Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

Mobile robotics in material handling and logistics will become a $75 billion market by 2027, according to a new report, which adds that it will be more than double by 2038. 

These staggering headline figures mask turbulent transformative change underneath: some technologies will rise and transform the fortunes of industries, fuelling growth rates far outpacing recent trends, whilst others will face with decay and obsolescence.

“We are at the beginning of the beginning of a transformative change, and the time to plan is now,” says the report by IDTechEx Research.  Continue reading Market for logistics robots predicted to exceed $75 billion in 10 years

Researchers create ‘extremely small’ sensor using ‘white graphene’

Researchers from TU Delft in the Netherlands, in collaboration with a team at the University of Cambridge, have found a way to create and clean tiny mechanical sensors in a scalable manner.

They created these sensors by suspending a two-dimensional sheet of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), or “white graphene” over small holes in a silicon substrate. This innovation could lead to extremely small gas and pressure sensors for future electronics.

Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) is an interesting material, since it has a honeycomb lattice structure similar to that of graphite. But while graphite conducts electricity, h-BN acts as an insulator.  Continue reading Researchers create ‘extremely small’ sensor using ‘white graphene’

Logistics automation startup Grabit ships products to two Fortune 100 companies

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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

ABB makes SafeMove2 control software available on the IRB 1200 industrial robot

ABB IRB 1200 Robot

Monitoring and control software now comes with company’s smallest material and machine tool handling robot 

ABB Robotics says SafeMove2 is now also available for IRB 1200, the smallest ABB robot to feature its advanced safety-certified monitoring and control software.

SafeMove2 enables people to work safely alongside ABB robots with payloads ranging from 6kg to 800kg without compromising productivity.

It also provides an optimum level of collaboration and flexibility to higher speed and throughput applications which typically require more insular, intrusive levels of safety.  Continue reading ABB makes SafeMove2 control software available on the IRB 1200 industrial robot

Seegrid expands Supervisor API to provide interoperability across automation systems

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Seegrid, a provider of flexible automated materials handling solutions, has expanded its Supervisor application programming interface to offer more advanced, connected solutions for customers.

Seegrid says the new API delivers on the promise of automation beyond materials movement, providing real-time interoperability to improve facility operations.

Interconnectedness is critical for automation systems, and Supervisor’s API addresses that growing demand, says Seegrid.  Continue reading Seegrid expands Supervisor API to provide interoperability across automation systems

Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage

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Sometimes, you have to go small to win big. That is the approach a multilab, interdisciplinary team took in using nanoparticles and a novel nanoconfinement system to develop a method to change hydrogen storage properties.

This discovery could enable the creation of high-capacity hydrogen storage materials capable of quick refueling, improving the performance of emerging hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.

Sandia National Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, collaborated on the research, which was published Feb. 8 in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.

The work was funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Office and the Boeing Co. Continue reading Big changes from a small package for hydrogen storage

SPX Flow claims technical breakthrough which saves 30 per cent energy

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SPX Flow claims it has made a technological breakthrough with its new refrigerated air dryer which will enable electricity savings of 30 per cent for robotics and automation applications 

SPX Flow has launched a new refrigerated compressed air dryer which it claims can save up to 30 per cent on energy costs. 

The Flex Series lowers air system power costs and improves productivity by matching power consumption to compressed air demand. In a typical manufacturing facility utilizing automation and robotics, up to 30 per cent of electricity can be consumed for generating and treating compressed air.

To reduce total cost of operation and qualify for utility company incentive programs, proper air treatment equipment selection and application is required, says the company.

SPX says this is a breakthrough in compressed air drying technology.  Continue reading SPX Flow claims technical breakthrough which saves 30 per cent energy

Renishaw 3D printing technology increases Land Rover BAR’s performance

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Like many other cutting edge technologies – artificial intelligence, big data analytics – additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, has been incorporated into daily use at Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing with the help of the team’s Technical Innovation Group.

In this case, TIG partner Renishaw, a global metrology firm which manufactures metal additive manufacturing machines, as well as working with the more familiar 3D printing in plastics for its own prototyping.

TIG project manager, George Sykes of PA Consulting, says: “We use 3D printing at three different levels within the team. The simplest level is as a prototyping and visualisation tool. We manufacture a large number of custom parts and 3D printing allows us to make full size prototypes in-house before we commit to a design.”  Continue reading Renishaw 3D printing technology increases Land Rover BAR’s performance

Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality: Harvard physicists succeed in creating ‘the holy grail of high-pressure physics’

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The material – atomic metallic hydrogen – was created by Thomas D. Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences Isaac Silvera and post-doctoral fellow Ranga Dias. In addition to helping scientists answer fundamental questions about the nature of matter, the material is theorized to have a wide range of applications, including as a room-temperature superconductor. The creation of the rare material is described in a January 26 paper published in Science.

“This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics,” Silvera said. “It’s the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you’re looking at it, you’re looking at something that’s never existed before.” Continue reading Metallic hydrogen, once theory, becomes reality: Harvard physicists succeed in creating ‘the holy grail of high-pressure physics’

Yaskawa showcases Neocortex robotic work cell for material handling

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Yaskawa has introduced a new robotic work cell developed in partnership with Motoman and Universal Robotics.

Yaskawa says the Neocortex Goods to Robot Cell is a “complete, pre-engineered adaptive picking solution”.

The system is the result of a collaboration between Yaskawa America, Motoman Robotics Division and Universal Robotics.  Continue reading Yaskawa showcases Neocortex robotic work cell for material handling

Robots are positively impacting our world, says Aethon

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By Anthony Melanson, vice president of marketing, Aethon

Autonomous mobile robots and self-driving vehicles are part of our world. How should you judge them?

Robotics headlines are everywhere: “China’s Impending Robot Revolution”, “IFR Report Offers Good News for Robot Developers,” and “Can Robotics Spark a Renaissance in American Manufacturing”.

There’s little question that self-driving robots, drones and other automated vehicles are integral to the present and future success of organizations in a wide-variety of sectors.

Self-driving cars are on a tremendous innovation curve and it will be exciting to see them develop. From healthcare to industrial material handling, robots are positively impacting our world. Continue reading Robots are positively impacting our world, says Aethon

Automation fails without aligning materials support function with demand, says Synchrono

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By Thomas R. Cutler

Robot-to-person solutions are on a rapid trajectory for 2017 and beyond. Yet discrete manufacturing organizations which initiate material replenishment automation programs without properly analyzing processes and priorities for internal and external stakeholders, find far less value than anticipated.

Manufacturers are unsure about current replenishment capabilities within ERP (enterprise resource planning) and other systems, and are even less clear whether to fix, buy, or build a solution to gain the capabilities needed.

Too often disruptions in leadership and a change-averse environment can create barriers to improved production flow and automating processes.

The manufacturing sector is well-served when considering whether a replenishment solution can enhance flow and enable continuous improvements; often best practice robotic solutions follow.  Continue reading Automation fails without aligning materials support function with demand, says Synchrono

Yaskawa Motoman demonstrates new range of robots at IMTS

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Yaskawa Motoman has demonstrated a range of new automation solutions for material handling, human-robot collaboration, and mobile machine tending and material movement during IMTS 2016.  Continue reading Yaskawa Motoman demonstrates new range of robots at IMTS

OR Laser develops additive manufacturing which enables ‘fast modification of molds’

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OR Laser says it has built a welding solution which can be equipped with a powder nozzle for additive manufacturing 

Direct metal deposition (DMD) can be up to 250 to 330 per cent faster than manual laser cladding.

New Additive Manufacturing 2.0 (AM 2.0)-capable laser welding systems can now be equipped with a recently developed powder nozzle from OR Lasertechnologie  that permits fully automatic layerwise buildup.

This solution holds enormous potential for tool and mold making applications at small and midsized companies.  Continue reading OR Laser develops additive manufacturing which enables ‘fast modification of molds’

The role of experts in distribution center robotics and automation

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By Thomas R. Cutler

Distribution centers are facing ever shorter delivery times, requiring higher flexibility and efficient goods management; distribution centers are vital competitive factors for companies in trade and industry.

Perfect supply chain management is the basic requirement and there are few tested experts in the planning and implementation of customized warehousing systems for distribution and logistics.

From small warehouse facilities (under 50,000 square feet) to very large DCs (1M+ square feet), finding the right solutions for distribution centers or logistics centers must be turnkey, including warehouse technology, equipment, control system, software, and construction work.  Continue reading The role of experts in distribution center robotics and automation