Materials.Business Weekly ⚙️

April 13, 2021

Quote of the week: "Action is the foundational key to all success.” — Pablo Picasso, Spaniard painter (1881 – 1973).

From The Editor's Corner


A great dilemma today

There is a reason for a problematic analogy. Patents have a history of millennials, and bitcoin’s history is just more than one decade. But if one of them is from the past times, both are for the future, which is the crucial point for a deeper benchmarking. In the coming decades, the post-globalization times will be characterized by knowledge as the predominant factor of richness production. This predominance is the explanation of often current advice about the required professionals: strong skills on innovation. Innovation is knowledge; knowledge could be an asset, and we must protect assets. Patenting is protection for innovation; patents are valuable assets. But according to the news, bitcoin is increasingly one of the most valuable assets of the coming times. To bet one of them is a hard rivaling.

The world of patents

The story of patents is closely linked to the development of humanity. According to historians, its origin began as early as 500 BCE, when chefs in the Greek colony of Sybaris monopolized profit for a unique dish. In 1416, the Great Council of Venice awarded the first patent for a technological invention: A device for transforming wool into felt. The status of monopolies starts to be ruled, paving the way to the First Industrial Revolution. In 1449, the English King granted a letter patent for the manufacture of stained glass. In 1623, the English Parliament approved the “Statute of Monopolies,” and, in 1710, copyright law was adopted. Eleven years after its independence, in 1887, the USA Constitution gave Congress the authority to secure inventors’ rights, and in 1790 the US act patent was established. However, even in 1873, many inventors avoided attending the Vienna World's Fair because of their apprehension against copying. The intellectual property became a global issue, and the Paris Convention for protecting industrial* property in 1883 was a good answer. The conditions for inventors were attractive, and there was an explosion of innovations—many of those patented inventions involving new types and new ways of producing materials. Protagonists of the revolution like Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, Ford, Benz, Marconi, etc., appeared as innovators and great entrepreneurs. Another group member was the Swedish Alfred Nobel, who had obtained 355 patents and owned 93 plants in 20 countries when he died. Someof them are part of the USA Inventors Hall of Fame, as inventors contributing to change the world. Curiously, most of the inventions included in the list are related to materials, from the Bessemer process and the manufacture of aluminum to the liquid crystal display and the silicon solar cell, including carborundum, X-ray spectrometer, carbon fibers, Bakelite, polyethylene, the transistor, the pH Meter, iron buildings, vulcanization of rubber, and others. But we may note the absence of underlined patents concerning the protection of materials. Indeed, the future is going to be very different because materials and asset protection are becoming essential. Highlighting patents contributing to the world's future must be related to new materials, including selection, usage, conservation, reuse, refurbishing, recovery, and recycling. Corrosionists, the world of patents is yours!

But, what is a patent? In principle, intellectual property refers to minded created assets such as literary and artistic work, designs, symbols, images, brands, and inventions. Legislation has two branches, copyright, concerning the protection of the rights about literary and artistic creations (books, music, paints, sculptures, films, performances, broadcasts, technology-based programs, electronic databases, etc.). The second one is industrial property, which is a body of legislation about the protection of relevant creations from the scientific and economic productivity perspective: industry, commerce, agriculture, mining, and manufacturing in general: inventions in all fields of human endeavor, utility models, scientific discoveries, industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, geographical indications, and commercial names and designations. Inventions are protected by patents, the most widely used way to protect technical inventions, allowing people to be recognized or benefit financially from what they invent. A patent is a contract between the society and the inventor or author of a new way of doing something or a new technical solution to a problem. Thee patents’ legislation seeks a right beneficial balance for both parties: monopoly of the exploitation granted to the inventor and open access to the technical information supporting the invention. The overall objective is to stimulate social and economic development by encouraging creativity and innovation in both the inventor and the public.

Current laws can enforce the inventor's patent rights only within the territory in which the patent was granted. Usually, it is a grant by each country. However, international grants cover a region, e.g., Europe, or a group of countries, as the Patent Cooperation Treaty grants (PCT). Aside from location, also there are restrictions about time. As a rule, the inventor’s monopolistic exploitation ends after 20 years, and the patent enters the public domain. Worldwide annual patent applications are growing fast, increasing from less than one million to more than three million(above 50% in China) between 1990 and 2019. For instance, in 2017, according to the technology field, 3.2% were concerned with basic materials chemistry, 2.4% with materials & metallurgy, 1.6% with surface technology/coatings, and 0.2% with microstructural/nanotechnology. About 45% of the patent applications are granted. As a result, the total number of patents in force globally is about 15 million. In other words, this is a vast bank of knowledge available as a source of creativity and innovation for everyone. Besides, there are more than 80 million expired and open for economic exploitation. Many companies live from expired patents. Also, corrosionists can take advantage of this information to innovate and protect by patenting, responding to the post-globalized age challenges. The future is of innovators and inventors, and as a signal, April 26th has been declared World Intellectual Property Day. To celebrate the date, the USPTO is organizing an event on April 26th, 2021, at 15:00 EST (GMT – 4), about “Intellectual property and small businesses: Taking big ideas to market.”

The world of cryptocurrency

Here, a history in short. Cryptocurrency is the usual denomination for a virtual currency that became well known with bitcoin launching in 2008 when somebody presumed pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto published a text proposing a radical innovation of the monetary system. An integrated emergence with blockchain technology, the required specific tool for cryptographic security. Today, after one decade of positioning, cryptocurrency is represented by bitcoin and many other similar currency options. In Julia 2010, bitcoin began trading at a value of USD $0.0008, and in April 2021, its value is reached USD $60.000. According to the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation – IFRS – based in London, “cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that is recorded on a distributed ledger and uses cryptography for security.”

Quick benchmark

IFRS oversees advising about assets accountability. In such a direction, it has identified some of the cryptocurrency characteristics. Furthermore, we know many of the features of the patents. Let's compare it briefly:

● Patents and bitcoins are intangible assets. That means that they are identifiable, separable, measurable, and accountable, but without physical substance, immaterial (like computer software, import quotas, or external goodwill).

● Both can be traded: Sold, transferred, licensed, etc.

● As assets, patents and cryptocurrency are capital and productivity factors.

● Not patents neither bitcoins are monetary assets, but both are monetizable.

● Patents arise from legal and contractual rights. Any authority does not issue Bitcoins, and a holder does not have any contract.

● A patent is an intellectual asset. Cryptocurrency is a capital asset.

● In principle, until now, patents look more powerful. But they are equally unstable.

Which is your bet? As a result, there was a false dilemma. Invest in bitcoin and patents, but if it is not possible, invest in patents (use, trade, apply and get them)!

Remember: Protection of materials and equipment is a profitable business!

Prof. Carlos Arroyave, Ph.D. Editor.

Materials Biz News

Machine learning for a better offshore O&G management

Researchers at the School of Engineering of the University of Sao Paulo have developed a hybrid computational methodology for gas-liquid flow pattern management in chemical, nuclear, and energy industries. Joint principles of artificial intelligence and fluid mechanics are handled by random forest and artificial neural network tools. The resulting heuristic modeling improves the prediction performance of the dual-phase flow in offshore risers used for deep and ultra-deep oil and gas extraction (several kilometers long), even with a low amount of training data. Furthermore, this phenomenological model provides a better understanding of the models' performance than the traditional ones. In the end, a new and valuable computational tool for monitoring offshore operation and easier detection and localization of leaks, failures, and accidents at all. Then, lower environmental, operational, and economic risks.

Augmented and virtual reality for better caring of materials and equipment

Google Creative Lab is launching the new WebXR technology in its Experiments platform. With these AR and VR tools, we have on-time information about what is there and, what happens, and how we can interact with the world around us. Some of the possibilities suggested may be related to the industrial assets caring, and exploration about that is an open call. According to the Company, the only requirements are a supported Android device and the latest Chrome browser. Examples of proven applications are:

Sodar: You can see what two meters look like in any environment.

Measure Up: Calculate the length, area, and volume of the things around.

Floom: Open your browser to tunnel through the earth and see what’s on the other side.

Alto: Explore the basics of machine learning by building your teachable object.

Artificial Intelligence is permeating our companies

Some days ago, the fifth edition of a yearly ranking about the 100 most promising private firms working in the AI space was published. The winners are based in 12 countries and work in 18 different industries. 64% are headquartered in the U.S., followed by 8% in the U.K., and 6% each in Israel and China. Health and industry are the leading sectors. According to an emerging technologies analyst, the ranking is a measurement of automation's depth within the industry. Ranked industry firms aim with activities like waste management (2), construction (1), manufacturing (2), defense (1), transportation (7), mining (1), and energy (2). Most of them SMEs and, in principle, there are not large and well-known enterprises. We all know that possibilities are enormous, but the road is long.


Materials process engineering

Position: Process Engineer

Seeker: 3M

Location: Bangkok, Thailand

The basic profile of the candidate:

● Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Production Engineer or relevant field.

● Experience: New Graduate or 0-2 years of experience in manufacturing plant.

● Skills: Computer literate and proficient in MS Office.

Job description: Responsible for initiating and conducting defined technical tasks associated with the process and product understanding and development within a manufacturing environment, using tools like Kaizen and Lean Manufacturing for optimization.

Teaching inorganic chemist in Puerto Rico

Position: Tenure-Track Faculty Positions

Seeker: University of Puerto Rico

Location: Cayey, Puerto Rico

The basic profile of the candidate:

● Education: Ph.D. in Chemistry.

● Experience: Specializing in Inorganic Chemistry, with experience in teaching, research, artistic creation, and community service, and the development of academic proposals and publications.

Job description: The incumbent will be responsible for teaching introductory courses service courses and complying with faculty regulations outlined in the University General Bylaws.

A Ph.D. on materials for nuclear waste disposal

Position: Doctoral trainee

Seeker: School of Chemical and Process Engineering and School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds

Location: Leeds, UK.

The basic profile of the candidate:

● Education: At least a first-class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honors degree (or equivalent) in engineering, chemistry, geology, or environmental science.

● Skills: The minimum English language entry requirement is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) or equivalent.

Job description: The successful applicant will work in the UKCRIC Centre for Infrastructure Materials at the University of Leeds in collaboration with the Encapsulant Integrated Research Team (EIRT) at Sellafield Ltd. This research project aims to develop a new generation of engineered UK-based supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) and understand their effects on the performance of bespoke cementitious grouts designed for the safe disposal of legacy and future UK nuclear waste.

Networking & Knowledge Exchange

Lab simulation is essential. Virtual

Lanzetta Rengifo is a Colombian-based company aimed distribution of laboratory equipment in Latin American countries. One of its represented brands is ATLAS MTT, a centenary international leader in manufacturing equipment for materials testing, including a line of weathering testing instrumentation, laboratory, and outdoor testing services. Through their Atlas Online Weathering Academy, they are inviting Spanish-speaking people to attend a seminar about “Weathering tests for architectural applications.”

Date: Thursday, April 22nd, 2021.

Time: 09:00 COT (GMT - 5).

Learning with the experts about 3D printing of metals. Virtual

Markforged will be hosting a seminar about the future of mass production of metals by additive manufacturing, and entitled “An Honest Conversation About 3D Printing”. The presenter will be Lishan Mu, Product Management, and Daniel Leong, Product Marketing of Markforget. Topics to be explained are the current benefits of metal 3D printing, what applications work, what facility and financial considerations exist, and how to build a compelling business case.

Date: Wednesday, April 21st, 2021.

Time: 10:00 EST (GMT - 4).

An event about cutting-edge technologies for the processing and performance of galvanized steel. Virtual

GALVATECH 2021 is the 12th International Conference on Zinc & Zinc Alloy Coated Steel Sheet. A meeting organized by the Austrian Society for Metallurgy and Materials with the motto “Lighter, Stronger, Durable: Advances in Zn-Coated Sheet Steel.” Some of the topics to be considered are corrosion, new galvanizing lines, vapor deposition, challenges in galvanizing advanced high strength steels, embrittlement, developments in the process line, and recent results in automobile, construction, and household and consumer electronics application. Keynote invited speakers are Jong-Sang Kim (POSCO), Nobuhiro Fujita (Nippon Steel Corporation), Frank Goodwin (International Zinc Association), Qifu Zhang (China Iron & Steel Res. Institute Group), and Frederic Painchault (ArcelorMittal Global Automotive & Mobility Solutions).

Dates: Sunday to Thursday, June 20th to 24th, 2021.

Time: Central European Daylight Time (GMT + 2).

Photo by David Shares on Unsplash