Amazon files patent for mobile manufacturing, changes face of online shopping
Amazon has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a new delivery system that allows it to manufacture customers' orders using 3D printing technology while the orders are on their way to the customers' doorstep.
The patent is for an application where Amazon can print 3D goods on demand inside delivery trucks and ship them off to customers faster. According to the patent, Amazon could send manufacturing instructions to one of its mobile manufacturing hubs where the operators could proceed with printing out the ordered goods using 3D printers and computer numerical control machines.
The Internet retailer says it could eliminate time delays in receiving, processing, and shipping orders to customers by eliminating the need for warehouse workers to find certain products among Amazon's giant inventory of millions of goods. It will also reduce the need for warehouse space, thus cutting down on costs while increasing customer satisfaction by delivering their orders quickly.
“Increased space to store additional inventory may raise costs for the electronic marketplace,” said Amazon in its patent. “Additionally, time delays between receiving an order and shipping the item to the customer may reduce customer satisfaction and affect revenues generated. Accordingly, an electronic marketplace may find it desirable to decrease the amount of warehouse or inventory storage space needed, to reduce the amount of time consumed between receiving an order and delivering the item to the customer, or both.”
Amazon said a variety of 3d printing technologies will be used, including fused deposition modeling, electron beam freeform fabrication, and direct metal laser sintering among others.
Amazon places a lot of importance on getting products to customers as soon as possible. For America's biggest online retailer, the sooner the customer receives his package, the better. This is why Amazon is exploring new ways to deliver goods to customers much faster than the conventional express shipping offered by delivery companies.
Perhaps one of Amazon's most famous attempts at speeding up delivery is its proposal to deliver packages via unmanned aircraft systems controlled by operators on the ground.
However, new rules mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibit commercial entities from flying drones out of the operators' line of sight, effectively banning Amazon from testing its delivery drones in the U.S and forcing the company to look to other countries to launch its drone delivery program and come up with new ways to speed up delivery time for American customers.
Amazon also filed a patent for ‘anticipatory delivery’ in 2013 for a system where Amazon assumes what its customers want so that it can deliver goods to customers even before the customers decide they want to buy an item. However, Amazon has not yet deployed such a system, and it is possible that it might not launch its 3D printing delivery trucks as well.
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.