DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

It’s not a glamorous business, logistics. Doesn’t make the mainstream news very often. And it’s not likely to be the top career choice for most people. 

It’s understandable. After all, how interesting can it be to move boxes from point A to point B?

Put like that, it’s not much to write home about. But now, with driverless vehicles everywhere, augmented reality glasses and exoskeletons for warehouse workers, and robotics and automation technologies of all kinds promising to transform the industry worldwide, logistics is about to get much more interesting.  Continue reading DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

TAL unveils welding solution involving its Brabo industrial robot

Indian company TAL Manufacturing Solutions is showcasing a new welding solution which features its own industrial robot, the Brabo

The company, which is part of the Tata Motors group, is exhibiting the robotic welding solution at the Automation Expo, currently taking place in Mumbai, India.

According to the Economic Times of India, the TAL Brabo robotic welding cell is priced at about $133,000 and is a “cost-effective” solution aimed at Tier 3 and 4 suppliers. The unit has a reach of 850 mm and a payload capacity of 6 kg.  Continue reading TAL unveils welding solution involving its Brabo industrial robot

Top 10 industrial design software applications by install base

There is apparently some variation in what we have described as “industrial design software”. Some might call the category “computer-aided design and engineering” software applications. 

But almost everyone who knows even a little bit about the software tends to know that they are used in the design of physical objects, as in three-dimensional objects for the real world.

The reason why this distinction is worth making is that these days when you say “engineer”, more often than not, people might think you mean “software engineer”.  Continue reading Top 10 industrial design software applications by install base

AI and robotics stocks outperforming other shares on markets

Artificial intelligence and robotics stocks are performing better than many other investments on the stock market, according to a report on CNBC

The website says robotics and AI stocks are “crushing” the old economy and is up by 30 per cent compared with under 10 per cent for other stocks.

In particular, the Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence ETF (BOTZ) and the ROBO Global Robotics and Automation Index (ROBO) have done well.  Continue reading AI and robotics stocks outperforming other shares on markets

Smartphones have created a whole new world of opportunities, says Hillcrest Labs boss

Even for Apple, selling 60 million units of anything would be a big deal. For most small and medium sized companies, just six units might be the start of a wonderful voyage in the world of enterprise. 

For Hillcrest Labs, the journey started more than a decade ago, and over that time, the company has reached the milestone of having sold 60 million units.

Having started out selling software, the company moved into bundling that software into chips, which have become more elaborate over time and found an increasing number of applications.

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Chad Lucien, senior vice president of business development at Hillcrest Labs, tells the company’s story.  Continue reading Smartphones have created a whole new world of opportunities, says Hillcrest Labs boss

Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

Interview with Rick Weidinger, CEO of Robotic Vision Technologies

A human eye transmits data to the brain at a rate of approximately 10 million bits a second, which is about the equivalent of the capacity of some Ethernet connections. 

This was the finding of a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and while that may be debatable, and perhaps doesn’t tell the whole story of the complexity of the human eye, it’s probably a widely accepted idea that our eyes collect and transmit more data than do our other “sensors”, if they can be called that – the ones for sound, touch, smell and taste – which, with sight, make up our five human senses.

Robots, of course, only have senses because their makers want to integrate sensors into them.  Continue reading Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

A giant company built on tiny components: Interview with Bosch industrial internet boss

bosch image

In this interview, Stefan Hartung, a senior member of the board at Bosch, talks extensively about the industrial internet, detailing some of the components and devices the company uses to give old machines a new lease of life, and provides some insight into the company’s plans going forward

Bosch is as relevant in today’s computerised world as it was after the end of the first industrial age, and the company’s main concern now is keeping it that way. 

Its relevance comes from making the power tools and household appliances most readers will be familiar with, and also from its development of ideas and technologies which are likely to shape a future which many of us haven’t even thought about yet.

Nowadays, all the talk is of Industry 4.0, an umbrella term to describe a range of technologies which have at their centre two tiny components: sensors and chips – both of which are Bosch’s essential stock in trade.

And if you want someone to blame for the Industry 4.0 phrase, look no further than Bosch, because it was part of the working group of German industrial giants which coined the term in 2011.  Continue reading A giant company built on tiny components: Interview with Bosch industrial internet boss

Interview: Fast-moving robotics and automation market prompts updates to forecasts

apple homepod
The new Apple HomePod, the home automation device which mostly acts like a speaker and plays music

The global market for robotics and automation systems is growing so fast that it’s causing seasoned industry analysts to revise their forecasts. 

For example, the Boston Consulting Group released a report into the robotics which it has now updated with new numbers.

The causes of the reviews include the relatively new interest in personal robotics technology for the home, and the burgeoning market in collaborative robots for industry.

Another key development is the launch of the Apple HomePod, which, along with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, looks set to automate a huge number of homes to levels never seen before.

Continue reading Interview: Fast-moving robotics and automation market prompts updates to forecasts

Interview: Big data suggests there’s a trade war looming

Port of Los Angeles, in the US
Port of Los Angeles, in the US

One of the wonders of the modern, computerised world is the emergence of data science. Data science is, arguably, at the heart of most successful businesses today, and its favourite food is big data. 

For Panjiva, data science and big data enables it to keep track of virtually all goods moving from one country to another, with a particular emphasis on the US market.

But while it might sound straightforward to some, the actual collation and preparation of the data, and then the presentation of it, is not a simple process.  Continue reading Interview: Big data suggests there’s a trade war looming

Cyber-physical systems and manufacturing’s new frontier

The real world and its digital twin are collaborating to bring forth something called “mass customisation”, a new manufacturing culture which, as the term suggests, will be the basis for the most diverse ecosystem of engineered products ever seen. 

To understand and articulate some specifics about what’s being called “the new frontier of manufacturing”, one of the world’s largest management consultancy firms, Deloitte, partnered with the Singularity University, a forum for technology futurists co-founded by Ray Kurzweil, to organise a conference called Exponential Manufacturing, featuring many thought leaders working in the industrial sector.  Continue reading Cyber-physical systems and manufacturing’s new frontier

China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

hit robot polishing-for-each-product
A jade-polishing robot produced by the HIT Robot Group, one of China’s largest robot makers

China’s enthusiasm for new technology, combined with its paranoia about being left behind in a globally intensifying high-tech competition, sometimes leads it to create small bubbles in its economy which may or may not dissipate in the disciplined manner in which the markets they encompass may have emerged in the first place. 

Two years ago, the government of the world’s most populous nation of 1.4 billion people launched a 10-year national plan to “transform China from a manufacturing giant into a world manufacturing power”, in the words of XinhuaNet, the state propaganda outlet.  Continue reading China’s enthusiasm for robots and electric cars creating oversupply of clean technology

Apple unveils home automation device and the most expensive desktop computer ever

apple ceo tim cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook welcomes developers from 75 different countries to WWDC 2017

So the rumours were true about the home automation device. Some of the other rumours ahead of the ongoing Apple Worldwide Developers Conference were also true, but then there have been some surprises as well. 

First, the home automation device. Apple has launched what it calls HomePod – a voice assistant much like Amazon Alexa-enabled Echo and Google Home – within which Siri will live.

The question with such voice devices is always, how good are they at conversation with humans? In general, natural language processing technology is not yet able to understand human speech well enough to make such devices easy to use.  Continue reading Apple unveils home automation device and the most expensive desktop computer ever

Manufacturing industry critical to economic prosperity, say Americans

national assn manufacturing pic

The vast majority of Americans believe manufacturing plays a vital role in safeguarding US economic prosperity and maintaining their quality of life, according to the 2017 Manufacturing Perceptions Survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.

The study found more than three-quarters (76 percent) of Americans surveyed believe the US should invest further in the manufacturing industry.

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, says: “Modern manufacturing has captured the imagination of the American public and our elected leaders.

“This important research indicates public opinion of the future of the industry has taken a measurable, positive jump as people acknowledge the strong connection between this industry, the US economy and the American way of life.

“As we have done with our Creators Wanted video series, manufacturers are taking it upon themselves to tell the story of our industry and the lives we touch. It’s encouraging to see that our story is resonating.”  Continue reading Manufacturing industry critical to economic prosperity, say Americans

What’s in the stars for manufacturing in India?

An electric fan factory, Varanasi Benares India
An electric fan factory, Varanasi Benares India

Exclusive interview with Sharmila Annaswamy, India-based consultant specialising in industry

Apple recently established a manufacturing facility in India, through Foxconn, the Taiwanese company which makes its iPhones, iPads and other devices. 

For Sharmila Annaswamy, a Frost & Sullivan consultant specialising in industry, the tech giant’s decision is one of the “remarkable achievements” of the government’s Make in India campaign.

As well as Apple and Foxconn, a number of Chinese companies have set up manufacturing facilities in India. Huawei, for example, plans to make smartphones in the country.

In an exclusive interview with RoboticsAndAutomationNews.com, Annaswamy says: “Apple and other large companies moving into India is one of the good things that is happening with the Make in India campaign, which the government has been promoting on a large scale.  Continue reading What’s in the stars for manufacturing in India?

Tend claims launch of first ‘smart cloud’ to enable remote control of robots

tend.ai in.control

Tend says its new in.control platform is the first smart cloud robotics platform for remote control, monitoring and analysis of production lines. 

Tend announced it has introduced the first hardware-agnostic, smart cloud robotics software platform that allows manufacturers to remotely control, monitor and analyze the performance of their robots and production equipment from their mobile devices.

Tend’s in.control – short for “intelligent control” – software has made smart manufacturing simple and accessible for companies of all sizes, allowing them to monitor and control any robot, tending any machine, from any location.  Continue reading Tend claims launch of first ‘smart cloud’ to enable remote control of robots