Boeing and Dassault Systèmes extend design and product lifecycle management partnership

The world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, has decided to extend its use of Dassault Systèmes applications to include more software from the 3DExperience platform for its design, manufacturing operations management, and product lifecycle management.

Boeing will expand its deployment of Dassault Systèmes’ products across its commercial aviation, space and defense programs.

This decision follows a competitive process that included the rigorous analysis of technical and functional capabilities, cost and business benefits across the value chain.  Continue reading Boeing and Dassault Systèmes extend design and product lifecycle management partnership

Thailand prioritises robotics, aerospace, and auto industries as it looks to increase competitiveness

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Pictures from BMW’s factory in Thailand

Managing an economy today is not easy. But managing it for tomorrow? Now that’s a real challenge. It’s one that the government in Thailand is tackling head on, with a raft of new policies aimed at future-proofing its workforce and industry, particularly in the automotive, robotics, and aerospace sectors.

The measures, known collectively as Thailand 4.0, are centered on incentivizing foreign direct investment and nurturing innovation for 10 key future-focused industries.

The goal is to foster an ecosystem that promotes emerging technology, innovation, and creativity within each of these sectors.  Continue reading Thailand prioritises robotics, aerospace, and auto industries as it looks to increase competitiveness

New Russian plane looking for room in global market dominated by Boeing and Airbus

An MS-21 medium-range passenger plane, produced by Irkut Corporation, takes off in Irkutsk, Russia, May 28, 2017. Courtesy of Irkut / via Reuters

By Tim Hepher, Reuters

Russia’s new jetliner, which conducted its maiden flight on Sunday, may have a hard time challenging the sales duopoly of Boeing and Airbus, but it does point the way to radical changes in how they could be building jets in the future.

The MS-21, a new single aisle airliner produced by Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation, and its associate company Irkut, is the first passenger plane borne aloft by lightweight carbon-composite wings built without a costly pressurised oven called an autoclave.

The manufacturing process provides a test for a technology already being assessed by Western rivals, who are looking for cheaper and faster ways to build some of their aircraft with composites, according to aerospace executives and suppliers.  Continue reading New Russian plane looking for room in global market dominated by Boeing and Airbus

Aerospace industry places unique demands on holemaking technology

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Plan ahead to get tooling that can handle today’s new materials, say Nate Craine and Greg Torres, of Allied Machine & Engineering

The aerospace industry is bigger than ever. As more and more people rely on air transport, the Airbus Global Market Forecast predicts the need for 33,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft in the next 20 years.

Between recent space endeavors and increasing air traffic, fabricators are constantly faced with new problems to solve.

In aerospace, the parts needed are often unique or newly designed and the deadlines are tight. With materials constantly changing, fabricators must be able to create new ways of safely and effectively drilling through them in as short a time as possible.  Continue reading Aerospace industry places unique demands on holemaking technology

This time, it’s rocket science: Harmonic Drive gears used in space rover project

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Harmonic Drive’s strain wave gears are used on spacecraft

Graham Mackrell, managing director of precision gearing specialist Harmonic Drive UK, explains why its strain wave gears have been the top choice in space for over 40 years

Anything that goes into space is seen as the pinnacle of human creation. Astronauts are highly trained and are at the peak of physical fitness, space shuttles are crafted by large teams of expert engineers and all the technology used is so high-tech it’s as if it belongs to science fiction.

Many decades ago, the first Harmonic Drive gears were sent into space during the Apollo 15 mission. Even from the beginnings of the space race, the expectations for the technology used were high.

The equipment used in space had to be reliable, compact and lightweight and given the increasing demands on equipment in today’s space missions, it must also now be highly accurate with zero backlash and have high torque capacity.

When aerospace engineers were recently designing a new space rover, they looked to Harmonic Drive gears for reliability. Due to the obvious difficulties of performing repairs in space, a high mean time between equipment failures is a high priority. Continue reading This time, it’s rocket science: Harmonic Drive gears used in space rover project

Rolls-Royce to open new research facility in US

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Rolls-Royce will house an R&D group for its jet engine component research in a 40,000-square-foot facility in the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Purdue Research Park image)

Rolls-Royce is to open a new research and development centre in the US. The company formally received the keys to the 55,000-square-foot facility in the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District in West Lafayette. 

Purdue Research Foundation and Rolls-Royce are scheduled to celebrate the building’s opening late March.

David Waggoner, head of programs, customer and operations, control systems in North America for Rolls-Royce, says: “This facility is a great opportunity for us to create something unique to North America but also unique to Indiana, and allow us to strengthen our partnership with Purdue.  Continue reading Rolls-Royce to open new research facility in US

Kuka sells its ‘North American’ aviation division to Advanced Integration Technology

advanced integration technology

Kuka is selling at least part of its aerospace division to Advanced Integration Technology

Kuka, which is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial robotics and automation technology, says the aerospace division it is selling to AIT is called “Systems Aerospace North America”.

However, the Kuka website which relates to its aerospace business is called KukaAero.com, and that says “Kuka Systems Aerospace Group is the largest division of Kuka”– no mention of “North America”.  Continue reading Kuka sells its ‘North American’ aviation division to Advanced Integration Technology

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

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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?

Data in demand: Pressure Design flying high with automated hydraulics partnership

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The aerospace industry is hungry for tons and tons of data on everything that happens, and Pressure Design has the systems to feed it 

Traceability, data logging and graphical displays are in high demand in the modern hydraulics environment.

As customers’ requirements become more complex, the hydraulic control experts at machine builder Pressure Design focus on increasing their automated solutions offering, with the support of Copa-Data’s HMI/SCADA software, zenon.

Pressure Design offer a bespoke, fully inclusive service, satisfying all fluid power requirements, from the factory floor to the HMI. The company serves the hydraulic requirements of a wide range of primary and secondary manufacturing facilities.  Continue reading Data in demand: Pressure Design flying high with automated hydraulics partnership

Exclusive: Nasa scientists set to revolutionise oil and gas business with robotics and automation technology

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Houston company says it is bringing advanced technology from Nasa to elevate oil and gas operations through robotics and automation

A Texas business grounded in aerospace experience and space technology is changing the face of oil and gas.

Houston Mechatronics, a company founded by former Nasa roboticists, is incorporating intelligent automation and robotics into the energy industry in ways that streamline operations, improve both costs and quality, and remove workers from hazardous environments.

The recent focus on oil and gas was a natural one, says Matthew Ondler, Houston Mechatronics’ co-founder and president. Although the company works with clients across a range of industries, energy is feeling a pinch.  Continue reading Exclusive: Nasa scientists set to revolutionise oil and gas business with robotics and automation technology

Taiwan to showcase new Industry 4.0 projects at IMTS 2016

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Chicago, USA. Picture credit: Pixabay.com

Leaders of Taiwan’s machine tool industry will unveil a series of smart manufacturing initiatives for applications ranging from aircraft part machining to automotive component production at a press conference at the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

More than 110 Taiwanese companies will also be exhibiting at the show from September 12-17, including 19 in the Taiwan Pavilion, reflecting the country’s status as the world’s fifth largest exporter of machine tools and components.

The presentation, New Initiatives in the Taiwan Machine Tool Industry, will take plat at
1.30 to 3pm local time, Wednesday, September 14, at the South Building, Level 4, Conference Room S402-A.  Continue reading Taiwan to showcase new Industry 4.0 projects at IMTS 2016

Airbus and Renishaw team up to develop ‘innovative design approach to meet future demand for new aircraft’

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Renishaw is contributing its additive manufacturing expertise to a new £17.7 million project, being led by Airbus in the UK, to develop an innovative way of designing and manufacturing aircraft wings, which will encourage a “right first time approach” and reduce development time. 

More than 30,000 new aircraft are expected to be required in the next 15-20 years, replacing existing in-service models and also to expand airlines’ fleets as the number of air travellers increases. 

The project, called Wing Design Methodology Validation – or Windy – has been made possible thanks to joint industry and UK government investment from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI). It was one of a number of projects announced by BEIS during the Farnborough International Airshow.  Continue reading Airbus and Renishaw team up to develop ‘innovative design approach to meet future demand for new aircraft’

How motion systems transform airline seating from cramped into comfortable

actuators and airline seats

Promoted

As the demand for air travel keeps on growing, so does the needs of the passengers that come aboard.

Aero planes tend to have very limited space for which much of the facilities have to be fitted in and made to the standards that the customers are willing to pay for.

As such, engineers are tasked with figuring out how best they bring about that element without compromising on the size of the air craft and safety among others, while maintaining the economic aspect of the airline owners.  Continue reading How motion systems transform airline seating from cramped into comfortable

Ubisense and Bosch Rexroth launch real-time tracking solution for aerospace industry

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Ubisense, a provider of enterprise location intelligence solutions, and Bosch Rexroth, specialists in drive and control technologies, have joined forces to launch a new system for locating and tracking objects in realtime.

Developed specifically for aerospace assembly lines, the solution combines Bosch Rexroth’s Nexo Cordless Nutrunner and Ubisense’s Smart Factory solutions to offer real-time tracking of tools (Tool Location) and tightening operations (Tool Control).

Ubisense’s readers detect the precise location of tagged Bosch Rexroth tools on the assembly lines at all times, avoiding tools being lost or misplaced with the associated disruption and need to repurchase.  Continue reading Ubisense and Bosch Rexroth launch real-time tracking solution for aerospace industry

Spaceflight will be as common in the future as air travel is today

Buying a ticket to outer space will be an everyday activity for millions of people in the future, as common as buying an airline ticket is today, according to an expert.

Paul Kostek, former president of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronics Systems Society, says the commercialisation of space is following the same trajectory as the air travel industry.

Virgin Galactic sub-orbital spaceship
Virgin Galactic sub-orbital spaceship

In an exclusive interview with Robotics and Automation News, Kostek says: “Just looking at the normal evolution of flight, it wasn’t until the 1930s that Boeing introduced the first pressurised planes that allowed them to fly higher… flying became safer.”

Kostek, who is the current principal of Air Direct Solutions, adds that it was approximately 40 or 50 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight that commercial aircraft came along, with early air travellers being the equivalent of present-day adventurers who buy tickets for trips on Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital flights.