• The benefits of automation in pharmaceutical manufacturing

    ViewpointJonathan Wilkins, marketing director of obsolete industrial automation parts supplier EU Automation, explains how technological advances in automation and robotics are benefitting the pharmaceutical industry of today.
    The modern pharmaceutical industry can be traced back to local apothecaries that distributed botanical drugs to local communities. The apothecaries expanded to wholesale manufacture in the mid 1800s. During this time, all of the manufacturing processes were manual and it o
  • Tank Storage Asia 2017

    With 75 per cent of the world’s oil demand coming from Asia, the Tank Storage Asia exhibition and conference continues to be the perfect place for the industry to capitalise on these favourable conditions. Storage prospects in the region continue to flourish, with 280 million barrels of capacity expected to be added by the end of 2017. With predictions that sustainable storage expansion will continue over the next 10 years, there couldn’t be a better time to visit or exhibit.
    The tw
  • Green automotive future lacks vital components

    Prof Mark Jolly, head of the Sustainable Manufacturing SystemsCentre at Cranfield University, says that as the death knell sounds for diesel and petrol cars, we’re not getting the full story on the energy and environmental costs of their successors
    Why don’t we have energy rating labels for our cars and other vehicles?
    We think we already do — via the checks on tailpipe emissions and CO2 that are backed up by government legislation and the car manufacturers themselves, with th
  • Stretchable biofuel cells use sweat to power wearable devices

    Engineers have developed stretchable biofuel cells that extract energy from human sweat to power a range of wearable devices.
    Biofuel cells island and bridge structureThe epidermal biofuel cells, which are claimed to generate 10 times more power per surface area than any existing wearable biofuel cells, are a major breakthrough in the field, which has been struggling to make devices that are stretchable enough and powerful enough.
    Engineers from the University of California San Diego were able t
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  • This week’s poll: Ford’s car scrappage scheme

    Is the car scrappage scheme announced by Ford to help take more polluting cars off the road a good model to achieve this goal?
    Take Our PollA scheme announced by Ford today offers customers at least £2000 if they trade in any vehicle registered before the end of 2009 with a pre-Euro V standard engine, and joins scrappage schemes announced previously by Vauxhall and BMW. Discounts range up to £7000 off a new Transit van. We would like to know whether readers agree that this model of s
  • Integrated batteries power e-bikes

    The latest trend in electric bike (e-bike) design is the use of integrated batteries built into bicycle frames. The advantages of integrated batteries include better weight distribution and aesthetic design. An example, is the URV8 battery from BMZ Group. This is an integrated battery in an aluminum housing which is removable from the top, bottom, ...
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  • Spasers seek and destroy metastasized cancer cells

    Researchers have developed a method of finding and destroying metastasized cancer cells in the blood stream without damaging healthy cells.The nanolaser – dubbed spaser – can be used as an optical probe. When released into the body (possibly through an injection or drinking a solution), it can find circulating tumour cells (CTCs), adhere to them and destroy these cells by breaking them apart to prevent cancer metastases. The spaser is claimed to work by absorbing laser light, which c
  • Farnell element14 targets the classroom with Raspberry Pi and LabView

    The latest Raspberry Pi and 3D printers are among a list of key items now used to equip schools and colleges in the teaching of electronics, says Farnell element14.
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  • Last week’s poll: Brexit — benefits of interim customs union

    Engineer readers doubt whether an interim customs union will help industry during the Brexit transition periodNegative opinions overwhelmed positive in last week’s poll on the suggestion that an interim customs union arrangement mimicking the current situation during a transition period towards Brexit would be of benefit to industry. Of the 389 respondents, only 21 per cent chose an option approving of the idea, that it was a practical suggestion that would avoid a cliff-edge. The largest
  • Think again: how a Degree Apprenticeship can kick-start your career

    Going to uni is a positive life-changing event, but it’s also a route to into engineering that leaves most graduates with a mountain of debt at the start of their careers.
    Degree apprenticeships offer a route into engineering that pays a salary and combines Uni-based teaching with the sort of structured, on-the-job training that can put apprentices ahead of their graduate peers.
    Alex Deakin – a Degree Apprentice at JLR specialising in Supplier Technical Assistance – is set to g
  • Fujitsu looking to sell phone operation

    Fujitsu is finally looking to off-load its mobile phone operation, reports the Nikkei. In February, Fujitsu spun out its cellphone and PC operations into a new company called Ubiquitous Solutions. It is in negotiations with Lenovo for the disposal of the PC element of Ubiquitous Solutions. Now it is said to be receiving interest for ...
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  • Intel improves i5/i7 mobile processors

    Intel has announced new iterations of its i5 and i7 mobile processors which are said to deliver performance increases of ‘up to’ 40%. The new 8th generation i7s run at 1.8 and 1.9GHz and the new i5s at 1.7GHz and 1.6GHz. There will be 145 different flavours. Intel says they will deliver ‘up to’ 10 ...
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  • Japan’s METI looks to help AI chip start-ups and researchers

    Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is asking for a $90 million budget to fund purchases of software and foundry services by start-up companies and researchers wanting to design and prototype AI chips, reports the Nikkei. METI points out that IC designers typically pay $4.5 million to $9 million to license the software ...
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  • TowerJazz gets go-ahead for Nanjing fab

     TowerJazz has received the first payment of $18 million under its agreement with  Tacoma Technology and Tacoma (Nanjing) Semiconductor Technology which makes binding their earliet agreement to set up an 8-inch fab in Nanjing. The fab will be funded by Tacoma, the Nanjing Economic and Technology Development Zone through its Administration Committee, Credito Capital and other  potential ...
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  • Microsemi joins US SiC and GaN initiative for 1.7 and 3.3kV devices

    Microsemi has joined PowerAmerica, the US public-private initiative to promote the commercialisation of GaN and SiC power semiconductors, and US-based manufacturing. The organisation has $70m backing from the US Department of Energy over five years. The firm’s role at the organisation will be supporting the commercialisation of 1.7 and 3.3kV SiC mosfets and SiC Schottky diodes. “With ...
    This story continues at Microsemi joins US SiC and GaN initiative for 1.7 and 3.3kV dev
  • Inside the Year in Industry programme

     Gennie Dearman is chief operating officer for the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), the organisation that runs the Year in Industry programme for interns looking to get a feel for engineering. 
    The Year in Industry has a good claim to be the original internship programme. Founded 30 years ago, it has been much imitated – to the extent that many university courses for engineers and scientists describe the time with a company that their students take mid-degree as ‘a year
  • Wireless “flexible electronic skin” promises versatile monitoring

    Researchers in South Korea have borrowed from nature to design a super-soft electronic skin patch that transmits data to a mobile phone.
    The system is used in conjunction with a smartphone which provides remote power and processingThe system, which fits onto a silicone disc about 4cm in diameter, is flexible enough to follow the curves of the body and can be stuck just about anywhere, according to its developers at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology. Team leader Kyung-In Jang, a
  • Engineering podcast competition aims to change the world

    The winner of the How to change the world engineering podcast competition has been announced, with US student Bethany Gordon taking the top prize.
    A student at the University of Virginia, Bethany’s podcast explored how engineers could collaborate remotely to crowdsource practical solutions to humanitarian crises. It proposed using virtual reality to experience life in a temporary home in a shipping container in rural Armenia, the former Soviet republic that suffered a catastrophic earthqua
  • New dawn for thorium reactor research

    First molten-salt thorium nuclear reactor experiment in over 45 years starts in the Netherlands
    Petten researchers prepare to place the crucibles containing thorium salt into the reactor Credit: Thorium Energy WorldThe first phase of the Salt Irradiation Experiment (SALIENT) has begun at the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group in Petten, a nuclear research facility on the Dutch North Sea coast. The experiment is being carried out in cooperation with the European Commission Laboratory Joint Re
  • Experts call for international ban on autonomous weapons

    Over 100 roboticists and artificial intelligence experts have called for an international ban on lethal autonomous weapons systems.
    Modular Advanced Armed Robotic SystemThe call – made at the start of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2017) in Melbourne – has been endorsed in a letter signed by the founders of 116 robotics and AI companies who are concerned about their technologies being repurposed to into autonomous weapons.
    The letter, which inclu
  • PC scopes distil data from a million waveforms

    Pico Technology introduces automatic measurement of waveforms on up to a million successive waveform cycles.
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  • Nanowire array to stop soldiers freezing

    US researchers develop nanowire system to heat battledress for cold climate combat
    The US Army wants paratroopers to operate weapons as soon as they land in Arctic conditions Credit: US Army AlaskaWinter has never been the soldier’s friend. In ancient times, wars were only fought between spring and autumn; and in campaigns from Napoleon’s time onwards, the onset of winter has precipitated catastrophic defeat. At this week’s American Chemical Society meeting, researchers from St
  • Laser sheds light on heart attack plaques

    An international team of doctors and scientists has discovered a new laser technique for detecting arterial plaques that cause heart attacks and strokes.The research, carried out at Warwick University’s WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group), Rice University’s Baker Institute, and Monash University in Australia, used near-infrared light to identify the high-risk plaques. By increasing the wavelength of the light currently used to image the fatty build-up found in arteries (atherosclerotic
  • Limiter clamps 100W from 10MHz to 6GHz

    To protect low-noise receivers, Peregrine Semi’s PE45361 power limiter offers 50dBm (100W) pulsed power handling from a surface-mount package, operating from 10MHz to 6GHz. Pulsed in this case is 1% duty cycle  – 10µs pulses in 1ms – in a 50Ω system at 25°C. CW power handling varies around 33-36dBm from ~10MHz to 1GHz, depending on ...
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  • High NAND prices expected to rise

    NAND revenue grew 8% Q2 on Q1, and is expected to increase in Q3. “We expect supply to be under strain for the rest of 2017,” says DRAMeXChange’s Alan Chen, ‘relief will come later in 2018, when the manufacturing of 64- and 72-layer 3D-NAND Flash reaches maturity.” Samsung’s Q2 NAND revenue was up 11.6% to ...
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  • MediaTek selects MIPS for LTE modems

    Imagination's MIPS CPUs are to be deployed in high-volume smartphone modems for the first time after MediaTek adopted the technology for a new processor.
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  • Hynix looking to acquire Toshiba says Korean report.

    Hynix is looking to acquire Toshiba’s memory business, says a study from the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) as reported by the Korea JoongAng Daily newspaper. Hynix is part of the INCJ/Bain consortium bidding for Toshiba, but it has always said it was only looking to provide finance. However it did transpire ...
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  • DRAM revenue at record levels

    DRAM revenue hit a record $16.5 billion in Q2 after increasing 16.9% from Q1, reports TrendForce, with the sharp rise attributable o a declining under-supply allowing customers to replenish inventory. PC and server DRAM ASP rose 10% in the quarter while mobile DRAM ASP rose 4% as China smartphone vendors reduced orders on lower-than-expected shipments.   “The ...
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  • UN: Please ban autonomous killing machines

    An open letter signed by 116 founders of robotics and artificial intelligence companies from 26 countries urges the United Nations to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons internationally. Signatories include: Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX and OpenAI (USA) Mustafa Suleyman, founder and head of applied AI at Google’s DeepMind (UK) Esben Østergaard, founder ...
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  • Global tech leaders tell UN: Please ban autonomous killing machines

    An open letter urges the United Nations to ban the use of lethal autonomous weapons internationally.
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  • SMEs encouraged to use Manufacturing Growth Programme

    SMEs are being urged to take advantage of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, a scheme set up to provide specialist assistance to manufacturers.
    Manufacturing Growth ProgrammeOver 1000 SMEs have been given a business boost over the last ten months thanks to the £9.7m business support initiative.
    The Manufacturing Growth Programme (MGP), funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by Economic Growth Solutions, has helped companies across the UK to grow, develop new produc
  • Synthetic antifreeze to improve aircraft and transplant safety

    UK chemists and medics mimic natural ice protection mechanism with applications in engineering, medicine and food
    Ice is a constant bugbear to many sectors. Its sharp-edged crystals interfere with the aerodynamics of aircraft, the smooth functioning of aircraft engines and wind turbines, and slice through the delicate cell structures of food and organs awaiting transplant as they are frozen to preserve them. But some animals and microbes that have evolved to live in the frigid regions of the Ear
  • A-Levels: STEM on the rise but teacher crisis deepens

    This year’s A-Levels saw a small jump in the numbers studying STEM subjects, but a shortage of teachers across technical disciplines could threaten these gains in coming years.A total of 41 per cent of total A level entries were in STEM subjects (up slightly from 39 per cent in 2015 and 40 per cent in 2016). For girls, the figure remains static at 35 per cent, while 46 per cent of entries for boys were in STEM. As was widely reported, boys outscored girls in the overall results for the fir
  • Scottish tech firm plans growth and recruitment

    The head of a Scottish tech firm is predicting a period of sustained growth and more highly skilled jobs in the region. John Spence, managing director of Ichor Systems, said the semiconductor manufacturing equipment supplier is planning to expand its Lanarkshire-based activities into new markets in the wider engineering sector. Company turnover is up 15% ...
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  • Imagination secures big smartphone design-in with MediaTek

    Imagination Technologies has secured an important design-in for its MIPS processor technology with MediaTek. Crucially this takes MIPS into high-volume smartphone modems. The mobile phone chipset firm has adopted the multi-threaded MIPS I-class CPU for smartphone LTE modems. The mobile device from MediaTek featuring MIPS technology is the latest MT6799 Helio X30 processor which uses ...
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  • Gate drive PSU aimed at SiC mosfets

    Recom is aiming at powering silicon carbite mosfet gate drives with its latest 2W dc-dc converters. “High-frequency and high-voltage switching are the main challenges of driving SiC mosfets,” said the firm. “A typical DC/DC isolation voltage should normally be at least twice the working voltage, but the high ambient temperature and fast switching edges generated ...
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  • New catalyst design promises to cut NOx emissions

    Pollution from diesel engines could cut be cut following the discovery of a new reaction mechanism that improves catalyst efficiency.New catalyst designs are needed to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides – NOx – because current technologies only work well at relatively high temperatures.
    “The key challenge in reducing emissions is that they can occur over a very broad range of operating conditions, and especially exhaust temperatures,” said Rajamani Gounder, the Larry
  • Mouser boosts IoT range with Digi XBee embedded modem range

    Mouser has added to its IoT-focused product line after starting to stock the Digi XBee Cellular 3G global embedded modem. According to the distributor, the modem is designed to help OEMs avoid time-consuming and expensive FCC and PTCRB end-device certifications and it enables engineers to quickly and easily integrate 3G (HSPA/GSM) with 2G fallback connectivity ...
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  • UK developed functional ink could be used to print 2D electronic devices

    An advanced new ink that can be deposited using conventional inkjet printing techniques could be used for the mass manufacture of a host of laser and optoelectronic devices according to a group at Cambridge University.
    Developed by a team at the university’s Graphene Centre, the ink is made from black phosphorous (BP), a two-dimensional material similar to graphene.
    A black phosphorus crystalWorking with reserachers at Imperial College London, Finland’s Aalto University, and China&rs
  • Scifi Eye: A humble future for the world’s great navies

    Scifi novelist Jon Wallace explores the future struggle to rule the waves
    Ever since HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds, in which HMS Thunderchild engages Martian tripods off the Essex coast, the world’s navies have fired the imaginations of science fiction writers.
    Perhaps this is no great surprise. The ocean dramas played out in human history, from Actium to Lepanto, from Jutland to Midway, offer tales of individual bravery and genius, of empires crushed and born, of cruel fate and bl
  • Micron doubles size of R&D centre

    Micron has doubled the size of its R&D centre in Boise Idaho with a new 100,000 sq ft facility. “That is very meaningful in terms of giving us greater flexibility to research and develop more memory technologies, so we can bring them faster to high-volume production at our building sites and bring those solutions faster ...
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  • Hype Cycle for digital workplace

    Gartner has come up with its Hype Cycle for the Digital Workplace:   What this boils down to is: 1. Technologies impacting in 2-5 years Augmented data discovery – drawing relevant and useful conclusions from big datasets. Personal analytics – finding relevant data for an individual such as health, financial and shopping data. 2. Technologies ...
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  • EUV finally makes it

    With the achievement of a 250W light source, ASML is now shipping 100 wafer per hour EUV machines and  expects to go to 125wph later this year. Next year, the plan is to go higher. So, after a tortured development period, EUV enters the production process at 7nm. GloFo and TSMC are expected to insert ...
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  • Applied has record quarter; expects to beat it in Q4

    Applied Materials, 50 years old in November, had a record Q3 with year-on-year sales up 33% at $3.74bn for a net profit of $925m. For Q4, the company expects revenues of $3.85bn to $4bn. It generated $1.37bn cash in Q3. Semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales constituted $2.5bn of the total. Of those, 39% went to foundry customers, ...
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  • ThoughtSpot funding reaches $160m

    Five year-old Palo Alto start-up ThoughtSpot has just raised another $60 million taking its total funding to date to $160 million. The company says its technology takes the place of using analysts to investigate markets. The company’s search technology takes company data and produces conclusions from it such as potential customer profiles and projected sales ...
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  • Miniaturisation in motion and control seminar

    Renishaw Innovation Centre, New Mills, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire,Tuesday 12 September 2017
    As the world strives to reach new levels of productivity, it’s not just the need for speed that is driving machine design but also an awareness that size, mass and form of machine subsystems impact how the axes of motion should behave and how well these motions are measured and verified.
    Renishaw is at the forefront of these aspects of machine design both as supplier of position sensors as
  • Interview: Tim Hulbert, UK and Ireland general manager, Air Products

    Tim Hulbert, UK and Ireland general manager of Air Products is focused on the centrality of industrial gases
    The industrial gases sector is difficult to categorise. It is normally grouped with the chemicals industry and, indeed, the relatively few companies that comprise the sector are members of national and regional chemical industry associations.
    But chemicals is a manufacturing sector and industrial gases are, for the most part, not manufactured; they are elements or elemental molecules, and
  • Makers matter: CBI launches new Manufacturing Council

    The CBI is establishing a new Manufacturing Council to help British manufacturers take advantage of opportunities in industrial digitisation, innovation and emerging new markets.
    According to the CBI, Britain’s manufacturers must help shape the UK’s future economic performance as the sector makes up around 10 per cent of the UK economy and accounts for over two-thirds of all UK spend on research and development.
    The new CEO-level council is expected to bring together dozens of the UK
  • EW BrightSparks 2017 profile: Andrew Cowan, Cobham Antenna Systems

    In the latest in our series on the EW BrightSparks of 2017, we highlight Andrew Cowan, who works as a signal processing engineer at Cobham Antenna Systems.
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  • EW BrightSparks 2017 profile: Calum Finn, Nestle

    Continuing our series on the EW BrightSparks of 2017, we highlight Calum Finn, who is an apprentice engineering plant technician at Nestle.
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