3D Printing and Cyberattacks

As the world becomes more aware of the damage that can be done by small groups of hackers, a particuraly potent opportunity of sabotage has emerged: 3D Printing. If hackers can gain entry to a device they could alter the programming in such a way that would be undetectable to the human eye, but cause massive damage to the products and endanger those around them. A small-scale example of the potential damages recently occurred.

The 3D-printed consumer drone hovers in mid-air, as pulsing percussion hints of doom. Then, less than two minutes into its first flight, which was captured on a YouTube video, the drone spins out of control and crashes.

The cause of the crash? The first successful attempt to hack into a computer and sabotage an additive manufacturing design, said researcher Mark Yampolskiy of the University of South Alabama, the coauthor, with researchers from Ben Gurion University and Singapore University of Technology and Design, of a paper on the hack.

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AI: Artificial… Licorice Maker?

Sometimes new technology opens new doors of thought previously beyond our imaginations, and other times it helps perfect a really mundane task that most of us never even thought about. Such is the case of the Microsoft AI that has helped Hershey make the perfect Twizzler. Ensuring that each package of Twizzlers has weighed the same has traditionally been unusually difficult because slight variations in temperature can cause its weight to shift. Employees have traditionally had to weigh the licorice constantly to keep track. Microsoft may have found a better way:

Hershey’s set up a line to transmit data directly back and forth to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, collecting more than 60 million data points from 23 sensors over two months. The system tracks pressure, temperature, rotations per minute, and other factors across the licorice-making process.

After Lenhart was able to use the program to track which data points affected the final weight of the licorice, the machine learned to adjust itself about 240 times a day, reducing weight variability by 50 percent. Along the way, Lenhart also found other fixes across the factory.

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The New Safety Seminars: Cyberattack Prevention

Cyberattacks have been in the news a lot lately, so it is a good time to remember that even as computers and the internet of things offer new opportunities for manufacturers, they also offer new dangers. That doesn’t mean that they should be avoided (as if you could even if you tried), but rather that like any other piece of machinery used on site, there needs to be proper training so that employees (and employers) understand how to use the technology safely. So yes, long safety seminars are not going anywhere. A new piece in the Harvard Business Review explains this more thoroughly:

Spending millions on security technology can certainly make an executive feel safe. But the major sources of cyber threats aren’t technological. They’re found in the human brain, in the form of curiosity, ignorance, apathy, and hubris. These human forms of malware can be present in any organization and are every bit as dangerous as threats delivered through malicious code.

Read the full article

NY Business Activity Slows

The latest from the New York Fed:

Business activity leveled off in New York State, according to firms responding to the May 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index fell six points to -1.0. The new orders index dropped to -4.4, suggesting a small decline in orders, and the shipments index edged down to 10.6, indicating that shipments increased at a slightly slower pace than in April. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in both employment and hours worked, and input prices and selling prices rose at a more moderate pace. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook were close to last month’s levels, and continued to convey a high degree of optimism about future conditions.

The Security Weak Link of Industrial Robots

Hacking has been in the news a lot lately, so a new study by global security software company Trend Micro and Polytechnic University of Milan, the largest technical university in Italy seems especially timely. The study looked at Internet security vulnerabilities that could involve industrial robots used on manufacturing lines in areas such as the automobile and aerospace industries. As these machines are increasingly connected to the internet they are also increasingly vulnerable to online hackers.

Malicious hackers could get into a robot’s controller system and make adjustments to its actions, which could create a dangerous situation in the factory or could enable the robots to build unsafe products on the production line.

Hackers also could gain access to the programming used to make the company’s products, or they could use the robot as a jumping off point to hack into other enterprise systems. Companies could fall victim to ransomware or sabotage.

Read More about the study at Computerworld.com

3D Printing for Electronics

Monika Mahto and Brenna Sniderman in the Deloitte University Press report on the advances 3D printing has made in printing fully functional electromechanical parts.

While still at an early stage, the applications for 3D-printed electronics seem promising. For example, engineers are experimenting with conformal electronics—stretchable electronics that can be embedded in fitness trackers, smart apparel, and skin patches—as well as applications in complex supply chains that require on-demand manufacturing and mass customization. In the near term, developments such as printing electronics in nanoscale and using newer materials such as graphene could lead to additional possibilities in product design.

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Meet Our 2017 Manufacturing Champions

It’s that time of year again! On May 12 the Council of Industry will present its annual Manufacturing Champions Awards to three individuals and one organization that have gone above and beyond to promote the manufacturing industry in New York State. Today it is our pleasure to introduce you to this year’s recipients:

George Quigley has been committed to growing and expanding manufacturing in Ulster County. As President and Owner of ErtelAlsop, he has grown the business and expanded into new facilities adding and preserving dozens of jobs in the region. George has also generously given his time to help his fellow manufacturers, always available for counsel if an issue arises and provides sound advice. He represents the interests of the areas manufacturers very well serving on the Council of Industry Board of Directors and as a member of their advocacy committee.

Perhaps no elected official in the region is more committed to building the manufacturing sector than Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus. Throughout his career, first as the Supervisor of the Town of Chester and now as County Executive, he has advocated for investment in infrastructure, workforce and economic development strategies that help manufactures grow. Neuhaus is committed to tax and regulatory policies that foster economic growth benefiting all of Orange County’s citizens.

The Hudson Valley Pathways Academy, an Early College High School located in Kingston, is preparing our workforce and leaders of tomorrow. Students learn critical thinking and problem solving, and are exposed to numerous industry challenges, giving them valuable experience and exposure to the workings of the manufacturing industry. Upon graduation, the students who participated in Pathways Academy will be better prepared to build up manufacturing in the Hudson Valley than any before them.

Nicholas Longo is an engaging and enthusiastic teacher who is giving his students numerous hands on experiences to build interested in STEaM Careers. Partnering with member firm President Container, his “Introduction to Engineering” course is working with corrugated to solve design challenges in creative and meaningful ways. Bridge building, sled design, and furniture construction are just some of the ways Mr. Longo’s students are engaging in manufacturing and design principles.

The awards will be presented at a breakfast ceremony on May 12. More information can be found here.

New York State Teens Shop for High-Tech Training-From High School

A school district in Buffalo, hoping to counter declining graduation rates, has revamped its high school curriculum to allow high school students more opportunities in science and tech focused study.

At the Research Laboratory Program for Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, students will be able to make medical devices and replicas of molecules on a 3D printer.

“We’re hoping to expose students to the careers that will be available to them on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus,” said Angela Cullen, principal of the research high school. “Typically, when they think of the Medical Campus, they’re thinking about doctors and nurses. We want those students who are going to find the cure for cancer or develop the next vaccine.”

A new program at Riverside High School will allow students to study eco-tourism and conservation while working alongside professionals on the Buffalo River.

Through a partnership with Delaware North, students at Bennett and East high schools will study cybersecurity.

And at a six-year program at South Park High School, students who study solar panel manufacturing and go on to Erie Community College are guaranteed a job at SolarCity.

Read more at The Buffalo News

State Unemployment Rate Lowest Since Feb 2007

The statewide unemployment rate decreased from 4.4% to 4.3% in March 2017, according to preliminary figures released today by the New York State Department of Labor. This represents New York State’s lowest unemployment rate since February 2007. Pushing the statewide rate lower was another drop in New York City’s rate, which declined from 4.3% to 4.0% in March 2017. New York City’s rate is at an all-time low on records going back to 1976.

Meet the New SUNY Chancellor: Dr. Kristina Johnson

Dr. Kristina Johnson, a former engineer who developed technology critical for the screening of 3D movies and served as under secretary for the Department of Energy in the Obama Administration, will serve as chancellor of New York State’s SUNY college system after the current chancellor, Nancy Zimpher, retires in June. SUNY currently serves some 440,000 students at 29 four-year colleges and 30 community colleges. and is the country’s largest university network. She has said that she plans to focus on promoting excellence in research and teaching, environmental sustainability, and individualized models of education. The latter would help students focus on classes that target their chosen career paths.

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