These days, not all is quiet on the logistics front. Businesses at every stage of the supply chain are increasingly hard pressed to meet the relentless demands of customer expectations. In the race to get commodities and finished products to market as quickly as possible, manufacturers, transport companies and distributors alike are running against the clock. As fulfillment of orders placed via e-commerce becomes increasingly competitive, logistics services are teaming up to expedite shipments over the so-called “last one mile,” speeding up the transaction process from next-day deliveries to same-day deliveries. Or in some cases, the waiting time from order to receipt can be measured in hours.
A wide variety of equipment is used in industrial plants. This equipment is continuously monitored and checked, which requires a great deal of effort and a wide range of sensor strategies to guarantee proper functioning throughout the lifecycles of the various devices. But none of these sensor strategies take into account one of the most important properties of nearly every device or process: They emit sounds.
When Japan welcomes millions of foreign travelers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, one thing the visitors will see apart from the world’s best athletes is the world’s best robots. It may sound like the realization of countless science-fiction fantasies, but humanoid robots are now quite commonplace in big cities like Tokyo. This is a dream that was long in the making.
Japan is a country often associated with advanced robotics. It has devised machines that can joke, dance, babble, and even baby-sit. Yet when disaster struck, Japan’s domestic robot corps was found wanting. In March 2011, a record 9-magnitude quake shook the northern foundations of Honshu, Japan’s main isle, and unleashed a 40-meter tsunami that claimed thousands of lives, shattered homes and placed a large nuclear power station in a critical condition.
Gas turbines, also known as combustion turbines, are mainstays of electricity generation in the United States, and will continue to be a reliable alternative even as renewable energy steadily gains in popularity. Westinghouse, which is no longer in the business, was for many years a driver of gas turbine technology development, until a decline in its fortunes required outsourcing of some of its manufacturing operations to Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), a long-time licensee of Westinghouse’s gas turbine engines.

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