ASU site of largest academic additive manufacturing center in the southwest US

Gail Overton for LaserFocusWorld:  By forming a partnership with Concept Laser (Grapevine, TX), Honeywell Aerospace (Phoenix, AZ), and Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT; Tempe, AZ), the largest additive manufacturing (AM) research facility in the Southwest is now on the Polytechnic campus of the Polytechnic School at Arizona State University (ASU; Tempe, AZ). The 15,000 square foot center holds over $2 million of plastic, polymer, and 3D metal printing equipment and the Polytechnic School at ASU offers the only manufacturing engineering undergraduate degree in Arizona and is one of only 22 ABET accredited manufacturing engineering programs in the United States.

The lab has a Concept Laser M2 cusing and Mlab cusing machine which are dedicated to 3D metal printing, also known as metal AM. Unlike conventional metal fabrication techniques, AM produces fully dense metal parts by melting layer upon layer of ultrafine metal powder. The Polytechnic School is using the machines for a wide range of research and development activities including materials development and prototyping complex mechanical and energy systems.  Cont'd...

3D graphene: MIT scientists develop super-light, super-strong structure

Weston Williams for The Christian Science Monitor:  Many scientists consider graphene to be one of the most potentially useful materials ever created. The atom-thick chain of carbon atoms are strong, light, and promise many applications, from energy storage to pollution removal to waterproof coating.

While graphene has been studied since the 1940s, scientists have had considerable trouble constructing it into a structurally useful form on a three-dimensional level. But now, scientists at MIT have figured out how to build up graphene into useful, 3-D shapes with the potential to be lighter and stronger than steel.

The new research marks an important step forward for the material. The hexagonal structure is essentially an "unrolled" carbon nanotube only an atom thick, usually only functional on a two-dimensional level. Despite this limitation, graphene is more than 100 times stronger than steel, and converting that two-dimensional strength into a structure usable for three-dimensional building materials has for years been something of a holy grail for graphene researchers. And now, scientists may be one step closer to that conversion.  Cont'd...

CES 2017 - MarkForged 3D prints metal

From CES 2017: From the company that revolutionized 3D printing with composite carbon fiber, comes a breakthrough in metal. The Metal X greatly accelerates innovation, delivering metal parts overnight using a new technology at a fraction of the cost. Leave 20th century manufacturing in the dust and create anything from industrial replacement parts to injection molds to working prototypes.

Manufacturers most upbeat in two years, ISM survey shows

Jeffrey Bartash for MarketWatch:  American manufacturers finished 2016 on a wave of optimism, as a survey of executives hit the highest level in two years.  The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index climbed to 54.7% in December from 53.2%, slightly higher than the MarketWatch forecast. Any number above 50% signals expansion.

The index is compiled from a survey of executives who order raw materials and other supplies for their companies. The gauge tends to rise or fall in tandem with the health of the economy.

New orders and production surged in the final month of the year and plans for employment also edged higher. Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the ISM survey committee, said comments from executives were largely positive.  Cont'd...

YCF - 2017 could be year of smart factory

Katie Mallinson for B Daily:  2017 could be the year of the smart factory. That’s the opinion of Huddersfield-based YCF – the not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting the manufacturing industry and its supply chain.

The statement follows months of speculation around Industry 4.0 – the idea of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technology.

Simply, it’s the computerisation of manufacturing, involving systems that communicate with each other, monitor physical processes and make decisions. And YCF’s CEO Jill Mooney thinks that 2017 could be the year that manufacturers start to plan the implementation of such machinery.    Cont'd...

Dubai Govt, US startup to team up for 3D printing

Paromita Dey for Construction Week Online:  The Dubai Government is set to collaborate with US-based startup, Cazza Construction Technologies, to aid 3D printing in the country through the company's construction automation technologies.

According to the 'Dubai 3D Printing Strategy', which was launched by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum in April this year, 25% of the buildings in the emirate will be based on 3D printing technology by 2030, and this percentage will rise with the development of global technology as well as growth of market demand.

Chris Kelsey, CEO of the Silicon Valley-based startup, said: “We were one of many groups invited to showcase our technologies in Dubai. The government has been looking around the world, whether it was companies from the Netherlands, China, Russia, or the USA to see the upcoming technologies involving construction automation and 3D printing.  Cont'd...

Using 3D Printing, Lithography & Soft Robotics: New Prosthetic Hands Made for $50 at Cornell

Bridget Butler Millsaps for 3DPrint.com:  What’s so incredible about the soft robotic hand created by a team at Cornell? It can grip, sort, and sense what it is touching. But what’s truly astounding is the potential it offers in terms of price and prosthetics for the future. Bringing forth further innovation and progress to the world of robotics, at $50 one can see how it might have realistic, significant impact on numerous levels.

Dispelling the idea of robots as lovable but clunky machines with a steel and rigid grip, Cornell researchers have managed to create what looks like—and offers the feel of—a human hand. This means that the task list for robots may expand exponentially as they are able to handle more delicate items, to include items like food and other fragile products. This also means that they would be able to work with people without injuring them, such as in a medical setting.  Cont'd...

Spanish City Installs 3D-Printed Bridge

Jen Kinney for Next City:  Alcobendas, Spain, this week unveiled a 3D-printed pedestrian bridge, reports 3ders.org, a 3D printing news site. The approximately 40-foot concrete bridge is made up of eight separate parts that fit together, and was created using an additive manufacturing process. It spans a small canal in Castilla La Mancha Park.

According to a statement from the Alcobendas City Council, the 3D printing process resulted in far less waste than normally produced while creating concrete structures, making it less expensive than traditional processes.

Large-scale 3D printing holds the promise of versatility — since structural elements can be created without molds or forms — and of sustainability, since raw material can often be recycled and fewer resources are required during manufacture.  Cont'd...

US Manufacturers Too Slow to Adopt Industry 4.0: BCG Study

Industry Week:  U.S. manufacturers recognize the potential of the digital technologies known collectively as Industry 4.0 to create value, but they are largely approaching the opportunity in piecemeal fashion and may miss out on the significant business benefits these technologies offer, according to new research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Nearly 90% of manufacturing leaders surveyed by BCG regarded adopting Industry 4.0 technologies as a way to improve productivity, but only about one in four see opportunities to use these advances to build new revenue streams. Many are pursuing isolated initiatives scattered throughout the company, BCG found in its new report, "Sprinting to Value in Industry 4.0," without a clear vision and coordination from the top.  Cont'd...

Researchers 3D print working drone with embedded electronics

The Engineer:  Researchers at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have 3D printed a ready-to-fly drone with embedded electronics using an aerospace-grade material.

The electronics were incorporated in the drone during the 3D printing process, which employs Stratasys’ ULTEM 9085, a high strength, lightweight FDM (fused deposition modelling) material certified for use in commercial aircraft.  Cont'd...

Closing tech gaps can fortify advanced manufacturing, save $100 billion

FRAN WEBBER FOR NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY (NIST):  To spur significant innovation and growth in advanced manufacturing, as well as save over $100 billion annually, U.S. industry must rectify currently unmet needs for measurement science and "proof-of-concept" demonstrations of emerging technologies. This is the overall conclusion reached by economic studies funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of four advanced manufacturing areas used to create everything from automobile composites to zero-noise headsets.

"Gaps in the technology infrastructure--including the lack of reliable measurement and test methods, scientifically based standards, and other formal knowledge and tools--limit advanced manufacturing's further development and adoption," said NIST economist Gary Anderson, coordinator of the economic studies prepared by RTI International (link is external), an independent nonprofit research institute.  Cont'd...

Hospital to get first dedicated 3D tissue-printing facility

Steve Dent for enGadget:  You still can't get a 3D-printed liver transplant made from your own cells, but an Australian hospital is trying to push the tech into the mainstream. The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane is building a dedicated "biofabrication" space where doctors and researchers can develop tech to model and print cartilage, bone and other human tissue. "It will be the first time a biomanufacturing institute will be co-located with a high-level hospital," said Australian Minister of Health Cameron Dick.

The facility will occupy two floors of the hospital and use state of the art tissue manufacturing tech in surgery procedures. "Our vision for healthcare is that the biofabrication institute will pave the way for 3D printers to sit in operating theaters, ready to print tissue as needed, in our hospitals of the future," Dick said.  Cont'd...

The Audi smart factory of the future

Jason Siu AutoGuide.com:  Audi is developing a “Smart Factory” where robots will work together with humans to build cars.

The German automaker first talked about its Smart Factory last year, envisioning a plant with human-robot collaboration, 3D printed parts, drone material transport and piloted cars that drive themselves off the production lines. A new video has been released that gives us a glimpse into that factory, proving that it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, Audi appears to be making great progress with drones transporting steering wheels, although it may not seem very effective in the video.  Cont'd...

Samsung SDS releases AI-based smart factory system

Yoon Sung-won for KoreaTimes:  Samsung SDS has launched its artificial intelligence (AI)-based smart factory system service Nexplant, the company said Wednesday.
The system integration service affiliate of Samsung Group highlighted that the new service will help clients maximize production efficiency as the AI system analyzes manufacturing problems in real time.
"Before the domestic release of the service, we have already drawn high interest from manufacturing businesses in overseas countries including the United States and India," Lee Jae-cheol, smart factory business director and senior vice president of Samsung SDS, said in a statement. "We will expedite business expansion on the global stage."
In developing the Nexplant system, Samsung SDS said it has tapped into its expertise in manufacturing process optimization systems that it has accumulated during the last three decades while providing them to plants run by other Samsung affiliates.  Cont'd...

Tesla is buying a German engineering company to automate factories

Matthew DeBord for Business Insider:  On Tuesday, Tesla announced that it will acquire Grohmann Engineering, a German automated manufacturing company.

The terms of the deal, which is subject to German regulatory approval, weren't disclosed.

In a statement, Tesla described Grohmann as a "world-renowned engineering company in Prüm, Germany, which will become Tesla Grohmann Automation."  Cont'd...

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