Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Specialist robotic spacecraft developer will maintain its course through the galaxy, say new owners

Honeybee Robotics has been acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries, a 181-year-old privately held corporation with headquarters in Simsbury, Connecticut. 

Honeybee builds robotic spacecraft for Nasa and has delivered systems for the past three Mars landers, and is developing a mining robot which could extract precious resources from asteroids.

Following the acquisition, Honeybee Robotics will be a stand-alone, wholly-owned subsidiary of EBI and will complement EBI’s current aerospace and defense subsidiary, Eba-d.

Honeybee will continue to operate from its current facilities in Brooklyn, New York, Longmont, Colorado, and Pasadena, California.  Continue reading Honeybee Robotics acquired by Ensign-Bickford Industries

Toyota showcases its new advanced autonomous car platform to Boston robotics community

Boston has become one of the main centres for robotics technologies in recent years, with many well-known companies emerging from the area. 

Perhaps with this in mind, the Toyota Research Institute decided to showcase its latest developments in autonomous vehicle technology, something it’s calling “Platform 2.0” – basically, its new driverless car – to attendees at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference at MIT.

“This is the first time that we are showing the car off to the Boston-area robotics community,” said a spokesman for TRI. “This new advanced safety research vehicle is the first autonomous testing platform developed entirely by TRI, and reflects the rapid progress of our autonomous driving program.”  Continue reading Toyota showcases its new advanced autonomous car platform to Boston robotics community

ADAS: Features of advanced driver assistance systems

adas
Picture courtesy of RepairDrivenNews.com

This is a long list of features of advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS as it’s called in the automotive industry. 

ADAS is an umbrella term. Its individual technologies are basically small autonomous systems.

Taken together, ADAS is essentially a self-driving system, but it’s not promoted as such because of regulatory reasons.  Continue reading ADAS: Features of advanced driver assistance systems

SoftBank to buy Boston Dynamics, the maker of those unnervingly realistic humanoid and canine robots

boston dynamics bigdog

SoftBank, the maker of the Pepper and Nao humanoid robots, has reached a deal to buy Boston Dynamics, the robotics business owned by Alphabet, the parent company of Google. 

Some of the robots Boston Dynamics has been building a wide range of robots, some of which are humanoid, others canine and one or two wheeled – or a hybrid of these structures.

But whatever robots the company has made, they’ve been widely acclaimed as having some of the most realistic movements and best balance of any robots made anywhere – watching them move can be quite unnerving because they move almost exactly like humans or canines.  Continue reading SoftBank to buy Boston Dynamics, the maker of those unnervingly realistic humanoid and canine robots

Honda aiming for Level 4 automated driving capability by 2025

Honda says it is targeting the year 2025 for the introduction of vehicles with highly-automated driving capability – or autonomy – in most driving situations (SAE Level 4).

Full list of SAE levels of automation, or autonomousness, available here.

This new goal builds upon earlier-announced plans for Honda and Acura vehicles to have highly-automated freeway driving capability (SAE Level 3) by 2020.

Honda says these are “critical steps” in its commitment to contribute to a “collision-free society”.  Continue reading Honda aiming for Level 4 automated driving capability by 2025

SPX Flow launches ‘multi-million-dollar’ European manufacturing facility 

Company says its new, “multi-million-dollar” European plant enhances process equipment manufacturing capability 

SPX Flow has expanded its manufacturing capability in Europe.

The company – which offers an extensive range of hygienic valves, plate heat exchangers, pumps, homogenizers and process systems designed for use in dairy, food, beverage, pharmaceutical and personal care production – says the expansion is part of its “continued commitment to excel in service, quality and delivery”.

The new SPX flow facility in central Europe is designed for “manufacturing excellence” in terms of efficient production of high quality products with reliable and competitive lead times, says the company.  Continue reading SPX Flow launches ‘multi-million-dollar’ European manufacturing facility 

Boeing completes prototype parts for 777X wing at new billion-dollar advanced manufacturing facility

boeing 777x

Boeing says it has completed prototype parts for the wing of its new 777X Dreamliner aircraft

The company is using advanced manufacturing methods, including additive or 3D printing, in the construction of the passenger plane at its new $1 billion Everett, Washington facility.

When completed, the wing for the 777X will be the largest wing Boeing has ever built.  Continue reading Boeing completes prototype parts for 777X wing at new billion-dollar advanced manufacturing facility

Delta launches new PLC series enabling ‘easy and advanced programming’

Delta AS300.jpg_ico500

Delta Electronics has launched a new series of programmable logic controllers which it claims enables “easy and advanced programming” for sectors such as electronics manufacturing, labeling, food packaging and textile machines.

The AS300 PLC series covers most automation applications at a very attractive price, says Delta.

Delta adds that the AS300 series Compact Non-backplane Mid-range PLC is a “high performance multi-purpose controller designed for all kinds of automated equipment”.  Continue reading Delta launches new PLC series enabling ‘easy and advanced programming’

Robotics industry will be bigger than car industry, says Michio Kaku

One of the world’s most famous scientists says the robotics industry will be bigger than the auto industry within decades. 

Professor Michio Kaku, who lectures at the City University of New York Institute of Advanced Study, is a familiar face who’s known for explaining complex science to the average person.

Kaku has written many articles in a variety of scientific journals and is a contributor to hundreds of documentary films and television programmes. He is also the author of numerous books, including his most recent, The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the MindContinue reading Robotics industry will be bigger than car industry, says Michio Kaku

Manufacturing: The future of obsolescence management

gears

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of EU Automation, looks at managing obsolete automation components in the factory of the future

In 10 years’ time robots will cease to be subservient/submissive, manufacturing won’t exist as we know it and we’ll be 3D printing our own clothes before we go out.

Do any of these sound like familiar predictions you’ve heard over the last five years? We thought so. With this in mind, we’ll tread lightly when talking about what the highly interconnected future has in store for industrial automation.

Oh, did we mention that this factory could be ordering your replacement parts for you?  Continue reading Manufacturing: The future of obsolescence management

Intel commits $250 million extra to autonomous driving technology

intel connected car

Intel will invest an additional than $250 million into developing autonomous driving technology, says CEO Brian Krzanich.

Intel plans to help make fully autonomous driving a reality, acknowledges its decision signifies “how critical the automotive market has become for the company”.

Krzanich, who made the announcement at the LA Auto Show recently, says the new investment is part of the company’s ongoing work with automakers and system suppliers to help integrate advanced technologies into cars.  Continue reading Intel commits $250 million extra to autonomous driving technology

Huge reboot: What Trump’s aversion to trade blocs could mean for the US robotics, automation and manufacturing industries

trump reuters picture
US President-elect Donald Trump reacts to a crowd gathered in the lobby of the New York Times building after a meeting in New York, US, November 22, 2016. Reuters/Lucas Jackson

The US automotive manufacturing industry is probably going through some angsty times right now, what with president-elect Donald Trump reiterating his campaign pledge to repeal or at least renegotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and any other free-trade deal previous administrations have signed up to. 

For a highly globalised industry like the automotive sector, which sources parts from all over the world and may assemble its vehicles in any number of countries simultaneously based on a common platform, this is perhaps one election promise which it would rather not be kept.

However, Trump has already produced a presidential address style video in which he says: “I am going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country.

“Instead, we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”  Continue reading Huge reboot: What Trump’s aversion to trade blocs could mean for the US robotics, automation and manufacturing industries

US will regain top spot from China in manufacturing by 2020, says report

obama-manufacturing
Outgoing US President Barack Obama giving some speech about manufacturing

lockThe United States will regain its lead as the world’s most competitive manufacturing nation by the year 2020, according to a report by economic analyst Deloitte. 

Deloitte made its forecast after surveying the opinions of manufacturing industry executives for its 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index.

Deloitte says “executives expect the US to assume the top position before the end of the decade”.  Continue reading US will regain top spot from China in manufacturing by 2020, says report

China making ‘30 per cent more industrial robots’

cctv propaganda

China made 30 per cent more industrial robots in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the Communist government’s propaganda outlet CCTV

CCTV quoted a “ministry of industry and information technology official”, who was speaking at the Shanghai Industry Fair last week, when providing the figure.

China is already thought to be the world’s largest market for industrial robots, but it wants to become a maker of the machines as well.  Continue reading China making ‘30 per cent more industrial robots’

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

3d-printed-ball
A 3D-printed ball. Picture credit: Pixabay.com

“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 3DPrintingIndustry.com, 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?