Exclusive: Barclays Bank manufacturing boss urges more support for robots

barclays uk manufacturing report

In this exclusive interview, Mike Rigby, Barclays’ head of manufacturing, talks about how robotics and automation technology can help UK companies compete with the rest of the world – even those in the Far East

It’s a generally accepted notion that when it comes to computer technology, what happens in the US this year is likely to happen in the UK the following year, and then on mainland Europe the year after that. Meaning, Germany is a bit behind the leaders when it comes to IT. That’s the perception some people in the tech industry have anyway.

The wider public’s perception of Germany as a tech leader is predicated on the country’s prowess in engineering, specifically its expertise in auto-making, and, by extension, manufacturing. And crucial to manufacturing is the technology of robotics and automation, which is also an area in which Germans are thought to be strong.

But while that’s the general perception, it’s not one that some people like to perpetuate or overblow, especially if it means a relative diminution of other competitor countries, such as the UK.  Continue reading Exclusive: Barclays Bank manufacturing boss urges more support for robots

Microsoft adds OPC support to IIoT applications

microsoft-internet-of-things

Company to support Open Platform Communications standard across IoT offerings 

Microsoft says it is working with the Open Platform Communications Foundation to enable almost any industrial internet of things network through interoperability between the millions of applications and industrial equipment compliant with the OPC Unified Architecture standard.

Microsoft will further enable its IIoT customers to connect a broad range of manufacturing equipment and software that can span decades of investment with extended support of the OPC UA open source software stack.

Interoperability between devices and assets is critical for today’s factories, which are increasingly bringing new and legacy systems online and modernizing their plants and facilities.  Continue reading Microsoft adds OPC support to IIoT applications

Yaskawa releases new line of drive servos and amplifiers

yaskawa drive

Yaskawa has launched a new line of rotary, linear and direct drive servos and amplifiers that the company says “bring a new level of operating efficiency to automated equipment”.

Yaskawa, one of the world’s biggest industrial robot manufacturers, says its Sigma-7 has bandwidth and resolution improvements.

Yaskawa says system designers and automation end users will benefit from the speed, precision and efficiency improvements in Sigma-7, adding that it is “the most technologically advanced servo systems ever created” by the company.  Continue reading Yaskawa releases new line of drive servos and amplifiers

Applied Controls wins large contract from Siemens

allied controls Siemens PLCs

Siemens has appointed Applied Controls as a distributor in the US.

Applied Controls will expand Siemen’s authorized territory to include Maryland, Washington DC, and five counties of Northern Virginia.

Applied is now considered a Siemens “high value partner and automation solution provider”.

Applied Controls will market and support Siemens’ portfolio of factory automation products including PLCs, HMIs, intelligent motion control, industrial computers, SCADA and networking products.  Continue reading Applied Controls wins large contract from Siemens

Hannover Messe: Harting receives Obama and Merkel visit

harting obama merkel hannover messe
The Harting family greeting the two heads of state, (from left to right): Margrit Harting, Maresa Harting-Hertz, Dietmar Harting, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Philip Harting. (PRNewsFoto/Harting)

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the Harting stand at the Hannover Messe, with the Harting family greeting the two heads of state. The US is this year’s partner country of the Hannover Messe.

President Obama was accompanied by a large delegation. Together with Chancellor Merkel, the 44th US president learned about Harting products and solutions, which are accompanying companies around the globe into Industrie 4.0.

The Harting Modular Industry Computing Architecture (Mica) has been developed for this digital transformation. Continue reading Hannover Messe: Harting receives Obama and Merkel visit

Evana Automation supplies 22-piece tooling solution Tier 1 automotive parts supplier

evana automation

Evana Automation has shipped a customized 22-piece tooling solution for a headlamp assembly system to a leading Tier 1 automotive parts supplier.

The company says its “innovative tooling solution” saved the customer the cost of purchasing a new assembly system and enabled the customer to run multiple headlamp models over existing assembly stations.  Continue reading Evana Automation supplies 22-piece tooling solution Tier 1 automotive parts supplier

The great migration: cloud computing for smart manufacturing

smart factory illustration

Martyn Williams, managing director at Copa-Data UK, discusses “unlocking the value of cross-facility data sets” through cloud computing for smart manufacturing

According to an industry survey by IBM, two thirds of mid-sized companies have already implemented – or are currently considering – a cloud based storage model for their organisation.

The analytic advantages of cloud computing in industry are no secret, in fact, 70 per cent of these cloud-using respondents said they were actively pursuing cloud-based analytics to gleam greater insights and efficiency in order to achieve business goals.  Continue reading The great migration: cloud computing for smart manufacturing

UL joins the largest-ever US business delegation to Hannover Messe

UL hannover messe crop

UL, a safety science company, is participating in Hannover Messe 2016 as part of the largest-ever US delegation to the event, the world’s foremost trade convention for industrial and manufacturing technologies, taking place April 25-29, 2016 in Hannover, Germany.

“While UL in Europe has been participating at Hannover Messe for more than 15 years, we are excited to join the US business delegation and are looking forward to welcoming visitors at our two booths this year,” said Gitte Schjotz, UL’s SVP and president for EMEA and Latin America.

“UL empowers the next industrial evolution through safe adoption of industrial automation, energy, digital factories, cybersecurity, industrial supply and technology.”  Continue reading UL joins the largest-ever US business delegation to Hannover Messe

Hannover Messe: Pepperl+Fuchs showcases its thin client for smart industry

pepperl+fuchs thin client at hannover messe
The Pepperl+Fuchs thin client for smart industry

Pepperl+Fuchs is showcasing its new thin client solution at Hannover Messe. 

The company is demonstrating its VisuNet RM GXP with new RM Shell 4.1.VisuNet GXP with RM Shell 4.1. The smart solution for applications will be available to view in Zone 1 and 21.

The goal is to offer users solutions that meet all the challenges of Industry 4.0, says Pepperl+Fuchs.  Continue reading Hannover Messe: Pepperl+Fuchs showcases its thin client for smart industry

Hannover Messe 2016: Global arena for the world of integrated industry

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening ceremony of Hannover Messe
US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the opening ceremony of Hannover Messe

The curtains have gone up at Hannover Messe 2016, where leading industrial nations are vying for technological supremacy.

For example, 465 exhibitors from the USA are presenting innovations designed to take manufacturing to new digital heights.

They are sharing the arena with a host of German enterprises intent on making Industrie 4.0 a reality by means of cutting-edge mechanical and electrical engineering solutions.

So who’s going to come out on top? Or will the road ahead instead call for close collaboration?  Continue reading Hannover Messe 2016: Global arena for the world of integrated industry

Kuka robots perform a dance at Hannover Messe opening ceremony

kuka robot dance hannover messe

LBR iiwa lightweight robots did a dance at the Hannover Messe opening ceremony on Sunday 24 April.

In front of almost 3,000 guests including Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama, dancers and Kuka LBR iiw robots turned human-robot-collaboration into a staged performance.

Human-robot collaboration is a central topic for the factory of the future.

The grand opening of Hannover Messe 2016 on Sunday was based entirely on the topic of Integrated Industry – Discover Solutions.

In a spectacularly choreographed performance, seven LBR iiwa robots visually depicted the five flagship themes at Hannover Fair over five acts: Digital Factory, Industrial Supply, Industrial Automation, Research & Technology, Energy.

Continue reading Kuka robots perform a dance at Hannover Messe opening ceremony

Panasonic launches relay for programmable logic controllers in industrial settings

panasonic pa-n relay

Panasonic has launched the PA-N Relay suitable for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) used in industrial equipment. 

Panasonic says the PA-N Relay will help PLC manufacturers to develop products that meet new safety standards, adding that the new relay “will contribute to improved safety and reliability of industrial equipment”.

The PA-N Relay has been developed to comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards and is certified to the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards for programmable logic controllers used to control production facilities at factories. Continue reading Panasonic launches relay for programmable logic controllers in industrial settings

The IoT brings industry revolution and risk at the same time

Industrial control systems could become more vulnerable to cyberattack as they become more connected through the industrial internet of things
Industrial control systems could become more vulnerable to cyberattack as they become more connected through the industrial internet of things

The internet of things is enabling industry to connect individual robotic and automated work cells with other similar cells to create multicellular organisms within what could now be referred to as “smart factories”, particularly as the factory building itself can be connected to those multicellular organisms operating within its walls. 

Not only that, those smart factories can themselves be connected to other smart factories within the body of the industrial company’s entire estate, which itself is all wired up to what could be called a central nervous system.

Yes, industrial control systems are going through an evolutionary phase the like of which has never been seen before in industry, all brought about by the IoT.  Continue reading The IoT brings industry revolution and risk at the same time

The future will be ‘highly automated’, says Schunk’s Steinmann

schunk gripping robot

Humans and robots will cooperate more and more closely in the future

Efficient teamwork between man and robot 

During the ninth Schunk Expert Days on Service Robotics, Ralf Steinmann, director business unit gripping systems at Schunk, explained current developments and trends in the field of service robotics.

He sees the biggest growth potential in the industrial environment – in highly networked, autonomous collaborative robot systems for Industry 4.0.  Continue reading The future will be ‘highly automated’, says Schunk’s Steinmann

Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer makes first appearance at Hannover Messe

Rethink Robotics’ Baxter and Sawyer collaborative robots
Rethink Robotics’ Baxter and Sawyer collaborative robots

Sawyer robots to demonstrate three different manufacturing tasks on the show floor

Rethink Robotics will showcase its high performance Sawyer robot at Hannover Messe 2016, providing the international audience an opportunity to see how smart, collaborative robots are changing the game in the global manufacturing marketplace.

Germany is a cornerstone market in Europe for Rethink Robotics’ continued global expansion, as manufacturers continue to deploy Sawyer robots to deliver on the promise of Industrie 4.0.  Continue reading Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer makes first appearance at Hannover Messe