Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Volkswagen’s new concept autonomous and electric car, Sedric
Volkswagen self-driving concept car, which it calls Sedric

The Volkswagen Group is researching ways in which robots can be used in the future when cars become more electrified and computerised as a result of increasing demand for clean and autonomous vehicles. 

The German automaker, which owns the Audi, Bentley, Seat, Porsche and Lamborghini brands among others, is working one of the world’s largest industrial robotics and automation providers, Kuka, to research and develop a number of ideas.

The current area of interest for the strategic partnership between Kuka and Volkswagen is the area of service concepts for vehicles of the future, and the two companies have agreed a contract to jointly develop robot-based innovation concepts for vehicles of the future.  Continue reading Volkswagen and Kuka research ways to use robots for future electric and autonomous cars

Apple invests $200 million into Corning’s ‘revolutionary’ glass production methods

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Corning recaptures glass material for use in the production process and to help reduce waste. Pictures courtesy of Apple

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently set up a $1 billion fund for the tech giant to invest in advanced manufacturing in the US, and the company has allocated $200 million of that money to a company called Corning

Corning – which has been supplying the cover glass for iOS devices for the past 10 years – will receive the $200 million from Apple’s new Advanced Manufacturing Fund as part of what Apple calls its “commitment to foster innovation among American manufacturers”.

The investment will support Corning’s research and development, capital equipment needs and “state-of-the-art glass processing”.  Continue reading Apple invests $200 million into Corning’s ‘revolutionary’ glass production methods

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

Yusen Logistics awards Swisslog automated warehouse contract in Singapore

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Swisslog’s automated warehouse technology

Yusen Logistics, a provider of contract logistics and air and ocean freight forwarding, has selected Swisslog warehouse and distribution Solutions to deliver the “innovative AutoStore Automated System” in Singapore.

The autonomous robots, which sit on the top of an aluminium grid as part of the innovative storage system, is expected to go into operation in 2017.

This light goods automatic storage and retrieval system (AutoStore) investment is a result of Yusen Logistics’ insight into the philosophy of the shared economy and the need to manage rising business costs in the current global, lower-growth economy. Continue reading Yusen Logistics awards Swisslog automated warehouse contract in Singapore

Xerox launches new 3D printer featuring a nozzle ‘half the width of a human hair’

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New Xerox 3D printers sport a nozzle which is almost too tiny to see with human eyes

Xerox says it has developed innovative architecture featuring tiny, stainless steel nozzles inside its new Direct to Object Inkjet Printer.

The company says this means it has created a new, label-less, on-demand method of personalising three-dimensional objects.

The nozzles are contained in print heads – about the size of a deck of cards – that accurately spray ink on objects as small as bottle caps and as large as football helmets. The printer can print on plastic, metals, ceramics and glass, eliminating the need for costly labels.  Continue reading Xerox launches new 3D printer featuring a nozzle ‘half the width of a human hair’

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’

Kuka robot constructs pavilion by sewing parts together

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Like an oversized sand dollar: the completed research pavilion at the University of Stuttgart. Photo: ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

Sewing may be one of the oldest technical activities of humankind but it’s not one that robots have yet fully mastered. 

The complexity of sewing, whether it’s sewing by hand or using a machine, is such that robots – or sophisticated sewing machines – can only perform some relatively simple stitches.

But those stitches that the robots or sewing machines can perform are actually very impressive and would be difficult – though not impossible for a human.

On the other hand, a lot of things a human can do – such as stitch together a sleeve and cuff or some other part of the garment, or even sew together the entire garment – is way beyond the realms of possibility for even the most sophisticated robots of today.

Nonetheless, the university in Stuttgart has used Kuka robots to perform a sewing job which can only be described as impressive. Perhaps weird as well, since they stitched together some wood – not a material usually associated with sewing.  Continue reading Kuka robot constructs pavilion by sewing parts together

Kuka to unveil three ‘innovative’ research projects at ICRA event

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The Kuka youBot, an omnidirectional, mobile platform, on which a five-axis robot arm is mounted with two-finger gripper

Kuka says it will be presenting “three innovative corporate research projects” at one of the world’s largest robotics conferences.

The International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Stockholm offers researchers from across the globe a platform to present innovative solutions. Kuka is a sponsor of ICRA.

Dr Rainer Bischoff, head of Kuka corporate research, says: “At ICRA, we will not only be showcasing our latest technological developments, but we will also be taking a broader view to discuss new scientific approaches for developing innovative ideas in the future as well.”

Stefan Lampa, CEO of Kuka Robotics, adds: “Innovations are the driving force for the growth of a company. They strengthen the product portfolio and help to open up new markets.”  Continue reading Kuka to unveil three ‘innovative’ research projects at ICRA event

CeMAT 2016 puts spotlight on digitization and automation

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CeMAT, which describes itself as the world’s leading tradeshow for intralogistics and supply chain management, expects to attract more than 1,000 exhibitors from around the globe 

Logistics is as complex as it sounds, and CeMAT, which takes place from31 May to 3 June, aims to explain all the latest developments.

Numerous individual elements come together in logistics to make a functioning whole, as increasingly dynamic production and logistics processes become ever more closely intertwined.

Anyone who wants to compete successfully in the logistics growth market needs to consistently update their own holistic concepts and systems for optimized material and information flows – with an emphasis on solutions.  Continue reading CeMAT 2016 puts spotlight on digitization and automation

Robotics and IoT to play central role at Taiwan technology exhibitions

Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, viewing the ABB YuMi collaborative robot at a previous event
Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, viewing the ABB YuMi collaborative robot at a previous event

More than 1,600 companies have booked stands and are preparing to market their products at the Innovex and Smartex events in Taiwan. Robotics and the internet of things will be among the key attractions.

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The exhibitions are organised by Computex Taipei, a government-linked organisation started in 1981 to promote trade with the outside world.

China has been buying large numbers of industrial robots in recent years, and ABB is one of the companies which is looking to establish itself in the region.

The company is developing partnerships on Mainland China, and has decided to book a place at the Computex in Taiwan, which is something of a global hub for electronics manufacturing.  Continue reading Robotics and IoT to play central role at Taiwan technology exhibitions