German robotics and automation industry set to break records and grow faster than previously expected

 

The German robotics and automation industry is growing at a faster rate than previously forecast, according to the VDMA, and will break records. 

The sector will reach €14 billion ($16.4 billion) annually for the first time, says the VDMA.

The VDMA is the German industrial association, said to be the largest in Europe, with more than 3,200 member companies from the mechanical and plant engineering sector.

The organisation has a section called VDMA Robotics + Automation, a specialist association with more than 270 members, which includes suppliers of components and systems from the areas of robotics, integrated assembly solutions, and industrial image processing.  Continue reading German robotics and automation industry set to break records and grow faster than previously expected

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

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

ThyssenKrupp claims ‘breakthrough’ in digital transformation and connecting machinery ​

ThyssenKrupp says it has achieved a breakthrough in the area of digital transformation and connecting machinery ​in industry.

ThyssenKrupp says it has reached a “milestone” for the digital transformation of industry and connecting the machinery of its materials services division through a new digital platform.

The company’s new internet of things platform is call Toii, or toii, as the company prefers to write it.  Continue reading ThyssenKrupp claims ‘breakthrough’ in digital transformation and connecting machinery ​

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

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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

World’s largest automotive companies and an intro to their autonomous and electric vehicle tech moves

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A picture of a car production line, this one in an Audi factory

In the first of a series of articles about large industrial companies, we list 20 of the leading automakers in the world in order of their last reported annual revenue amount, and highlight some of their more interesting developments in autonomous technologies. 

Automakers are have long been the largest market for industrial robotics and automation systems, but also, more recently, the vehicles they produce have become more robotic.

The design and development of road vehicles are becoming increasingly an exercise in developing computing technology – both hardware and software. Add to that the growing importance of artificial intelligence to run the advanced driver assistance systems that many new cars already have. Continue reading World’s largest automotive companies and an intro to their autonomous and electric vehicle tech moves

Xiamen installs 64 Universal Robots machines on production line

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of bathroom accessories and auto parts, Xiamen Runner Industrial Corporation in China, has installed 64 Universal Robots arms to upgrade the efficiency of the production process by establishing a highly-efficient, flexible, and reliable production line.

The UR robots are installed in 10 different applications ranging from injection molding machine tending, gas testing and product assembly.

Before deploying UR robots, most operations at Runner Corporation were manual with operator fatigue posing risks on both safety and product yield. The company was devoted to developing a highly-efficient, flexible, and reliable production line.  Continue reading Xiamen installs 64 Universal Robots machines on production line

Thailand prioritises robotics, aerospace, and auto industries as it looks to increase competitiveness

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Pictures from BMW’s factory in Thailand

Managing an economy today is not easy. But managing it for tomorrow? Now that’s a real challenge. It’s one that the government in Thailand is tackling head on, with a raft of new policies aimed at future-proofing its workforce and industry, particularly in the automotive, robotics, and aerospace sectors.

The measures, known collectively as Thailand 4.0, are centered on incentivizing foreign direct investment and nurturing innovation for 10 key future-focused industries.

The goal is to foster an ecosystem that promotes emerging technology, innovation, and creativity within each of these sectors.  Continue reading Thailand prioritises robotics, aerospace, and auto industries as it looks to increase competitiveness

Bosch to build gigantic semiconductor production plant in Germany

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German industrial giant Bosch is building a massive semiconductor production plant which would represent the single largest investment in the company’s 130-year history. 

The high-tech facility, to be located in Dresden, would employ around 700 staff working on 300-millimeter semiconductor chips which Bosch says has growing applications in the automotive market, smart cities and on the industrial internet, all strong markets for Bosch.

The construction of the high-tech factory is to be completed by the end of 2019, says Bosch, and production is expected to begin at the end of 2021 after a start-up phase. Overall, the investment volume for the site is estimated to be around $1.1 billion.  Continue reading Bosch to build gigantic semiconductor production plant in Germany

ABB puts YuMi collaborative industrial robot to work making wall sockets at its factory in Holland

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The dual-armed ABB YuMi robots shown at the company’s plant in Ede, the Netherlands

ABB has installed three YuMi robots on a new production line at its electrification products plant in Ede, the Netherlands.

Designed for use in small parts assembly, the three YuMi robots will assemble a new cavity wall socket called HW52-F.

ABB says that, due to its “inherently safe” design, the YuMi collaborative dual arm robot solution will ensure the safety of those around it and elevate the nature of work at the plant by performing repetitive tasks to perfection.  Continue reading ABB puts YuMi collaborative industrial robot to work making wall sockets at its factory in Holland

FemtoPrint signs up new partners ahead of important microtechnology event

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The high-end Ulysse Nardin InnoVision2 watch, made using FemtoPrint technology. Picture via ABlogToWatch.com

FemtoPrint, which specialises in the production or printing of 3D microdevices out of glass and other transparent materials, has signed up new partners ahead of EPHJ, one of the most important microtechnology exhibitions in the industry calendar. 

FemtoPrint has reached a distribution agreement with Japan Laser Corporation and, separately, a production deal with high-end mechanical watchmaker Ulysse Nardin.

The agreement between FemtoPrint and JLC involves a commercial collaboration which will result in the commercialization of FemtoPrint products and services into the Japanese market.  Continue reading FemtoPrint signs up new partners ahead of important microtechnology event

Why automated parts inspection is important in manufacturing

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Inspection in manufacturing is a process that involves the testing, gauging, measuring, and examination of a material or specimen, with the express purpose of determining whether or not it is in proper condition.

Typically, specified standards are set, against which the results of the inspection are compared to establish if the material being inspected is able to pass this stage of quality control.

In the past, inspection used to be performed solely by human agents, a special workforce that was commonly equipped with the necessary paraphernalia, and sometimes, simply by their bare senses.  Continue reading Why automated parts inspection is important in manufacturing

Oticon uses Universal Robots machine to manipulate tiny little components inside hearing aid

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New robot lends precision and reliability to the production of hearing aids, says Oticon

Hearing aid device manufacturer Oticon required a more flexible robot to handle the tiny hearing device components in its production.

The company had been using robot technology for the past 10 years. But, as the minute components became increasingly smaller in order to make the hearing aids more comfortable, the existing two- and three-axis robots used in manufacturing were no longer suitable.

They could not perform the required lateral and vertical movements sufficiently. If for instance a small part is stuck in a mould, the robot should be dexterous enough to tip it out.  Continue reading Oticon uses Universal Robots machine to manipulate tiny little components inside hearing aid

Boeing streamlines aircraft production systems at largest factory

A Boeing 787 is pictured at Boeing's production facility in Everett, Washington
A Boeing 787 is pictured at Boeing’s production facility in Everett, Washington, US June 1, 2017. Reuters / Jason Redmond

By Alwyn Scott, Reuters

Boeing is streamlining its aircraft production systems at its largest factory – Everett, Washington – trying to cut costs to compete with rival Airbus and chip away at the near-$30 billion deficit created by its 787 Dreamliner.

Dozens of complex robots are replacing humans for such mundane tasks as drilling and riveting, and Boeing is reordering some of its assembly steps to speed up the process.

The savings, part of a long-term cost-cutting drive at the world’s biggest plane maker that also includes substantial staff reductions, comes as Boeing has spent heavily to develop new aircraft models.  Continue reading Boeing streamlines aircraft production systems at largest factory

Video: Dassault Systèmes to launch integrated new platform for 3D printing

Dassault Systèmes is planning to launch an integrated 3D printing platform in the next few months, according to a senior executive at the company. 

In an interview with RoboticsAndAutomationNews.com, Philippe Bartissol, vice president, industrial equipment industry, Dassault Systèmes, says the the initiative will be announced in the next two months.

The initiative will “address the complete ecosystem of 3D printing”, says Bartissol, adding: “It will not be only one customer using our platform extensively.

“It will be several players from several fields jointly working on one platform, with payment possibilities and delivery possibilities as well.”  Continue reading Video: Dassault Systèmes to launch integrated new platform for 3D printing