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Globetrotting Through Industries: A Worldwide Showcase of Innovations

Globetrotting Through Industries: A Worldwide Showcase of Innovations
Embark on a compelling journey to uncover 10 trailblazing industrial innovations that have emerged from every corner of the world! (iStock)

As we navigate through the year 2023, remarkable industrial innovations from across the globe have continued to shape and redefine various sectors. These pioneering strides span a multitude of industries, mirroring the ever-evolving terrain of technology, sustainability, and efficiency. Embark on a compelling journey to uncover 10 trailblazing industrial innovations that have emerged from every corner of the world!

Andrea Nepori, Abigail Saltmarsh, Daniel Allen, Mark Andrews and Camille Rustici contributed to these articles.

1/ INDIA: Industry Looks Forward to a Record-Breaking Future

Presently, India stands at the cusp of evolving into an immensely influential economic growth engine. With an impressive average GDP growth of 5.5% over the past decade, it boasts one of the most dynamic economies worldwide. The nation has carved out its place as the home of the third-largest start-up ecosystem globally, and its technological services, digital realm, and manufacturing industries are rapidly maturing into robust contenders on the global stage.

Key trends such as global offshoring, digitalization, and energy transition are bolstering this economic progression. Simultaneously, the government in New Delhi is taking proactive measures to address pressing challenges in the labor market, including an ambitious program aimed at upskilling 400 million Indians.

Adding to this momentum, the Indian government has recently unveiled the discovery of a substantial lithium deposit in the Jammu and Kashmir region in the northwest of the country. This deposit, a first of its kind in India, is estimated to hold 5.9 million tonnes or about 5.7% of global reserves.

In the realm of aerospace, India has also left its distinct mark. Last week, the nation successfully landed its Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft (“lunar vehicle” in Sanskrit) on the moon’s South Pole. This specific lunar region remains unexplored by the three other countries that have previously conducted moon landings – the United States, Russia, and China.


In February of last year, a catastrophic earthquake struck both Turkey and Syria, resulting in a tragic loss of life and countless injuries. This heart-wrenching event has ignited profound concerns regarding the structural integrity of buildings in regions prone to seismic activity. Experts underscore that numerous structures were not constructed to endure earthquakes, and the absence of adequate building codes and regulations has exacerbated the scale of casualties.

In sharp contrast, Japan, a nation also grappling with seismic challenges, has made remarkable advancements in the construction of earthquake-resistant edifices. Japan experiences so many earthquakes (there are 60 – 70 noticeable quakes in Tokyo every year) that three specific methods of stabilizing buildings have been developed. These are integrated into the country’s building codes and are strictly enforced.


3/ FRANCE: Exploring Smilers’s Eco-Friendly 3D Printing Facility for Dental Aligners

Smilers is an innovator in the field of invisible dental aligners, operating under the Biotech Dental group. Established a decade ago, the company has recently unveiled its revolutionary industrial complex in the South of France.

In an exclusive conversation, we had the privilege of speaking with the visionary CEO, Philippe Véran, who recounted the remarkable journey from humble beginnings in a garage with a modest 3D printer to the realization of a cutting-edge, eco-conscious automated facility. Fueling this transformation, a substantial investment of 15 million euros has been channeled into automating the factory, propelling Smilers to the forefront of innovation in dentistry.

The company currently operates three lines: two fully robotic lines and a third semi-robotic line, which serves as a learning ground and remains active to address urgent orders. Plans are in place to introduce a third fully robotic line, leveraging the additional space already secured for expansion. The company plans to quadruple its production by the end of the year.


4/ USA: Tech Giant Qualcomm Launched New ‘Aware’ Cloud Platform for Industrial IoT Applications

As part of a wider diversification effort, American chipmaker Qualcomm announced Qualcomm Aware, a new IoT cloud platform aimed at factories, manufacturers, utility companies, and other industrial players. With this new cloud offering, the company is leveraging its position as a provider of industrial IoT hardware and silicon to market a new software solution tailored to the needs of its existing and future clients. 

According to the company, the initial launch of Qualcomm Aware focuses on real-time visibility, plus transit and condition monitoring, with the opportunity to expand in a modular fashion to other key digital applications in the future.

In an interview with DirectIndustry, President of Qualcomm Europe Enrico Salvatori explained that Aware is a new important step forward in Qualcomm’s industrial strategy.


5/ A Global Tour of Upcoming Battery Production Factories

The global momentum towards sustainable transportation is gathering unprecedented speed, propelled by the rapid emergence of gigafactories around the world. These state-of-the-art facilities are purposefully designed for the large-scale production of batteries, primarily to satiate the soaring appetite for electric vehicles.

Indeed, the establishment of local gigafactories will empower both automakers and battery manufacturers to diminish their reliance on intricate supply chains. These production facilities will facilitate the large-scale crafting of top-notch batteries at a reduced expense, thereby rendering electric vehicles more budget-friendly and accessible to an extensive spectrum of consumers.

This article will offer an expedition into five forthcoming battery production plants, poised to inaugurate in the impending years. This excursion will shed light on the dynamic panorama of this swiftly burgeoning industry.


6/ CANADA: The Dreams of Leading the Transition to a Zero-Emission World

Canada stands resolute in its pledge to attain carbon neutrality by 2050, with a concurrent target of curtailing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% come 2030. This formidable undertaking is underpinned by a robust focus on fostering its electric mobility sector. With unwavering determination, the nation aspires not only to carve a pivotal role but also to emerge as an indispensable global collaborator in the transport sector’s vital journey towards decarbonization, heralding a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions.

And to do this, the country is counting on its substantial strengths. Canada is already a world leader in the production of green hydroelectric power on a global scale. Its territory contains most of the critical resources requisite for electric battery fabrication. The Canadian market is open and receptive, and talent is available.

Such a constellation of advantages fuels the aspirations of Canada of being the world leader in the transition to a carbon-neutral world.


7/ GERMANY: Freudenberg Creates Fabrics from Recycled PET Bottles

Freudenberg Performance Materials continues its resolute commitment to reducing its carbon footprint, achieving another noteworthy stride with Evolon®, its cutting-edge fabric. Renowned for its durability, reusability, and adaptability, this versatile fabric, hitherto embraced in packaging, cleaning, and home furnishings, now boasts an environmentally transformative origin – it’s crafted from reclaimed consumer PET bottles.

The manufacturing process of this product revolves around bi-component filament spinning and bonding, facilitated through high-pressure water jets. This innovative method dispenses with solvents, chemical binders, silicones, or PVC components. The water employed in the process is ingeniously recycled and reutilized within a closed-loop system, further amplifying its eco-friendliness.

This initiative is a testament to the conservation of raw materials, chiefly because these fabrics weigh less than traditional counterparts earmarked for similar functions. The integration of recycled PET, sourced from post-consumer plastic bottles, also significantly bolsters the preservation of resources, marking yet another ingenious stride in Freudenberg Performance Materials’ sustainability journey.


8/ A European Tour of the Main Lithium Projects

Lithium stands as the pivotal ingredient for propelling Europe into a sustainable electric vehicle era. This essential white powder serves as the linchpin for crafting electric vehicle batteries. As per the 2021 data from the US Geological Survey (USGS), global lithium production hovers around 100,000 metric tons, marking a remarkable 20% increase from the preceding year.

With an estimated global consumption of 93,000 metric tons in 2021, this surge is attributed to the robust surge in global demand, especially fueled by the escalated production of EV batteries in line with the energy transition drive.

However, the conundrum surrounding this prized metal is its scarcity, being found in only a handful of global locations. Major production hubs encompass Australia (55%), Chile (26%), China (14%), and Argentina (6%). China leads the pack as the foremost lithium refiner.

But Europe is now poised to join the pursuit of this “white gold,” with several deposits within its borders showing great promise.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the six primary European mines that are gearing up for future exploitation.


9/ DENMARK: Lyras Developed a UV Light Technology for Liquid Pasteurization

Pasteurization, a pivotal process widely employed in the food and beverage sector, stands as a critical safety measure by eradicating bacteria and microorganisms, rendering products fit for consumption. Traditionally, this was achieved through heat application. Originating from Louis Pasteur’s 1865 discovery, this methodology, however, presents energy and water intensity while also potentially compromising nutritional content and vitamins.

Danish enterprise Lyras, therefore, introduced a groundbreaking approach named Raslysation, which harnesses the potency of UV lights for liquid pasteurization.

Raslysation’s innovation lies in utilizing ultraviolet light sources in synergy with a turbulent flow pattern, executing its mission impeccably. Much akin to traditional pasteurization, Raslysation seeks to neutralize microorganisms that contribute to spoilage or health hazards. Its microbiological eradication mechanism mirrors that of pasteurization: UV light triggers modifications in the DNA of microorganisms, instigating changes in their metabolic and reproductive processes, ultimately leading to their demise.

This pioneering technology thus emerges as a promising alternative that potentially eclipses traditional methods, securing both food safety and product quality in a more resource-efficient manner.


10/ CHINA: The Rise of Mega Pig Farms

McKinsey’s data from 2021 underscores the substantial impact of pork consumption in China, with the nation accounting for a staggering 60% of its total meat intake, amounting to 57 million tons. Furthermore, China alone contributes to a significant 40% of global pork consumption, cementing the critical role of pork in the country’s dietary landscape. The outbreak of African Swine Fever during 2018-2019 had dire consequences, leading to the loss of approximately half of China’s pig stocks. In response, an innovative wave of mega-farms has emerged, driven by the aspiration to bridge the gap between demand and supply, while also fostering national food autonomy.

In various locations, China is erecting multi-storey pig farms that redefine the scale of production. An example of this is a towering 26-storey edifice situated in Ezhou, Hubei Province. With a sprawling expanse of 800,000 square meters, this structure aspires to yield 1.2 million pigs annually for slaughter, accommodating a staggering 650,000 animals. Notable projects also include a 21-building complex in Nanyang, Henan Province, housing 84,000 sows and their offspring, and a cluster of multi-storey constructions on Yaji Mountain, Guangxi Province, with a capacity to generate 840,000 pigs per year.