3D printing startup Desktop Metal raises another $115 million in funding

desktop metal 6 DM Studio System-2

Additive manufacturing startup Desktop Metal has raised another $115 million in funding, bringing the total amount of financing to more than $200 million.

The company’s backers include Google, General Electric, and Techtronic Industries, the holding company for vacuum cleaner brands Hoover and Dirt Devil.

Desktop Metal was founded by four MIT professors, according to TechCrunch.com, which says its metal 3D process is “probably the most efficient” on the market.  Continue reading 3D printing startup Desktop Metal raises another $115 million in funding

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

Got milk? How a Swiss company builds filling and packaging systems for milk, coffee and other products

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A piece of equipment manufactured by Swiss Can Machinery

Scaled technology and functioning interfaces are essential for Swiss Can Machinery, which is why the company’s filling and packaging systems have a modular design throughout, and why it uses a product program with a scaled structure for the drive technology. 

The filling and packaging systems at Swiss Can Machinery – which was established by brothers Marc and Michael Grabher – shows how this objective can be achieved.

The company turns to stainless steel motors for the actuators; for example, when these systems are used for filling and packaging pharmaceutical products.  Continue reading Got milk? How a Swiss company builds filling and packaging systems for milk, coffee and other products

World Economic Forum selects robotics and automation companies in its ‘Technology Pioneers 2017’ list

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The World Economic Forum, the global nonprofit foundation whose annual meeting in Davos is attended by global leaders from business and politics, has published a list of companies which it considers to be the most pioneering in the field of technology.

In publishing its Technology Pioneers 2017 list, WEF has chosen 30 different companies to highlight from a variety of industries including biotechnology, agriculture, energy, transport, as well as a number of companies from the robotics and automation sector.

One of them is Horizon Robotics, a Chinese company which develops computer infrastructure to enable artificial intelligence computing and real-time decision-making, mainly aimed at enhancing self-driving vehicle safety.  Continue reading World Economic Forum selects robotics and automation companies in its ‘Technology Pioneers 2017’ list

Seven things to pay attention to when choosing a CDN vendor

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When your site is a slow one, you’re usually recommended to use a Content Delivery Network as it’s considered to be one of the most effective ways to speed up websites. However, it’s not the only benefit you’ll get when applying for CDN services.

Today, we’re going to discuss the main reasons to use a CDN and will give you some tips on how to choose the best CDN vendor.  Continue reading Seven things to pay attention to when choosing a CDN vendor

Hannover Messe: Global software update

Special report from Hannover Messe: How hard-bitten industrialists are turning to software 

Back in the old days, you knew what was what, who was whom, and industrial companies built machines and stuff, like cars, aircraft, power stations and whatnot.

In the past, General Electric could be said to have been a typical industrial company; so could ABB, Bosch and many others.

But now, all of them, almost without exception, seem to have caught the software bug. Now they all want to be software companies.

“Software will take over the world,” says Matt Wells, senior product general manager, GE Digital, in an exclusive interview with this website. Continue reading Hannover Messe: Global software update

General Motors to invest an extra $1 billion in US manufacturing

gm building

General Motors says it will invest an additional $1 billion into its manufacturing operations in the US, adding to the $2.9 billion of investment it announced last year. 

And in a what may have been an extra comment aimed at President-elect Donald Trump, GM says it has invested a total of $21 billion in its US manufacturing operations since 2009.

Like virtually all other automakers and large manufacturing companies, such as Apple, GM has been the target of some criticism from Trump, who wants to fulfil his campaign promise to bring back manufacturing jobs to the US.  Continue reading General Motors to invest an extra $1 billion in US manufacturing

That drug, man… it, like, uh, really ties the artificially intelligent, automated greenhouse together… you know?

Lebowski-Jeff-Bridges

“I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me. That or, uh, His Dudeness, or, uh, Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.”

Dope, weed, grass, cannabis, marijuana, or even pot – if, like Hollywood superstar Jeff Bridges, you live in the 1970s and make classic stoner films like The Big Lebowski.

There are hundreds of words for what is probably the most widely used recreational drug in the world. It’s still illegal in much of the world, but some states in the US have taken what many see as an enlightened view and decided they would rather not spoil someone else’s rug, or take it away.  Continue reading That drug, man… it, like, uh, really ties the artificially intelligent, automated greenhouse together… you know?

Siemens says it wants to strengthen its position as a ‘digital company’

Siemens is expanding its open platform “Siemens Cloud for Industry” to form the basis of new digital business models for industrial companies. The new Connector Box is a Simatic IPC-based cloud gateway that transmits machine and system data easily and securely to the Cloud.

One of the largest engineering companies in the world – famous for making humungous, physical things for the real world – is increasingly enthusiastic about the digital world

Siemens says it aims to achieve double-digit annual growth in digital business every year through to the next decade. 

The company expects its software business, and its digital services and platforms to be the main growth drivers.

Its MindSphere cloud-based, open operating system was recently rolled out companywide, which has transformed many of the processes at Siemens.  Continue reading Siemens says it wants to strengthen its position as a ‘digital company’

Interview with Universal Robots boss: ‘I don’t see any limits’

Jürgen von Hollen, the new president of Universal Robots
Jürgen von Hollen, the new president of Universal Robots

In October 2016, Jürgen von Hollen joined Universal Robots as new president. After almost two months full of work, he felt that time has come to draw an initial summary. 

Here, von Hollen shares some insights on his personal impressions, his vision and the Universal robots strategy.  Continue reading Interview with Universal Robots boss: ‘I don’t see any limits’

PLM software overview: From car manufacturing to the clothes trade

flying cruise liner 3dprint.com

Product lifecycle management software, or PLM, is a fancy term referring to computer applications which help organise information relating to researching, designing, developing, manufacturing, distributing and maintaining products a company makes. 

Not all PLM software is the same, of course. Some emphasise the research and development area, while others are more concerned with costs and distribution. But mostly PLM is thought of as an engineering system, and mostly it’s customised for large companies, although it’s moving to the cloud more and becoming accessible to smaller companies.

Essentially, PLM software enables companies to speed up the development of their products at the same time as improving its quality, durability and other important aspects.  Continue reading PLM software overview: From car manufacturing to the clothes trade

InnoTrans 2016 prepares for record number of exhibitors

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This year’s InnoTrans event is set to be the biggest in its 11-year history, with record numbers of companies booked to showcase their transport solutions. 

InnoTrans claims it is the world’s leading international trade fair for transport technology, and this year almost 3,000 exhibitors are preparing their stalls for the 100,000 trade visitors the organisers are predicting will attend.

InnoTrans is a favourite with train companies, particularly as they look to upgrade their rail networks using automation  technology as did Norway, and because there is increasing interest in and talk of intelligent transport systems.

And this year the French are particularly enthusiastic about the event.

Famed for the TGV – Train à Grande Vitesse – high-speed rail service, the French legion readying themselves to go to the event boast that the French are “at the forefront of the rail industry not only in France but all over the world”.  Continue reading InnoTrans 2016 prepares for record number of exhibitors

Large Kuka shareholder Voith sells stake to Midea

kuka

One of Kuka’s biggest shareholders has sold its stake in the robot-maker ahead of a possible takeover by Midea, the Chinese manufacturer of household appliances. 

Midea has offered to buy the whole of Kuka for $5 billion, and already owns a significant share in the German company.

Now, a large, family-owned company called Voith is to sell its share in Kuka to Midea.  Continue reading Large Kuka shareholder Voith sells stake to Midea

SoftBank absorbs Aldebaran and adds robotics to its name

softbank robotics

Japanese communications giant SoftBank is looking to build on its increasing brand awareness outside Asia with a change of name for Europe. 

SoftBank is the company behind the Pepper robot and the Aldebaran Robotics company, which developed Pepper and a number of other robotic systems and technologies including Nao (picture).

Now, SoftBank Group has decided to rename Aldebaran as SoftBank Robotics Europe and has changed the website accordingly.

In a statement, SoftBank said the change of the Aldebaran brand name to SoftBank Robotics was “in view of increased global brand awareness and business scale in the future”.  Continue reading SoftBank absorbs Aldebaran and adds robotics to its name

The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers

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Inside the Backcountry.com warehouse

By Thomas R. Cutler

Park City, Utah-based Backcountry.com is a great example of the powerful growth in the online e-tailing sector. Twenty years ago the company comprised of two men, a stack of avalanche beacons, and a garage in Park City; the company has grown to become one of the leading online specialty retailers in the United States, selling clothing and outdoor gear for hiking, camping, road biking, mountain hiking, rock and ice climbing, mountaineering, skiing, avalanche safety, snowboarding, fly fishing, kayaking, rafting, road and trail running, and more.

Jeff Carter, senior vice president of global fulfillment, at Backcountry.com, says: “Our mission is to connect people to their passions and enable them to get outdoors and enjoy the gear.”

When Carter started with the company in 2001, it shipped 265 packages on its busiest day. This past year, the company shipped about 60,000 on its busiest day. The journey has involved quite a transformation in material handling and distribution. The role of automation has made this all possible.  Continue reading The critical role of innovative automation for fast-growing online retailers