Windscreen Replacement Firms Fighting To Keep Up With New Tech

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From mechanics to auto glass mobile replacement, windscreen replacement companies are spending millions in order to keep up with the latest in vehicle tech; with funding going into the needed tools and training for the proper recalibration of screen-based car safety systems, which are becoming more and more commonplace.

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), like autonomous emergency braking, are typically reliant on windshield-mounted cameras in order to operate. The problem being that, when the windshield is taken for auto glass mobile replacement, they require recalibration, as they might not be able to function properly, if at all.

In the UK, about 1% of vehicles require recalibration after a windscreen replacement back in 2015, but the number has since gone up to 9% for privately-owned vehicles and 34% for fleet vehicles, the latter due to being newer.

To deal with the matter, several companies are pouring funds into calibration-related developments. National Windscreen recently invested £2 million in ADAS recalibration, while Autoglass will be launching 14 new calibration centres, on top of 70 of its workshops having calibration capability by December.

Head of Technical Superiority Belron, Autoglass’s parent company, Dr. Chris Davies explained that recalibration is required because of natural tolerance issues with glass manufacturing, which tends to reposition the cameras when a new windscreen is put in place. If the camera isn’t recalibrated it jeopardizes the safety of the customer.

Most models require ‘static’ calibration, which can be done in a workshop, while others require ‘dynamic’ calibration on the road. Both types require properly trained technicians, but the latter is much more difficult.

Davies explains that, for dynamic calibration, the vehicle must travel at a certain speed for a certain amount of time, which can be problematic in the busy UK roads, or at certain times of the year, like in winter.

He also warns that smaller windscreen companies might have trouble keeping up with technological developments, with the challenge being understanding what vehicle has what ADAS system fitted to it.

Autoglass is a major company with plenty of manpower, but Davies warns that, for small organization or a one-man band, asking how will they keep up with the latest technology, and the latest methods.

Retro Arcade And VHS Store Vide Odyssey Opens In Liverpool

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Thanks to the boom of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, VHS stores, once a staple in major cities, are now a thing of the past. However, people still value the old media and its contents, as VHS to DVD stores still stand and old VHS tapes are sold on auction sites for big lumps of cash.

One film fan in Liverpool is going farther than that, however. Andy Johnson, a writer and tape hoarder, recently opened a VHS store in Liverpool, convinced that the old medium is making a comeback, a rumour most VHS to DVD store would want to validate.

His store, VideOdyssey, is different from the video shops that littered the UK in the late 80’s and 90’s, featuring a secret room filled where they can swap VHS tapes, enjoy vintage arcade games, as well as enjoy a cup of coffee. The room is hidden by a sliding wall disguised as a shelf of VHS tapes.

Video hire shops used to be dotted across the UK, a multi-million pound industry, but was considered by many as dead  when the last Blockbusters closed their doors back in 2013. Now, the recently opened VideOdyssey is the only VHS store in Liverpool. According to Johnson, he opened the store in the belief that fans are looking for a curated experience that doesn’t have them scrolling through an endless list of online movies, and that it was possible to go against the trend of online streaming services by giving customers an immersive experience when they walk into a brick and mortar store.

The VHS to DVD industry does well to save some of the VHS tapes, but millions of hours of film are still at risk of being lost forever, either due to mould or being scrapped thanks to being unable to recycled.

VideOdyssey is based in the studio inside Toxteth TV, on Windsor St., Liverpool, and offers vintage VHS players for those looking to enjoy the nostalgic videotapes, private VHS screening rooms with curated cinema screenings as well as Q&As with directors and other film events.

Andy Johnson hopes that the store would be more than just a video store, more than just a nostalgia trip for the fans of film.

 

Phuket Hotels Unite To Save The Island From Plastic And Overtourism

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Every few weeks, a new luxury hotel in Phuket opens, a sign of the booming tourism industry in the island and the country. That same tourism industry, however, brings plastic and pollution, so much of it, that hoteliers on the island have banded together to fight back.

Today, many of the island’s shores are packed with tourists and their trash, particularly during high season. Trash like plastic bags are now floating in the ocean, which has lead to huge efforts to conserve the island’s marine life and natural beauty that were responsible for bringing in tourists in the first place.

Trisara Managing Director and President of the Phuket Hotel Association Anthony Lark, came to the island 31 years ago, opening one of the earliest luxury hotel in Phuket, and he described the island as the quiet, deserted and pristine.

The negative impact brought on by mass tourism across the world have been making headlines in recent years. Back in 2017, people living in Barcelona and Venice had enough and took to the streets to protest against mass tourism.

In Southeast Asia, tourism has also been felt. Officials were recently forced to close the Maya beach indefinitely to visitors. The bay, which became popular thanks to the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach, was closed in June for four months thanks to environmental damage brought in by tourism. The hope was that the ecosystem should’ve recovered, but a government survey noted that the damage was actually worse than originally thought.

To fight back against the pollution, the Phuket Hotel Association and its members have banded together in order to cut down on their island as one of the few first steps to conserve and preserve Phuket. Educational programmes with local communities, as well as campaigns promoting responsible tourism are being rolled out.

All of the members of the PHA have also agreed to phase out single-use plastic and implement plans in order to stop the use of plastic water bottles and straws by 2019. Lark’s 40-villa resort used to send approximately 250,000 plastic bottles to landfills, but, now, the resort now uses reusable glass bottles.

IHG Director of Corporate Responsibility for Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and Greater China, Michael Blanding, says that the discussions are already ongoing and never-ending, but someone has to start somewhere.

 

 

Amazon Investing In Tado Smart Home Tech

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Smart home technology company, Tado, which has products including smart thermostats that contact providers like Capital Plumbing & Heating, has recently secured $50m in funding from its investors, including e-commerce titan Amazon, via their Alexa Fund.

The investment was also supported by the energy company Energy Innovation Capital, E.O.N, European Investment Bank, Inven Capital and, Total Energy Ventures.

This additional funding ups the company’s funding up to $102m. The new investment will then be used for the strengthening of the company’s position, as well as extending its service offerings.

As part of their deal, Tado’s smart thermostat products are now available to purchase from Amazon, with a starting kit costing £199.

Notably, this investment in smart home technology is not the first time that Amazon has invested into prop tech. The Alexa Fund provides up to $100m in venture capital funding for the voice technology investments for developers, manufacturers as well as companies. In September of 2018, the Alex Fund invested in prefab housing company Plant Prefab.

Director Paul Bernard, of the Alexa Fund, says that voice is now the method of choice for customers when it comes to interacting with the tech in their homes, as it provides a natural, seamless way to control everything, from lights to even security systems, even appliances and thermostats. One of the more popular smart home experiences with Alexa are with climate control systems, and that is why, Bernard says, the Alexa Fund is excited to support Tado as they bring their devices to more people across Europe, all of which are Alexa-compatible.

CEO Toon Bouten says that they are convinced they hope that every building will have intelligent heating and cooling, and that the market climate is great for raising capital as well as to utilize to position them as a market leader.

Tado’s smart thermostats connect heating and air conditioning systems to the internet, allowing for them to connect to providers like Capital Plumbing & Heating, for services like Geofencing, Weather Adaptation, and Boiler Repair Services, among others. The thermostat’s ability to detect the presence of people allow to save energy in the home, set the temperature efficiently, as well as save up on heating costs thanks to access to weather forecasts and adapting algorithms.

Cincinnati Inc. Demos 3D-Printed Press-Brake Tooling At 2018 FABTECH

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Harrison, Ohio company, Cincinnati Inc., will be showcasing something new at this year’s iteration of FABTECH, held at Atlanta, Georgia, on the 6th to the 8th of November.

The company will be showing off a new productive link between metal fabrication and additive manufacturing, using 3D printing technology for a new pressbrake upgrade, which they will display at their booth. CI will be showing a trio of 3D printed press brake process enhancements at their booth, B5543, in the FABTECH Additive Pavilion.

The three 3D printed pressbrake upgrade enhancement cover upper and lower air-bend tooling, back gauge fingers, and new inspection gauges.

The plastic used for the 3D printed tools is polylactic acid, a thermoplastic polymer that’s made from renewable resources, such as corn starch and/or sugar cane, classified as a biodegradable bioplastic. The milk-based plastic used to print these parts offer benefits, more than in production and manufacturing thanks to their renewable nature.

The manufacturing industry has tested 3D printed tools, discovering the products of the process to be great for specialized and short production job; the technology is ideal for prototype fabricators working 12-gauge or thinner materials, as well as those that make smaller specialty machine parts. 3D printed tools also allow suppliers to bypass the engineering and production tasks, as well as their associated costs, which have a tendency to getting such production runs and jobs from proceeding in a timely manner.

According to CI Senior Product Specialist of Vertical Motion Products, Mark Watson, the company has been working closely with additive and press-brake tooling ever since 2014, with the objective of improving the efficacy of forming with 3D-printed pieces. He says that they have long heard thatit’s impossible to find the link that connects the additive to the fabrication process, which is why they’ve visited Atlanta with the aim of proving otherwise.

Watson added that 3D printed technology is very much a design tool, one that opens a lot possibility for the industry at large. He says that customers will also be able to reap the benefits from this new technology, and he hopes that this demo will be something akin to a ‘light-bulb moment’.

Reasons Why Homeowners Must Splurge On Splashbacks

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When it comes to choosing a kitchen splashback, it is better to splurge than skimp. Custom cabinets, snazzy appliances and a well-equipped island are the pride of homeowners but what will likely catch the attention of visitors is the small stretch of wall above the sink that is more popularly known as the splashback. Do not miss on the opportunity to make a grand statement through kitchen splashback tiles mosaic in different colours and patterns.

In most kitchens, the splashback is the integral key to overall aesthetics. According to Alissa Bennett, design manager of Kolter Homes in Florida, the prime location of the splashback must incorporate something that is unique and fun. Aside from enhancing aesthetics, the splashback serves a functional purpose like protecting kitchen walls from dirt and stains.

Meanwhile, David Yowell of David Yowell Construction in McKinney, Texas suggests that splashbacks must complement the countertops and add colour, depth and beauty to a room. The easily washable surface will ensure that the kitchen looks cleaner.

According to Houzz Kitchen trends study that was published this year, it was revealed that 9 out of 10 homeowners who have undertaken kitchen renovations have upgraded their splashbacks. In 2017, the most popular colours were white, multicoloured and gray. White splashbacks are more likely to appear in kitchens of baby boomers as well as millennials.

However, other homeowners prefer ceramic, porcelain or glass tiles including natural stone like marble, travertine, granite or quartz. Others go for kitchen splashback tiles mosaic that is more colourful and prominent.

The two more popular splashback trends for 2018 include the scalloped or fish-scale pattern tile that offers more movement and a little more interest than the traditional rectangular tile and the splashback that looks like wallpaper sans the paper. There are elaborate patterns that are durable enough to withstand detergents.

Many homeowners are also moving from natural stone to the brightly coloured kitchen splashback tiles mosaic that looks beautiful and realistic. The design is perfect for homeowners who desire texture and patterns that will contrast with the simplicity of the countertop surfaces. Furthermore, the mosaic maintains a classic and trendy look that will not date very quickly.

Chinese Army Heads For Sydney Harbour For Military Exercise

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China’s People’s Liberation Army surrounded Sydney Harbour recently, not for war, but to foster cooperation between them and the Australian armed forces.

For the second time ever in history, the Australian army played host for its Chinese counterparts for team building in Australia, with the training exercise named PANDAROO.

On a cool, grey, overcast day, teams of soldiers, from Australia and China, paddled 60km down the New South Wales coast on kayaks to enter the Sydney Harbour. The weather didn’t change anything, however, as soldiers were still expected to capsize themselves into the cold Australian waters, and then cooperate in order to get themselves upright again, despite the language barrier.

Commander of the 6th Brigade, Australian Army; Brigadier Susan Doyle says that trust is the basis of militaries all around the world, built on friendships gained from such activities like adventure training for team building in Australia, and in other places. She says that the they will make friends for like, as she believes is the case with friendships born through adversity.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Ou Feng described their Aussie counterparts as brave and hardworking, saying that they teach her and the other Chinese soldiers climbing, as well as kayaking, and that the Aussie soldiers were professional and responsible throughout it all.

Operation Panderoo started in Canberra earlier in September, with a traditional welcome in Canberra, before the soldiers headed over to the Blue Mountains, for a series of rock climbs. The exercise programme places focus on basic training rather than military training, in contrast to the war games of Exercise Kakadu, which took place earlier in September in Darwin.

All these exercises for team building in Australia follows both governments’ attempts to rebuild diplomatic relations following a period of tension, with the AU’s Defence Minister Marise Payne meeting the top Chinese top diplomat on the sidelines of the United Nations meeting on the 25th of September.

Chinese media were reportedly watching Exercise Pandaroo closely, with George Yang, Chief Correspondent for Australia for HK’s Phoenix TV, saying that China-Australia relations are currently quite bumpy, which is why the Chinese media were watching the exercises.

Exercise Panderoo ended at the last week of September 2018.