U.S. Chamber Calls on Lawmakers to Reject Gridlock and Pursue Agenda for American Strength

I refrain from politics on this blog and other places notwithstanding that I was in the 99th percentile on the political science graduate record exam at university and came close to a graduate degree in that discipline before I escaped into common sense.

I also am not a booster of the US Chamber of Commerce. However, throwing all that aside, I have to report on this news from them regarding today’s political agenda in Congress (and elsewhere). Kudos to CEO Clark and the organization for taking a stand. I don’t agree with their entire agenda, but that’s OK. Ideas and debate are good. Let’s quit making points on social media and start doing things to make the country stronger and better.

U.S. Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark – in the annual State of American Business address – today urged government to reject partisan gridlock, pursue an actionable agenda to strengthen America, and give businesses the best opportunity to succeed.  

“Business demands better from our government because when it comes to Washington, the state of American business is fed up,” said Clark. “The polarization, gridlock, regulatory overreach, and inability to act smartly and strategically for our future is making it harder for all of us to do our jobs and move this country forward.”  

“We need a government that works. A government that rejects gridlock and chooses governing. A government that can partner with the private sector on our biggest challenges and can engage globally to advance America’s interests, and the world’s. A government that limits itself to the work only it can do — no more and no less.”  

Agenda for American Strength 

Clark called on Congress to begin work on an Agenda for American Strength that can “help us not only navigate the present moment but also steer our country to the brighter, stronger future that we expect — and future generations deserve.” 

Clark outlined a forward-looking, aspirational agenda to strengthen our country in five key areas: building, people, energy, global leadership, and the rule of law. She stressed that progress can be made on national priorities immediately through practical, actionable steps, and highlighted the following key actions that Congress and the Administration should pursue this year: 

Pass a permitting reform bill to deliver on the investment made in infrastructure; 

Secure our nation’s border, protect Dreamers, and increase the number of employment-based visas; 

Fix worker shortages by improving access to childcare and incentivizing work; 

Accelerate permitting for new American energy exploration and production, finalize a legally required 5-year program for offshore leasing, and make it easier to build energy infrastructure;

Work in partnership with the private sector to achieve climate resilience through innovation; 

Resume free and fair trade negotiations and pursue new deals; 

Tackle head-on the challenges with China, while maximizing the benefits America can and must derive from continuing to do business with the world’s second largest economy in areas consistent with our national security and values;  

End lawsuit abuse by going after litigation funders; and 

Enact policy changes to help law enforcement and prosecutors make our communities safe and fight organized retail crime. 

Equally important, Clark noted, is what government should stop doing: instituting a government-knows-best approach that burdens American businesses with overregulation and micromanages our economy.  

Fighting Overregulation through the Courts 

“The unprecedented regulatory overreach has accelerated over the past two years,” said Clark. “When I gave this speech last year, I pledged that if government didn’t stop getting in the way through overregulation, we would lead the fight to stop it. And that’s why the Chamber sued the FTC, the SEC, and the CFPB last year. And we won’t hesitate to do it again if that’s what’s needed to protect business interests, preserve innovation and competition, and position our economy for growth.”  

“Our message to our partners in government today is very simple,” said Clark. “Do your jobs, so we can do ours. Make government work, so business can keep working … so companies of all sizes can keep doing the things that society needs, expects, and trusts us to do. America is a great and capable nation, and together, we can do the big thinking and take the smart steps to secure the future we deserve and strengthen this country that we all love.” 

McMenon Acquires Flowmeter Line from ABB

This news came to me via a UK company called McMenon Engineering Services. It concerns ABB, too. To quote from McMenon, “A UK manufacturing company’s growth plans have taken an exciting leap forward with the acquisition of a state-of-the-art product line from Europe.”

A range of Variable Area (VA) Flowmeters will now be manufactured in Workington, Cumbria, after McMenon Engineering Services Ltd was chosen by global technology company ABB to make the VA flowmeter product portfolio that had been produced by ABB in Germany. 

Following the acquisition, McMenon, under a supply partnership agreement, will continue to supply VA meters carrying the ABB brand and the meters remain part of ABB’s product offering.

McMenon, a worldwide manufacturer and supplier of quality flow and temperature measurement instrumentation, and ABB have a long-standing partnership.

With this acquisition, McMenon, already a highly recognised name in the global flowmeter and temperature instrumentation market, will now be placed among the top global manufacturers of VA flowmeters. ABB customers will see no difference and can expect the same product quality they are used to. 

Intent to form the Open Metaverse Foundation

I picked up this bit of news last month on a blog  at the Open Metaverse Foundation by Royal O’Brien published on December 15, 2022. I had written a couple of things on “industrial metaverse” speculating on what is actually new and what could possibly be realistic. The Linux Foundation has begun an effort to bring companies together to work on definitions and security issues. Befitting a project of the Linux Foundation, openness is the plea and the work.

In October, we brought top experts from diverse sectors together with leaders from many of the projects across the Linux Foundation to discuss what it will take to transform the emerging concept of the Metaverse from promise to reality—from digital assets, simulations and transactions, to artificial intelligence, networking, security and privacy, and legal considerations. 

One thing I found interesting is the list of interest groups as initially defined. This provides a bit of definition as to their thinking of what constitutes a metaverse market.

  • Users, 
  • transactions, 
  • digital assets, 
  • virtual worlds and simulation, 
  • artificial intelligence, 
  • networking, 
  • security and privacy, 
  • legal and policy.

They are looking for members. I am curious about what companies will join and work on this project. Of course, one thing I won’t discover will be the companies that join to slow down the process.

Siemens 2022 Sustainability Report

Siemens sent a news release notifying the release of its 2022 Sustainability Report. Regarding sustainability, click the link on the Carbon Almanac image on the right sidebar for general information about reducing our own carbon footprint.

Siemens has been a pioneer in sustainability for many years and is continuing to accelerate its commitments. With the publication of its Sustainability Report covering environmental, societal and corporate governance (ESG) for fiscal 2022, the company announced new, more ambitious targets for its own decarbonization as well as extensive investments. Siemens also disclosed the customer emissions avoided through its products and solutions sold in 2022, approximately 150 million tons, based on an updated future impact calculation methodology in accordance with the principles outlined in the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol Reporting Standard.

  • Approximately 46 percent CO2 reduction in own operations since 2019
  • Ambitious targets: 55 percent physical CO2 reduction by 2025 and 90 percent by 2030
  • Approximately 150 million tons customer emissions avoided with Siemens’ products and solutions sold in FY 2022
  • €650 million investment for own decarbonization by 2030
  • €280 million investment for training and continuing education of own workforce in 2022

PTC Acquires ServiceMax

PTC to Acquire SaaS Field Service Management Provider ServiceMax

PTC continually enlarges its footprint in the digital enterprise domain. There was its expansion a few years ago into Internet of Things with acquisition of ThingWorx and Kepware. Those brought a relationship with Rockwell Automation—and I noticed its stand at Automation Fair this month was continually busy. Now an extension into field service management related to its product lifecycle management (PLM) portfolio. 

This is an interesting acquisition. Management believes it can bring all these acquisitions together to get the jigsaw puzzle pieces to interlock.

  • Acquisition expected to strengthen service capabilities of PTC’s closed-loop PLM portfolio
  • PTC’s manufacturing customers rely on field service management for product performance, customer satisfaction, and profitability expansion
  • Strong synergies between PTC and ServiceMax’s manufacturing customers and product portfolios
  • Transaction expected to be accretive to PTC’s SaaS ARR and cash flow in FY’23

 PTC announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire ServiceMax for approximately $1.46 billion in cash on a debt-free, cash-free basis from an entity majority owned by Silver Lake. ServiceMax is a recognized leader in cloud-native, product-centric field service management (FSM) software. The acquisition is expected to strengthen PTC’s closed-loop product lifecycle management (PLM) offerings by extending the digital thread of product information into downstream enterprise asset management (EAM) and FSM capabilities. Subject to the satisfaction of regulatory approval and other applicable closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in early January 2023.

Partners since 2015, PTC and ServiceMax both support manufacturers of complex, highly configured products for the medical device, industrial products, aerospace, and related verticals. These manufacturers view field service as a strategic part of their businesses to maintain product performance, extend their products’ lifecycles, increase customer satisfaction, drive revenue growth, and expand profitability.

Details:

  • The purchase price will be funded in two stages, with $808 million paid at closing and $650 million paid in October 2023. The transaction will be funded with cash on hand, borrowings under PTC’s existing credit facility, and a new $500 million committed term loan.
  • ServiceMax is expected to contribute approximately $160 million in ARR for PTC’s Q2’23.
  • The transaction is expected to be accretive to PTC’s FY’23 cash flow from operations, free cash flow, and adjusted free cash flow targets.

Hexagon Startup Accelerator Picks Eight Metaverse Startups

Is “Metaverse” a flash-in-the-pan? An ephemeral vision soon to succumb to reality? This news from Hexagon from a couple of weeks ago is about the last I’ve heard. There was one comment about metaverse at the trade show I visited this week, but I think the person spoke ironically.

At any rate, the technologies (if not use cases) are real and under development. Hexagon has announced previously a startup incubator called Sixth Sense—an “accelerator-style” program to fast-track their solutions to commercial success.

Hexagon has announced eight startups that will join its fold under its Sixth Sense. These start-ups have been identified by Sixth Sense as the next big thing for digital reality solutions in the manufacturing sector (digital reality, AR, VR Metaverse).

Examples of the start-ups’ innovations include:

  • A ‘handheld lab’ gel scanner that replicates human skin tactility to autonomously test materials
  • An algorithm that can analyse an entire car or plane, and in seconds recommend which elements would be stronger, cheaper or lighter if 3D-printed
  • An app that takes product data and turns it into a 3D virtual and interactive model, using any smartphone
  • An AR overlay to remote customer service, enabling technicians to literally show how it’s done

Eight ‘best of the best’ startups have won out in a competitive pitch process and will join a rigorous ten-week programme to inform and refine their offering with Hexagon’s market insights to global brands like Audi, Boeing, and Microsoft. It will conclude in showcase in February, where two winners will be offered a unique opportunity to scale with Hexagon’s portfolio and bring their digital reality solution directly to customers.

The eight start-ups are:

  • 3YOURMIND, Berlin, Germany—enables more agile manufacturing with a software suite that standardises, optimises and automates the entire process chain to enable on-demand part production. Software is designed to efficiently schedule and track manufacturing processes – from the initial order to the finished part.
  • Augmentir, Horsham, USA—provides companies with smart insights to the workforce and processes, from “hire to retire”. The collected data helps to reduce time to productivity, enables targeted reskilling and upskilling, and provides individualised guidance and support at the point of work.
  • Threedy, Darmstadt, Germany—provides the visual computing technologies to translate the ever-growing web of 3D, business and process data into highly responsive and interactive 3D applications. Its instant3Dhub technology translates existing 3D data entities into highly interactive experiences while minimising device and infrastructure costs.
  • oculavis, Aachen, Germany—develops Visual Assistance software which connects machinery and equipment with experts, technicians and customers worldwide. Intuitive Augmented Reality (AR) annotations in video calls facilitate focused collaboration between technicians and clients.
  • CASTOR, Tel Aviv, Israel—provides automated 3D printing software which analyses thousands of parts simultaneously and offers deep technical analysis of a complete machine design. It enables manufacturers to identify cost reduction opportunities, suggests geometry changes to the part’s design, estimates the cost and lead time and connects the manufacturer to a printing service bureau.
  • GelSight, Waltham, USA—develops human skin-like tactile sensing technology that provides detailed and rapid surface characterisation, enabling several surface measurement applications and robotic sensing capabilities.
  • JITbase, Montreal, Canada—builds smart manufacturing software that uses machine data and information from CNC programmes to calculate the optimal sequence of machinist activities on the shop floor. The Optimal Path System (OPS) is based on algorithms that calculate in real-time what should happen in production to maximise the availability rate of the fleet of machines.
  • Teratonics, Orsay, France—offers highly automated non-destructive testing, imaging systems and analysis services through the use of ultrashort Terahertz pulses. Users can look into every produced part to uncover internal defects and measure dimensions.

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