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Nanotechnology: The Future of Manufacturing?

Technology in manufacturing is constantly changing. There is always a better way to make products cheaper and faster.

As someone who works in manufacturing, you want to stay on top of the latest trends and start looking into the future of your industry.

One of the biggest trends today has been the introduction of Nanotechnology in manufacturing, called Nanomanufacturing. 

This is a hot topic right now, so we at BlueRecruit decided to learn more. After hours and hours of searching, we were still confused on what the heck it is and how it will benefit the manufacturing industry. 

But finally, after a lot of digging around into the scientific research that is out there, we get it. And it really is a big deal. 

So, here is the breakdown of how Nanotechnology is impacting manufacturing and you.

First, what is Nanotechnology?

This term may sound familiar, why? Well, if you are into Marvel like we are, you probably heard about it from the Antman and Wasp comics. So, think of manufacturing like you do today, but on the quantum level…

The University of California, actually shared a six-minute video explaining how the Antman & the Wasp’s suits work – we highly recommend this quick watch if you are a bit of a science nerd. 

Now back to “What is Nanotechnology?” 

It is simply looking at and changing matter at a very small scale… like individual atoms small

Just to give you a picture in your mind of how small we are talking, a sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick. Through insane technology and very expensive microscopes, engineers are able to determine the individual elements that make certain materials so strong and durable. Then they pull those individual elements out and repurpose them on a much larger scale to create better consumer products. 

If you have ever tried to bend a large sheet of metal with just your bare hands, you know it can be a struggle, but if you could bend it on a much smaller scale, it would be easier, right? 

This is what Nanotechnology allows us to do in manufacturing. 

If you haven’t already, you will begin to see Nanotechnology used in semiconductors, solar cells, rechargeable batteries and even SOCKS. Yes, socks. 

Some clothing manufacturers have discovered that silver can dramatically reduce foot odor, so elements of silver are placed within their fabric. You may even be wearing a pair of socks using nanotechnology right now. 

How else is Nanotechnology used in Manufacturing?

One company discovered a way to create a rechargeable battery that could last 28,000 years before needing a charge. They are using elements found in diamonds within their battery. Does this sound crazy? Yes. But the battery is in production now and will be available for sale in 2023, so the electric car industry could change dramatically in the next couple of years.  

ArcelorMital is producing a kind of steel that is about the same weight as aluminum and can be produced at a lower cost. They are currently selling this steel to car manufacturers, so you may have actually seen and touched their product at some point.

More examples of nanotechnology in manufacturing include using thin sheets of boron nitride as a coating on jet engines to prevent oxidation and using a diamond-coated yarn as a saw to cut expensive material and reduce waste. 

Are there any cons to using Nanotechnology in Manufacturing?

Well, this is still unknown. With Nanotechnology still being new, potential downsides and side effects have not been fully discovered. The FDA is still creating regulations within the Nanomanufacturing industry, so the traceability of materials and consumers will be important for the time being. 

Remember the silver material that is being used in socks? Well, what happens when those socks are washed and trace amounts of silver are released into the water? That water then enters a number of environments such as waste treatment facilities and natural ecosystems. The more that silver is used in fabrics, the higher amount of silver will become present in our water systems. What does that mean for our water systems in 10, 15 years? Not knowing the answers is why the FDA is still monitoring Nanotechnology in manufacturing and how it will create rules and regulations for its use.

This means that your current company may be hesitant to introduce Nanotechnology into their manufacturing processes or your company may frequently change their internal processes to accommodate changing regulations once they do begin to use materials from nanotechnology.  

Like any new technology, companies will weigh the good, the bad and the cost and determine what works best. 

What you can do to get ahead is learn all about this technology before it becomes a part of your daily work life. 

Here are the resources that we used to learn more about Nanotechnology:

 

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