Billion-dollar industrial estate to feature data centre infrastructure as part of its offering

In what might be a sign that traditional industry is increasingly becoming digital, the developer of an industrial estate is making telecommunications and data processing a fundamental component of its offering. 

Traditionally, the priority for industrial estates have been to provide good road and other transport networks. Nowadays, data networks are sometimes even more important to companies of all types – including those in the manufacturing sector.

Bannon Investment Group, which is developing the 85-acre Elk Grove Technology Park near Chicago O’Hare Airport, says the estate will one of the largest of its kind in the US.  Continue reading Billion-dollar industrial estate to feature data centre infrastructure as part of its offering

New robotic painting system saves ‘significant’ resources, claims Fraunhofer

An automated painting system, involving an industrial robot, is claimed to save significant resources by its developer, the Fraunhofer Institute.

The robotic system – called SelfPaint – is said by Fraunhofer to offer reductions of 20 percent in paint use, 15 percent in energy consumption and 5 percent in production time.

These are “significant advantages” compared to manual painting operations, which have previously been the preferred option, adds Fraunhofer.  Continue reading New robotic painting system saves ‘significant’ resources, claims Fraunhofer

Rewired launches $100 million robotics-focused venture studio and fund

Investments will focus on applied science and technologies that advance machine perception and unlock the next-generation of smart robotics

Rewired has launched a robotics venture studio and fund. To start with, the company is investing $100 million in applied science and technologies that advance machine perception. 

Rewired says its initial proposition is that improving machine perception will unlock the next generation of smart robotics.

To that end, the company is focusing on the sensors, software, and systems that help autonomous machines to interact with unpredictable environments and collaborate with humans.  Continue reading Rewired launches $100 million robotics-focused venture studio and fund

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

Continental sends out autonomous minibus for a driverless drive

Continental, a company which provides a range of automotive solutions such as tyres and advanced driver assistance systems, has been showing off its new autonomous minibus. 

The company calls the vehicle Cube, short for Continental Urban Mobility Experience, and describes it as a “robo-taxi”.

This particular trial of the driverless minibus took place in Frankfurt, Germany.  Continue reading Continental sends out autonomous minibus for a driverless drive

Plenty attracts ‘largest-ever agriculture technology investment’ led by SoftBank to develop indoor farms in city centres

A company called Plenty claims it has attracted the “largest-ever agriculture technology investment”. 

The company says the investment will drive its development of its global, large-scale indoor farm network to deliver “radically fresher, affordable food to local communities everywhere”.

Plenty describes itself as a “field-scale indoor farming company remaking the global food system”.  Continue reading Plenty attracts ‘largest-ever agriculture technology investment’ led by SoftBank to develop indoor farms in city centres

Opinion: Augmented and virtual reality ‘open up whole new world of opportunities’

augmented-reality-glasses atheer

By Douglas Bruey, electrical engineering program lead at Synapse

At first glance, a gamer playing Pokémon Go has little in common with a surgeon saving lives in an operating theatre. But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that might not be the case for much longer.

Augmented reality and virtual reality technologies are poised to open up a whole new world of opportunities. We’re already seeing the effects of VR when it comes to gaming. But in future could AR add a new dimension to surgery?

AR and VR both have the ability to alter our perception of the world. AR takes our current reality and adds something to it – virtual objects or information. VR, on the other hand, immerses us in a different – virtual – world.  Continue reading Opinion: Augmented and virtual reality ‘open up whole new world of opportunities’

Brain Corp raises $114 million to develop self-driving technology for robots

Brain Corp, an artificial intelligence company specializing in the development of self-driving technology for robots, has raised $114 million in a Series C funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund.

Brain has developed AI and self-driving technology to enable robots to perceive their environment, learn to control their motion, and navigate using visual cues and landmarks while avoiding people and obstacles.

The investment will be used to further develop AI technology and create brains for multiple types of commercial and consumer robots.  Continue reading Brain Corp raises $114 million to develop self-driving technology for robots

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

ST Engineering acquires Aethon, maker of the TUG autonomous mobile vehicles

aethon logistics robot

Singapore Technologies Engineering has acquired Aethon and its autonomous mobile robot, TUG, usually seen performing some logistical task or other. 

ST Engineering is a $5 billion engineering firm with global operations and strong expertise in mobile robotics.

The value of the deal was not made public.

Aethon will become a division of ST Engineering’s US headquarters, VT Systems and will be part of the group’s land systems sector which is led by ST Kinetics, which is focused on robot technology innovation.  Continue reading ST Engineering acquires Aethon, maker of the TUG autonomous mobile vehicles

What will America’s roads and highways look like in the future?

The New Jersey Institute of Technology has been looking into the future to see how roads and highways will change over the next few years, and found a significant proportion of roadways in a poor state. 

Across the United States, says the NJIT, there are more than 4 million miles of public roadways, and 28 percent are listed as being in “poor condition”.

Throughout those roadways, 61,000 bridges are considered “structurally deficient”.

On top of the needs for rebuilding US roadways, 42 percent of America’s major urban highways remain congested, which costs an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually.  Continue reading What will America’s roads and highways look like in the future?

Kollmorgen and VH Vertical Packaging realise new potential with a separate labeler

The art of reduction: the packaging machines from VH Vertical Packaging have a simple structure

By Jens Depping

A Dutch packaging machinery manufacturer has now developed a labeller as part of a retrofit with servo-drive technology based on 48 volts.

This is designed as an optional module for the company’s own vertical packaging machines on the one hand and as a functional enhancement for retrofitting older machines of well-known producers on the other.

The combination of the new 48 volt DC Servo Motor low voltage from Kollmorgen and a motion control solution from SigmaTek makes it possible for the labeling module to be integrated easily into new machines or for existing machinery to be retrofitted.  Continue reading Kollmorgen and VH Vertical Packaging realise new potential with a separate labeler

Next generation pick-to-light offers dynamic automation scalability

Pick-to-Light

By Thomas Cutler

Until now pick-to-light equipment has represented a significant fixed capital expense with little consideration for variable use, often driven by seasonality, warehouse/distribution variance, and project management flux.

From manufacturers to 3PL (third-party logistics) companies, these swings in low or high usage represented a level of waste as purchased lights went unused and wasted.

Pick-to-light is a fulfilment technology which uses alphanumeric displays and buttons at storage locations to guide the manual picking and recording of items for shipment.  Continue reading Next generation pick-to-light offers dynamic automation scalability

DHL and Wärtsilä complete tests of mobile robots from Fetch Robotics for warehouse operations

Industrial technology company Wärtsilä and the world’s largest logistics company, DHL, say they have been utilising mobile robots from Fetch Robotics to streamline warehouse operations. 

The companies say they have completed a “successful pilot”, where they tested autonomous vehicles from Fetch Robotics.

The pilot was carried out in Wärtsilä’s central distribution centre in Kampen, the Netherlands, where the entire logistics chain of Wärtsilä’s spare parts, from order intake to customer delivery, is managed.

As Wärtsilä’s partner, DHL runs the warehouse operations.  Continue reading DHL and Wärtsilä complete tests of mobile robots from Fetch Robotics for warehouse operations

Sita Lab launches mobile robotic kiosk for airports

Sita Lab, a provider of air travel technology, has launched Kate, a mobile robot which the company says is an intelligent check-in kiosk that will autonomously move to busy or congested areas in the airport as needed. 

Using various data sources – including flight and passenger flow information – Kate can identify where additional check-in kiosks are required to reduce passenger queue times at check-in.

Kate, which was developed in partnership with BlueBotics, uses existing Sita data systems such as Day of Operations Business Intelligence and FlightInfo API.  Continue reading Sita Lab launches mobile robotic kiosk for airports