Solar energy is one of the few sources of energy that produces no carbon emissions and has the most potential for mass adoption. Solar power has been gaining momentum this past decade with the cost of solar panels dropping 60% since 2010. However, solar panels still face road blocks, like high cost, low efficiency, and space necessity, that make its future hard to predict.
Where Are We Now ?
It is not uncommon to see solar panels on the roofs of houses. There are more solar farms than ever that are harvesting the sun’s rays! Solar energy only accounted for 1.3% of the energy generated in the US in 2017, there is vast potential for improvement.
Figure 1. 70,000 solar panels on Nellis Air Force Base (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nadine Y. Barclay)
There has been a great effort in research and development in the past few years to create a more efficient and cost-effective solution. The solar panels currently being distributed are solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. They are difficult to manufacture, which is a big contributor to their high cost, and they are not as efficient, turning only 20% of light received into energy.
However, there has been a new breakthrough in solar energy research from a mineral called perovskite.
Figure 2. Perovskite Mineral, with pen for scale (USGS)
Perovskite is an amazing breakthrough in solar research, it can be made into an ink solution and painted or printed on objects to allow those objects to generate power. This means that all surfaces could potentially generate power! The use of perovskite will drive the costs normally associated with solar panels significantly down, which means perovskite may lead to a more affordable solar energy option.
This mineral is more efficient than the traditional solar panels used today, with a 22.7% efficiency rate and a theoretical maximum efficiency of 40%. Also, because this material is so thin we may be able to paint it onto existing solar panels to increase the overall efficiency.
Figure 3. Perovskite tin solar cells (Oxford University Press)
The draw backs of this mineral however involve the fragile nature of the material and its life span. Where traditional solar panels have a lifespan of years, this new material degrades in hours and days. This is one of the areas researchers are currently focusing. Extending the life span of perovskite panels would mean a cost effective alternative to expensive solar panels.
What Can We Expect in the Future?
1. As more research and development is invested into solar technology there may be smaller, more efficient, and cost-effective solar panels in our future.
2. It’s possible we may see solar farms in space. The Japan Aerospace Space Agency is looking into putting solar panels on planets closer to the sun and transmitting the energy back to us on earth.
3. We may also be seeing solar cars in our future. Lightyear One, is a Dutch solar-powered car that is planning to produce the first 10 models in 2019.
4. Tesla’s SolarCity has been working on roof tiles with solar panels embedded in them for a more modern look to the traditional flat black solar panels.
Figure 4. Tesla Solar City roof tile (Tesla/SolarCity)
5. A French company, Ciel & Terre International, is working on floating solar panels for countries that don’t have the space solar panels require. They started their work in 2011 and are continuing to make progress towards a floating solar panel.
Ready To Go Solar?
There are plenty of solar panel options for you! You can purchase solar panels for your own home after consulting with experts.
If you have a child, you can contact their school to see how they are teaching your child and their generation about solar energy. Our solar4STEM 200 and solar4STEM 50 are perfect for educating kids about solar energy in an interactive way that kids love. Click Here to learn more.
What do you think the future has in store for solar? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
As hurricane season poses a threat to various coastal areas this year, you should not wait last minute to make sure you are prepared for a dangerous weather event. Recall, the Floridians who flocked to local stores and depleted gas, and water last year.
Of course, it is important to ensure you have access to gasoline and water when weather poses a threat. However, there is one thing even less readily available when weather strikes that you need to be prepared to be without. What is it?
Electricity! After a major weather event many individuals are often left without access to power.
Many areas in Puerto Rico are still without power after last year's devastating hurricanes.
No Power means:
Many rely on generators during emergencies. However, without access to gasoline, standard generators eventually become useless.
Standard Generator Cost:
- average cost of fuel today is $2.807 Diesel $3.070
- generators could cost you up to $3,000 depending on your needs
- To run a generator 24 hours a day would cost roughly $33.24 - 41.85 daily.
Advancement of technology has given us a new solution. The number one item you should have this hurricane season.
A solar generator!
- Clean energy
- Reliable Power After A Disastrous Event
- Does Not Require Fuel
- Rechargeable Battery Inside Generator
Learn More About solar4Power
What differentiates successful B2B suppliers from the rest?
1. Easy To Contact
If a supplier can't be found on the internet, or doesn't respond to inquiries in a timely fashion - they miss out on many potential opportunities. They offer an exact plan, and are willing to work with you meet your criteria.
If a supplier isn't affordable, or doesn't have another kind of leverage against their competitors, customers will search for another affordable business to work with.
3. Eager To Problem Solve
They are ready to help solve complicated issues. Best of all, they do not need to be monitored closely throughout their problem solving process! You know that they are actively working to resolve any issues that arise for you.
4. Quality Finished Product
Their finished product is reliable, and exactly as promised.
5. On-Time and Correct Delivery
Time is money! If items aren't being delivered on time, or they aren't correct - money is being wasted!
Reliable feedback, consistent progress, and as promised finished goods.
7. Always Follows Up
Connecting in Business has everything to do with communicating effectively. You don't have to think about following up with these suppliers, because they are already contacting you to check in.
Want to overcome your obstacles and improve your situation? So do we at CME! Continuous Improvement is a process all individuals, and businesses must undergo to see positive change.
Unless we participate in an ongoing effort to improve we can fall behind and fail to see where we should encourage change. Participating in a continuous evaluation, while encouraging improvement significantly increases efficiency, decreases the amount of time you waste, and can have an incredibly positive impact overall .
At CME we are constantly encouraging continuous improvement in our products, services, and processes. These efforts may begin with incremental improvements, but over time these small changes can turn into a significantly improved end result.
According to AcqNotes the Continuous Improvement Process has 6 simple steps:
We use this process every day, from the beginning of any project, through initial contract review, and lastly through production and delivery using a system we call the R.I.P (Rapid Improvement Program). Constantly analyzing our process allows us to evaluate results, and make increasingly more effective decisions.
Empowering employees to implement improvements makes a positive impact. We know that the ideas our employees propose are worth investigating because our employees are the closest observers of the problems we face. We encourage the development of new ideas because we know our employees have the vision to create positive change.
This is one of many ways CME culture is dedicated to quality excellence and maintaining high quality standards.
Are you committed to continuous improvement?
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Powerful, portable lighting, designed for any work space!
SiteLites can illuminate everything from construction sites to late-night soccer games! These lights are now available on our new web-store. The lights can use AC or DC power. SiteLites are Four transportable lights that provide professional LED lighting.
Made for you, whether you are:
All four of the SiteLites products provide professional grade lighting features. Choose from flood, spot, or hybrid beams to accommodate your workspace lighting needs.
Whether a general purpose emergency light or shop light, it is the best class of high reliability and high efficiency LED light technology. For those who just need the best of emergency lighting around the home, garage or workplace; or you go camping, fishing, boating or you may be living off-grid… be better prepared by owning an SL2KR. The unit includes an AC and DC power adapter and comes with a built-in rechargeable Lithium ion battery. Whether from 110VAC outlet or from your vehicle’s 12V power outlet, the SL2KR is easily rechargeable. This streamlined, portable emergency/work light provides a strong light for those dark nights or rooms and can also be used as a power source to charge small mobile devices, such as mobile phones.
The SL2KR-H provides a clean and safe alternative as an effective light source and includes a magnetic base that includes a USB port. The lightweight, portable SL2KR can be used in homes as emergency lighting and various other locations including outdoors, shops, hospitals, schools, or on the patio. The lantern can be charged in a few hours to provide up to four hours of light at the maximum brightness setting. The LED luminaire is of rugged die cast construction, is direction adjustable, and includes 9 high reliability LEDs in a combination to provide a high intensity flood pattern. The panel includes the control button and battery power indicator. With a touch of the button the brightness can be adjusted to either 100% intensity, 30% intensity or SOS flashing. The SL2KR has a comfortable handle which allows for flexibility in setting up the light. It can be hung in the room, magnetically attached under the hood of a vehicle, placed on a table, or carried by the user. The SL2KR-H LED Work Light can be used in many homeowner or tradesman/work environments and situations.
SL2KR-H Rechargeable Light Key Feature Summary
Every project requires you to strike a balance between speed, cost, quality, and complexity in the supply chain. The idea of outsourcing engineering or manufacturing work can sometimes cause friction with in-house teams, but the value delivered by engaging an external turn-key supplier will help overcome those initial objections—and make you a hero inside your company.
The Build-Buy Decision is driven by Cost, Time, and Quality
Even when management has made a decision to outsource, internal employees’ resistance can still impede success on a project through sluggish communication and lack of transparency. When leadership is finalizing a build-buy decision, engineering teams’ concerns about the quality of outside work can conflict with leadership’s goals around cost, turnaround time and overall performance. Fears about job loss are also common when outsourcing is mentioned.
In fact, a decision to move to external manufacturing can make you a hero on the inside of your company by helping your company as a whole do its best work. Custom Manufacturing & Engineering (CME™) has helped many companies succeed by delivering turn-key solutions for even the most complex work.
Turn-Key Suppliers Save You Money and Time
Sole-sourcing your custom manufacturing work can drive substantial savings, yet many organizations are still tempted to keep work in-house even when there are concerns about cost-effectiveness. Sometimes management makes the decision to stay in-house because they think it will help boost morale. However, this decision can have an adverse effect, and lead to difficult compromises in other areas of the business.
Engaging CME as a turn-key supplier delivers a cost-effective solution for your design and manufacturing challenges—avoiding pain points such as inflated costs, quality issues, or compromises to your custom specifications.
You’ll also save time. The more work your external suppliers can take off your hands, the faster you’ll be able to complete each job. Time and money saved on engineering and manufacturing operations can be re-invested according to your company’s strategic priorities.
Turn-Key Solutions Support High-Quality Products
Quality management in the supply chain delivers value in the form of less time spent troubleshooting, and less money spent on refunds, repairs, and remodeling. This leads to happier engineers, better cash flow, and smoother overall operations.
CME has the certifications, the equipment, and the experience to manufacture the highest-quality products for a wide range of customers in technology-driven industries. We have both AS9100 and ISO 9001 quality management certifications, we run an accredited ISO 17025 calibration lab, compliant to TS16949, and we have over 20 years of experience in design engineering, lean manufacturing and quality integration.
When you engage CME as a supplier, we don’t just work to produce the best product at the lowest price. We aim to make you a hero within your company by fulfilling your mission as successfully as possible.
It’s critical to recognize the need for a balance between competitive sourcing and maintaining a manageable list of suppliers. Minimizing the number of suppliers in the chain helps streamline the logistics of a custom manufacturing job. Companies are often wary of sole-sourcing due to misperceptions about the cost-effectiveness of turn-key custom manufacturing.
The Pains and Risks of Striking a Balance
Many companies are forced to make sacrifices when determining how to manage complicated manufacturing jobs. They can either:
OEMS, Systems Integrators, and Key Tiers also recognize that the leaner their operation, the better their output is likely to be. The principles of Six Sigma, Kaizen, or continuous improvement show that the simplest process is often the best for managing complex manufacturing jobs. This is just as true in the global supply chain as it is on the shop floor.
When companies consider not only the upfront cost, but the full lifecycle costs associated with a project, finding the best value is much more challenging. That’s when it’s often time to engage a turn-key solution provider such as Custom Manufacturing & Engineering Inc. (CME).
How CME Helps Businesses Find a Balance
The solutions that CME provides for customers will help to balance the challenges of competitive sourcing while enhancing their lean supply chain.
CME’s Certifications Have Your Job Covered
Many companies struggle to pare down the overwhelming number of all their suppliers because they have a fixed list of approved vendors with the proper certifications. CME is unique in that it sets itself apart with three quality and calibration certifications: ISO 9001, AS9100C, and ISO 17025 and CME is compliant with TS 16949 conformance. Additionally CME is compliant with ISO 16949 for its calibration services. We take pride in our Quality certifications as a demonstration of our expertise—and our commitment to delivering consistent value to customers. Our proven experience in aerospace, defense, automotive, electronics, and other industries enables us to reduce cost and risk on even the most complex projects.
Competitive Pricing Meets High Quality
Under a single roof, CME’s turn-key services cover the design, development, manufacturing, and testing of even the most complex projects. When all aspects of the job are coordinated and executed by trained engineers accustomed to working together, it’s easier—and often more cost effective—to manufacture high-quality products.
CME’s Experience Guarantees Quality and Eliminates Headaches
CME’s 20+ years of experience in designing, engineering, testing, and calibrating—we can address your pain points solving your most complex challenges easily. We’re able to produce obscure, obsolete, or hard-to-find items to save time and money for our clients by bringing all of the work under one roof. CME combines competitive costs, outstanding quality, and great value—enabling clients to strike the perfect balance between competitive sourcing and manageability in the supply chain.
There is a persistent myth in the manufacturing industry that custom work only comes at premium prices, and that spreading out manufacturing duties among low-cost vendors is always the most cost-effective way to get the job done.
In reality, custom manufacturing and engineering processes can actually save companies money while delivering higher-quality output. No matter how complex the job is, custom manufacturing helps remove risk, ensure organization, and make the design and production processes more efficient.
Custom Manufacturing Streamlines Logistics to Avoid Delays
Time is money. The more production is delayed, the more it costs, and the less efficient the project is. When companies opt for component-by-component manufacturing using disparate suppliers instead of a turn-key solution, there is much more that can go wrong in the production schedule.
Communication and shipping logistics are a constant source of stress and risk because each provider is a crucial part of the supply chain. One hiccup anywhere along the line, and the whole project will be set back. These dependencies create the risk of cascading delays caused by missed deliveries or variations from the original specifications.
Turn-key custom manufacturing streamlines the supply chain and mitigates delays to help control production costs. Adapting to unexpected changes or challenges to keep a project on schedule is significantly easier when everything is made under the same roof.
Quality and Complexity Directly Affect Manufacturing Costs
Saving money on individual components by focusing solely on low prices often ends up being more expensive in total, due to redundancy and potential product design or engineering errors in the supply chain.
Discrepancies don’t just slow down production—they lead to low-quality output. Quality issues create substantial costs for manufacturers: delays and rework are just the tip of the iceberg compared to warranties, recalls, and lawsuits. Working with many suppliers increases a company’s exposure to these risks
Custom manufacturing supports cost-effectiveness of any project by delivering high-quality products and superior customer service. For example, the supplier will be equipped to provide replacements and spare parts at the proper specifications.
Custom manufacturers can be more agile and responsive in all parts of the design and manufacturing processes. As the requirements evolve over the course of a production run, an experienced custom provider can confidently adjust to changes. Every step is performed in the same facility, by consistently trained engineers who understand the holistic goal of the job.
At Custom Manufacturing and Engineering, we work hard to disprove the “custom costs more” myth by designing and manufacturing cost-effective, high-quality products. We love to design and build—contact us to learn more.
It sounds like a paradox: how could a turn-key custom manufacturing solution cost less than soliciting competitive bids for each individual component?
Sometimes sole-sourcing is the only option to meet the unique needs of OEMs, Key Tiers, and System Integrators. The turn-key services and ready-to-use deliveries associated with sole-sourcing help save time and money on custom manufacturing projects—and more effective quality integration supports better end results.
Understanding the Costs of Managing Multiple Suppliers
When the requirements for a job are complex or require custom engineering, companies typically solicit bids from a large group of providers. Comparing bids to get the lowest price on each part appears to be the most cost-effective strategy. However, the long-term costs of managing multiple suppliers can easily outweigh any short-term savings.
Without a turn-key solution, companies are likely to face added costs from:
-Production overlap and redundancy: The more providers a company works with, the more inefficiencies are inevitable. Unnecessary redundancies can add substantial cost to custom manufacturing projects.
-Miscommunication and incompatibility: Working with multiple suppliers increases the chances of miscommunication—resulting in production of incompatible parts and leading to new costs or delays.
-Extra time spent coordinating with suppliers: With disparate low-cost providers, significant amount of time must be dedicated to coordinating between all the suppliers to keep production on schedule and resolve compatibility issues.
-Cost of poor quality: Quality integration is critical in custom engineering and manufacturing processes. Spreading supplier contracts across a large number of low-cost suppliers can expose a business to quality-related risks. The average cost of poor quality is estimated at 5-30% of gross sales—although manufacturing companies are often only aware of a fraction of the total cost.
How Sole-Sourcing Delivers Cost-Effective Results
Sole-sourcing can help deliver the agility and attention to detail that are hard to find when working with a large group of lowest-cost suppliers. Custom Manufacturing & Engineering Inc. (CME) provides competitive turn-key solutions for design, development, and manufacturing processes.
Separate suppliers might offer the lowest prices for individual components, but sole-sourcing can be a more cost-effective option overall because of the convenience and efficiency provided by a “one-stop-shopping” experience.
Imagine grocery shopping for ingredients for a large meal. You could hunt down the lowest price for each ingredient at individual shops all over town, or you could choose to purchase everything from one market. The time and cost of driving from store to store probably outweighs the savings from finding cheaper prices.
Even within the production timeline for a single product, it’s natural for requirements to evolve over the course of design, production planning, and manufacturing. With a large network of suppliers, changes are often difficult to communicate and implement in an efficient, timely manner—resulting in wasted time and resources. If your suppliers can’t accommodate new requirements, you could end up back at square one, searching for providers.
Sole-sourcing makes it easy to implement modifications to your product design or manufacturing processes. With one point of contact, communicating changes is easy—and you can be confident that your supplier understands how new specifications fit into the big picture.
Using a sole-source solution is an effective way to ensure consistency and attention to detail in your supply chain. CME can provide end-to-end quality integration for your custom design and manufacturing needs—mitigating delays, costs, and risks related to poor quality.
Find out how CME can apply the value of sole-sourcing to your next manufacturing or engineering project.