MiQ Partners

DoE Invests in Lowering Solar Costs

Over the next five years, the US Department of Energy is investing up to $30 million on developing new modules and materials to lower the cost of solar power via their SunShot Initiative. The new partnership between the DoE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is called the Durable Module Materials (DuraMat) National Lab Consortium. It is the latest consortium created as part of the DoE’s Energy Materials Network, providing support to US clean energy manufacturers and entrepreneurs.

solar technologyThe primary goal of DuraMat is to reduce the cost of solar energy. The consortium proposes to achieve this goal by developing new module technologies to make producing solar energy more cost-effective, fostering collaboration among professionals, academics and US labs to create and test the modules, and bringing the most promising materials and technologies to market without delay. It will provide the solar industry access to national DoE labs’ knowledge and research.

“DuraMat provides easily accessible capabilities that bring the national lab and university research infrastructure together with the PV (photovoltaic) and supply-chain industries,” Teresa Barnes, director for DuraMat, said of the consortium.

Read more at Design News ›

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The Importance of RoHS Compliance

What is RoHS Compliance?

rohsRoHS is the acronym for Restriction of Hazardous Substances. RoHS, also known as Directive 2002/95/EC, originated in the European Union and restricts the use of specific hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products. All applicable products in the EU market after July 1, 2006 must pass RoHS compliance.

Any business that sells applicable electronic products, sub-assemblies or components directly to EU countries, or sells to resellers, distributors or integrators that in turn sell products to EU countries, is impacted if they utilize any of the restricted materials.

The proposed changes to the original RoHS Directive in RoHS2 are minor. No additional substances have been added to the six currently restricted. Inclusion of RoHS categories 8 (medical devices) and 9 (control and monitoring instruments) products in RoHS is now proposed, with the proposed dates for inclusion being 2016 or later.

What materials are restricted?

The substances banned under RoHS are lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), and four different phthalates (DEHP, BBP, BBP, DIBP).

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MiQ Partners with Bailout Systems

We’re excited to let you know that we have officially partnered with Bailout Systems to manufacture Bailout and bring it to life. With more than 30 years of manufacturing experience and a massive team of engineers and industry leaders, MiQ is the perfect partner for Bailout.

Bailout Systems is a company built on passion, community, and the belief that the end-user comes first. Always. After a discussion with a close friend and local firefighter, we learned about Black Sunday. With only a brief amount of research, it was clear what the issue was: current bailout kits aren’t effective. We were quick to realize that the firefighting industry has yet to see true innovation within self-rescue. As we’ve developed our product and perfected our technology, we’ve gained support on a national and global level. Now, we’re ready to change the firefighting industry forever. Introducing the future of self-rescue.

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PackSpec v2.0

The Organization for Machine Automation and Control [OMAC] is promoting PackSpec v.2.0, to provide OEMs and packaging end users with templates for packaging machinery specifications. According to Tom Doney, Chair of OMAC PackAdvantage, and the architect of the OMAC PackSpec, “PackSpec version 2 seeks to better align with the Technical Report and provide clarity around the two possible levels of PackML compliance.”

The Organization for Machine Automation and Control Under development for more than four years, the original 1.0 template, now about a year old, enabled OEMs to align the data from their build specifications into a standardized format for all users. In addition to removing a lot of variables from the development and design process, the standardization allows for focusing resources on innovation of new features instead of minute details.

“What we discovered is that if the community applied the OMAC standards in their specifications, there was a large gain that could be found for End Users that directly improved the bottom line for their OEM’s,” Tom Jensen, co-chair of the OMAC PackSpec committee, said. “Conversely, if OEM’s built machines to a common spec, buying machinery based on functionality became much clearer.”

Read more at DesignNews.com.

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Source Code to Get to the Moon

The Apollo Guidance Computer (Image source: Grabert at German Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Did you know that only about 2MB of code was needed to land on the Moon? In Design News Magazine, Managing Editor Chris Wiltz describes the historic code, which is now available to the public domain via GitHub. It’s a document with unexpected personality, commented out with topical references to the Watts riots and quotes for Shakespeare.

Read More ›

(Image: The Apollo Guidance Computer. Source: Grabert at German Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

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Cybersecurity and the Manufacturing Supply Chain

Choosing connectivity or security is a big decision for manufacturers right now. Writing for Design News, Rob Spiegel explains that adding connectivity provides ever-increasing benefits, but also increases the risks of attacks from malfeasants.

Sophia cyber security tool in CAVE by Idaho National Laboratory, used under CC by 2.0. Cropped.The difficulty of making manufacturing systems communicate with IT networks only complicates the issue. A security expert from Booz Allen Hamilton, Pranav Saha, explains, “Cyber is a different language from manufacturing. It’s the IT language of routers and firewalls. Cyber fits into the business language of risk management, including mitigating risk with insurance. This is not the network language of sensors and drives.”

Previously, direct physical access was required to deliver an attack. But, as manufacturing plants open up to greater outside connectivity, cyberattacks are easier to carry out due to the ubiquity of internet connections. Management has to consider security as they implement these connections or will leave themselves open not only to attacks from skilled hackers, but subsequent attacks from less skilled agents who may purchase the hack over the internet.

Read more at Design News.

Sophia cyber security tool in CAVE” by Idaho National Laboratory, used under CC by 2.0. Cropped.

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MiQ Announces Joint Venture With CWM Automation of the United Kingdom

CWM_Usa_Square-360x360CWM USA, located in Cincinnati Ohio, is a joint Venture between CWM Automation of the United Kingdom and MiQ Partners in Cincinnati OH.  CWM brings years of proven Dairy and Food experience in the Cup Filling industry and MiQ brings long standing Manufacturing capability and service support.  Together these companies have the ability to deliver High Quality Equipment at an extremely competitive price and then service the equipment properly throughout its lifetime. These are two long established entities with a customer list that includes Del Monte, Olympic Dairies, BASF, P&G, JM Smuckers, SC Johnson, and Colgate Palmolive just to name a few.  CWM and MiQ together are poised to deliver high quality and reliable equipment.

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Helium Discovery

heliumNews broke recently of the discovery of a huge pocket of helium in the Tanzanian East African Rift Valley, calming fears of a shortage of the useful element. Already, a Canadian city has banned filling balloons with the non-renewable resource. Helium has a variety of industrial uses, from semiconductors to medical equipment to propulsion and lasers. Now scientists from Oxford and Durham Universities, working with Norwegian company Helium One, have announced that they located shallow pockets filled with the valuable gas under rocks in a volcanically active valley. The pocket could be as large as 54 Billion Cubic Feet (BCf), compared to total known reserves in the USA of 153 BCf. The findings are being presented this week at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Yokohama, Japan.

For more information, visit: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/uoo-hhd062416.php

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NASA Pushes Toward Electric Flight by 2018

The X-57, NASA’s latest experimental aircraft, is a small passenger plane with electric motors powered by lithium-ion battery cells. It’s based on the Tecnam P2006T, a four-seat plane made in Italy. NASA has replaced the original wing and twin engines with an array of fourteen propellers across a custom-designed wing. The motors at each wingtip provides 60 kW each, for cruising at altitude, while a dozen smaller 11 kW motors placed along the length of the wing are employed for takeoff and landing. The electric motors are powered by an array of 18,650 COTS battery cells. Sean Clarke, NASA co-principal investigator, explained, “We don’t have access to any fancy space technologies. It’s the same battery technology the automotive industry is using.”

NASA's experimental X-57 electric plane
Photo: NASA

NASA’s schedule for the X-57 is to begin test flights in early 2018. With the constant progress in battery energy density, NASA’s engineers foresee aviation manufacturers integrating the technology within ten years. They see the X-57 as an opportunity to test ideas, including hybrid electric/liquid fuel power, controlling peak power output, and new chassis designs. Clarke said, “This is an opportunity to go back to the drawing board and rethink some of the old assumptions.”

Read the full article at http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=280813

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Advances in RF Power for IoT Devices

Freevolt courtesy of Drayson TechnologiesAlthough early in development, soon radio frequency (RF) signals will soon be able to deliver electricity wirelessly to small internet-enabled devices outside the lab. Researchers at Drayson Technologies in the UK are working on their technology, called Freevolt, which harnesses the RF energy from wifi and broadcast networks and provides it to ultra-low-power devices like wearables and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. What makes Freevolt different from previous versions of the technology is the absence of a transmitter. Instead, the technology employs a rectifier and multiband antenna to harvest energy from multiple RF bands. The company plans to license the technology to a variety of markets. Full article at DesignNews.com.

WISP courtesy University of WashingtonThe Wireless Identification and Sensing Platform (WISP) is a mini sensor-based platform suitable for IoT applications. Engineers from the University of Washington and the Delft University of Technology have used their research in transmitting energy to low-power devices to create this new, open-source platform. Incorporating sensors with UHF RFID readers and a fully programmable 16-mit microcontroller allows WISP to be far more flexible and versatile than traditional RFID tags. Potential applications include reactions to changes in environment and cryptography, bolstered by the ability to perform these tasks without a battery. Full Article at DesignNews.com.