Chiefs hold back on smart factories after backlash

Peggy Hollinger for Financial Times:  General Electric, one of the world’s biggest industrial companies, estimates that digitising industrial machinery, networks and processes will not just bring down the costs of manufacturing. The data it generates will open new business opportunities, such as optimising maintenance schedules for customers or improving the design and quality of products. The resulting “industrial internet”, GE argues, has the potential to deliver global productivity improvements that could add $10tn-15tn to global GDP over 20 years.

No manufacturer can ignore the coming revolution. Yet many, in developed economies at least, are wary. A backlash against globalisation, fuelled by decades of decline in America’s rust belt and the erosion of blue-collar jobs, has already upset the status quo in the US, where Donald Trump’s protectionist slogans helped him to win the White House.
Almost half the 1,370 chief executives questioned in PwC’s annual Global CEO survey published this week fear that this latest industrial revolution will feed further distrust among their companies’ stakeholders — whether they be investors, employees or the wider public.  Cont'd...

How to Reduce Your Motion Control Costs in 2017

If one of your new year's resolutions is to reduce your motion control costs without making sacrifices, this might be the year you can actually scratch it off your list.

Sharp Executive Says Plan for Foxconn LCD Plant in U.S. is Still 'On The Table'

Mitchel Broussard for MacRumors:  Foxconn and Sharp are looking closer than ever to building a manufacturing plant within the United States, according to one Sharp executive who said that the plan is still "on the table" (via Nikkei). The plant would mainly be focused on the manufacturing of LCD panels for TV sets and home appliances, but Foxconn is said to be considering moving iPhone production stateside as well. 
The news continues a rumor from last year born out of President-elect Donald Trump's comments on wanting Apple to make its products stateside. Foxconn laid out plans for such a move in December, along with Japan-based SoftBank Group, with each company hoping to create a combined 100,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next four years.   Cont'd...

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...

The 3D Printers of CES

Brian Benchoff for HACKADAY:  CES is over, and now we can take a step back, distance ourselves from the trade show booths, and figure out where 3D printing will be going over the next year.

The Hype Cycle is a great way to explain trends in fads and technological advances. VR and autonomous cars are very early on the Hype Cycle right now. Smartphones are on the plateau of productivity. 3D printing is head-down in the trough of disillusionment.

For this year’s CES, 3D printing is not even a product category. In fact, the official documentation I found at Prusa’s booth listed their company in the ‘Assistive Technologies’ category. These are dark days for the public perception of 3D printing. 

The perception of 3D printing has been tied inexorably to Makerbot. Makerbot presented the only 3D printer on The Colbert Report. Only Makerbot had their 3D printing storefronts featured on CNN. It’s been like this for half a decade, and hopefully things will get better.  Cont'd...

Special Tradeshow Coverage for ATX West 2017

ATX West will be held from February 7th - 9th in Anaheim, California. This ManufacturingTomorrow.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

Challenges of Proper Air Ventilation

There is no question that increased outdoor air ventilation can have a positive impact on the indoor air quality.

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.

3D printer builds a cube from a vat of goo … using a phone screen

Ed Oswald for DigitalTrends:  What if we told you that you could be holding in your hand a key piece to your next 3D printer? If Taiwan-based 3D-printing startup T3D has anything to do with it, your smartphone will have you creating 3D objects in no time. While the printing surface contains a mechanically operated plate that is dipped into a special resin, it’s your smartphone that tells it how to operate.

From within the printer’s app, you select the shape you’d like to print. From there, the light from the screen moves through a series light patterns necessary to create the object in a special light sensitive resin. While it works a bit slow — as you can see, the cube structure in the video demo above takes over seven hours to print on an early prototype — it’s like nothing we’ve seen before.  Cont'd...

3D Printing from Prototype to Production

As more manufacturers are encouraged by the idea of 3D printing, they realize the limitations of the process, as 3D printing still needs refinement in its materials, finish, durability, cost and speed before it can be utilized for mass production.

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...

Year in Review: Industry Embraces Supply Chain Trends of 2016

There is still much work to be done with regard to technological advancement and operational process before the 2016 trends peak, but there's no doubt that the manufacturing industry is evolving like never before.

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...

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