D. R. Rockwell

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To counter the looming threat of the ME3, the US3 need to examine their global reach. Their partnerships with the western European airlines and the east Asia airlines are insufficient for the increased travel in the middle east and Indian subcontinent beyond major cities like Dubai, Doha, Mumbai, Delhi, or Kolkota. The have missed the opportunity to connect more than a billion people. The reality is that most travellers are traveling through the middle east to get to other destinations, and in the last decade the middle east has become a popular tourist stop increasing the sales of the ME3 airline tickets, though not profitably. Delta is most at risk because it lacks key partnerships like Air India.

Alternative fuels have been something that the aerospace industry has been examining for the last two decades with biofuels showing significant promise. The problem with all of the alternative energy sources relative to their typical hydrocarbon based energy sources is that the energy density of these alternatives are drastically lower. Energy density is an important metric to look at for fuel on vehicles because it can be used to tell you how much energy for a given density which is correlated to the take off weight of the vehicle. Low energy density means heavier fuel weight and shorter range, higher energy density means lighter fuel weight and longer range. To use biofuels in aircraft may require redesigns in seals and hoses for carrying fuels, as the viscosity of the biofuels is different from hydrocarbons and causes leaks. Which is why biofuels are usually mixed with their typical jet fuel to get a “cleaner burn”, this is the type of fuel examined in the biofuel infrastructure study.

A switch to 100% biofuel use will be unsustainable without finding additives to increase the energy density of the fuels. Also, the number of hectares of plants required to fuel the aviation fleet of the world would exceed arable land capacity, without any changes to energy density. Furthermore, the energy used to process plants into biofuels is substantially higher than that used to process oil into jet fuel. Ultimately more research is required before a viable commercial infrastructure can be put in place.

On November 24, 2017, D. R. Rockwell commented on Victoria, Don’t Keep a Sustainable Supply Chain Story a Secret :

Their commitment in response to the activists is defensive, and not offensive. This commitment has not accomplished its goals yet, and even when it does Victoria’s Secret should not use their sustainability thrust in outright marketing promotions. Sometimes you can do the right thing without the “pomp and circumstance,” I think a more subtle labeling approach is the correct way to go. I think the brand may suffer it appears they are “Going Green for Green” $:)$

On November 24, 2017, D. R. Rockwell commented on Isolationism: How to kill American solar :

I believe that NEE’s reaction, of stockpiling inventory, were appropriate given the circumstances. It is prudent to begin scenario planning in instances of political uncertainty and performing a risk assessment, weighing the probability and consequences of each scenario against the other. Two examples provided where they either continue to source from China increasing the capex of a solar power plant, and the other scenario of sourcing from the US with inferior technology thereby decreasing the useful life or the max power generation of a similar cost solar power plant with no increased import duty, both have the net effect of increasing the cost of solar. The question is how much of these costs will be transferred to consumers?

Given NEE’s diversified set of energy holdings, I assume the cost impacts for consumers will be minimal.

On November 24, 2017, D. R. Rockwell commented on Pie in the Sky: can Africa help UPS in the Game of Drones? :

Drone Delivery is problematic because of 1) possibilities of crashes/damage to goods or property and 2) theft and vandalism are two primary reasons.
1) Drones have a limited ability to detect and avoid trouble, unreliable communications links or GPS signals, pilot errors are major causes of military drone crashes. UPS and other 3PLs bear responsibility for damage of goods shipped by them, but in the event of the crash near a home they would also be responsible for damage to someone’s property. They will need some great insurance.

2) UPS deliveries are subject to theft, and this would be even more noticeable to a drop off by a drone. Also drones make for easy targets for vandals, who wish to damage them or intentionally crash them. To crash a drone all you need is a bent propeller or to mix its GPS signal.

The Drone Delivery service shows a great deal of promise in remote locations, that were previously underserved by 3PLs

On November 24, 2017, D. R. Rockwell commented on Additive Manufacturing: Adding up to a Disruption for UPS :

I have spent the last 4+ years leading activities within Boeing around Industrial uses for Additive Manufacturing, and examining its impacts from design engineering, supply chain, manufacturing & operations perspective. Based on Boeing’s and other comparable industrial firms, there is little that UPS would offer beyond its world class logistics surfaces that would be of benefit to a manufacturing organization. I disagree with the notions that UPS should invest in improving 3-D printing technology, by increasing the size of parts or numbers of materials that it can produce in a single build. In order to get to achieve the improvements in technology UPS would have to invest in creating or specifying the build of new machines, this work should be left to 3-D printing equipment manufacturers. I think they should adopt the technology once a clear leader in the technology area emerges amongst their customers. In essence, I am saying they should follow not lead.

I agree that UPS should be worried about 3-D printing, because people will be able to ship the design data for their parts to a point of use location and have the parts 3-D printed, circumventing UPS. If UPS wants to compete in the space it would need to take on the same tasks as a full service additive manufacturing bureau, which has responsibility for sourcing material, providing design & engineering support, and the multitude of post 3-D printing manufacturing processes. (as most parts are not suitable for use immediately after printing)