WesTec returns to Los Angeles with a focus on the future of manufacturing technology and the workforce

WesTec returns to the Los Angeles Convention Center September 12-14. 

WesTec is a manufacturing forum presenting the latest in advanced manufacturing technology including precision machining, additive manufacturing and 3D printing, software and digital technologies, advanced materials, tooling and more.

Produced by SME and the Association For Manufacturing Technology, WesTec will showcase and provide hands-on interaction with the latest cutting-edge technologies, global industry leaders addressing the hottest topics and major manufacturing companies bringing their best products, technology and services.  Continue reading WesTec returns to Los Angeles with a focus on the future of manufacturing technology and the workforce

Top 10 additive manufacturing and 3D printing companies

Although we’ve called this a top 10, it’s not really in any particular order – it’s just a list of 10 of the most well-known and perhaps most highly regarded additive manufacturing or 3D printing companies. 

If anything, it’s an impressionistic understanding of the market, taking into consideration size of the company, number of clients and general reputation.

We have not included software-only companies or providers of marketplaces without any hardware of their own – we’ve tried to concentrate on companies which manufacture 3D printers and the materials that they require.  Continue reading Top 10 additive manufacturing and 3D printing companies

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

TAL unveils welding solution involving its Brabo industrial robot

Indian company TAL Manufacturing Solutions is showcasing a new welding solution which features its own industrial robot, the Brabo

The company, which is part of the Tata Motors group, is exhibiting the robotic welding solution at the Automation Expo, currently taking place in Mumbai, India.

According to the Economic Times of India, the TAL Brabo robotic welding cell is priced at about $133,000 and is a “cost-effective” solution aimed at Tier 3 and 4 suppliers. The unit has a reach of 850 mm and a payload capacity of 6 kg.  Continue reading TAL unveils welding solution involving its Brabo industrial robot

Foxconn to build $10 billion manufacturing plant in Wisconsin as part of massive expansion plan in US

Foxconn says the expansion is the first in a series of investments in the United States

Foxconn says it will invest $10 billion over the next four years to build a liquid crystal display panel manufacturing facility in Wisconsin.

Foxconn, a Taiwanese company also known as Hon Hai Precision, says the new facility will be a “state-of-the-art” plant and part of its “intelligent manufacturing ecosystem”.

Foxconn is one of the world’s largest electronics manufacturing services providers, and makes iPhones and other devices for Apple.

The investment, which is believed to be the largest new greenfield investment made by a foreign-based company in US history, will create 3,000 jobs with the potential to grow to 13,000 new jobs in that state.  Continue reading Foxconn to build $10 billion manufacturing plant in Wisconsin as part of massive expansion plan in US

Apple to build three ‘big, big, big’ manufacturing plants in the US, claims Trump

President Donald Trump says Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to building “three big manufacturing plants in the US”, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal website. 

In an interview with the business and investment newspaper, Trump is reported to have said: “I spoke to [Cook], he’s promised me three big plants – big, big, big.

“I said you know, Tim, unless you start building your plants in this country, I won’t consider my administration an economic success. He called me, and he said they are going forward.”  Continue reading Apple to build three ‘big, big, big’ manufacturing plants in the US, claims Trump

Boeing and Dassault Systèmes extend design and product lifecycle management partnership

The world’s largest aerospace company, Boeing, has decided to extend its use of Dassault Systèmes applications to include more software from the 3DExperience platform for its design, manufacturing operations management, and product lifecycle management.

Boeing will expand its deployment of Dassault Systèmes’ products across its commercial aviation, space and defense programs.

This decision follows a competitive process that included the rigorous analysis of technical and functional capabilities, cost and business benefits across the value chain.  Continue reading Boeing and Dassault Systèmes extend design and product lifecycle management partnership

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

Top 10 product lifecycle management applications by install base

Product lifecycle management software is mainly used to manage the design and manufacturing process. 

Actually it can help with other aspects of the process such as research and development and supply chain logistics. And if it’s connected to administration tools, such as customer relations management, usually referred to as CRM, and enterprise resource planning software, which is often called ERP, PLM systems can become even more powerful.

The PLM system originated in the 1980s in the auto-making business but is now used across a wide range of industries, but still mostly traditional manufacturing sectors.

The usage of PLM is growing, with several reports predicting the market for the software reaching approximately $65 billion to $75 billion by 2022.  Continue reading Top 10 product lifecycle management applications by install base

Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

Interview with Rick Weidinger, CEO of Robotic Vision Technologies

A human eye transmits data to the brain at a rate of approximately 10 million bits a second, which is about the equivalent of the capacity of some Ethernet connections. 

This was the finding of a study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and while that may be debatable, and perhaps doesn’t tell the whole story of the complexity of the human eye, it’s probably a widely accepted idea that our eyes collect and transmit more data than do our other “sensors”, if they can be called that – the ones for sound, touch, smell and taste – which, with sight, make up our five human senses.

Robots, of course, only have senses because their makers want to integrate sensors into them.  Continue reading Interview: Robotic Vision Technologies boss eyes growth of global collaborative robotics market

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

You could be seeing things that aren’t there: Google Glass finds new home in old industries

google glass with manual
On the left is an assembly engine manual that GE’s mechanics used to consult. Now they use Glass Enterprise Edition on the right. Picture: Google X

About four years ago, when Google first showed off its Glass product – a pair of hi-tech spectacles capable of running augmented reality apps – it was met with some scepticism, incredulity even. 

Few people thought it would take off, as interesting as the idea was. Maybe people generally couldn’t see themselves walking around wearing glasses which could be seen as intrusive.

Theoretically, Google Glass could display images on pretty much everything and everyone you looked at while wearing them – and would people in your eyeline appreciate that?  Continue reading You could be seeing things that aren’t there: Google Glass finds new home in old industries

Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

“Lights-out manufacturing” is a term to mean the method of making things in a way that’s entirely automated and does not need humans to be involved in the process. 

Of course, humans initially set up the process, build the factory and so on, but the factory which outputs the final product only requires robotics and automation technology.

It’s an idea that has probably been explored in science fiction many times, but in reality, a fully automated factory that needs no human intervention at all is still a distant dream.  Continue reading Hirotec on long journey towards lights-out manufacturing with robots from Otto and Yaskawa

Americans positive about future of manufacturing but wouldn’t want to work in it

manufacturing usa deloitte report

Americans are optimistic about the future of manufacturing despite saying they wouldn’t want to work in the sector. 

The US manufacturing industry suffers from an important image problem that undermines its competitiveness, says a new opinion survey by Deloitte and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Only 50 per cent of Americans think manufacturing jobs are interesting and less than 30 per cent are likely to encourage their children to pursue a career.  Continue reading Americans positive about future of manufacturing but wouldn’t want to work in it

Electric cars will change the way industrial robots are used in manufacturing, says Fanuc boss

fanuc flow drilling robot

With Volvo’s decision to go all electric in its future vehicles, combined with the French government’s decision to ban sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040 and similar moves in Germany, the automotive industry is preparing for a tectonic shift in the manufacturing landscape. 

The way electric cars are made already differ considerably now, and new techniques will take the production of the new vehicles further away from traditional methods.

An interesting insight into the future was offered by a senior executive at the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturer, who suggested that electric cars are highly likely to fundamentally change the way industrial robots are used.  Continue reading Electric cars will change the way industrial robots are used in manufacturing, says Fanuc boss