<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er_4gLlmQV4″ rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/er_4gLlmQV4/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> While assembly lines have been the gold standard in manufacturing for more than a century, and have put together everything from Model T’s to tablet computers, one aspect of their operation has remained constant: the need for a hand, robotic or human, to manipulate objects.If Anand Bala Subramaniam, a postdoctoral fellow in chemistry and chemical biology, has his way, however, that could soon change. Working in the lab of Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor George Whitesides, Subramaniam and colleagues, including Dian Yang, Hai-Dong Yu, Alex Nemiroski, Simon Tricard, Audrey K. Ellerbee, and Siowling Soh, have developed a system for using magnetic levitation, or maglev, technology to manipulate nonmagnetic materials, potentially enabling the use of materials that are too fragile for traditional manufacturing methods. The system is described in an Aug. 25 paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“What we’ve demonstrated in this paper is a noncontact method for manipulating objects,” Subramaniam said. “A conventional method for manufacturing is to start with simple components that are easy to manufacture, which are then assembled into more complex objects. Typically, robotic arms grasp the components and twist or turn them during the assembly process. That works very well for hard objects. But soft and sticky materials, which are of interest for building bio-mimetic objects, could easily be damaged.”Despite its potentially high-tech applications, the system described in the paper is surprisingly simple, consisting of two permanent magnets similar to those often found on refrigerators.“This brings the technology of maglev into the everyday use,” Subramaniam said. “We can now begin to experiment with methods to make this system more complex, with the addition of servos,” or automatic devices, “to move the magnets, or combine electromagnets with permanent magnets.”At the heart of the system, however, is what Subramaniam calls a “paramagnetic solution,” essentially a simple mixture of water and metallic salts, in this case manganese (II) chloride.“The physics behind how the system works is that the paramagnetic liquid wants to be closer to the magnets,” Subramaniam said. “An object that was initially at the bottom of the chamber, when placed in the device, levitates toward the center. The region closer to the magnet, which has a higher magnetic field than the center, is now filled with the paramagnetic liquid.”What’s more, Subramaniam said, researchers found that the shape of the object, such as a screw, plays a role in determining its orientation when levitating in the device.“What my colleagues and I found was that the screw naturally orients horizontally. But if we made it shorter by cutting the shaft, its orientation changed to vertical,” he said. “It was very striking how shape mattered in the orientation of all the objects we tested. The object orients to maximize the amount of liquid that occupies regions with a high magnetic field. Once the object is levitating and oriented, we can manipulate it without contact by using an external magnet or by rotating the maglev device.”Going forward, Subramaniam said, researchers hope that the new system will open the door to manufacturing a host of objects using soft, fragile, or sticky materials that might otherwise be impossible to work with using traditional methods.“Soft robots are a good example. We want to move toward softer materials that mimic the properties of biological tissues. But most methods used to assemble robots tend to damage soft materials. Assembly using maglev could be a solution,” Subramaniam said, “though there is still a lot of work to be done before we reach that level of sophistication.”
There was good news a few weeks ago for mortgage lenders. In late August 2015, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that the all-in cost-to-close for mortgage loans decreased from $7,195 to $6,984, a total savings of $211. Two hundred bucks might not seem like a big deal, but it is, for several reasons.According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage production costs have been consistently on the rise since 2009. The MBA publishes its Mortgage Performance Report annually, with quarterly installments throughout the year. This is a must-read for every mortgage lender with an eye on manufacturing costs, productivity and industry trends.The decline to $6,984 in the second quarter of this year is – hopefully – the beginning of a long-awaited trend toward more reasonable mortgage manufacturing expenses. Up to now, costs have been rising as lenders face an increasingly complex regulatory and investor environment.Purchase-money lending plays a role in costs, as well. Compared to refinancing loans, loans for the purchase of a home take longer, involve more people, require more documentation and, overall, have more moving parts. The switch to purchase lending is a positive and expected dynamic, but it is yet another component for lenders to address while keeping expenses in check.Whether this quarter’s cost-to-close decrease is truly indicative of a new pattern within the industry won’t be confirmed until fourth quarter numbers become available in early 2016. Know Before You Owe, the new mortgage disclosure rule, becomes effective October 3. The common wisdom among credit union mortgage lenders is that this will likely affect lending costs, at least in the short term.When it comes to fielding a competitive mortgage program, nothing is more important than cost-to-close. This quarter’s $200 per loan savings can be seen either as extra revenue or as a slight improvement in the mortgage rate members pay, or perhaps as both. Offering the lowest rate isn’t everything in mortgage lending, despite the use of interest rates as a standard basis of comparison for the average borrower.Managing Cost-to-CloseControlling cost-to-close — or at least understanding it — is easy. This week’s MBA announcement provides insight. Productivity, the ratio of closed loans to mortgage employees, increased in the second quarter from 2.4 loans per employee per month to 2.8. The seemingly insignificant move of just .4 is actually incredibly important. Productivity and cost-to-close have a tight inverse relationship. Increase productivity and cost-to-close will predictably – and reliably – decrease.This is true because of the make-up of cost-to-close. About 50% of the cost to manufacture a loan is labor. Labor — as represented by the number of employees — is the denominator in the productivity equation, hence the intimate relationship between these two metrics.Two variables affect productivity. Labor is one; the number of closed loans is the other. By making more mortgage loans, credit unions have an opportunity to extend and accelerate the decreasing cost trend that the MBA reported. This may seem like an overly simplistic analysis of a complex problem, but it isn’t. Credit union membership grew at a faster pace in 2014 than at any time since 1994. Many new credit union members means many new potential home buyers. Organizations that make more loans, increase productivity with existing staff, decrease the cost-to-close, and offer a more competitive and profitable mortgage program will produce even more loans. This is a great example of a feedback loop, and the best thing about it is how well it works.We study, talk about, publish and offer insight on credit union mortgage lending performance, an obsession of ours for more than a decade. Interested in knowing more? Read our latest thoughts on cost-to-close, productivity in our High Performance Lending Report. 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dan Green With the objective of building a strong, cohesive and recognizable brand, Dan Green oversees all marketing and communications strategies through his work with customers, partners, industry organizations and the Mortgage … Web: www.accenture.com Details
DES MOINES — An eastern Iowa farmer who’s been in the legislature nearly 12 years is proposing a new “corn state” license plate design. Senator Tim Kapucian of Keystone has drafted a bill that would carry out his vision.“It’ll say at the top of the plate: ‘The Corn State’ and then it’ll be a white plate with black letters,” Kapucian says, “and then behind the lettering there’ll be some type of an ear of corn.”Kapucian says when he saw how popular the state’s new “black out” specialty license plates have been, he decided to ask his fellow legislators to embrace this idea. Kapucian expects plenty of farmers to be interested in getting one of these plates for their pick-ups.“I know I’m going to be in line to get one of these if we get it done,” Kapucian says.Kapucian’s neighbor has a license plate collection. It includes a mid-1950s black-and-white plate that has “THE CORN STATE” in capital letters at the bottom of the plate.“Every state has something on their license plate that makes them stand out and we used to have that…If people recognize an ear of corn, they’ll think: ‘Iowa!” he says. “You know you see the bucking bronc with the cowboy, we know that’s Wyoming.”Kapucian’s plate plan has cleared a Senate subcommittee. His bill would have to pass through at least five other steps in the legislative process before it could be sent to the governor for review.