News Article | December 5, 2016
Cambridge (UK), 5 December 2016 (18.00 CET): Global Graphics (Euronext: GLOG) the developers of software for digital printing including the Harlequin RIP®, announces today that it has acquired the entire issued share capital of TTP Meteor Limited ("Meteor"), specialists in printhead driver systems, from the TTP Group plc ("TTP") based near Cambridge, UK. Meteor enables industrial inkjet, graphic arts and commercial printing applications through the provision of world-leading drive electronics and software. Through strong relationships with industrial inkjet printhead manufacturers including Fujifilm Dimatix, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Ricoh, SII Printek, Toshiba TEC and Xaar, Meteor supplies production-ready electronics and software to print equipment manufacturers world-wide. TTP has been involved in developing leading edge printing technologies since 1987. From 2006, printhead drive electronics have been supplied under the Meteor brand. With this acquisition, Meteor becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Graphics SE. Meteor will operate as an independent, standalone entity and will continue to be led by Clive Ayling who has developed Meteor into a successful business. It is expected that the company name will change from TTP Meteor Limited to Meteor Inkjet Limited. Gary Fry, Global Graphics' CEO said, "Meteor has established itself as an influential player in the inkjet market and has a deep understanding of the science and engineering underpinning digital printing. This acquisition is strategically important for Global Graphics because it means we can offer a broader solution to inkjet press manufacturers by combining our software solutions with Meteor's industrial printhead driver solutions. "Healthy growth is predicted for the inkjet segment of digital printing where there continues to be a vast amount of innovation as jetting technology is applied to an increasingly diverse range of applications such as ceramics, textiles or décor. Global Graphics is already emerging as an important partner to the industry's leading manufacturers and Meteor adds to our capability, making us a very compelling proposition in the market. We already share joint customers and our goal is to substantially grow this base." Clive Ayling, Meteor's managing director said, "Meteor has an established record of success in delivering robust and reliable printhead driving solutions for a myriad of applications. Global Graphics values this success and recognizes the importance of our independence in delivering the diverse range of solutions our customers require. We are looking forward to working with Global Graphics to accelerate the growth of our business whilst we continue to deliver the world-class products and support that our customers have come to expect." Rob Day, TTP's head of print technology said, "having nurtured Meteor through its initial technology and IP development phase into a mature and profitable business, we are delighted to see it become a subsidiary of Global Graphics. There is immense strategic synergy between the two companies. This will allow the Meteor team to broaden its offering to existing customers, and accelerate the acquisition of new ones. TTP's Print Technology Division will continue to develop novel printing systems and print technology, and looks forward to working with Meteor's products in future systems integration projects." Consideration for the acquisition is £1.2 million in cash followed by a maximum deferred consideration of £3.6 million. The deferred consideration is payable in cash and is contingent on revenue during the ten year period from 6 December 2016 until 31 December 2026. For the year ended 31 March 2016, Meteor generated sales of £2.5 million and a loss before tax of £0.2 million. For the eight months ended 25 November 2016 Meteor's management accounts showed sales of £2.5 million and a profit before tax of £0.3 million. The acquisition is expected to be earnings enhancing in the financial year ending 31 December 2017. About Global Graphics Global Graphics (Euronext: GLOG) http://www.globalgraphics.com is a leading developer of software platforms on which our partners create solutions for digital printing, digital document and PDF applications. Customers include HP, Corel, Quark, Kodak and Agfa. The roots of the company go back to 1986 and to the iconic university town of Cambridge, and, today the majority of the R&D team is still based near here. There are also offices near Boston, Massachusetts and in Tokyo. About Meteor With offices near Cambridge, Meteor (http://www.meteorinkjet.com) is the leading independent supplier of industrial inkjet printhead driving solutions. Working closely with all major industrial inkjet printhead manufacturers, Meteor supplies production-ready electronics and software to printer OEMs and print system integrators world-wide. About TTP The Technology Partnership plc (TTP) is a world-leading technology and product development company. TTP works closely with its partners to create new business based on advances in technology and engineering innovation. TTP's technology lies behind many products and processes in areas as diverse as biotechnology, medical devices, instrumentation, communications, digital printing, consumer & industrial products, cleantech and security systems. Contact: Rob Day, Print Technology Group Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org. Harlequin, the Harlequin logo, the Harlequin RIP, are trademarks of Global Graphics Software Limited which may be registered in certain jurisdictions. Global Graphics is a trademark of Global Graphics S.E. which may be registered in certain jurisdictions. All other brand and product names are the registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective owners.
News Article | December 21, 2016
DFG to fund 12 projects for the development of new technologies through new call/ New major research instrument for X-raying reinforced concrete components approved The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is funding new instrumentation for various fields of knowledge-driven research through two calls. The Joint Committee of the largest research funding organisation and central self-governing organisation of the research community in Germany took the relevant funding decisions at its December session in Bonn. The first decision relates to the call for "New Instrumentation for Research", issued for the first time, which is designed to enable the development of new instrumentation technologies for research questions which cannot be answered with currently available equipment. The newly developed instrumentation should be made available to as many researchers as possible for the purposes of basic research. After the very strong response to the call issued in January 2016 - which attracted a total of 79 proposals - the DFG Joint Committee has now decided to fund twelve projects for an initial three years with a total funding volume of €8 million. The projects relate to natural sciences (including geosciences), life sciences, medical technology, and engineering sciences and are based at the following universities and non-university research institutions: Aalen University; Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (university hospital); University of Bonn; Technical University of Darmstadt; Erlangen University Hospital, University Medical Center Freiburg and Radiological Institute, German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg; Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Hanover, and Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Jena; Heidelberg University; University of Jena; University of Cologne, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, Potsdam, and Landessternwarte Königstuhl (state observatory), Heidelberg; Technical University of Munich, University of Greifswald and Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, Greifswald; University Hospital Münster; University of Würzburg and University of Mainz. The second decision relates to a major instrumentation initiative. Through this initiative, the DFG will make €8 million available for the construction and commissioning of a new type of system at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern that will be able to X-ray components made of reinforced concrete and other materials using computed tomography (CT). The system will use X-rays of 9 mega-electronvolts, much more powerful than medical X-ray systems, allowing it to probe reinforced concrete components up to 30 centimetres in diameter and 6 metres in length. It will even be possible to X-ray components while they are experiencing stress or destruction; the three-dimensional images of these processes will provide researchers with valuable information. The research carried out with the new equipment is intended to provide information about the durability and properties of established construction materials and also facilitate the development of improved materials and composites. For 20 percent of its usage time, the new X-ray system will also be available to other scientific working groups in Germany. For "New Instrumentation for Research": Dr Achim Tieftrunk, Scientific Instrumentation and Information Technology Division, tel. +49 228 885-2816, Achim.Tieftrunk@dfg.de For the major instrumentation initiative: Dr Michael Royeck, Scientific Instrumentation and Information Technology Division, tel. +49 228 885-2976, Michael.Royeck@dfg.de
News Article | November 7, 2016
Dayton, Ohio, Nov. 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- MacAulay-Brown, Inc. (MacB), a leading National Security company delivering advanced engineering services and product solutions, announced today that the company’s Commonwealth Technology Division (CTD) is now ISO 9001:2015 registered, having recently passed an audit by an independent third-party under the latest ISO 9001 standard. This certification expands the scope of MacB’s Quality Management System (QMS) objectives, which encompasses all group operations. CTD is the first MacB division to achieve certification under the most recent 2015 version of the ISO 9001 standard, earning recognition with its innovative engineering, prototype manufacturing, and testing services for the Defense and Intelligence communities. ISO 9001 is an international standard that defines requirements for QMS, including policies, processes and procedures designed to align and support business goals and objectives. Certification demonstrates commitment, capability and diligence to identify and address customer requirements and preferences, while actively seeking ways to improve business processes, products and services. “CTD’s new certification validates the work of our team to create, establish and deploy best practices that exceed ISO 9001 requirements,” said Greg Yadzinski, Vice President of MacB’s Commonwealth Technology Division (CTD). “With the inclusion of our advanced engineering and prototype manufacturing processes into our QMS, we ensure the consistent delivery of the leading-edge product solutions and services that our customers expect.” ABOUT MACAULAY-BROWN, INC. (MacB) For more than 36 years, MacAulay-Brown, Inc. (MacB) has been solving some of the Nation’s most complex National Security challenges. Defense, Intelligence Community, Special Operations Forces, Homeland Security and Federal agencies rely on our advanced engineering services and product solutions to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world. With Corporate Headquarters in Dayton, Ohio and National Capital Headquarters in Vienna, Virginia, our more than 1,500 employees worldwide are dedicated to developing mission-focused and results-oriented solutions that make a difference where and when it matters most. Learn more about MacB at www.macb.com.
News Article | June 26, 2016
In a roundtable discussion on the topic of encryption technology, FBI deputy assistant director James Burrell revealed that the bureau has a budget of "hundreds of millions of dollars" for the development of technology for national security and domestic law enforcement. The budget by the Operational Technology Division, which handles the FBI's investigative technology ranging from surveillance technology to robots, will soon inch closer to $1 billion. The Washington Post reported late last year that the division's budget is somewhere between $600 million and $800 million, and the FBI has requested for an additional budget of over $100 million for next year. The additional budget includes more than $85 million to improve the bureau's cyber offense and defense technologies and more than $38 million to be spent on a counter to encryption and other hurdles during FBI investigations. According to Burrell though, the budget of the division needs to be put into context. The resources of the Operational Technology Division are divided, with the tools being developed for investigations related to national security being different from those for domestic law enforcement. Burrell claims that the bureau is not able to use the technology used for one purpose for the other, due to the technology being classified. It can be remembered that the FBI paid over $1 million to a third-party company for the development of the hacking tool which was able to break into the encryption-protected iPhone owned by one of the shooters in the San Bernardino tragedy. While the amount is the highest publicized figure ever paid for a hacking tool, it would seem to hardly have made a dent on the budget of hundreds of millions of dollars of the bureau. The roundtable discussion, which was sponsored by the intelligence community, looked to spark discussion on the topic of encryption among scientists, tech officials, academics and developers. The meeting also aimed to come up with an answer on whether the authorities can be given access to secure devices without digital security being compromised. The workshop was hosted by the National Academies of Science, Technology and Medicine. Among the attendees were NSA former deputy director Chris Inglis, FBI top lawyer James Baker and officials from companies including Apple and Microsoft. Two months ago in April, the Supreme Court gave the FBI more hacking authority by allowing the judges in the United States to approve search warrants on PCs located in any jurisdiction. Previously, judges could only approve such search warrants within their jurisdiction. The move, however, can still be modified or rejected by Congress. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | December 5, 2016
MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 5, 2016) - Smart Employee Benefits Inc. ("SEB" or the "Company") (TSX VENTURE:SEB) announces that further to its press releases dated October 20, 2016 and November 3, 2016 regarding a $5 million unit offering (the "Offering"), the TSX Venture Exchange has granted the Company an extension to complete the Offering. Aggregate proceeds of $1,652,885 were raised on a first tranche closing. The second tranche of the Offering is expected to close on or around December 31, 2016. Smart Employee Benefits Inc.'s global infrastructure is comprised of two operating divisions: Technology and Benefits. The Technology Division currently serves corporate and government clients across Canada and internationally. The Benefits Division focuses on offering SAAS and BPO solutions in the Health Benefits Sector to corporate and government clientele. The Benefits Division operates as a client of the Technology Division. The Technology Division is a critical competitive advantage in supporting the implementation of SEB's benefits processing solutions into client environments. Benefits processing is a high-growth specialty practice area. The core expertise of both divisions is data processing. Emphasis is on automating business processes utilizing SEB proprietary software solutions combined with solutions of third parties through joint ventures and partnerships. Acquisitions, joint ventures, and RFP wins will continue to be dominant influences in driving growth in both divisions. Growth emphasis for fiscal 2017 is in the Benefits Division. For further information about SEB, please visit www.seb-inc.com. The statements made in this release that are not historical facts contain forward-looking information that involves risks and uncertainties. All statements, including statements regarding the Company's areas of focus, other than statements of historical facts, which address the Company's expectations, should be considered as forward-looking statements and therefore subject to various risks and uncertainties. The words "may", "will", "could", "should", "would", "suspect", "outlook", "believe", "plan", "anticipate", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "forecast", "objective", "hope" and "continue" (or the negative thereof), and words and expressions of similar import, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on knowledge of the environment in which the Company currently operates, but because of the factors listed herein, as well as other factors beyond the Company's control, actual results may differ materially from the expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation, and does not intend, to update, revise or otherwise publicly release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of any unanticipated events, other than as required by applicable law. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
News Article | March 1, 2017
March 1, 2017 - Under a collaborative partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Energy, a new automated measurement system developed at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory will ensure quality production of plutonium-238 while reducing handling by workers. NASA has funded ORNL and other national laboratories to develop a process that will restore U.S. production capability of Pu-238 for the first time since the late 1980s when the Savannah River Plant ceased production. ORNL has produced and separated about 100 grams of the material and plans to scale up the process over the next several years to meet demand to power NASA deep space missions. "We are bringing together multiple disciplines across ORNL to achieve this automation and ramp up so that we can supply Pu-238 for NASA," said Bob Wham, who leads the project for the lab's Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division. The Pu-238 is produced from neptunium-237 feedstock provided by Idaho National Laboratory. Workers at ORNL mix neptunium oxide with aluminum and press the mixture into high-density pellets. The new automated measurement system robotically removes the Np-237 pellets from their holding tray, and measures their weight, diameter, and height. "We're excited to go from making these measurements by hand to just pressing a 'GO' button," said Jim Miller, a scientist in the Fusion & Materials for Nuclear Systems Division who is employing the new system. "About 52 Np-237 pellets can be measured per hour using the new automated measurement system," he added. Pellets meeting specifications, as determined by the new automated measurement system, are placed in a cassette that moves to another location for loading into a hollow aluminum tube that is hydrostatically compressed around the pellets. The Np-237 pellets loaded in the hollow aluminum tube later enter the High Flux Isotope Reactor, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL, where they are irradiated, creating Np-238, which quickly decays and becomes Pu-238. The irradiated pellets are then dissolved, and ORNL staff use a chemical process to separate the plutonium from any remaining neptunium. Purified plutonium is converted back to an oxide powder, packaged and shipped to Los Alamos for final processing. Plans are for initial production of 400 grams Pu-238 per year on average at ORNL and then to increase that quantity through additional automation and scale-up processes. Several ORNL researchers contributed to the automated measurement system. Alan Barker was the software architect, enhancing early work performed by others on the system and serving as technical lead to finish the project. Richard Wunderlich further developed the software to professional grade with an emphasis on making it more robust, usable and maintainable. Michelle Baldwin also provided programming expertise, including software quality assurance, verification and validation. David West was the hardware architect, overseeing configuration tasks within the glovebox and making sure the system is safe and functional in a radioactive environment. Tim McIntyre was the project manager. Project challenges included fitting the system into a glovebox that was only about 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep, and designing the system to be easy for workers to manipulate, maintain and repair, McIntyre said. In another project funded by NASA, Miller said the lab is working to automate the creation of the target neptunium/aluminum pellets. Miller also pointed to the collaborative nature of the automation development work at the lab. "I have a background in materials science, the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division people have the electrical and robotics background, and others like the staff in the NSITD have a chemical engineering background. None of us individually could get this done," he said. The next NASA mission planning to use a radioisotope thermoelectric generator fueled by Pu-238 is the Mars 2020 rover, scheduled for launch in July 2020. The mission will seek signs of life on Mars, test technology for human exploration, and gather samples of rocks and soil that could be returned to Earth. In the future, newly produced Pu-238 from ORNL will fuel these kinds of missions. NASA announced this week that is has accepted a small quantity of the new heat source for use on the rover. UT-Battelle manages ORNL for DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science. .
News Article | March 1, 2017
NASA has funded ORNL and other national laboratories to develop a process that will restore US production capability of Pu-238 for the first time since the late 1980s when the Savannah River Plant ceased production. ORNL has produced and separated about 100 grams of the material and plans to scale up the process over the next several years to meet demand to power NASA deep space missions. "We are bringing together multiple disciplines across ORNL to achieve this automation and ramp up so that we can supply Pu-238 for NASA," said Bob Wham, who leads the project for the lab's Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division. The Pu-238 is produced from neptunium-237 feedstock provided by Idaho National Laboratory. Workers at ORNL mix neptunium oxide with aluminum and press the mixture into high-density pellets. The new automated measurement system robotically removes the Np-237 pellets from their holding tray, and measures their weight, diameter, and height. "We're excited to go from making these measurements by hand to just pressing a 'GO' button," said Jim Miller, a scientist in the Fusion & Materials for Nuclear Systems Division who is employing the new system. "About 52 Np-237 pellets can be measured per hour using the new automated measurement system," Miller said. Pellets meeting specifications, as determined by the new automated measurement system, are placed in a cassette that moves to another location for loading into a hollow aluminum tube that is hydrostatically compressed around the pellets. The Np-237 pellets loaded in the hollow aluminum tube later enter the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility at ORNL, where they are irradiated, creating Np-238, which quickly decays and becomes Pu-238. The irradiated pellets are then dissolved, and ORNL staff use a chemical process to separate the plutonium from any remaining neptunium. Purified plutonium is converted back to an oxide powder, packaged, and shipped to Los Alamos for final processing. Plans are for initial production of 400 grams Pu-238 per year on average at ORNL and then to increase that quantity through additional automation and scale-up processes. Several ORNL researchers contributed to the automated measurement system. Alan Barker was the software architect, enhancing early work performed by others on the system and serving as technical lead to finish the project. Richard Wunderlich further developed the software to professional grade with an emphasis on making it more robust, usable, and maintainable. Michelle Baldwin also provided programming expertise, including software quality assurance, verification, and validation. David West was the hardware architect, overseeing configuration tasks within the glovebox and making sure the system is safe and functional in a radioactive environment. Tim McIntyre was the project manager. Project challenges included fitting the system into a glovebox that was only about 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep, and designing the system to be easy for workers to manipulate, maintain, and repair, McIntyre said. In another project funded by NASA, Miller said the lab is working to automate the creation of the target neptunium/aluminum pellets. Miller also pointed to the collaborative nature of the automation development work at the lab. "I have a background in materials science, the EESR people have the electrical and robotics background, and others like the staff in the NSITD have a chemical engineering background. None of us individually could get this done," he said. The next NASA mission planning to use a radioisotope thermoelectric generator fueled by Pu-238 is the Mars 2020 rover, scheduled for launch in July 2020. The mission will seek signs of life on Mars, test technology for human exploration, and gather samples of rocks and soil that could be returned to Earth. In the future, newly produced Pu-238 from ORNL will fuel these kinds of missions. NASA announced this week that is has accepted a small quantity of the new heat source for use on the rover.
News Article | December 15, 2016
NEEDHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PTC (NASDAQ: PTC) today announced that ZF Friedrichshafen AG will implement PTC’s Windchill® PLM (product lifecycle management) and PTC IntegrityTM ALM (application lifecycle management) enterprise solutions across all divisions. ZF also has procured PTC’s ThingWorx® IoT technology platform starter kit. This selection of PTC technology will support the global player in continuing its digital transformation journey. ZF is a leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology. The company acquired TRW Automotive in 2015, which was then integrated within the organization as the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division. The combined company has a global workforce of around 135,000 with approximately 230 locations in some 40 countries. ZF is one of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide. ZF determined it would need to adopt PLM and ALM enterprise solutions across all divisions to enable the company to digitally transform its business, improve systems engineering, and support global production. ZF undertook a broad and extensive benchmarking process that began with defining and analyzing its business processes and use cases. After close scrutiny of competitive systems, ZF was convinced the PTC solutions were the best fit and the best technology to address its future business challenges. One decisive factor for its selection was the new functionality provided by PTC Navigate™, a customizable user interface for PLM that provides flexible access to enterprise-wide product data, including ALM information. ZF also selected various PTC packages such as Requirements & Validation and Global Software Development to support its systems engineering work. PTC solutions enable ZF to take a multi-discipline approach to digital product traceability, enabling a consistent Bill of Materials (BoM) across the enterprise. The ThingWorx starter package will enable ZF to support its digitization strategy and standardize its IoT platform for a smart, connected future. All PTC solutions are offered in a subscription license model, which offers companies the flexibility to adjust software volume based on need. ZF will leverage PTC Professional Services to deploy and adopt PTC’s enterprise solutions. “ZF’s selection of PTC technology to drive its digital transformation demonstrates the strategic importance of adopting solutions that provide closed-loop lifecycle management,” said Kevin Wrenn, divisional general manager, PLM segment, PTC. “We look forward to accompanying ZF on its journey.” The announcement of any particular selection of PTC software is not necessarily indicative of the timing of recognition of revenue there from or the amount of revenue for any particular period. In addition, in many cases PTC’s software must be successfully implemented and deployed to enable the customer to achieve its business objectives. The announcement of a customer’s selection of PTC software does not indicate that applicable implementation and deployment activities are complete. About ZF ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology. The company acquired TRW Automotive on May 15, 2015, which was then integrated within the organization as the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division. The combined company reported sales of €29.2 billion in 2015 and now has a global workforce of around 135,000 with approximately 230 locations in some 40 countries. ZF annually invests approximately five percent of its sales in Research & Development (€1.4 billion in 2015) ensuring continued success through the design and engineering of innovative technologies. ZF is one of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide. About PTC (NASDAQ: PTC) PTC has the most robust Internet of Things technology in the world. In 1986 we revolutionized digital 3D design, and in 1998 were first to market with Internet-based PLM. Now our leading IoT and AR platform and field-proven solutions bring together the physical and digital worlds to reinvent the way you create, operate, and service products. With PTC, global manufacturers and an ecosystem of partners and developers can capitalize on the promise of the IoT today and drive the future of innovation. PTC, Windchill, PTC Integrity, ThingWorx, Navigate, and the PTC logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of PTC Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Friedrichshafen/Lebring (Austria), 15-Feb-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — With Active Kinematics Control (AKC), ZF has become a market leader for active rear axle steering (RAS) in passenger cars and is constantly expanding its offering. The company has now produced more than 100,000 units – just four years after starting volume production of its AKC system for two exclusive sports car models. Seven premium vehicle manufacturers meanwhile enjoy the benefits of this ZF chassis innovation in volume production. The technology helps electric or conventional passenger cars become significantly safer, more dynamic, maneuverable and comfortable. Automated and autonomous driving are deemed to be considerable growth drivers for ZF’s AKC system in future. “Our production milestone of 100,000 AKC systems is a huge success in four different respects,” says Dr. Holger Klein, Executive Vice President of the Car Chassis Technology Division at ZF. “First of all, it illustrates that our innovation allows almost any vehicle to benefit relatively easily from active rear axle steering. Secondly, ZF cements its position as market leader and technology leader in this product segment. Thirdly, every AKC unit installed depicts the forward-looking potential of intelligent mechanical systems in the automotive industry. And last but not least, this milestone highlights the exemplary transformation of the ZF production location in Lebring.” The site, which is located near to Graz, quickly transformed from an axle assembly plant to a hub for high-tech mechatronics. It is currently the company’s only AKC production site and has allowed for the creation of a number of new jobs. Two concepts for different axle designs The 100,000 AKC systems produced to date include 60,000 central actuator systems and 40,000 dual-actuator systems. The latter always have two actuators, one on each rear wheel. This version celebrated its premiere in series production in 2013 in the Porsche 911 Turbo and 911 GT3 models. The Ferrari GTC4Lusso also carries the dual-actuator version. Other vehicles, such as the recent Porsche Panamera, feature the AKC version with a single, larger actuator, which is located in the middle of the rear axle. This system also helps steer the rear of SUVs like the Audi Q7 and sedans like the Cadillac CT6 and the BMW 7 Series. So the AKC system still has a way to go before reaching the limits of its application spectrum. In the near future, the ZF system should find its place in many more models with a growing number of manufacturers including pick-up trucks and compact cars. AKC can be combined with every type of drive system – from conventional internal combustion engines to hybrids and all-electric systems. The general operating principle remains the same: When driving slowly through narrow streets, AKC steers contrary to the front wheels’ steering angle and generates a higher yaw rate for the vehicle. This can reduce the turning radius by up to ten percent, so a passenger car becomes substantially easier to maneuver. At higher speeds, i.e. about 60 km/h and above, as well as during obstacle-avoidance maneuvers for example, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels which improves directional stability and driving dynamics. Ready for the car of tomorrow The steady growth in demand for AKC from OEMs is also based on the fact that the active rear track adjustment serves all current and upcoming megatrends in the automotive industry: It greatly improves safety, especially in critical driving situations and when braking. Additionally, it is highly efficient “by wire” as well as based on the “power on demand” principle. Furthermore, AKC supports automated driving and the necessary system redundancy, as it can even partially steer a vehicle without turning the front wheels. Consequently, ZF has set high sales expectations for this product. “In 2014, the first full production year, approximately 12,000 AKC systems left our production lines and over 100,000 units have been produced to date. In the coming years, we plan to increase production volumes to more than 250,000 units per year,” says Peter Buckermann, Head of the Mechatronic Systems Product Line.
News Article | March 7, 2016
A Korean research team headed by Distinguished Professor Sang Yup Lee of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) established a biorefinery system to create non-natural polymers from natural sources, allowing various plastics to be made in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner. The research results were published online in Nature Biotechnology on March 7, 2016. The print version will be issued in April 2016. The research team adopted a systems metabolic engineering approach to develop a microorganism that can produce diverse non-natural, biomedically important polymers and succeeded in synthesizing poly(lactate-co-glycolate) (PLGA), a copolymer of two different polymer monomers, lactic and glycolic acid. PLGA is biodegradable, biocompatible, and non-toxic, and has been widely used in biomedical and therapeutic applications such as surgical sutures, prosthetic devices, drug delivery, and tissue engineering. Inspired by the biosynthesis process for polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), biologically-derived polyesters produced in nature by the bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids, the research team designed a metabolic pathway for the biosynthesis of PLGA through microbial fermentation directly from carbohydrates in Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains. The team had previously reported a recombinant E. coli producing PLGA by using the glyoxylate shunt pathway for the generation of glycolate from glucose, which was disclosed in their patents KR10-1575585-0000 (filing date of March 11, 2011), US08883463 and JP5820363. However, they discovered that the polymer content and glycolate fraction of PLGA could not be significantly enhanced via further engineering techniques. Thus, in this research, the team introduced a heterologous pathway to produce glycolate from xylose and succeeded in developing the recombinant E. coli producing PLGA and various novel copolymers much more efficiently. In order to produce PLGA by microbial fermentation directly from carbohydrates, the team incorporated external and engineered enzymes as catalysts to co-polymerize PLGA while establishing a few additional metabolic pathways for the biosynthesis to produce a range of different non-natural polymers, some for the first time. This bio-based synthetic process for PLGA and other polymers could substitute for the existing complicated chemical production that involves the preparation and purification of precursors, chemical polymerization processes, and the elimination of metal catalysts. Professor Lee and his team performed in silico genome-scale metabolic simulations of the E. coli cell to predict and analyze changes in the metabolic fluxes of cells which are caused by the introduction of external metabolic pathways. Based on these results, genes are manipulated to optimize metabolic fluxes by eliminating the genes responsible for byproducts formation and enhancing the expression levels of certain genes, thereby achieving the effective production of target polymers as well as stimulating cell growth. The team utilized the structural basis of broad substrate specificity of the key synthesizing enzyme, PHA synthase, to incorporate various co-monomers with main and side chains of different lengths. These monomers were produced inside the cell by metabolic engineering, and then copolymerized to improve the material properties of PLGA. As a result, a variety of PLGA copolymers with different monomer compositions such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved monomers, 3-hydroxyburate, 4-hydroxyburate, and 6-hydroxyhexanoate, were produced. Newly applied bioplastics such as 5-hydroxyvalerate and 2-hydroxyisovalerate were also made. The team employed a systems metabolic engineering application which, according to the researchers, is the first successful example of biological production of PGLA and several novel copolymers from renewable biomass by one-step direct fermentation of metabolically engineered E.coli. "We presented important findings that non-natural polymers, such as PLGA which is commonly used for drug delivery or biomedical devices, were produced by a metabolically engineered gut bacterium. Our research is meaningful in that it proposes a platform strategy in metabolic engineering, which can be further utilized in the development of numerous non-natural, useful polymers." Director Ilsub Baek at the Platform Technology Division of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of Korea, who oversees the Technology Development Program to Solve Climate Change, said, "Professor Lee has led one of our research projects, the Systems Metabolic Engineering for Biorefineries, which began as part of the Ministry's Technology Development Program to Solve Climate Change. He and his team have been continuously achieving promising results and attracting greater interest from the global scientific community. As climate change technology becomes more important, this research on the biological production of non-natural, high value polymers has a great impact on science and industry." Explore further: Bioengineers succeed in producing plastic without the use of fossil fuels More information: One-step fermentative production of poly(lactate-co-glycolate) from carbohydrates in Escherichia coli, Nature Biotechnology, DOI: 10.1038/nbt.3485