Stephanie Louise Kwolek’s research in 1971 resulted in an important discovery, in the form of a liquid crystalline polymer solution. The unusual strength and stiffness of this solution led to the invention of Kevlar®, a synthetic material five times stronger than steel and resistant to wear, corrosion, and flame. That’s why Kevlar is the main component of modern bulletproof vests, which have become invaluable to legions of servicepeople. Not restricted to just this use, Kevlar is used in several other products like skis, safety helmets, hiking and camping gear, and suspension bridge cables.
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“It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.” This is something Wilbur Wright said almost a hundred years ago, but that still stands true. Wilbur Wright, with his brother Orville Wright, developed the first successful airplane in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and together they are considered the fathers of modern aviation.
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Born on November 26, 1876, in Angola, New York to Duane Williams Carrier and Elizabeth R. Haviland, Willis Carrier invented the first electrical air conditioning unit in 1902 and went on to found the Carrier Corporation in 1915. The company is now a world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration solutions.
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“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” These words come from Henry Ford, one of America’s prominent industrialists and founder of the Ford Motor Company. Ford revolutionized factory production with his assembly-line methods for automobiles.
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An American engineer specializing in heat transfer and fluid dynamics, Nancy Burr Deloye Fitzroy was the first woman to study chemical engineering at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She is an internationally-recognized expert in the field of mechanical engineering.
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The more inventory a company has, the less likely they will have what they need. This was the opinion of Taiichi Ohno, a Japanese industrial engineer, considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System, a management philosophy which in 1990s came to be known as Lean Manufacturing. Using Lean Manufacturing principles, manufacturing companies gain a competitive edge, reduce their manufacturing lead time, improve the quality of their products, and reduce waste. He devised the list of seven wastes (or muda in Japanese) as part of this system. His “just-in-time” system (kanban) revolutionized manufacturing processes.
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Did you know that the famous American company Tesla Motors, designer and manufacturer of premium electric vehicles, is named after electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla?
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Considered one of the most influential woman in engineering, Kate Gleason was an American engineer and businesswoman known both for being an accomplished woman in the predominantly male field of engineering and for her philanthropy. Her unconventional attitude and approach to business and engineering made her a pioneer in the field and paved the way for a growing number of women engineers.
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In continuation of our Throwback Thursday series, where we revisit the lives of distinguished figures from the manufacturing industry, we are remembering the Father of Modern Robotics Joseph Frederick Engelberger this week. He was an American physicist, engineer, and entrepreneur who was responsible for the birth of one the most important and impactful industries, gaining him global recognition for his contribution as the Father of Robotics.
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The manufacturing industry today would not be the same without the extraordinary men and women who shaped it decades ago. Watch this space to learn about these visionary people and how they revolutionized this industry in their own way.
Here’s our very own version of #throwbackthursday, with inventor, chemist, and entrepreneur, James Watt.
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