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."

Japan looks beyond Industry 4.0 towards Society 5.0

Techworld from IDG: At the Cebit trade show in Germany, Japanese businesses want to go beyond smart factories, deploying industrial technologies to build a smart society

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...

3D Printing Is Already Starting To Threaten The Traditional Spare Parts Supply Chain

Gilles Roucolle and Marc Boilard for Forbes:  The race is on to use 3D printing to produce small-series parts, on demand and on location, for industries from aerospace to automotive. At stake is the shape of a $400 billion market for spare parts manufacturing and logistics. And those changes are not 20, or even 10, years out — they are happening now.

Using models built through computer-aided design (CAD), 3D printing can produce virtually any solid object, even those with complex architectures, and in a range of materials, including plastic, ceramic, and metal. Currently, about half of 3D printing — also known as additive manufacturing — is used for prototyping. This saves manufacturers time and money, because they can develop new components or products on-demand, with less waste and without expensive tools and molds.  Cont'd...

Designing for the digital world

Tim Fryer for Eureka:  Head in sand time is over – Industry 4.0 is happening and is here to stay. In this article, the first in a series, Tim Fryer spoke to some of the leading automation companies about what Industry 4.0 means to design engineers.

The elevator pitch for Industry 4.0 would be something like ‘it is the digitisation of manufacturing and the supply chain’. The three previous industrial revolutions started with steam and mechanisation, progressed onto automated assembly lines at the start of the 20th century, and then the introduction of computers to the work place in the 1970s was the third.  Cont'd...

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