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

Terabit Ethernet: The global race towards superfast internet

 

The race towards Terabit Ethernet, or TbE, has apparently taken a great leap with the completion of what is claimed to be the world’s first test of a 400-gigabit ethernet network. 

The 400 GbE trial was conducted by Huawei with its partner, China Telecom, the state telecommunications infrastructure provider.

The companies say the results indicate their superfast 400 GbE network technology is ready for commercial utilisation.  Continue reading Terabit Ethernet: The global race towards superfast internet

Paperful office: An overview of the global forestry, pulp and paper industry

 

Back in the old days, everybody would buy newspapers and magazines. Some would buy dailies, others would buy weeklies, while millions more would buy monthlies. And no one would quibble about having to pay for them, probably because most people sense that a physical, tangible object has a greater intrinsic value than a digital one. 

That old print media reading culture has all but gone now, thanks largely to the internet and the worldwide web making all manner of information available largely free of charge. No one expects, or wants, to pay for news and content any more, probably because most people think digital media should be free because they know how easy it is to make copies of digital files.

There are still many printed publications doing very well and selling in large quantities, and a list of some of the top 10 is offered below, but even the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun – which holds the world record at 13 million copies sold in one day – has lost huge numbers of readers.  Continue reading Paperful office: An overview of the global forestry, pulp and paper industry

From the biggest to the smallest: Hitachi takes first nimble steps in robotics market

 

Exclusive interview with Dong Li, research engineer at Hitachi R&D Europe, about the company’s new humanoid robot, Emiew

At street level, the Barbican area of London, England has the strange quality of looking like a small underground city. But it’s actually not.

True, it has an Underground railway station, but the rest of the commercial and cultural district – with its museums and office blocks – is mostly above ground.

It may be because the buildings are so imposing that they overshadow the often narrow streets and block out the sun in some places. The bridges overhead connecting one set of buildings to another, or one side of the road to the other, and the tunnels that go underneath the building complexes themselves, exacerbate the feeling of being underground.  Continue reading From the biggest to the smallest: Hitachi takes first nimble steps in robotics market

Sintef develops drones and robotics technologies for unmanned surveillance and operation of salmon farms

 

A Norwegian technology research company called Sintef has been developing drones and other robotics technologies to help salmon and aquaculture farmers manage their operations. 

In one example, an underwater remotely operated underwater vehicle – often called an ROV – is being utilised to manage a farm which has 200,000 salmon fish.

Salmon and fish farming in general is a huge industry in Norway, which is said to be one of the largest – if not the largest – salmon suppliers in the world.  Continue reading Sintef develops drones and robotics technologies for unmanned surveillance and operation of salmon farms

Automated precision milling in the medical technology sector

 

Fetzer Medical employs tailored yet universally flexible Hermle machining centres in its role as an original equipment manufacturer, partner building a wide range of surgical instruments and medical technology components to customer specifications.

“From the idea to the finished product, or: All-in-one inclusive labelling” – is the mission statement of Fetzer Medical, a medium-sized company based in Tuttlingen, in Germany, established in 2008 by Peter Fetzer.

In order to build further on the family business’ long-standing tradition in the development and manufacture of surgical instruments and medical devices, Peter Fetzer took the decision.  Continue reading Automated precision milling in the medical technology sector

Bosch and Bayer working on precision agriculture systems

 

Industrial giant Bosch is teaming up with Bayer, one of the world’s largest biotech companies, to develop precision agriculture systems which they say could help improve harvests by 50 per cent. 

Precision agriculture is a term that refers to the increasing use of technologies such as drones, robots, computers and data analytics in farming. These technologies essentially help farmers micro-manage their farms. Other terms used include smart agriculture and even Agriculture 4.0, but they refer to the same thing.

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that farmers around the world will need to increase yields – the volume of crops they harvests – by 50 per cent by 2050 in order to feed the increasing global population.  Continue reading Bosch and Bayer working on precision agriculture systems

Siemens to establish global robotics research and development centre in China

Engineering giant Siemens is establishing a robotics research and development centre in China. 

The company says the facility will be a global research centre in autonomous robotics, and is part of its innovation strategy to “master technology fields that are critical for future success”.

Worldwide, Siemens is planning to spend $6 billion this year on R&D, and China is likely to represent a significant portion of that budget.

Siemens says the global research community in its China R&D centre will comprise experienced experts from around the world will focus on:

  • the research and development of new mechatronics systems,
  • human-robot collaboration; and
  • the application of artificial intelligence in robotic controllers.

Continue reading Siemens to establish global robotics research and development centre in China

New aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic building superfast plane using Stratasys 3D printing systems

A new aircraft manufacturer called Boom Supersonic is developing aeroplanes which can fly at speeds of almost 1,500 miles per hour. 

The design of Boom’s planes are reminiscent of the Concorde, the world’s first supersonic commercial jet airliner, operational from 1969 to 2003.

But unlike the Concorde, Boom Supersonic’s planes are likely to feature numerous components produced using 3D printing, a technology which didn’t exist when Concorde was flying.  Continue reading New aircraft manufacturer Boom Supersonic building superfast plane using Stratasys 3D printing systems

How American machine builder JSI built a ‘truly connected’ machine using IIoT technology from HMS

Paper slitting machines from American machine builder JSI are well-connected indeed.

By using technology from HMS Industrial Networks, and system design by Millennium Controls, JSI can remotely access and control the machine via the internet and also enable wired and wireless communication between different parts of the machine.

All this allows JSI to offer an even more competitive and connected machine. Paper slitting machine from JSI with a robotic arm allowing blades to be changed automatically.  Continue reading How American machine builder JSI built a ‘truly connected’ machine using IIoT technology from HMS

Autonomous sea-going vessels likely to be launched before driverless cars

The vast majority of the world’s goods are shipped – quite literally – by sea. According to the International Maritime Organization, 90 per cent of the world’s trade is carried by ships and boats. 

The IMO adds that the sea “is, by far, the most cost-effective way to move en masse goods and raw materials around the world”.

So while we’re all waiting for drones and driverless vehicles to deliver our online shopping orders by road and by air, it seems the really big trends are all at sea.  Continue reading Autonomous sea-going vessels likely to be launched before driverless cars

Top 10 product lifecycle management applications by install base

Product lifecycle management software is mainly used to manage the design and manufacturing process. 

Actually it can help with other aspects of the process such as research and development and supply chain logistics. And if it’s connected to administration tools, such as customer relations management, usually referred to as CRM, and enterprise resource planning software, which is often called ERP, PLM systems can become even more powerful.

The PLM system originated in the 1980s in the auto-making business but is now used across a wide range of industries, but still mostly traditional manufacturing sectors.

The usage of PLM is growing, with several reports predicting the market for the software reaching approximately $65 billion to $75 billion by 2022.  Continue reading Top 10 product lifecycle management applications by install base

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

Kollmorgen and VH Vertical Packaging realise new potential with a separate labeler

The art of reduction: the packaging machines from VH Vertical Packaging have a simple structure

By Jens Depping

A Dutch packaging machinery manufacturer has now developed a labeller as part of a retrofit with servo-drive technology based on 48 volts.

This is designed as an optional module for the company’s own vertical packaging machines on the one hand and as a functional enhancement for retrofitting older machines of well-known producers on the other.

The combination of the new 48 volt DC Servo Motor low voltage from Kollmorgen and a motion control solution from SigmaTek makes it possible for the labeling module to be integrated easily into new machines or for existing machinery to be retrofitted.  Continue reading Kollmorgen and VH Vertical Packaging realise new potential with a separate labeler

Dassault Systèmes boss talks about generative design and whether humans are necessary

DAMEN PSV 5000 - PAUL A SACUTA small
Damen recently selected Dassault Systèmes software for its engineering design process

Nothing is as straightforward as it might first sound. So, for example, one might imagine that, by using generative design software, a designer could set parameters for the computer to produce a structure and then use a 3D printer to output that structure, whether that structure is a single molecule of steel or a larger, more complex structure, like a car body. Basically, you could get the computer to do almost all of the design work.

The technology is available to do those things. And any designer who’s produced countless iterations of one basic design would certainly appreciate such powerful software. But is it really as simple as that? Probably not.

If anyone would know the answer for sure, it would be Stephen Chadwick, managing director of Dassault Systèmes for the north European region, or EuroNorth, and he says it’s possible to remove humans from the design process completely.  Continue reading Dassault Systèmes boss talks about generative design and whether humans are necessary