Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Kiva Systems was a company that built a mobile robot for logistics operations, mainly for use in warehouses. It was a basically a small platform on wheels, and proved popular throughout the industry.

But then it got bought out by Amazon, which initially said it would still sell it to the rest of the logistics industry but actually didn’t. Instead it rebranded Kiva as Amazon Robotics and turned it into a business unit of its own.

The online retail giant now has one of the largest number of robots in operation of any company in the world.

But two former executives at Kiva Systems – Jerome Dubois and Rylan Hamilton – have now launched a new company and a range of new logistics automation solutions.  Continue reading Kiva Systems developers launch new company and their own logistics robot

Manufacturing and construction driving growth in Vietnamese automation and control systems market, says report

Despite slowdowns in certain industries, Vietnam’s automation and control systems market is witnessing stable growth, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.

Robust expansion in the manufacturing and construction sectors plus increased foreign direct investment, growing end-user need to optimize processes and improve efficiency, and development of special economic zones are factors fuelling growth.

Nonetheless, barriers to market entry are high. To succeed in a fiercely competitive ecosystem, automation vendors must embrace new technologies, such as Internet of Things, collaborate with developers of machine-to-machine technologies, and become one-stop integrated solution providers.  Continue reading Manufacturing and construction driving growth in Vietnamese automation and control systems market, says report

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

Government incentives driving growth of Malaysian automation and control systems market, says report

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A factory in Malaysia. Picture courtesy of The Malay Mail Online

Government incentives and adoption of new technologies are driving the growth of the Malaysian automation and control systems market, according to a new report.

The Malaysian automation and control systems market, one of the biggest for suppliers, is stable and growing, says the study by Frost & Sullivan, which projects the market to be worth more than $409 million in the next four years.

Government incentives to aid manufacturing and infrastructure spend, as well as an established end-user base of sophisticated automation systems, are driving growth in the region.  Continue reading Government incentives driving growth of Malaysian automation and control systems market, says report

NSK miniature linear guides bring ‘higher dynamics’ to pick-and-place machines

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NSK says its linear guides bring “higher dynamics” to pick-and-place machines.

As machines for the semiconductor industry operate with cycle times of one second or less, pick-and-place units must offer very high dynamic performance.

A case in point can be seen at a manufacturer of chip-mounting systems, where NSK recommended a combination of its ball screw and miniature linear guide technologies to replace the existing linear motor and significantly increase dynamic capability.  Continue reading NSK miniature linear guides bring ‘higher dynamics’ to pick-and-place machines

HMS Industrial launches new smart grid connectivity gateway

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New IXXAT SG-gateways from HMS Industrial Networks enable data exchange between infrastructure and energy networks based on IEC61850 or IEC60870-5-104, and common fieldbus and industrial Ethernet systems, says the company.

While industrial communication between devices and systems is typically done with fieldbus and industrial Ethernet, modern infrastructure and energy networks are based upon other protocol standards such as IEC61850 and IEC60870-5-104.

The new IXXAT SG-gateways from HMS address the increasing need for data exchange between these two worlds, offering a wide protocol coverage and easy integration.  Continue reading HMS Industrial launches new smart grid connectivity gateway

Volkswagen buys D-Wave quantum computers which sell for $15 million each

D-Wave’s quantum computing system

Volkswagen has become a customer of D-Wave Systems, which builds quantum computers that cost $15 million each. 

Martin Hofmann, VW’s chief information officer, told New York Times that the investment in quantum computing technology is a sign of things to come. “For us, it’s a new era of technology,” he said.

VW is claimed to have used a D-Wave computer to steer the movements of 10,000 taxis in Beijing simultaneously, optimising their routes and reducing congestion, according to the report in NYT.  Continue reading Volkswagen buys D-Wave quantum computers which sell for $15 million each

Harman introduces Sherlock AI system to help its designers and engineers find and put things together more quickly

Harman International, a design and engineering company which supplies a range of products and services to automotive companies, has introduced a new artificial intelligence system into its company.

The AI system, Sherlock, is described as a “virtual colleague” for Harman employees, and is said to have completely redefined the innovation management workflow in some of the company’s divisions.

Armin Prommersberger, senior vice president technology, lifestyle audio division, at Harman, says Sherlock offers a level of insight into the business that would be impossible to gain without it.  Continue reading Harman introduces Sherlock AI system to help its designers and engineers find and put things together more quickly

ADAS: Features of advanced driver assistance systems

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Picture courtesy of RepairDrivenNews.com

This is a long list of features of advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS as it’s called in the automotive industry. 

ADAS is an umbrella term. Its individual technologies are basically small autonomous systems.

Taken together, ADAS is essentially a self-driving system, but it’s not promoted as such because of regulatory reasons.  Continue reading ADAS: Features of advanced driver assistance systems

Renesas working on new products for self-driving cars

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Renesas, one of the leading suppliers of electronics to the automotive sector, says it is developing a new range of products which it plans to launch towards the end of this year, according to a report in Automotive News

The company plans to market the new range of products under the label of “Renesas Autonomy”, and it will include such things as an image-recognition system which works with automotive cameras, around-view monitors and lidar systems.

The market for automotive electronics has been accelerating at a fast rate and is seeing consolidation in the chipmaking business, with Qualcomm having bought NXP, which previously bought Freescale.  Continue reading Renesas working on new products for self-driving cars

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

Kuka agrees deal with Beet on IoT

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Kuka has agreed a deal with Beet Analytics as part of robot maker’s Industrie 4.0 strategy.

Kuka will now be able to offer Beet’s industrial IoT technology as another tool in their Industrie 4.0 eco-system and to offer Beet technology on Kuka solutions.

Ronny Chiang, president Beet analytics technology, says: “We are excited to work with Kuka, whose global industrial leadership in automation systems will further strengthen Beet’s presence in the global market. This will allow OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to access Beet IoT solutions with a respected and established leader standing behind it.”  Continue reading Kuka agrees deal with Beet on IoT

General Motors names Kuka Systems its supplier of the year

kuka robot at hannover messe

Kuka Systems recognized by General Motors as 2016 Supplier of the Year winner for powertrain and body shop equipment

Kuka Systems was named a “General Motors Supplier of the Year for Powertrain and Body Shop Equipment” by GM during its 25th annual Supplier of the Year awards ceremony held recently in Orlando, Florida.

GM recognized 118 of its best suppliers from 15 countries that have consistently exceeded GM’s expectations, created outstanding value or brought new innovations to the company.

The announcement represented the most suppliers GM has recognized since debuting the Supplier of the Year event in 1992. This is the second time Kuka Systems has received the award.  Continue reading General Motors names Kuka Systems its supplier of the year

Kinema Systems claims ‘world’s first deep learning 3D vision system for industrial robots’

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Kinema Systems claims to have launched what it describes as “the world’s first deep learning 3D vision system for industrial robots”. 

A large part of the world’s commerce moves in boxes arranged on pallets. Depalletizing boxes in warehouses, distribution centers and factories is a difficult task that has become more challenging with changing demographics and an increase in product mix.

Kinema Pick is claimed to be the world’s first deep learning 3D vision system for industrial robots, and addresses the depalletization of both mixed SKU and single SKU pallets.  Continue reading Kinema Systems claims ‘world’s first deep learning 3D vision system for industrial robots’

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