MarkForged raises $30 million in new funding from Siemens and Porsche for 3D printing system

A company called MarkForged has raised $30 million in Series C funding to further develop its additive manufacturing – or 3D printing – technology. 

The company is said to use materials and methods which can produce components which are as strong as steel, and produce them 10 times faster.

The latest backers of MarkForged include Next47, which is the Siemens venture capital firm, Porsche, and Microsoft Ventures.  Continue reading MarkForged raises $30 million in new funding from Siemens and Porsche for 3D printing system

Chinese manufacturer claims ‘first’ fully automated production line for a type of solar cell

A Chinese manufacturer called Tongwei has opened a factory which features what is claimed to be the “world’s first” unmanned, fully automated monocrystalline solar cell production line. 

This is according to a report on PV-Tech.org, which says Tongwei is testing the fully automated production system with a view to rolling it out across all its operations.

The company currently has the capacity to produce monocrystalline cell capacity of around 3.4 gigawatts, with an additional 2 GW multicrystalline solar cell capacity.  Continue reading Chinese manufacturer claims ‘first’ fully automated production line for a type of solar cell

Auto companies still moving to Mexico despite Nafta uncertainty

Mexico used to be an attractive place to invest in building manufacturing facilities. It still is. 

The country of 120 million people is still part of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which makes importing and exporting to the US easier than it would otherwise be.

And even as US President Donald Trump pushes for a renegotiation of Nafta, manufacturing companies are continuing to choose Mexico as an investment location.  Continue reading Auto companies still moving to Mexico despite Nafta uncertainty

Apple manufacturing partners ‘struggle with low yield rate’

Apple suppliers “continue to struggle with low yield rate” because the smartphone giant is integrating advanced technologies, requiring investment in new and expensive manufacturing processes, which affect the suppliers’ profit margins, according to Nikkei

Apple is planning to launch its $1,000-dollar iPhone X to consumers in the coming months, but the new device includes functions not found in other phones, which is requiring manufacturers to change their processes and invest in new equipment.

Among the features in Apple’s high-end iPhone X will be facial recognition and organic light-emitting diode screens, both of which are new technologies and not found in current Apple devices.  Continue reading Apple manufacturing partners ‘struggle with low yield rate’

Robots in the cosmetics industry: Complex tasks for sophisticated machines

Like most business sectors, the cosmetics industry is a growing market for industrial robotics and automation suppliers. 

At the moment, it’s a relatively small market compared to automotive, electronics, and other sectors, but according to a study by Alltake Market Research, unit shipments in the sector will grow more than 20 per cent by 2022.

However, Alltake combines cosmetics and pharmaceutical into one category for its projections.  Continue reading Robots in the cosmetics industry: Complex tasks for sophisticated machines

Additive manufacturing: It’s a matter of finding the right composition

The terms “additive manufacturing” and “3D printing” are used interchangeably, although it seems additive manufacturing suggests an industrial context whereas 3D printing has become so widespread that it could be considered a consumer technology now. 

The majority of those who use such processes are, however, makers or manufacturers, meaning they’re on the supply side of the economy rather than the demand side.

Perhaps the reason why 3D printers are not yet completely in the consumer domain is that they’re not totally perfect. The high-end machines can probably get close to perfection, but not at a price point which can unlock consumer markets.  Continue reading Additive manufacturing: It’s a matter of finding the right composition

Midea embarks on journey to transform itself into a ‘high-tech industry leader’

Chinese home appliances giant Midea says it has completed its acquisition of German company Kuka, one of the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturers. 

While the deal prompted some consternation among those who said the German government should stop the takeover, as well as with those people who subsequently demanded the European Union make it more difficult for Chinese companies to buy EU companies, the two companies are now part of the same group.

Technically, Kuka was acquired by Midea’s subsidiary company, Mecca International.  Continue reading Midea embarks on journey to transform itself into a ‘high-tech industry leader’

From two months to a few seconds: A brief overview of automotive robotic painting systems

Painting was one of the first applications for industrial robots, but it didn’t start well. 

When they were first introduced in the 1980s at General Motors’ Michigan plant, the robots initially painted each other, according to an article on industrial robot history, published on Robots.com.

The complexity of painting is probably under-estimated because humans can do such tasks with relative ease.  Continue reading From two months to a few seconds: A brief overview of automotive robotic painting systems

Chinese companies set to spend $12 billion a year on semiconductor manufacturing equipment

 

Chinese semiconductor manufacturers are on course to spend $12 billion on fabrication equipment annually, according to a new report.

Semi, the industry association and provider of electronics market research, says the opportunities in China’s integrated circuits market are “expanding dramatically”.

Semi’s new China IC Industry Outlook Report also notes that China has an increasing presence in the global semiconductor manufacturing supply chain.  Continue reading Chinese companies set to spend $12 billion a year on semiconductor manufacturing equipment

Portescap launches new high torque brushless direct current motor for surgical applications

 

Company says the new high torque brushless DC motor offers improved thermal characteristics and reliability for orthopedic large bone applications

Portescap has launched its newest surgical motor solution for large bone orthopedic powered hand tools. 

The company says this new size 12 (31.5 mm diameter) mini motor is available in 9.6V, 12V and 14.4V versions with cannulated and non-cannulated options, these motors can deliver peak torques of up to 1,720 mNm in a compact envelope.  Continue reading Portescap launches new high torque brushless direct current motor for surgical applications

Adidas launches first trainers made at its advanced manufacturing plant SpeedFactory

 

Adidas has launched the first major project to be created at its SpeedFactory facility in Ansbach, Germany.

The SpeedFactory features high levels of robotics and automation technology combined with 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing methods.

Adidas says the launch of the AM4 series heralds a “significant moment” for the brand in terms of the future of manufacturing, with SpeedFactory being a facility that will allow Adidas to explore, test and co-create with consumers, as well as constantly invent and reinvent design and define the future of how the brand creates.  Continue reading Adidas launches first trainers made at its advanced manufacturing plant SpeedFactory

vPersonalize launches ‘first’ integrated 3D design and manufacturing automation software for one-off, small batch and on-demand manufacturing

 

vPersonalize – which is backed by venture capital company Accel – says its patented 3D design-to-manufacturing automation software enables mass adoption of a new way of manufacturing

A US company called vPersonalize is claiming to have become the first company to launch a unified design-to-manufacturing software solution. 

The company says the new application is aimed at brands, designers and manufacturers to enhance operational efficiency, optimize product development, and help bring innovative products to market quickly.

Utilising a portfolio of patented technologies, vPersonalize says it has delivered “the only design to manufacturing automation solution that makes small batch and custom manufacturing viable at regular price points”.  Continue reading vPersonalize launches ‘first’ integrated 3D design and manufacturing automation software for one-off, small batch and on-demand manufacturing

Software in manufacturing: A list of the most well known

 

Software Advice, a business unit of Gartner, has produced a list of manufacturing software applications which would be worth perusing if you’re on the market for such things. 

Even if you’re not looking to buy, it’s worth noting that the manufacturing sector is gradually being digitised, or digitalised. It’s increasingly about how well you know

Nowadays, it’s increasingly about how well you know software. Having said that, making things remains the fundamental activity, of course.  Continue reading Software in manufacturing: A list of the most well known

Valmet goes digital with Dassault Systèmes to improve its engineering and sales for paper and pulp

 

Valmet, a manufacturer of large-scale paper and pulp production machinery and automation systems, has selected Dassault Systèmes’ 3DExperience platform to digitalise its operations.

3DExperience is a digital platform which includes many features that can typically be found in product lifecycle management software suites.

Valmet says the implementation of 3DExperience is helping the company to provide more innovative customer-oriented experiences at each service and sales opportunity.  Continue reading Valmet goes digital with Dassault Systèmes to improve its engineering and sales for paper and pulp

Chinese companies planning to bid for German industrial giant FFT, says Reuters

 

Chinese firms including the Jiangsu Hagong Intelligent Robot Company are planning to make a bid to buy German industrial giant FFT, according to a report on Reuters.com

Other companies said to be interested include state-owned Shanghai Electric and equity firm AGIC Capital, says Reuters.

FFT, which builds manufacturing facilities for automakers and other industrial companies, is said to be valued at around $712 million.

FFT is owned by an equity investment company called Aton, and any deal is not likely to cause any political controversies, according to people Reuters quotes.  Continue reading Chinese companies planning to bid for German industrial giant FFT, says Reuters