Opinion: Digitalization, big data, artificial intelligence, agility… what really creates value for industrial companies?

By Vincent Champain, GE Digital

For years industrial companies have been looking for opportunities to enhance the operational efficiency of their assets and processes.

Unsurprisingly, new technologies and agile working have opened a new world of possibilities to the manufacturing sector.

In recent years, new technologies, such as big data and artificial intelligence, have considerably impacted the way industrial companies operate, leading to an increasing number of players in the industry embracing the trend of digitalization.  Continue reading Opinion: Digitalization, big data, artificial intelligence, agility… what really creates value for industrial companies?

Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring

By John Hayes, Vecna Robotics

There is a frequent complaint of Industry 4.0, Big Data, and the Industrial Internet of Things. Too much data, little of which can be accessed and used effectively.

From tuggers, automated guided carts, and automated guided vehicles, there is a real need to include IIoT monitoring which defines the next phase of automation and robotics in materials handling.

Without IIoT monitoring, plant managers, operations managers, logistics coordinators throughout manufacturing and distribution sectors lack the data collected which offers real-time continuous status and health information.  Continue reading Opinion: Materials handling automation and robotics requires IIoT monitoring

Kuka celebrates production of 2 million Jeep Wranglers

Kuka is apparently rather pleased with itself for having helped produce 2 million Jeep Wranglers. 

A few days ago, the Kuka Toledo Production Operations celebrated the completion of its two millionth Jeep Wrangler body-in-white.

Kuka says it’s “the latest milestone in a stellar history that has seen this unique plant rank consistently among the quality and productivity leaders in the North American automotive industry”.  Continue reading Kuka celebrates production of 2 million Jeep Wranglers

Nasa and SSL complete preliminary design review of robot that will fix satellites

Space Systems Loral says it successfully completed the preliminary design review for Nasa’s Restore-L mission to provide satellite servicing in low earth orbit. 

With the completion of the preliminary design review, Restore-L is proceeding on schedule to the next phase of development and its launch in 2020.

As announced last year, SSL is working with Nasa Goddard Space Flight Center’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division, to build a spacecraft that will change the nature of how infrastructure in space is managed by, for the first time in history, refueling a satellite in orbit that was not designed for servicing.  Continue reading Nasa and SSL complete preliminary design review of robot that will fix satellites

Dürr and BMW win award for smart painting technique

Robotics and automation technology company Dürr and automaker BMW have won an award for developing a new robotic painting system.

The companies received the award for technique for their concept of a “smart paint shop” at the Surcar 2017 event in Cannes, France.

The jury at Surcar, which is said to be the world’s leading biennial congress on automotive body finishing, traditionally selects the winners for three awards.  Continue reading Dürr and BMW win award for smart painting technique

Largest robotics and automation investment fund now has $1 billion in assets under management

ROBO, believed to be the first robotics and automation exchange traded fund, has reached a new milestone in terms of its assets under management.

Index provider ROBO Global, which has holdings in more than 100 listed companies, says investors have embraced its dedicated focus on robotics, automation and artificial intelligence.

The ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF recently surpassed $1 billion in assets under management, and its managers say it has achieved the psychologically significant benchmark less than four years after launching.  Continue reading Largest robotics and automation investment fund now has $1 billion in assets under management

DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

It’s not a glamorous business, logistics. Doesn’t make the mainstream news very often. And it’s not likely to be the top career choice for most people. 

It’s understandable. After all, how interesting can it be to move boxes from point A to point B?

Put like that, it’s not much to write home about. But now, with driverless vehicles everywhere, augmented reality glasses and exoskeletons for warehouse workers, and robotics and automation technologies of all kinds promising to transform the industry worldwide, logistics is about to get much more interesting.  Continue reading DHL could stop Amazon from taking over the world. Probably

Top 10 additive manufacturing and 3D printing companies

Although we’ve called this a top 10, it’s not really in any particular order – it’s just a list of 10 of the most well-known and perhaps most highly regarded additive manufacturing or 3D printing companies. 

If anything, it’s an impressionistic understanding of the market, taking into consideration size of the company, number of clients and general reputation.

We have not included software-only companies or providers of marketplaces without any hardware of their own – we’ve tried to concentrate on companies which manufacture 3D printers and the materials that they require.  Continue reading Top 10 additive manufacturing and 3D printing companies

Autodesk to bundle Nastran simulation and manufacturing software free with Inventor

Autodesk is planning to include simulation and computer-aided manufacturing software into its Inventor mechanical design suite of applications, according to a report on Engineering.com

Autodesk Inventor is generally used by engineers in mechanical design, and was available for $2,500 a year through the company’s website.

Autodesk’s senior director of manufacturing business strategy, Stephen Hooper, told Engineering.com that the company would now include Nastran and HSMWorks in an Inventor suite.  Continue reading Autodesk to bundle Nastran simulation and manufacturing software free with Inventor

DHL invests in four new Sawyer collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics

DHL has invested in four new Sawyer robots in order to evaluate the solution as part of its robotics research and development programme.

The company describes the purchase of the Sawyer robots as “the first step” in its robotics deployment journey.

DHL says the collaborative robots will be flexibly used across its 19 contract packing, or “co-packing”, and production logistics centres across the UK and Ireland region.  Continue reading DHL invests in four new Sawyer collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics

The 10 most highly prized industrial design awards

An industrial design award can launch a designer’s career, so is highly sought after, and there are plenty of design competitions out there to enter if you’re interested. 

Although most of the competitions emphasise consumer product design, and often software-oriented products, the industrial product categories are also extensively included.

And if you can’t find one that has a category that seems to suit your category now, if you wait long enough, someone will organise one.  Continue reading The 10 most highly prized industrial design awards

Kuka wins prestigious Red Dot design award for industrial robot

Kuka has won a prestigious design aware from the Red Dot organisation, which runs a competition which analyses products from an extensive range of industries.

The award that Kuka won was in the Red Dot industrial product design category, and it was for its industrial robot, the KR CyberTech (pictured).

Kuka says the jury’s reasoning was: “The KR CyberTech industrial robot – with its streamlined, elongated silhouette – stretches the limits of possibility in terms of speed and reach.”  Continue reading Kuka wins prestigious Red Dot design award for industrial robot

Top 10 graphics processing unit manufacturers: Nvidia clearly in the lead

The whole world seems set on a course which will take everyone into a highly automated, robotic and artificially intelligent future. 

And much of the hardware used in the vehicles driving us to that utopia-like future is being supplied by Nvidia.

By many expert accounts, the chipmaker has taken a clear lead in the chip market and its processors are often the first choice for engineers building solutions in virtually all the current breakthrough technologies – from blockchain and cryptocurrencies to advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous cars.  Continue reading Top 10 graphics processing unit manufacturers: Nvidia clearly in the lead

Billion-dollar industrial estate to feature data centre infrastructure as part of its offering

In what might be a sign that traditional industry is increasingly becoming digital, the developer of an industrial estate is making telecommunications and data processing a fundamental component of its offering. 

Traditionally, the priority for industrial estates have been to provide good road and other transport networks. Nowadays, data networks are sometimes even more important to companies of all types – including those in the manufacturing sector.

Bannon Investment Group, which is developing the 85-acre Elk Grove Technology Park near Chicago O’Hare Airport, says the estate will one of the largest of its kind in the US.  Continue reading Billion-dollar industrial estate to feature data centre infrastructure as part of its offering

Mazda to make all its vehicles autonomous by 2025

Mazda has stated its intention to make all of its vehicles autonomous by 2025 as part of a broader plan to transform the entire company by 2030.

The company says it will “begin testing of autonomous driving technologies currently being developed in line with Mazda’s human-centered Mazda Co-Pilot Concept in 2020, aiming to make the system standard on all models by 2025”.

Mazda says it wants to build cars that “provide safety peace of mind”, and that provide “unrestricted mobility to people everywhere”.  Continue reading Mazda to make all its vehicles autonomous by 2025