Impact Dakota Blog is a blog dedicated to supporting North Dakota’s manufacturing community improve People, Purpose, Processes and Performance. Entries provide information on opportunities, new ideas, quick tips, celebrations of success, and well, frankly, anything to help you become a better manufacturer.

November 28, 2017

These "eye" diagrams reveal how much noise is present in a digital signal. As the signal grows noisier, its characteristic shape grows distorted, shrinking the center so it resembles an eye closing. NIST's new 3-D chip-testing method passes microwaves through chip material, allowing researchers to quickly detect flaws that would create noise and make the diagram change from the open-eyed clarity of the top image to the squintier distortion on the bottom. Credit: Y. Obeng and N. Hanacek/NIST

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November 20, 2017

No standard exists for determining when ice accumulation is severe enough that it will endanger workers. Most times, safety managers and supervisors must use their own judgment to alter work practices based on changes in weather conditions. We recommend that you plan ahead for anticipated hazards so you’ll be ready when conditions start to get dicey.

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November 16, 2017

There’s no question the digital manufacturing revolution is racing at us. As a small or medium-sized manufacturer, how close are you to already being “smart”? Here are five steps in the journey to becoming a smarter digital enterprise.

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November 13, 2017

Buyers generally have a good understanding of their company’s needs, however, too many assumptions and too little structure can result in mistakes when selecting suppliers. To ensure the best decisions are made, buyers need to reflect on their current decision making process. Dr. Cuneyt Altinoz has a long history of working in supply chain and offered frequent pitfalls made when selecting a supplier. Review the following list of common mistakes to make sure your company is on the right track.

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November 2, 2017

Previously I wrote a blog about the differences across the 50 states as measured by manufacturing value added per employee. The differences across the states were quite large and I suggested that much of that variation was a function of the mix of industries in each state. While this mix may not be the absolute predictor for manufacturing growth, it is undoubtedly an important and interesting factor to consider when researching optimal manufacturing efficiency.

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October 26, 2017

I think we’ve taken this pumpkin spice thing too far. Don’t get me wrong, I love fall. That first crisp evening when you need to put on a sweater, the crunch of leaves under your feet, homecoming football games, but pumpkin spice? It’s obvious that the pumpkin spice council’s marketing team has done an outstanding job because it’s in everything now: cookies, chocolate candy, ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes, marshmallows, and now even in a special “limited edition” of my favorite breakfast cereal.

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October 23, 2017

In my last post, I told you about the signs you should look for if you are interested in accessing grant funding. They included adding employees, increased capital investment and being negatively impacted by foreign trade. Be sure to look for these signs and go back to re-read the post to see the others!

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October 19, 2017

I walk through a potential client’s shop and a new piece of machinery catches my eye. I ask the company leader if he applied for any grant funding to offset the purchase, and he looks at me with a blank or inquisitive stare. He then says, “I didn’t know I could get grant funding.”

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October 17, 2017

Cybersecurity, at this point in the technological age, has become a household word. Every week, almost like clockwork, it seems there is a story on the news about a newly discovered hack or data breach often made possible by poor cybersecurity practices. Many of these incidents are focused around stolen data, which resides in our IT, or information technology, infrastructure. However, the breaches that interest me are those that affect the systems and devices that monitor and manipulate much of the world around us and have real-world health and safety consequences if they are compromised. These extremely important systems and devices are known as operational technologies, or OT.

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October 16, 2017

NDSU’s Northern Plains Ethics Institute is set to host a presentation by Reza Maleki, Impact Dakota senior business adviser. He is scheduled to present “Automation: Boon or Curse” Thursday, Oct. 19, at 3:30 p.m. in the A. Glenn Hill Center’s room 300.

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