality wearables available right now. I personally don't see them being useful yet. A lot of people like to... Especially the older generations like to accuse the younger generations of being on their phones all the time, which is, to some degree, true.
Benjamin Moses: Sure.
Stephen LaMarca: The first thing that I assume that these oldies are thinking is, "Oh, they must be playing games or sending nudes or something like that." But the truth is... Yeah, and I've really learned this working from home during the pandemic. But yeah, I can probably get 20% to 30% of my daily workload done from my phone. And I'm not talking about making calls. Responding to emails, looking things up, documenting stuff, warehousing articles, et cetera, a lot of that can be done... I don't really need a full-on computer for that.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, yeah, until you get into specialized software, right?
Stephen LaMarca: Oh, yeah. I have Autodesk Fusion 360 on my phone. All it's good for is looking at models that I have. If I want to change something, yeah, good luck!
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, yeah. We haven't progressed that far yet.
Stephen LaMarca: No, not at all. Not at all. So that's why I'm a little skeptical. Wearables are cool and there are good ones out there. I don't think they're useful yet.
Benjamin Moses: The lifecycle of electronics still annoys me quite a bit. So I've got a Pixel 2 XL phone and it's on the fritz, so I'm replacing it with the Pixel 5, I think. But if I have a smart watch... I mean, the watches I have will literally last me the rest of my life, which is great.
Stephen LaMarca: You're going to love the Pixel 5 because of the battery alone.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah. I want a longer life cycle out of my electronics, especially with consumer electronics. I mean, I've got a home stereo system that will probably last me easily 12 years until the... It's an AV receiver. So until we change resolutions at the consumer level, it'll be fine up until then, which technically, it allows 8K pass through. So I should be good for a couple of generations.
Stephen LaMarca: Sure. Sure. It's crazy, if you talk to a lot of audiophiles... And they're a little biased, of course, but I mean, they're really particular about spending hundreds of dollars on just cables, but forget that. If you talk to audiophiles, you can find... It's almost like when you talk to a musician. As a musical instrument gets older, it gets better. Sure, you may have only bought like a hundred-dollar Yamaha guitar or whatever. But if you bought that hundred-dollar Yamaha guitar back in like 1960s, that thing is going to sound better than a 3,000-dollar Gibson that was made yesterday because of the way it's aged, and all of the molecules are decaying, and just de-stressing, and whatnot. There's, insert fancy science words, that are above my head right now.
But what's really cool, a lot of audiophiles will say, "The older the electronics, the better, the more purer the sound you have, the more you can feel the energy of the musician," or whatever, and they say that a lot. Modern electronics are short. They get better in some ways, but they will go down over the years. And, I guess, it's just, they might go up eventually, but you've got that depreciation first. Hopefully, you have the depreciation first and it's not just depreciation.
Benjamin Moses: The planned obsolescence for a lot of consumer electronics really annoys me and, I guess, it cascades into manufacturing. At some point, you've got to update that hardware, but I'm just so cheap. I want to spend my money on RC cars and guns and stuff, not phones.
Stephen LaMarca: Right, and I was just talking about audio. A phone will never get... It will never get better in value.
Benjamin Moses: Right. No, no.
Stephen LaMarca: Your Motorola brick from the '90s is not coming back.
Benjamin Moses: It should be mounted on the wall. That's the best place for something like that.
Stephen LaMarca: It belongs in a museum, and I don't mean that because it's worth money. It's not.
Benjamin Moses: You need a place of hold, a graveyard for it.
Stephen LaMarca: Just so kids can see where we came from.
Benjamin Moses: Absolutely.
Stephen LaMarca: It doesn't have a screen!
Benjamin Moses: All right, Steve, the last article I've got is what should be expected from industrial metrology in 2021? Now, Metrology World, we are in May. So I appreciate the expectations being set halfway through the year. But it covers computer tomography, CT, and the growth, and what's allowing it to be used more often now. So it's a fairly interesting look if we break down why it's useful. So it gets into what... If you just did CT, the different techniques that it could replace, it covers four different things.
So obviously, it could cover visual inspection, just the surface, but also it can replace destructive testing. So if you want to see what's inside a part. If you have flaws, defects, it allows you to check out the internals or just the internal surface features, if it is a cast part or something. Also, liquid penetrant testing. So doing crack detection on the surface. It'll allow you to check the surface for cracks. But also electromagnetic testing. So being able to check the continuity of the part itself on the subsurface.
So this one technology could theoretically replace all those, depending on the specifications and what the customer requires. But what it's allowing us to do more often, one, is just the processing capability. High-performance computing has come a long way, being able to analyze hundreds of millions of screenshots and images to compile it into a single image, a single 3D model. The processing power has come such a long way, both on the CPU and GPU and storage in the past couple of years that it's really accelerated the adoption of this. So being able to get from, "I have a part in the CT scanner," to, "I'm looking at a thing quickly," has definitely progressed quite a bit.
So the core of the article is that we definitely see computers getting... Or this suite of technology is being adopted faster because of being able to process the parts significantly faster. So I thought that was pretty cool. It's a very interesting-
Stephen LaMarca: That is really cool.
Benjamin Moses: -look at...
Stephen LaMarca: And I feel like you can even see the progress that that technology has made today in that, I mean, I feel like... You mentioned firearms earlier, so I can't help but think about when you were talking about this, how, yeah, just a couple of years ago, you would get really excited if you were looking at an AR-15's components, and you saw, "Oh, it says magnetic particle inspected. This is the good stuff." And now, today, if it doesn't say that, man, you're buying a piece of junk. It says that everywhere these days. It's got to be a really cheap company to skip on magnetic particle inspection.
Benjamin Moses: Definitely. The general trend of 100% inspection, I'm definitely on board with. So like sampling and things like that, yeah, I could see the justification for it, if you have data that provides why you get to a good sampling plan. But it's so much reassuring to know that, "Hey, we did this one... We did a quick check on this. We did a mag particle inspection. We did a quick dimensional check on 100%." I feel like as a consumer or as an end-user of certain products, someone telling me, "Yeah, I checked everything," feels so much reassuring that the math behind sampling plans for inspection is robust, and has been around for a while. But I feel like as an end-user, I feel so much more confident in the hardware if someone said, "Yeah, I checked everything."
Stephen LaMarca: Right. It doesn't have to necessarily be firearms. It can be any part. That's why back in the day, there were hallmarks on pieces of... On metal parts, metal tools, or whatever. If it was inspected and made with pride, a company would put a hallmark on it to say that they've approved this, this is the company's name. If there is a problem, come to us. And it's not just pride of ownership, but it's pride of production.
Benjamin Moses: Yeah, definitely.
Stephen LaMarca: And it allows for that.
Benjamin Moses: And I think that the recent technology or recent advancements in metrology are allowing parts to be inspected faster and being able to inspect it in line with manufacturing processes. So the little trend of, "Hey, I want to inspect everything." "Okay. It's not a huge burden. Let's do it." That conversation goes by quicker.
Stephen LaMarca: Yeah. It's nice seeing the inspection catching up with the rest of the manufacturing. I mean, sure, in some ways, it's always been there, but it hasn't been as accessible.
Benjamin Moses: Right, right. Great. This was a great episode, Steve. Where can they find more info about us?
Stephen LaMarca: Amtonline.org/resources. Go ahead and subscribe if you're liking what you're hearing.
Benjamin Moses: Awesome, Steve. Goodbye, everybody.
Stephen LaMarca: Bye, everybody.