Rewired launches $100 million robotics-focused venture studio and fund

Investments will focus on applied science and technologies that advance machine perception and unlock the next-generation of smart robotics

Rewired has launched a robotics venture studio and fund. To start with, the company is investing $100 million in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception. 

Rewired says its initial proposition is that improving machine perception will unlock the next generation of smart robotics.

To that end, the company is focusing on the sensors, software, and systems that help autonomous machines to interact with unpredictable environments and collaborate with humans.  Continue reading Rewired launches $100 million robotics-focused venture studio and fund

How American machine builder JSI built a ‘truly connected’ machine using IIoT technology from HMS

Paper slitting machines from American machine builder JSI are well-connected indeed.

By using technology from HMS Industrial Networks, and system design by Millennium Controls, JSI can remotely access and control the machine via the internet and also enable wired and wireless communication between different parts of the machine.

All this allows JSI to offer an even more competitive and connected machine. Paper slitting machine from JSI with a robotic arm allowing blades to be changed automatically.  Continue reading How American machine builder JSI built a ‘truly connected’ machine using IIoT technology from HMS

Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

A combination of higher wages in Asian countries and a trend for bringing back manufacturing to the US could dismantle large parts of Asian economies, many of which depend on the textiles and clothes manufacturing trades for huge portion of their national income. 

An interesting video report by the Financial Times points to this possible future, but adds that in practice, for now, “almost all of the world’s T-shirts and jeans by millions of cheap workers, mostly women, watching over sewing machines”.

And beyond T-shirts and jeans, the vast majority of jobs and tasks in the clothes manufacturing sector in general is still done by humans.  Continue reading Higher wages and pressure to bring back manufacturing to the US could result in millions of job losses in clothes-making industry in Asia

PLC vs PAC: Similar but not the same

arnold machine

By Zach Arnold, founder, Arnold Machine

Programmable logic controllers, or PLCs, and programmable automation controllers, or PACs, are similar as they both perform the same essential functions. But with modern technology, their differences are becoming more blurred. 

The most notable difference between PLCs and PACs is their programming interface. PACs are more intricate, using C or C++. PLCs on the other hand, are programmed using ladder logic.

These programming differences create distinctions in the architecture and capability between the two computers.  Continue reading PLC vs PAC: Similar but not the same

Mitsubishi improves visualisation on its human machine interface

The GT2107 Wide Series Human Machine Interface
The GT2107 Wide Series Human Machine Interface

Mitsubishi has updated its human machine interface and integrated what it says is improved visibility and performance. 

The company says the improvements to its GT2107 HMI were driven by “end user demand”.

Mitsubishi says the GT2107 is an interface that monitors and controls machine components with a graphical touchscreen that connects to equipment such as programmable logic controllers, variable frequency drives and servos.

The compact HMI features a 7-inch wide display with 800 x 480 resolution for clear image quality and is equipped with a remote connectivity option through a virtual network computing server. Continue reading Mitsubishi improves visualisation on its human machine interface

Smart tool dispenser systems finding their way into industrial settings

Thomas Dicks, head of e-business and marketing at Lerbs
Thomas Dicks, head of e-business and marketing at Lerbs

Smart automatic vending machines are becoming increasingly widely used in industrial settings, according to Bedrunka+Hirth

The German company supplies what it calls “intelligent consumable and tool dispensers” which have hi-tech features such as ID card and PIN code verification access management.

B+H says the machine knows exactly who is allowed to receive a measuring device and when it must be calibrated. It logs the number of times when a milling cutter was taken out and knows when the stock is running out.  Continue reading Smart tool dispenser systems finding their way into industrial settings

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

Baumüller and Lemo to partner on building brand new bag machine

Lemo and Baumüller
Norbert Scholz, managing director of Baumüller (left), and Willi Fenninger, managing director and owner of Lemo, seal their partnership for the new film bag machine at Interpack 2017 in Düsseldorf, Germany

Baumüller, a drive and automation systems manufacturer, has received an order from Lemo Maschinenbau to design a cost-optimized, efficient and sustainable foil bag machine that also affords the manufacturer maximum flexibility and quick commissioning in the production process due to its modular structure.

Baumüller says its engineering specialists were able to meet Lemo’s requirement for modularity and a work cycle increase with the help of a new automation concept.

Among other things, a modern and streamlined drive and control architecture was used for this purpose. This means an integrated fieldbus system, minimum number of devices and a reduced control structure.  Continue reading Baumüller and Lemo to partner on building brand new bag machine

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

physee window

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

Cognitive technologies and AI poised to transform all manufacturing sectors, says Frost

ibm ai

Partnership, collaboration, and technology investment crucial for growth opportunities, says Frost & Sullivan’s industrial automation and process control team 

The Internet of Things and data analytics are transforming the manufacturing space, and data is the new currency.

Currently, human intervention is needed for logical and reasonable decision making. However, with the rise of cognitive technologies, machines will be empowered to detect constantly changing manufacturing scenarios and respond in real time with minimum human intervention.

To be successful, manufacturers need to invest in artificial intelligence technology to improve plant efficiency and productivity, and build partnerships and collaborations that drive data-driven intelligence.  Continue reading Cognitive technologies and AI poised to transform all manufacturing sectors, says Frost

Grimme marks 80 years since first automated potato harvesting machine

grimme potato machine

In Germany alone, over 10 million tonnes of potatoes are harvested each year. Worldwide, the total even exceeds 341 million tonnes.

More than 80 years ago, Grimme developed the first potato harvesting machine. A great deal has happened since that time, and now Grimme is said to be the world market leader in potato harvesting technology.

Besides the actual harvesting, efficient storage technology is equally important to ensure that potatoes remain available in top quality to meet demand.  Continue reading Grimme marks 80 years since first automated potato harvesting machine

Logistics automation startup Grabit ships products to two Fortune 100 companies

grabit

Grabit, a startup automation systems provider to the manufacturing and warehouse logistics industries, has shipped multiple units of its material handling robot, Stackit, to what it says is “an industry-leading athletic shoe and apparel company”.

Grabit also shipped multiple units of Meterit, its “intelligent conveyor system”, to a “global leader” in express package delivery services.

To date, Grabit has secured $25 million in financing from investors and strategic partners. This funding is being applied to develop flexible robotic automation solutions that leverage Grabit’s electroadhesion technology and machine learning software to provide up to 20x productivity improvement for its customers’ operations.  Continue reading Logistics automation startup Grabit ships products to two Fortune 100 companies

Kuka shows off its robots working in microelectronics

Electronics is a fast-growing market for industrial robots, and Kuka has been showing off some of its success in the sector. 

In one example the company highlighted recently, a total of 25 Kuka robots are in operation at Possehl Electronics in Niefern, Germany.

There, they manufacture complex timing cases for electric power steering systems for cars.

At the core of the system, three KR Agilus robots precisely place components into the injection molding machine.

Industrial robots work on three lines with an accuracy to a tenth of a millimeter, says Kuka.  Continue reading Kuka shows off its robots working in microelectronics

The human factor: GE Digital automation boss hints at new directions for Predix

ge digital image

Exclusive interview with Matt Wells, of GE Digital. By Abdul Montaqim

GE Digital is a subsidiary of General Electric, the quintessential American multinational corporate conglomerate with operations in more countries than the United Nations. 

But far from being just one of its parent company’s dozen or so subsidiaries, GE Digital is something of a shooting star, outperforming many other subsidiaries to the point where it is informing, if not transforming, the entire culture and ethos of the company.

Nowadays, General Electric likes to be known as a “the world’s digital industrial company”, except they capitalise the words to emphasise the importance of the virtual realm.  Continue reading The human factor: GE Digital automation boss hints at new directions for Predix