Systems engineering: An insight from a professional systems engineer

Systems engineering and systems design might sound fascinating to someone interested in the area of technology and building, making, developing, and organising things. 

But even to understand what the terms mean, from a beginner’s or outsider’s point of view, can be difficult.

And to summarise them probably wouldn’t explain things adequately because they really sound like a big jobs, involving a large number of tasks across many different disciplines and departments.

Continue reading Systems engineering: An insight from a professional systems engineer

An introduction to product design and development for manufacturing

Many people have ideas, but actually producing something – sketch, prototype, then final product – from those ideas, and having it mass-manufactured, is a hugely complex, time-consuming and expensive process.

If that product is an electronic and semiconductor technology-based hardware-and-software product, which is increasingly in demand these days, then that’s an even higher level of complexity and stress.

This article tries to provide a starting point, or introduction, for those interested in industrial design or product development, and maybe have ideas for products and want to know how to start the process of getting them manufactured.  Continue reading An introduction to product design and development for manufacturing

B&R adds optimized engineering to 3D SuperTrak simulation

B&R has added a new visualization tool which it says accelerates the development of automation solutions featuring the company’s SuperTrak industrial transport system.

The tool displays a 3D simulation of all SuperTrak shuttle movements, as well as synchronized subsystems such as robotics and CNC.

Machine builders and operators can accelerate the commissioning process by validating their designs and sequential programming in advance.  Continue reading B&R adds optimized engineering to 3D SuperTrak simulation

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

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

Airbus chooses Stratasys system to 3D print components for new aircraft

Stratasys has been chosen by Airbus to supply 3D printing and additive manufacturing systems for the production of components for aerospace company’s new plane. 

Airbus has already used the Stratasys FDM 3D Production System to produce 1,000 flight parts for use on its A350 XWB aircraft.

The 3D printed parts use a resin called Ultem 9085, which is certified to an Airbus material specifications to have a high strength to weight ratio and to be resistant to flame, smoke and toxicity – necessary for aircraft interiors.  Continue reading Airbus chooses Stratasys system to 3D print components for new aircraft

Autodesk launches generative design tool for Netfabb 3D design software

Autodesk has released a beta version of a generative design tool for its Netfabb additive manufacturing software, with a view to a full launch early next year. 

Generative design is a term to describe an automation functionality within 3D design software which enables users to set parameters such as materials and physics and allow the software itself to conjure up a design.

Some might describe it as automated or autonomous design – or even sorcery and magic – as it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate structures within the software.  Continue reading Autodesk launches generative design tool for Netfabb 3D design software

Dassault Systèmes boss talks about generative design and whether humans are necessary

DAMEN PSV 5000 - PAUL A SACUTA small
Damen recently selected Dassault Systèmes software for its engineering design process

Nothing is as straightforward as it might first sound. So, for example, one might imagine that, by using generative design software, a designer could set parameters for the computer to produce a structure and then use a 3D printer to output that structure, whether that structure is a single molecule of steel or a larger, more complex structure, like a car body. Basically, you could get the computer to do almost all of the design work.

The technology is available to do those things. And any designer who’s produced countless iterations of one basic design would certainly appreciate such powerful software. But is it really as simple as that? Probably not.

If anyone would know the answer for sure, it would be Stephen Chadwick, managing director of Dassault Systèmes for the north European region, or EuroNorth, and he says it’s possible to remove humans from the design process completely.  Continue reading Dassault Systèmes boss talks about generative design and whether humans are necessary

Epson showcases new Flexion industrial robot and printer built using SCARA robot

Flexion at tradeshow
Epson’s Flexion 6-axis industrial robot

Epson Robots is showcasing a range of new technologies for a wide variety of applications in factory automation at the Automation Technology show, ATX East.

ATX is currently under way, running from June 13-15, and is being held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York, in the US. Epson’s booth is number 2405.

Epson’s showcase will feature the new and “revolutionary” Flexion N2 6-Axis robot as well as an assembly demo of an Epson Point of Sale printer built with a high precision SCARA robot and a compact 6-Axis robot.  Continue reading Epson showcases new Flexion industrial robot and printer built using SCARA robot

Video: Dassault Systèmes to launch integrated new platform for 3D printing

Dassault Systèmes is planning to launch an integrated 3D printing platform in the next few months, according to a senior executive at the company. 

In an interview with RoboticsAndAutomationNews.com, Philippe Bartissol, vice president, industrial equipment industry, Dassault Systèmes, says the the initiative will be announced in the next two months.

The initiative will “address the complete ecosystem of 3D printing”, says Bartissol, adding: “It will not be only one customer using our platform extensively.

“It will be several players from several fields jointly working on one platform, with payment possibilities and delivery possibilities as well.”  Continue reading Video: Dassault Systèmes to launch integrated new platform for 3D printing

Aerotech demonstrates patent-pending motion control sensor

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Aerotech has launched a motion control sensor with a parallel-kinematic design which provides unmatched geometric performance, says company, adding that it also offers superior positioning resolution and linearity with the direct-metrology capacitive sensor.

Aerotech’s QNP3 series XYZ piezo positioning stages combine sub-nanometer resolution, high dynamics, and excellent geometric performance in a compact three-degree-of-freedom (DoF) package.

They come with a 40 mm x 40 mm clear aperture with closed-loop travels up to 100 µm x 100 µm x 10 µm (open-loop travels to 120 µm x 120 µm x 12 µm).

The design is ideal for optical and scanning probe microscopy or other inspection or manufacturing applications where two-sided part access is required with three-DoF manipulation.  Continue reading Aerotech demonstrates patent-pending motion control sensor

Designworks collaborates with Shell to improve hydrogen refuelling

Ergonomic nozzle of Shell H2 Dispenser Concept_ by Designworks

BMW Group subsidiary Designworks and Shell have collaborated in the development of an innovative hydrogen dispenser that will improve the refuelling experience.

Designworks and Shell say that hydrogen vehicles have proved to be “increasingly suitable” for everyday use and offer the potential to become an important low carbon transport option for the future.

The new dispenser design will create a seamless experience for hydrogen drivers on the forecourt and help to encourage the adoption of hydrogen as a transport fuel of the future.  Continue reading Designworks collaborates with Shell to improve hydrogen refuelling

Doctor, I shrunk the robot. Or… Out of their tiny little robotic minds

By Chris Wagner, head of advanced surgical systems at Cambridge Consultants

Surgical robots today are large and unwieldy. This causes a number of challenges in the operating theatre. 

Setting up and managing the robots, for example, takes up valuable operating time. It’s also difficult to swap a robot in and out of a surgical procedure if traditional tools are more appropriate for some elements of an operation. And there are safety issues when clinical staff work in close proximity to a large piece of moving equipment.

So a surgeon has to weigh the benefits of surgical robotics against these limitations for each procedure where a robot is used.

There is an opportunity here – if we can simply make the robot smaller, many of these limitations disappear. It is much easier to move a small robot into an operating theatre, put it into position for an operation and move it out again afterwards. The safety concerns are also much reduced.  Continue reading Doctor, I shrunk the robot. Or… Out of their tiny little robotic minds

Most complex nanoparticle crystal ever made by design

complex crystal

The most complex crystal designed and built from nanoparticles has been reported by researchers at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan. The work demonstrates that some of nature’s most complicated structures can be deliberately assembled if researchers can control the shapes of the particles and the way they connect using DNA.

“This is a tour de force demonstration of what is possible when one harnesses the chemistry of DNA and combines it with nanoparticles whose shapes encourage a particular crystal structure,” said Chad A. Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern.

Nanotechnology promises to bring materials together in new ways, forging new capabilities by design. One potential application for crystals built of nanoparticles, such as these newly reported ones, is the control of light — nanoparticles interact well with light waves because they are similar in size. This could lead to materials that can change colors or patterns on command or block certain wavelengths of light, while transmitting or amplifying others. New types of lenses, lasers and even Star Trek-like cloaking materials are possible. Continue reading Most complex nanoparticle crystal ever made by design