Save Your Manufacturing Business by Giving Employees Ownership Opportunities

If your business has been walloped by the various challenges in the sector, converting the company to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) could be a way forward.

Growing Data Demand to Drive Digital Factory Market to US$111 billion in 2026

"Today, the global manufacturing sector has only started to adopt digital factory technologies, which will expand and change as factories get more connected, networked and flexible," said Pierce Owen, Principal Analyst at ABI Research.

The Industrial Internet Consortium Announces the Optimizing Manufacturing Processes by Artificial Intelligence Testbed

The IIC explores AI and IIoT technologies to optimize automotive manufacturing

The industry that will surpass Cybersecurity and reach $214 billion by 2023

The global Industry 4.0 market is expected to reach $214 by 2023, surpassing the Cybersecurity market by 30%, according to leading research firm Industry 4.0 Market Research.

HP Showcases Growth in High-Volume 3D Printing Deployments and Breakthrough Applications for Manufacturing

Protolabs, IAM 3D Hub, Materialise, and ZiggZagg embrace HPs Multi Jet Fusion for digital manufacturing; new applications for the Pontifical Swiss Guard, PepsiCo, auto racing, orthotics, industrial machinery, and more

Revolutionizing the IIoT Industry One Streetlight at a Time

IEEE Spectrum: When Zimmerman recognized that a light pole could potentially solve all three of those challenges, the idea for Kairo began to take form. Over several months, Ubicquia designed and built a wide range of microcontroller boards featuring a variety of sensors and actuators that could be housed in a form factor no larger than a soda can.

The Rise and Fall of the Everyman Tycoon

Article about the rise and fall of MakerBot by Andrew Zaleski at Backchannel: Itwas October 2009 when Bre Pettis — his unmistakable sideburns and dark-rimmed rectangular glasses framing his face — took the stage at Ignite NYC, threw his hand in the air, and shouted “Hooray!” two times. A PowerPoint slide lit up behind him, revealing a photo of a hollow wood box crisscrossed with wiring. Bouncing up and down, his profuse mop of graying hair flopping about, Pettis began: “I’m going to talk about MakerBot and the future and an industrial revolution that we’re beginning — that’s begun.” A former art teacher, Pettis had emerged as a key character in the growing maker movement of the late 2000s, a worldwide community of tinkerers who holed away in makeshift workshops and hackerspaces, equally at home with tools like old-school lathes and contemporary laser cutters. Pettis had begun his ascent in 2006, producing weekly videos for MAKE magazine—the maker movement’s Bible—that featured him navigating goofy tasks such as powering a light bulb with a modified hamster wheel. In 2008, he cofoundedthe NYC Resistor hackerspace in Brooklyn. By then, Pettis was a star. A year later, he launched a Brooklyn-based startup with friends Adam Mayer and Zach Smith (also a NYC Resistor cofounder) called MakerBot... (full article)

China Adopts Cybersecurity Law Despite Foreign Opposition

Bloomberg News:  China has green-lit a sweeping and controversial law that may grant Beijing unprecedented access to foreign companies’ technology and hamstring their operations in the world’s second-largest economy. The Cyber Security Law was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, and will take effect in June, government officials said Monday. Among other things, it requires internet operators to cooperate with investigations involving crime and national security, and imposes mandatory testing and certification of computer equipment. Companies must also give government investigators full access to their data if wrong-doing is suspected. China’s grown increasingly aggressive about safeguarding its IT systems in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. spying, and is intent on policing cyberspace as public discourse shifts to online forums such as Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat. The fear among foreign companies is that requirements to store data locally and employ only technology deemed “secure” means local firms gain yet another edge over foreign rivals from Microsoft Corp. to Cisco System Inc.   Cont'd...

Metamaterial Mechanisms

From the Hasso Plattner Institute: Recently, researchers started to engineer not only the outer shape of objects, but also their internal microstructure. Such objects, typically based on 3D cell grids, are also known as metamaterials. Metamaterials have been used, for example, to create materials with soft and hard regions.  So far, metamaterials were understood as materials—we want to think of them as machines. We demonstrate metamaterial objects that perform a mechanical function. Such metamaterial mechanisms consist of a single block of material the cells of which play together in a well-defined way in order to achieve macroscopic movement. Our metamaterial door latch, for example, transforms the rotary movement of its handle into a linear motion of the latch. Our metamaterial Jansen walker consists of a single block of cells—that can walk. The key element behind our metamaterial mechanisms is a specialized type of cell, the only ability of which is to shear.  In order to allow users to create metamaterial mechanisms efficiently we implemented a specialized 3D editor. It allows users to place different types of cells, including the shear cell, thereby allowing users to add mechanical functionality to their objects. To help users verify their designs during editing, our editor allows users to apply forces and simulates how the object deforms in response... (project homepage)

2100 Animated Mechanical Mechanisms

Mechanical engineer Nguyen Duc Thang used Autodesk Inventor to animate different types of gears, joints, clutches, linkage and other common mechanisms. 2100 total: (Nguyen Duc Thang's youtube channel) (download of all videos)

OpenKnit: Open Source Digital Knitting

From OpenKnit: OpenKnit is an open-source, low cost, digital fabrication tool that affords the user the opportunity to create her/his own bespoke clothing from digital files. Starting from the raw material, the yarn, and straight to its end use, a sweater for example, in about an hour. Designing and producing clothes digitally and wearing them can now happen in the very same place, rewarding the user with the ability to make decisions regarding creativity and responsibility.  (homepage) (full instructions for a Wally120 open-source knitting)

Industry 4.0 breathes new life into cybersecurity

Dave Sutton for IT Pro Portal:  A technical evolution has taken place, which has made cyberthreats more potent than at any other time in our history. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, over half of British businesses will suffer cyberattacks by 2018. As businesses seek to embrace Industry 4.0, cybersecurity protection must be a top priority for Industrial Control Systems (ICS). These attacks are financially crippling, reduce production and business innovation, and cost lives. In years gone by, legacy ICS were developed with proprietary technology and were isolated from the outside world, so physical perimeter security was deemed adequate and cybersecurity was not relevant. However, today the rise of digital manufacturing means many control systems use open or standardised technologies to both reduce costs and improve performance, employing direct communications between control and business systems. Companies must now be proactive to secure their systems online as well as offline.   Cont'd...

Printed Perforated Lampshades for Continuous Projective Images

From Haisen Zhao, Lin Lu, Yuan Wei, Dani Lischinski, Andrei Sharf, Daniel Cohen-Or, Baoquan Chen: We present a technique for designing 3D-printed perforated lampshades, which project continuous grayscale images onto the surrounding walls. Given the geometry of the lampshade and a target grayscale image, our method computes a distribution of tiny holes over the shell, such that the combined footprints of the light emanating through the holes form the target image on a nearby diffuse surface. Our objective is to approximate the continuous tones and the spatial detail of the target image, to the extent possible within the constraints of the fabrication process.  To ensure structural integrity, there are lower bounds on the thickness of the shell, the radii of the holes, and the minimal distances between adjacent holes. Thus, the holes are realized as thin tubes distributed over the lampshade surface. The amount of light passing through a single tube may be controlled by the tube's radius and by its direction (tilt angle). The core of our technique thus consists of determining a suitable configuration of the tubes: their distribution across the relevant portion of the lampshade, as well as the parameters (radius, tilt angle) of each tube. This is achieved by computing a capacity-constrained Voronoi tessellation over a suitably defined density function, and embedding a tube inside the maximal inscribed circle of each tessellation cell. The density function for a particular target image is derived from a series of simulated images, each corresponding to a different uniform density tube pattern on the lampshade... (full paper)

MIT Food Computers

From MIT:   The Food Computer is a controlled-environment agriculture technology platform that uses robotic systems to control and monitor climate, energy, and plant growth inside of a specialized growing chamber. Climate variables such as carbon dioxide, air temperature, humidity, dissolved oxygen, potential hydrogen, electrical conductivity, and root-zone temperature are among the many conditions that can be controlled and monitored within the growing chamber. Operational energy, water, and mineral consumption are monitored (and adjusted) through electrical meters, flow sensors, and controllable chemical dosers throughout the growth period. Each specific set of conditions can be thought of as a climate recipe, and each recipe produces unique results in the phenotypes of the plants. Plants grown under different conditions may vary in color, size, texture growth rate, yield, flavor, and nutrient density. Food Computers can even program biotic and abiotic stresses, such as an induced drought, to create desired plant-based expressions... (project homepage)

Computational Hydrographic Printing

From Yizhong Zhang, Chunji Yin, Changxi Zheng, Kun Zhou's paper:   Hydrographic printing is a well-known technique in industry for transferring color inks on a thin film to the surface of a manufactured 3D object. It enables high-quality coloring of object surfaces and works with a wide range of materials, but suffers from the inability to accurately register color texture to complex surface geometries. Thus, it is hardly usable by ordinary users with customized shapes and textures. We present computational hydrographic printing, a new method that inherits the versatility of traditional hydrographic printing, while also enabling precise alignment of surface textures to possibly complex 3D surfaces. In particular, we propose the first computational model for simulating hydrographic printing process. This simulation enables us to compute a color image to feed into our hydrographic system for precise texture registration. We then build a physical hydrographic system upon off-the-shelf hardware, integrating virtual simulation, object calibration and controlled immersion. To overcome the difficulty of handling complex surfaces, we further extend our method to enable multiple immersions, each with a different object orientation, so the combined colors of individual immersions form a desired texture on the object surface. We validate the accuracy of our computational model through physical experiments, and demonstrate the efficacy and robustness of our system using a variety of objects with complex surface textures...  (full paper)

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