Samsung buys Harman to enter connected and autonomous car race

The biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world has signalled its intention to enter the globally accelerating connected and autonomous car race.

Samsung, which makes the Galaxy phone among others, has agreed to buy Harman, the manufacturer of incar entertainment equipment and other products.

The total value of the purchase is will be $8 billion, according to Samsung, which says Harman will continue operation as a standalone business, albeit as a subsidiary.  Continue reading Samsung buys Harman to enter connected and autonomous car race

OR Laser launches new metal additive manufacturing system

or laser orlas creator

OR Laser has launched a new direct metal additive manufacturing system which it says is “more accessible and more affordable for more companies”.

The company says the Orlas Creator metal additive manufacturing platform is “smarter, simpler, faster and more cost effective than any other metal additive manufacturing system currently available on the market”.

OR Laser says the system uses a “unique” circular build-platform design, which enables up to 30per cent faster production speeds compared with comparable platforms. These speeds are facilitated by a proprietary, rotation-led precision coater blade.  Continue reading OR Laser launches new metal additive manufacturing system

Endurance Robots: How to connect a laser to a CNC machine

endurance robots diodes

George Fomitchev, CEO of Endurance Robots, explains how to connect lasers to CNC machines

Tutorial: Connection of the laser, 1 W and more (1000 mW) to a laser engraver, a CNC machine, a plotter (MakeBlock Plotter XY 2.0, DIY), and a 3D printer (WanHao, Reprap, Ultimaker)

Customers often ask us how to connect a powerful laser to this or that CNC machine or plotter, if the circuit board of the device does not have a separate power supply for a laser, and the current going through the control board is minimal and does not exceed, for example, 0.5 A.

The DIY и MakeBlock engraver board is powered with 12 v and 0.5-1 А current, not more.
1W diode lasers require 1-2 А и 12 v current; 5 W lasers and higher need more than 3 A.

To mount a more powerful laser on a plotter (such as a MakeBlock XY plotter 2.0 KIT) or on a small Neje engraver additional power supply is needed. It is possible to install a separate battery unit and a driver, for instance.  Continue reading Endurance Robots: How to connect a laser to a CNC machine

Harmonic Drive launches new gearbox to ‘usher in a new age of robotics’


New gearbox range from Harmonic Drive aimed at “growing demand for compactness” and collaborative robotics 

High precision gearing specialist, Harmonic Drive UK, has launched CSF-2UP, a new gearbox range designed for medical technology, robotics and measuring-instrument applications.

Expected to be worth $7.85 billion by 2020, according to MarketsandMarkets, the smart and collaborative robotics sector is particularly dependent on compact and ultra lightweight gears.

The CSF-2UP gearboxes form part of the CSF Series, a range characterised by its very short length and low weight. The new gearbox range is available in three sizes, with gear ratios of 30, 50 and 100 at a repeatable peak torque from 1.8 to 28 Nm.  Continue reading Harmonic Drive launches new gearbox to ‘usher in a new age of robotics’

Geolux updates traffic radar product to consume less power


Geolux RSS-2-300 T Doppler radars and RSS-2-300 OEM radar modules are used worldwide in various traffic monitoring and law enforcement applications, including LED speed signs.

LED speed signs are often placed on locations where there is no connection to electric power grid, so they rely on solar power and batteries.

For solar-based setups it is critical to reduce power consumption of all components of LED sign, including radar sensor unit. Geolux has recently improved its firmware that controls the radar operation, to include a special low-power mode which greatly reduces radar current draw. Continue reading Geolux updates traffic radar product to consume less power

Endurance invents new new diode laser for 3D printers

endurance robots diodes

Endurance Robots claims it has invented a “powerful diode laser” which can convert 3D printers and CNC routers into laser engraving and cutting machines. 

The new 5.6 watt laser follows Endurance’s 2.1 watt laser which was launched a couple of years ago.

The company says its new laser is easy to install and quick to start cutting or engraving.

The laser can be used to engrave many materials, such as wood, plywood, fabric, felt, acrylic, ABS, PLA, cardboard, hardboard, says the company.

Igus introduces its largest energy chain for light robotic applications


Motion plastics specialist says new energy chain allows for easy assembly and cable routing

Igus has launched triflex TRLF.125, extending the TRLF family to include its largest 125mm nominal diameter e-chain, in addition to existing 65, 87.5 and 100mm internal diameter sizes.

These TRLF energy chains are ideally suited for robotics and other applications that require electrical power cables, data cables and hoses to remain secure and protected during multi-axis movement.

The company – which likes its name written as igus, with a small i – that with this new 125mm size, even stiff or large hoses, or indeed large numbers of individual cables, can be inserted quickly and easily, reducing labour costs and assembly time.   Continue reading Igus introduces its largest energy chain for light robotic applications

Qualcomm confirms it is buying NXP for $47 billion


Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors have announced a definitive agreement, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, under which Qualcomm will acquire NXP.

Qualcomm will pay $110 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $47 billion.

NXP is a specialist in high-performance, mixed-signal semiconductor electronics, with innovative products and solutions and leadership positions in automotive, broad-based microcontrollers, secure identification, network processing and RF power.  Continue reading Qualcomm confirms it is buying NXP for $47 billion

Small potatoes: A closer look at chips


One of the issues with analysing the chip market, as with some others, is that the products are complex and have a huge array of applications. This often makes it difficult to compare one chip with another. 

Moreover, some people might not know the difference between a micro-processor and a micro-controller, or what a semiconductor is… and where microchips fit into all this.

So here’s an attempt at an explanation. Continue reading Small potatoes: A closer look at chips

Qualcomm could become king of the road if it buys NXP

qualcomm headquarters

Mergers and acquisitions happen quite frequently these days, and there’s a lot of interest surrounding them. 

For example, there are currently strong rumours that US smartphone chip giant Qualcomm is about to buy NXP Semiconductor for $40 billion.

NXP itself last year bought Freescale for $12 billion. The deal gave NXP access to the market for micro-controllers, in which Freescale is one of the leading companies.

And in a separate, similarly large deal, Japanese communications colossus SoftBank recently agreed to buy the British chip designer ARM for $32 billion.  Continue reading Qualcomm could become king of the road if it buys NXP

Qualcomm and NXP ‘agree $40 billion deal’

nxp chip on board

Chipmakers Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors have reportedly agreed a $40 billion takeover deal, according to CNBC

Wall Street Journal reported a couple of weeks ago that Qualcomm was in negotiations to buy NXP for $30 billion, and says the acquisition would be “a huge consolidation move for the silicon industry”.

Neither company has so far commented on the talks, and have not confirmed they are taking place.

But now, CNBC is confident that Qualcomm and NXP “have agreed an all-cash handshake deal that Qualcomm will pay $110 a share for NXP … in a deal that would be close to $40 billion”.

Qualcomm has a market capitalisation of more than $100 billion, and earned over $25 billion in revenue in 2015. The company has 27,000 staff and is headquartered in California, in the US.

NXP is valued at $35 billion and had revenues of $6 billion in 2015. It has 45,000 staff and is headquartered in the Netherlands, Europe.

Additive manufacturing or 3D printing? What’s the difference?

“Additive manufacturing” is increasingly used interchangeably with “3D printing”, so they essentially mean the same thing. The only difference seems to be that “3D printing” is used more by maker communities – hobbyists and inventors – and still retains some sort of novelty value, whereas “additive manufacturing” – despite being the newer term – is more likely to be preferred in industry circles, perhaps because it has the sound of an established technology. 

But it’s not really an “established” technology in the sense that it’s only been around for a relatively short time.

According to, it was only in 2007 that a 3D printer was available for less than $10,000 – from a company called 3D Systems, which is today one of the most well-known providers of the technology.

The most advanced 3D printers still cost quite a lot of money, especially those used by high-end manufacturers, but there are good-quality, entry-level machines available today for as little as a few hundred dollars.  Continue reading Additive manufacturing or 3D printing? What’s the difference?

Cognex awards Integro Technologies official partner status


Cognex Corporation names Integro Technologies first certified platinum partner

Integro Technologies, a machine vision integrator in Salisbury, North Carolina, has been named the first Certified Platinum Level Cognex Partner System Integrator (PSI). 

In 2003, Integro Technologies was named a Cognex Vision Integrator (CVI), and in 2005, became an official Cognex PSI. Integro Technologies has consistently been in the top tier of the Cognex PSI programs in North America.

The new Certified Platinum status acknowledges System Integration companies that have experienced engineers on staff and have been trained on the latest technology available from Cognex.  Continue reading Cognex awards Integro Technologies official partner status

Industrial internet: Connecting motors to the Internet of Things


Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of industrial equipment supplier EU Automation discusses how new developments help bring legacy systems forward

In the last few years, fitness tracking technology has been increasingly popular, with a range of devices available to help you become healthier, improve your fitness performance and ultimately live longer.

These devices use non-invasive, easy to use sensors that connect directly to your smartphone or computer, giving you instant results to track your progress. At this year’s Hanover Messe, a new ABB demonstrated a new fitness tracker. Only this time, it’s a fitness tracker for industrial motors.

At this year’s Hanover fair, ABB revealed that it has developed a smart sensor that can monitor the condition of a Low Voltage (LV) motor. This development consists of two parts; the sensor and the software.  Continue reading Industrial internet: Connecting motors to the Internet of Things

Integro Technologies wins Universal Robots deal


Integro Technologies has been selected as a Certified System Integrator for Universal Robots

Integro is a machine vision integrator based in Salisbury, North Carolina. Universal Robots is a pioneer in collaborative robotics worldwide.

Through industrial leadership the two companies say they have established a new sector in the market and lowered the implementation costs associated with traditional robotic safety requirements, vision guided robotic pick-n-place, and multi-point inspection applications.  Continue reading Integro Technologies wins Universal Robots deal