Foxconn to manufacture ‘95 per cent’ of new Apple iPhone 8

iphones

Foxconn is to produce 95 per cent of the new Apple iPhone, the eighth incarnation of the device, according to a report on PatentlyApple.com

It’s not clear from the story whether any of the production will take place in the US, although that’s unlikely given that Foxconn hasn’t even chosen where in the US to expand its manufacturing operations.

The Taiwanese manufacturer has been considering its options, and Michigan is said to be one of the locations being scouted.  Continue reading Foxconn to manufacture ‘95 per cent’ of new Apple iPhone 8

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

swiss can machine matic127TwinFP_01 crop
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

Nidec says demand for robot parts has grown by seven times

Nidec factory
Nidec will add equipment to increase production of speed reducers. Picture: Nikkei

Nidec, a Japanese electric motor manufacturer, says demand for its speed reducers has grown seven-fold. 

The increase in orders has led the company to invest an additional $36 million in new equipment at its factory – operated by subsidiary Nidec-Shimpo – to produce more of the component.

Speed reducers are a core part in robots, and are used to control robotic limbs and give them power.  Continue reading Nidec says demand for robot parts has grown by seven times

Fanuc leads rising tide of industrial automation in the US

fanuc industrial robots

The ongoing global trend towards greater industrial automation is being reflected in an increase in the number of industrial robots into the US. 

According to a report by Panjiva, a global trade platform, the upswing is likely to continue.

Chris Rogers, Panjiva research analyst, says industrial robot manufacturer has been one of the leading beneficiaries.  Continue reading Fanuc leads rising tide of industrial automation in the US

Proactive vs reactive obsolescence management

Proactive vs reactive obsolescence management

Jonathan Wilkins, marketing director of obsolete parts supplier EU Automation discusses the benefits of a proactive obsolescence management strategy for manufactures

With industrial obsolescence speeding up, it is vital for manufacturers to have some level of obsolescence management strategy in place to mitigate the risks of obsolescence.

Companies can implement strategies that are proactive, reactive or a mixture.

According to one of Aesop’s fables, one summer’s day an ant was working hard dragging food back to its nest when came across an idle grasshopper, singing to its heart’s content.

The grasshopper asked the ant to stop and chat – but the ant ignored him and carried on preparing for winter.

When the seasons changed, the grasshopper looked enviously upon the ant’s vast food supplies and regretted his idleness bitterly.  Continue reading Proactive vs reactive obsolescence management

Mecademic showcases ‘world’s smallest, most accurate’ 6-axis robot

mecademic Meca500

A company called Mecademic is showcasing what it claims is the world’s smallest and most accurate six-axis robot. 

The Meca500 is small enough to fit into a briefcase and its makers claim that the tiny robotic arm has a repeatability of just 5 microns, or 5 millionths of a metre.

The Montreal, Canada-based Mecademic was founded by Jonathan Coulombe, who is the CEO. His co-founder was Ilian Bonev (pictured, with one of the company’s tiny robots).  Continue reading Mecademic showcases ‘world’s smallest, most accurate’ 6-axis robot

Mercedes invests in Starship Technologies delivery robots

Mercedes-Starship combo
The mothership can’t save you so yo’ robots is gon’ get left… the Mercedes-Starship combo

Mercedes-Benz Vans has invested a large amount of money in Starship Technologies, the maker of small delivery robots making the headlines for taking pizzas here and there.

The company says the move furthers its strategic future initiative, dubbed “adVANce”.

Mercedes-Benz Vans calls Starship Technologies “the world’s leading start-up company for the development of ground-based, autonomous delivery robots”.  Continue reading Mercedes invests in Starship Technologies delivery robots

Product lifecycle management software ‘integral’ to industrial internet

Product lifecycle management software is integral to the industrial internet but not all companies use them. 

According to industry experts at Hannover Messe, PLM applications are as essential as computer-aided design software.

In the age of Industrie 4.0 and the Internet of Things, some people might wonder if we still need PLM systems in the digital future.  Continue reading Product lifecycle management software ‘integral’ to industrial internet

Technical insight: The brake chopper size conundrum

brake choppers

John Mitchell, global business development manager of maintenance and repair specialist CP Automation, looks at the dangers of taking your IGBT for granted

Many drives manufacturers design and build their products with a seventh Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT), in the form of a brake chopper, incorporated into the device. 

Manufacturers often include a brake chopper up to a certain size of inverter, but beyond that size, they will expect customers to use an external unit.

However, to reduce the cost of the drive to the end user, the seventh IGBT isn’t necessarily rated to the full power rating of the drive itself.  Continue reading Technical insight: The brake chopper size conundrum

Manufacturing: Benefits of universal peripherals

Benefits of using peripherals
Even drives with onboard brake choppers are not rated sufficiently for the braking demand of the application

John Mitchell, global business development manager of maintenance and repair specialist CP Automation, discusses the benefits of using a universal brake chopper that works with any inverter

There is a real danger in the specification of inverters for use in heavy-duty applications. Fresh from the manufacturer, most drives – even ones with onboard brake choppers – are not rated sufficiently for the braking demand of the application.

Non-specialist engineers face an extremely complex task when asked to choose the correct inverter, resistor and brake-chopper combination for a project.

To help counteract this problem, CP Automation recommends using an external brake chopper unit that simplifies the process of inverter selection. Where an inverter doesn’t feature a built-in brake chopper, the new CP Automation unit, manufactured to the highest standards, supplies that functionality. It’s a universal model that works with any inverter, from any manufacturer.  Continue reading Manufacturing: Benefits of universal peripherals

Samsung buys Harman to enter connected and autonomous car race

The biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world has signalled its intention to enter the globally accelerating connected and autonomous car race.

Samsung, which makes the Galaxy phone among others, has agreed to buy Harman, the manufacturer of incar entertainment equipment and other products.

The total value of the purchase is will be $8 billion, according to Samsung, which says Harman will continue operation as a standalone business, albeit as a subsidiary.  Continue reading Samsung buys Harman to enter connected and autonomous car race

Swisslog signs ‘major contract’ with tire manufacturer Michelin

michelin tires

Michelin, the tire manufacturer, has selected Swisslog warehouse and distribution solutions to automate a new distribution center in the US.

The order value of the automation project amounts to a high multimillion-dollar range and was booked in the second quarter of 2016.

The new distribution center will supply passenger and truck tires throughout North America, allowing the company to meet its ambitions for responsible logistics.  Continue reading Swisslog signs ‘major contract’ with tire manufacturer Michelin

Foxconn and Apple negotiating with Indian government on manufacturing and retailing

Apple and its main manufacturer Foxconn are negotiating with the Indian government over the possible establishment of a manufacturing plant and retail stores in the country. 

This is according to reports on the AppleInsider.com website, which quotes India’s Economic Times newspaper.

Indian business regulations require foreign companies to source at least 30 per cent of their goods from local suppliers, a requirement which has stalled Apple’s plan to open up a number of stores in the country of 1 billion people.  Continue reading Foxconn and Apple negotiating with Indian government on manufacturing and retailing

Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer signs deal with Korean company TPC Mechatronics

rethink-robotics-korea

Rethink Robotics has reached a deal with a South Korean pneumatic equipment manufacturer and distributor. 

TPC Mechatronics will utilise Sawyer collaborative robots from Rethink Robotics in its own facility, as well as the facilities of its customers, in “an effort to move the entire industry toward smarter factories”, according to the companies.

The exclusive distribution partner of Rethink Robotics in Korea, TPC Mechatronics’ core customer base consists of a wide range of industrial manufacturers.  Continue reading Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer signs deal with Korean company TPC Mechatronics

Comau has installed 30,000 industrial robots worldwide

comau robotics

Comau says it currently has 30,000 robots installed worldwide. This puts the Italian robot manufacturer in our Top 10 list of industrial robot makers

In exclusive comments to Robotics and Automation News, a senior executive at the Italian company provided the statistic as part of an extended interview.

Maurizio Cremonini, Comau head of marketing, says: “We have produced and installed around 30,000 robots all over the world so far.”

Full interview to be published soon.