3D Printing: Still Worth It?

From Motif Investing: Some analysts believe HP's inroads into the 3D printing space made buyers more hesitant to purchase 3D printers in order to see how the technology evolves. While HP will get far more revenue from sales of its traditional 2D printers and PCs, it could become a major player in the 3D printing world in the near future.

Gartner muses on importance of algorithms for Industry 4.0 projects

IoT Tech News: Algorithms are vital for Industry 4.0, and as Thomas Oestreich, managing vice president at research company Gartner puts it: "…the connected world of cyber-physical systems has to deal with the sheer volume, real-time velocity and diversity of data; and in order to drive new value and differentiating innovations, new algorithms need to be developed. This is making algorithms the pulse of Industry 4.0 initiatives."

Industry 4.0: The Five Steps Towards A Digital Supply Chain

Forbes: The key for a successful digital transformation of the existing supply chain, and therewith reaping the full benefits of DSC, lies in developing an orderly process for implementing and integrating the many technologies and capabilities required.

MakerBot says its new print process reduces times and costs by around 30 percent

Brian Heater for TechCrunch: MakerBot's MinFill arrived quietly last night as a firmware upgrade for existing customers, and the company is already calling it a "big benchmark in speed and widespread adoption of 3D printing."

Carbon SpeedCell™: Additive Manufacturing Reinvented

Carbon the Silicon Valley-based additive manufacturing company, today announced the launch of SpeedCell, a system of securely connected products designed to upend traditional methods of manufacturing. The first components of the SpeedCell include two new products that provide a powerful solution for additive manufacturing at scale: The M2, a robust, industrial-grade 3D printer built with manufacturers in mind; and the Smart Part Washer that enables optimal cleaning and easy finishing of parts. 

Carbon's Continuous Liquid Interface Production (CLIP) technology coupled with the SpeedCell system enables previously impossible designs, from single-part combinations of complex assemblies to un-moldable and un-millable geometries like lattices, while also minimizing the tooling and prototyping stages of the design process to go directly to end-use part production. Manufacturers can now cost-effectively and quickly introduce new products, produce localized products for specific markets, provide inventory on-demand, and explore a breadth of other business models.  Full Press Release:

Texprocess to present Digital Textile Micro Factory for the first time

Innovation in Textiles:  At the upcoming Texprocess trade fair, which will take place in Frankfurt, in May, a Digital Textile Micro Factory will present a live demonstration of an integrated production chain for apparel.

In collaboration with the German Institutes for Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf and a number of well-known companies in the textile sector, Texprocess will demonstrate the entire networked production of items of clothing – from the design stage to digital printing, automatic cutting out and fabrication.

Visitors at Texprocess will follow a signposted path through the various individual stages of manufacture in the micro factory and will be able to get information from experts at each stage. In addition, there will also be guided tours on offer.  Cont'd...

World's first 3D-printed skyscraper to be built in UAE

The Express Tribune:  A Dubai-based construction firm Cazza has announced its plans to build the world’ first 3D-printed skyscraper.  According to the company, the skyscraper will be built in the United Arab Emirates.

Cazza uses a 3D printing construction system that combines mobile 3D printing robots with existing construction methods to make construction processes faster and cost-effective. In order to construct the high-rise building, the company will use the ‘crane printing’ technique

The firm will be able to 3D print high rises using a new construction technique called ‘crane printing’. For the process, the company will use cranes with added units designed to build 3D structures of 80m and above. While the cranes will 3D print specific parts of the building, the rest of the construction will be carried out via existing methods.  Cont'd...

Infineon invests S$105 million in Smart Factory

Calvin Hui for Channel News Asia:  German semiconductor Infineon Technologies will invest S$105 million over the next five years into building a Smart Factory at its Singapore manufacturing facility.

This is part of Infineon’s push to implement what it calls a Smart Enterprise Programme, encompassing horizontal, vertical and digital integration.

For instance, it has introduced robots like automated guided vehicles, to facilitate the transportation of chips across different parts of the facility.

Senior engineer Foo Say Wee, said: “For the lots delivery, it used to be carried out manually by the operator who has to search the lots and carry the lot and hand it to the equipment. But today, employing automation, the lot will be automatically delivered to the operator and after that we have robotic vehicles that automatically come over and transport the lots to the equipment."

The company manufactures chips used in things like cars and electronic identification such as passports.  Cont'd...

Grocery 4.0: Ocado reshapes retail with robotics and automation

Jon Excell for The Engineer:  Online grocer Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player. Jon Excell reports

If prompted to name a UK company at the cutting edge of robotics and automation, few of us would cite one of the country’s best-known grocery retailers.

But, as The Engineer learned on a recent visit to one of its key facilities, online supermarket Ocado is establishing a reputation as a major technology player: harnessing and developing machine-learning systems, Internet of Things concepts and robotic hardware to a degree that leaves many traditional engineering businesses in the shade.  Full Article:

Researchers fire 3-D printed ammo out of a 3-D printed grenade launcher

Mr. Seung kook “Sunny” Burns and Mr. James Zunino for US Army Blog:  Researchers at the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) successfully fired the first grenade created with a 3-D printer from a grenade launcher that was produced the same way. This demonstration shows that additive manufacturing (commonly known as 3-D printing) has a potential future in weapon prototype development, which could allow engineers to provide munitions to Soldiers more quickly.

The printed grenade launcher, named RAMBO (Rapid Additively Manufactured Ballistics Ordnance), was the culmination of six months of collaborative effort by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), the U.S. Army Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) Program and America Makes, the national accelerator for additive manufacturing and 3-D printing.

RAMBO is a tangible testament to the utility and maturation of additive manufacturing.  Cont'd...

The optimist's guide to the robot apocalypse

Sarah Kessler for Quartz:  Machines, you may have heard, are coming for all the jobs.

Robots flip burgers and work warehouses. Artificial intelligence handles insurance claims and basic bookkeeping, manages investment portfolios, does legal research, and performs basic HR tasks. Human labor doesn’t stand a chance against them—after the “automation apocalypse,” only those with spectacular abilities and the owners of the robots will thrive.

Or at least, that’s one plausible and completely valid theory. But before you start campaigning for a universal basic income and set up a bunker, you might want to also familiarize yourself with the competing theory: In the long run, we’re going to be just fine.  We’ve been here before.  Cont'd...

Ford is trying 3D printing for car parts

Aaron Smith for CNN:  Ford (F) figures they will be lighter than their metal counterparts, and therefore more fuel efficient.

The company will start with spoilers, those streamlined decorations fastened to car exteriors to make them look faster. For now, the company is testing parts for its Ford Performance race car division, but 3D-printed parts could be used for mass-market cars and trucks in the future.

Ford released photos of 3D-printed parts, like the plastic molding for car interiors. The company hinted that it might one day be able to 3D-print more complicated parts, like intake manifolds. Cont'd...

Japan worker shortage has only one winner so far: robots

Leo Lewis for Financial Times:  Earlier this week, Japanese TV audiences glimpsed a potentially revolutionary contraption from the Matsue College of Technology that rapidly separates closed shijimi clamshells into those with a live mollusc inside and those without.
Cut to footage of a human sorter, expertly performing the same function at a rate of just 90 kgs of shijimi per day and whose job this machine seems destined to replace. In other parts of the world, the juxtaposition could seem cruel or politically charged; in Japan, it is almost celebratory.  The great conundrum for investors — and increasing preoccupation of sellside analysts attempting to talk clients out of underweight Japan positions — is whether the equity market provides a neat play on Japan’s deepening worker shortage and the promised surge in wages that has to date been all gong and no dinner.  Cont'd...

A 10K tiny house 3D-printed in 24 hours

Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat:  Building a house typically takes months, exacerbating the housing crisis so many people face worldwide. Apis Cor, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in 3D-printing, decided to tackle that crisis with a groundbreaking mobile 3D-printer that can print an entire 400-square-foot tiny home in just 24 hours. What’s more, doing so costs just over $10,000 – a steal compared to most modern homes.

On their website, Apis Cor says the construction industry may be sluggish now, but they will persevere in disrupting that industry “until everyone is able to afford a place to live.” Their revolutionary mobile 3D-printer is small enough to be transported, so assembly and transportation costs can be slashed. Although their mobile printer only needs a day to print a home from a concrete mixture, the company says their buildings will last up to 175 years. Not only is their process speedy, but environmentally friendly and affordable too.  Cont'd...

BeeHex Raises $1 Million For Fresh Food Robots

BeeHex, Inc., the 3D food printing company that "promises to change the way food is made", completed its $1,000,000 seed round led by Grote Company founder, Jim Grote. 
BeeHex, with its flagship product Chef 3D, builds 3D food printing systems that assemble and deliver fresh foods. Best known for printing pizza, in 2016 BeeHex teamed up with Michelin bib gourmand-rated Italian chef Pasquale Cozzolino to create gluten-free and savory pizza crust options using an 80-year-old mother yeast. BeeHex's Chef 3D systems began 2016 with a "print time" of six minutes to create a 12" pizza and exited 2016 with a print time at around the one-minute mark. BeeHex systems will allow for personalized food orders from an app and also with the push of a button, fit for commercial kitchen use.   Full Press Release:

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