Opinion: Automation ‘engineer to order’ solution reduces rejects by almost 11 percent for electroplating company

By John Murdoch, Alfacon Solutions

Lloyd Betcher, vice president of operations and services with Kuntz Electroplating (KEI), recently shared that the firm will celebrate 70 years in business next year.

A family owned and operated business since 1948, KEI boasts North America’s largest and most advanced metal finishing operation for original equipment manufacturers of steel and aluminum components.

As the first metal finisher to simultaneously achieve ISO 9002 and ISO 14001 certification, Kuntz set the industry’s benchmark for quality and service.  Continue reading Opinion: Automation ‘engineer to order’ solution reduces rejects by almost 11 percent for electroplating company

Danlaw partners with Siemens on product lifecycle management

Danlaw, a company which develops connected car and automotive electrics technologies, is now an official Siemens product lifecycle management – or automated lifecycle management – solution partner.

The company says the partnership highlights Danlaw’s commitment to providing a seamless solution between its Mx-Suite verification and validation test software and Siemens Polarion QA software with the Mx-Suite Polarion Connector.

Our customers benefit from increased quality and reduced development cycles, when developing electronic modules by centrally managing test case generation and execution with test results tied directly to requirements.  Continue reading Danlaw partners with Siemens on product lifecycle management

Octopuz releases new version of industrial robot programming software

Octopuz has released the latest version of its industrial robot programming and simulation software. 

The company says Octopuz 1.7 is packed with new features and enhancements, including robot code importing, NC code importing, an all-new tool manager, and URP program generation for UR robots.

Octopuz has also added something called SmartPath, which provides automated methods of orientating the robot and making changes to solve conflicts.  Continue reading Octopuz releases new version of industrial robot programming software

Global agriculture robots market driven by ‘high population growth and food shortages’

The global market for agricultural robots is forecast to exceed $5 billion by 2024, according to a report. 

The Global Agriculture Robots Market Report, published by Variant Market Research, predicts the global market will reach $5,214 million by 2024 from $968 million in 2016 – growing at an annual rate of 23.4 per cent from 2016 to 2024.

By geography, Asia Pacific and rest of the world are expected to grow at 24.7 per cent and 24.1 per cent respectively, during the forecast period.  Continue reading Global agriculture robots market driven by ‘high population growth and food shortages’

Bharati Robotics shows off autonomous industrial cleaning robot

bharati agv crop
The Bharati autonomous guided vehicle for materials transport

Bharati Robotics Systems has been showing off its new autonomous industrial floor cleaning robots. 

The company says the small vehicle saves labour costs and increases productivity by up to 200 per cent, and cleans the floor better than humans, or the “highest quality of cleaning”.

The robot’s battery lasts up to four hours on one charge and it has a smartphone interface through which it can be monitored and controlled.  Continue reading Bharati Robotics shows off autonomous industrial cleaning robot

Effects of artificial intelligence will surpass the industrial revolution, says SoftBank CEO

The chief executive of telecommunications giant SoftBank says the effects of artificial intelligence will take the world much further and have a more profound effect than even the industrial revolution. 

Masayoshi_Son
An old picture of Masayoshi Son, courtesy of Wikipedia

In an article accompanying a special edition of the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son was quoted as saying the new “information revolution” is being partly driven by data collected through billions of sensors.

SoftBank has been buying up a variety of AI and robotics startups, most recently a company called Nauto, which is developing systems for driverless cars.

At the root of the technology, Son says, are microprocessors and microcontrollers. “Those who rule chips will rule the entire world,” he said. “Those who rule data will rule the entire world. That’s what people of the future will say.”

Autonomous vehicle tech developer Nauto raises $159 million in funding

nauto self-driving system

Autonomous vehicle technology company Nauto, which is developing an artificial intelligence and data platform for self-driving technology, has closed a $159 million Series B financing round, led by a SoftBank subsidiary, and Greylock Partners.

Other participants include previous strategic investors BMW iVentures, General Motors Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures and the venture unit of global financial services and insurance provider Allianz Group, and Series A investors Playground Global and Draper Nexus.

The funds will fuel Nauto’s growth and the deployment of its retrofit safety and networking system into more vehicles around the globe, as well as support the expansion of the Nauto data platform in autonomous vehicle research and development across multiple automakers.  Continue reading Autonomous vehicle tech developer Nauto raises $159 million in funding

Opinion: Augmented and virtual reality ‘open up whole new world of opportunities’

augmented-reality-glasses atheer

By Douglas Bruey, electrical engineering program lead at Synapse

At first glance, a gamer playing Pokémon Go has little in common with a surgeon saving lives in an operating theatre. But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that might not be the case for much longer.

Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are poised to open up a whole new world of opportunities. We’re already seeing the effects of VR when it comes to gaming. But in future could AR add a new dimension to surgery?

AR and VR both have the ability to alter our perception of the world. AR takes our current reality and adds something to it – virtual objects or information. VR, on the other hand, immerses us in a different – virtual – world.  Continue reading Opinion: Augmented and virtual reality ‘open up whole new world of opportunities’

Half of American jobs at risk of automation, says new report

industrial robot painting

About half of all jobs in America could be replaced by robotics and automation systems, according to a news story on CNBC.com

And as pointed out by CNBC.com, approximately one in four American jobs are at risk of being shipped overseas, which puts three-quarters of all jobs in the US at risk of disappearing or at least changing.

The study the story was based on is How Vulnerable are American Communities to Automation, which was conducted by Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research.

Dekra takes over Lausitzring race track to turn it into an autonomous vehicle testing circuit

lausitzring track
The Lausitzring race track has been the venue for many races

A company called Dekra will take over the Lausitzring race track on November 1, 2017, and turn it into an autonomous vehicle testing ground.

Together with the Dekra Technology Center, in immediate proximity to the race track in Klettwitz, Brandenburg, since 2003, the site will be made into the innovation center for the testing of the mobility of the future.

It will become a central component of the international testing network for connected and automated driving, which Dekra is establishing in Europe and Asia, and will bring “new, high-quality jobs to the region”, says the company.  Continue reading Dekra takes over Lausitzring race track to turn it into an autonomous vehicle testing circuit

Interest and fascination grows about robots’ artistic talents

Captives #B04 from Quayola on Vimeo.

Industrial robots which are normally seen in factories making cars or some other heavy industrial object are increasingly shown as drawing or painting like artists. 

These days, with ever-more powerful artificial intelligence software driving the robots, it’s difficult to say if there’s anything left that robots cannot do.

The big question is probably, “Is there anything that humans can do that robots cannot?”

Continue reading Interest and fascination grows about robots’ artistic talents

3D printing startup Desktop Metal raises another $115 million in funding

desktop metal 6 DM Studio System-2

Additive manufacturing startup Desktop Metal has raised another $115 million in funding, bringing the total amount of financing to more than $200 million.

The company’s backers include Google, General Electric, and Techtronic Industries, the holding company for vacuum cleaner brands Hoover and Dirt Devil.

Desktop Metal was founded by four MIT professors, according to TechCrunch.com, which says its metal 3D process is “probably the most efficient” on the market.  Continue reading 3D printing startup Desktop Metal raises another $115 million in funding

You could be seeing things that aren’t there: Google Glass finds new home in old industries

google glass with manual
On the left is an assembly engine manual that GE’s mechanics used to consult. Now they use Glass Enterprise Edition on the right. Picture: Google X

About four years ago, when Google first showed off its Glass product – a pair of hi-tech spectacles capable of running augmented reality apps – it was met with some scepticism, incredulity even. 

Few people thought it would take off, as interesting as the idea was. Maybe people generally couldn’t see themselves walking around wearing glasses which could be seen as intrusive.

Theoretically, Google Glass could display images on pretty much everything and everyone you looked at while wearing them – and would people in your eyeline appreciate that?  Continue reading You could be seeing things that aren’t there: Google Glass finds new home in old industries

Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

“Lights-out manufacturing” is a term to mean the method of making things in a way that’s entirely automated and does not need humans to be involved in the process. 

Of course, humans initially set up the process, build the factory and so on, but the factory which outputs the final product only requires robotics and automation technology.

It’s an idea that has probably been explored in science fiction many times, but in reality, a fully automated factory that needs no human intervention at all is still a distant dream.  Continue reading Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

Gardening robot raises more than $300,000 on Kickstarter

franklin weed-killing robot 2

A gardening robot has raised more than $312,000 on Kickstarter despite its owners setting a goal of $120,000.

Led by the inventor of the Roomba, the Boston-based Franklin Robotics is currently raising funds for their first release – a solar-powered, robotic weed-killer for home gardens.

Named Tertill, the 2.5-pound, disk-shaped robot patrols the garden and intelligently identifies – and whacks – unwanted plants.  Continue reading Gardening robot raises more than $300,000 on Kickstarter