As global housing programs are gearing up, the world will need a staggering amount of construction material over the next few decades. This will put a strain on resources; moreover, it will produce a lot of CO2, as the vast majority of modern construction is on the basis of Portland cement, responsible for a stunning 5% of total global CO2 emissions. Moreover, rates of recycling of demolition waste are very low, in many countries below 10%, and even in the EU at a meagre 46%. Precision in the construction industry, with the benefits this would entail, would require a minimum of resources (including energy) and a maximum of recycling. Lack of precision could jeopardise the industry’s sustainability, and in the long run, the industry itself. [Read more…] about Precision in the construction industry: still a long way to go
Although silk and the closely related spider silk, consist merely of proteins, they are materials with unparalleled properties. Silk is strong and breathable, and soft to the skin as no man-made material could achieve so far. Spider silk is much tougher, even to the extent that it would make excellent bulletproof vests. Researchers have now succeeded in producing genetically engineered silk, a miracle of precision. Several companies will introduce these materials on the market soon. [Read more…] about Genetically engineered silk, a miracle of precision
On the face of it, there are many threats to future prosperity. Climate agreements – won’t they slow down economic growth? Mineral shortages? Global tensions? Physical limits to the economy, as quickly many more people will rise to a level of moderate affluence? Food problems? We do not think there is ground for pessimism, for there is a powerful factor at work that will limit the effect of mankind on the planet: removal of waste from the system. No waste might fuel an economic upturn. [Read more…] about No waste: it will fuel an economic upturn
Lean production brings precision to industry. Ever since lean production methods turned Toyota from a modest Japanese car company to the biggest car manufacturer in the world, its success has led many manufacturers, and even more consultants, to ask themselves if these could be copied in other companies and in other cultures. But an important, often overlooked aspect of lean manufacturing is that lean companies invest in their employees as their main source of improvement. Commitment is essential to lean production. [Read more…] about Lean production: precision and commitment in industry
An era comes to an end. Ever since the start of the industrial revolution, mankind could only produce more, using more. Produce more food from more land. Produce more consumer goods from more resources, processing more ore that required more land to mine it. Using ever more fossil fuels, shipped in ever growing quantities to the world’s industrial centres. But the advent of precision will put all this to an end. We will be going to produce more, using less.