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Thu, 11 Jul 2019
ERICSSON TO BUILD ITS FIRST FULLY-AUTOMATED SMART FACTORY

Ericsson says that the creation of this factory is in-line with its plans for a more flexible global supply chain, and builds on the firm’s previously announced strategic initiative is the U.S. market. The company is also fast-tracking the launch of the next-generation smart manufacturing through a modular and flexible production setup in its existing own factories in Estonia, China and Brazil.

The exact location of the U.S. factory will be announced upon concluding discussions with state and local authorities.

The smart factory will be powered by Ericsson 5G solutions tailored for the industrial environment. The firm says that fast and secure 5G connectivity will enable agile operations and flexible production. This will be achieved through automated warehouses, connected logistics and automated assembly, packing and product handling, and the use of autonomous carts.

The latest technology products created in the 5G factory will enable a faster rollout of commercial 5G across the region. To ensure the high quality of products, Ericsson runs its new product introduction** and early production in-house. Over time, activities to support new product introduction will also be added to the new factory operations as local competence and knowledge of 5G is built.

Ericsson plans to initially employ approximately 100 people at the facility, which will have highly automated operations, as well as a modular and flexible production setup to enable quick ramp up and rollout.

*Advanced Antenna Systems radios enable large scale deployments in 4G and 5G mobile networks. Street Macro radios for urban use are radios with integrated RAN Compute baseband functionality that allows network densification in metropolitan areas, where no new rooftop sites are available.

** New Product Introduction (NPI) is the process that new products must pass through in order to get a product prototype from design to market introduction.

Source: https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/399/192874.html

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Tue, 09 Jul 2019
This South African invention allows drones to plant hundreds of trees in mi...

Two drone enthusiasts have devised a new invention that allows drones to plant large numbers of seeds in minutes.

South African Andries Louw and Australian Andrew Walker built a pneumatic firing module that shoots seeds into soil.

It can spit out two seeds per second at velocities of anywhere between 150 and 300 metres per second. This is faster than the cruising speed of a passenger jet.

The module, called it Podder, can attach to the bottom of popular drone models. Louw and Walker estimate that a team of two, flying 2 drones, can plant up to 40,000 seeds into into the ground in a day. In just ten minutes they can plant what the average human can plant.

The first module was built in a garage in Hermanus, but since then Louw, a certified drone pilot, and Walker, a mechanical engineer based in Sydney, have founded a company called AirSeed Technologies, and hope to use their technology to address deforestation.

Deforestation is the second-leading cause of climate change after burning fossil fuels and accounts for nearly 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions — more than the world’s entire transport sector.

A fleet of their drones could plant 100 million trees a year from 2023, the duo believes.

“Reforestation is where everything starts. Worldwide there is a deficit of 14 billion trees a year, which equates to 1.26 million metric tonnes of lost carbon sequestration every year,” said Louw.

It is a costly business – an average tree costs R30 to plant in Africa. Louw says they can reduce this cost by as much as 70% using drones. The cost is so high because most of the work is done in remote areas which are hard to reach and even harder to plant by hand.

An average hand planter manages around 800 trees a day, said Louw. And it can take long. Germinating the seeds can take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years, depending on the tree.

It’s not the first time seed-planting has been done by air, but the success rate of germination is low.

Drones have also been used, but Louw says payloads have been limited to 150 seeds per flight due to the weight of the seeds, which also needed to be pre-germinated.

So, AirSeed designed a carbon seed pod made from a soil additive called biochar to make them lighter. This highly compressed charcoal is made from the thermochemical conversion of biomass.

The balls come out looking like black paintball bullets. They’re light, weighing as little as 5 grams, and strong – which also means there can be up to a thousand seeds in a single payload.

By compressing seeds into the biochar, the pods act like a natural fertiliser. The seeds also don’t need to be pre-germinated as the carbon is nutrient-rich and can be infused with land-specific microbes and fungi.

“Without the seeds the entire project would mean nothing…We had to come up with a solution for the payload that was light; that was viscus, in other words smooth; that was durable and would not break on impact; and that protected the [...]

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Fri, 05 Jul 2019
Forbes Africa #30Under30 list: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport...

THE FORBES AFRICA 30 UNDER 30 LIST IS THE most-anticipated list of game-changers on the continent and this year, we bring you 120 of Africa’s brightest achievers under the age of 30 and for the first time, four categories featuring 30 in each: Business, Technology, Creatives and Sport.

From elevator manufacturing, solar energy design, to under-30s conquering the Alps and selling out the Apollo Theatre, this year’s list demonstrates how enterprising and extraordinary the African youth is.

This list celebrates these pioneers who are building brands, creating jobs, and innovating, leading, transforming and contributing to new industries, in turn, changing the continent.

“The future belongs to Africa and the future belongs to its youth,” says Jason Pau, Chief of Staff for International to billionaire Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba. He says the journey for young entrepreneurs, especially in Africa, is not always easy. Many startups fall by the wayside due to a lack of resources. In South Africa, it is estimated that the small enterprise failure rate is at almost 80% within the first three years.

Chances at success are very slim, yet Africans continue to see opportunity where many do not. The select few celebrated in this list represent those individuals who continue to persevere against the odds. It also serves as a reminder that it is possible.

“People don’t really give enough time or spend enough time in providing the right environment for entrepreneurs to grow,” Pau tells FORBES AFRICA.

So if entrepreneurship is the answer, ensuring that an environment is conducive for business sustainability is imperative.

Together with our audit partner for this list, SNG Grant Thornton, the senior editorial team worked night and day scrutinizing each candidate. For entrepreneurs, we delved into how profitable their businesses were and if they showed signs of potential growth and sustainability.

However, not only does the list look at the financial impact of each candidate, but also their reputation, resilience and ability to be role models to other young Africans.

For FORBES AFRICA, this meant endless background checks, fact-checks, emails, phone calls and research, sifting through over 1,000 nominations that poured in over the last few months. Lastly, the one factor that also played a role in the determination of the candidates was their online presence. Followers are a valuable new currency, and today’s achievers have found a way to leverage off them. This year, when FORBES named Kylie Jenner the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, it observed that her business was built mainly because of her social media and fan following. Many on our list have also been able to build on this in their own way. The creatives and sport stars lead in this regard.

This year, Sport is the newest category, opening up the list to the game-changers who are also Africa’s next generation of leaders. They have won awards, broken records, made social investments and pushed the boundaries by challenging the status quo on policies in sports. However, some of the challenges they still face include lack of resources, a gender pay gap, and an immense pool of untapped talent not yet [...]

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