Why automated parts inspection is important in manufacturing

precision ball actuators

Inspection in manufacturing is a process that involves the testing, gauging, measuring, and examination of a material or specimen, with the express purpose of determining whether or not it is in proper condition.

Typically, specified standards are set, against which the results of the inspection are compared to establish if the material being inspected is able to pass this stage of quality control.

In the past, inspection used to be performed solely by human agents, a special workforce that was commonly equipped with the necessary paraphernalia, and sometimes, simply by their bare senses.  Continue reading Why automated parts inspection is important in manufacturing

Oticon uses Universal Robots machine to manipulate tiny little components inside hearing aid

oticon hearing aid

New robot lends precision and reliability to the production of hearing aids, says Oticon

Hearing aid device manufacturer Oticon required a more flexible robot to handle the tiny hearing device components in its production.

The company had been using robot technology for the past 10 years. But, as the minute components became increasingly smaller in order to make the hearing aids more comfortable, the existing two- and three-axis robots used in manufacturing were no longer suitable.

They could not perform the required lateral and vertical movements sufficiently. If for instance a small part is stuck in a mould, the robot should be dexterous enough to tip it out.  Continue reading Oticon uses Universal Robots machine to manipulate tiny little components inside hearing aid

Daimler orders millions of dollars worth of industrial robotics tech from Kuka

KR FORTEC 360

The robotics division of Kuka has received what the company describes as “a major new order in the double-digit million euro range” from a German premium car manufacturer.

The framework agreement with the Daimler encompasses the supply of multiple industrial robots of the KR Quantec generation and the integrated KR C4 controller, as well as robots from the KR Fortec heavy-duty series.

The robots will be used primarily for joining and handling applications in body-in-white production.  Continue reading Daimler orders millions of dollars worth of industrial robotics tech from Kuka

Bosch reports increased sales of €73 billion. Wins massive new sensor contract from Apple

Bosch’s robotics expert, Kai Arras,
Bosch’s robotics expert, Kai Arras, with one of the company’s robots in development

Bosch – one of the world’s largest industrial companies, producing a wide variety of engineered products, from automotive components to home appliances – has reported increased sales for the year 2016. 

In a press conference last week to launch the German giant’s annual report, Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner listed the key figures:

  • sales rose from €70.6 billion in 2015 to €73.1 billion last year; and
  • earnings before tax in 2016 reached a total of €4.3 billion.

Sales in all business segments and geographical regions had increased, added Denner.

As positive as the figures may seem, Denner said the company was nonetheless undergoing “profound transformation”, partly brought about by a range of new technologies which are changing the global industrial landscape, and because diesel engines may be phased out.  Continue reading Bosch reports increased sales of €73 billion. Wins massive new sensor contract from Apple

Healthcare’s digital revolution: Technologies transforming medicine

Healthcare's digital revolution crop

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of obsolete parts supplier, EU Automation discusses technologies that are revolutionising healthcare in the 21st century

Doctor Crawford W. Long conducted the first surgical operation under anaesthetic in 1841 in Jefferson, Georgia.

In 1841, general anaesthetic had not yet been invented, so Dr Long used diethyl ether, a chemical most commonly used to start internal combustion engines, in its place.

The surgeon pressed an ether-soaked towel to the patient’s face to put him to sleep before removing a tumour from his neck. He billed the patient two dollars for the whole procedure.  Continue reading Healthcare’s digital revolution: Technologies transforming medicine

Hannover Messe: Smart materials paving the way to 3D printing and to the ‘microfactory’

3d printed supercar

Get your complimentary ticket to Hannover Messe 2017

There may or may not be slight differences between what’s called “3D printing” and “additive manufacturing”, but essentially both are advanced techniques that could spell the end of assembly lines as we know them. 

It’s a widely known historic fact that giant car companies pioneered what we now known as the assembly line, where a product – such as a car or any other complex item – would move along production line, where different workers and teams of workers would do their jobs and eventually a finished product would be the result.

This process, however, is now being reconsidered in an age where customers are asking for increaing amounts of customisation and new technologies such as 3D printing and additive manufacturing are making this customisation possible.  Continue reading Hannover Messe: Smart materials paving the way to 3D printing and to the ‘microfactory’

Infographic: Why choose obsolete?

eu automation - industrial robots

Global supplier of industrial automation parts, EU Automation, has released an infographic detailing the benefits of purchasing obsolete components as opposed to buying brand new equipment.

Focusing on the financial and regulatory benefits of sourcing obsolete, the handy infographic is available to download from the EU Automation website.

By investigating the cost of downtime in manufacturing industries, specifically for the food and beverage, automotive and pharmaceutical sectors, EU Automation’s infographic names sourcing obsolete components as one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to minimise stoppages in production.  Continue reading Infographic: Why choose obsolete?

Virtual factory: Visual Components launches new version of its industrial design application

visual components robots

Visual Components has launched the latest version of its design application which the company says offers a number of new features and capabilities. 

Visual Components 4.0 is the company’s new range of 3D factory simulation products, designed for manufacturing professionals and built on a “powerful, flexible, and scalable platform”.

The company says the new version offers:

  • smarter simulation;
  • improved user interface refresh;
  • better performance;
  • advanced rendering; and
  • open architecture.

Visual Components was founded by a group of simulation experts with long experience in industry.  Continue reading Virtual factory: Visual Components launches new version of its industrial design application

Reassuringly expensive gear: Overcoming the challenges of the packaging industry

Packaging industry gears crop

Graham Mackrell, managing director of precision gearing specialist Harmonic Drive UK, explains actuators, boots and socioeconomic unfairness 

As a famous fictional policeman once said, “The reason that the rich were so rich… was because they managed to spend less money”. 

What he meant was that although the rich may buy more expensive things, they buy products that will last longer and are therefore a better investment.

Although the policeman in question was referring to boots at the time, the same is true of cars, phones, and even servo actuators used in packaging machines.  Continue reading Reassuringly expensive gear: Overcoming the challenges of the packaging industry

US manufacturing growing at ‘fastest rate in two years’

robots

The US manufacturing sector is growing at the fastest rate it has in more than two years, according to calculations produced by the Institute for Supply Management and published in Forbes, among other media. 

The Manufacturing ISM Report on Business figures show December was the best month for manufacturers in 2016. More components and parts were ordered this month than previous ones.

The ISM report is a survey sent out to a “manufacturing committee”, and collating the responses revealed that “of the 18 manufacturing industries, 11 are reporting growth in December”, according to ISM.

The ISM adds: “Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December, and the overall economy grew for the 91st consecutive month.”

More details at ISM’s website

Daimler develops ways for industrial robots and factories to save energy under Areus project

Saving energy has been a serious preoccupation of many industrial companies for many years, but especially in recent years with prices of fuel fluctuating and public concern about the environment growing. 

In the auto manufacturing sector, which buys the most number of industrial robots and uses vast amounts of energy, companies such as Kuka have been looking to make their automation systems more energy efficient.

Now, in the European Union, a project called Automation and Robotics for European Sustainable Manufacturing, or Areus, says it has developed the components of an energy-efficient automobile production system of the future.  Continue reading Daimler develops ways for industrial robots and factories to save energy under Areus project

Raspberry Pi partners with RS Components to expand manufacturing operations to Japan

raspberry pi starter kit

New manufacturing hub in Japan complements UK production operation and expands capacity for famed Raspberry Pi microcomputer

RS Components and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have agreed a deal which will see the latest iteration of the Raspberry Pi 3 credit-card-sized single-board computer being manufactured in Japan under a local contract manufacturing arrangement.

This increase in global production of Raspberry Pi is to serve large and increasing demand for the popular platform in the Asia Pacific region.

William Chong, head of product, supplier, inventory and pricing management, Asia Pacific, RS Components, says: “Existing models of the Raspberry Pi will continue to be manufactured in South Wales, UK, with the dual manufacturing locations in place to cater for future demand growth globally.

“Asia Pacific is a significant growth market for Raspberry Pi, and this new ‘Made in Japan’ element means that we are now geared up for this growth.”  Continue reading Raspberry Pi partners with RS Components to expand manufacturing operations to Japan

Small potatoes: A closer look at chips

microprocessor

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

Foxconn reaches 40,000 industrial robot installations

foxconn_robot

Foxconn, the Taiwan-headquartered industrial robotics and automation company which makes a lot of Apple’s devices including the iPhone and iPad, says it has now installed 40,000 industrial robots in mainland China.

This is according to a report on the Next Big Future website, which adds that company plans to increase that figure ten-fold.

The robots are built almost entirely in-house with the exception of some components like servo motors and speed reducers, said Foxconn’s Dai Chia-peng to Taiwan’s Central News Agency, as quoted by DigiTimesContinue reading Foxconn reaches 40,000 industrial robot installations