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...

Manufacturing's Productivity Myth

Justin Fox for Bloomberg:  The U.S. manufacturing sector is far from the basket case it is sometimes made out to be on the campaign trail. But it's important to realize that it isn't exactly going gangbusters, either. The everything's-OK line about U.S. manufacturing goes something like this: Yes, lots of manufacturing jobs (7.3 million, to be precise-ish) have been lost since employment in the sector peaked in 1978, but real manufacturing output is at an all-time high. So the manufacturing sector is doing fine -- it's just that thanks to automation and other technological advances it has gotten much more productive and thus doesn't need as many workers.   Cont'd...

Local Motors: Driving Innovation with Micro-Manufacturing

NewCo Shift:  Local Motors was founded in 2007 by John “Jay” Rogers, an Ivy league-educated ex-Marine who wanted to marry his lifelong interest in vehicles with new economic models. The result: Local Motors, a company that, after eight years in business, now produces a series of vehicles built locally in a handful of facilities, but designed by a global community of enthusiasts. Local Motors’ business model is built around its microfactories. The four now in existence — and the dozens more that the company plans to open over the next 10 years — each focus on a few vehicle types. Each looks to source components locally to the greatest extent possible. And each features a modular factory floor that can be configured and reconfigured as needed to accommodate the demand for individual vehicles.   Cont'd...

MIT's Foundry software is the 'Photoshop of 3D printing'

Andrew Dalton for enGadget:  Because the materials from a 3D printer aren't the most functional, their output has largely been limited to prototyping in the past. That should change in the near future with devices like MIT's own MultiFab, which can print up to 10 different materials at a time, but it still doesn't solve the problem of how to design such complex objects. That's where the new program called Foundry, created by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory comes in. According to MIT CSAIL, Foundry can import objects designed with traditional CAD programs like SolidWorks and then assign specific materials or properties to different parts of the object. While creating a multi-material object in the past might have required days of work and multiple 3D printers to create (assuming it was possible with existing technology at all), CSAIL says these sorts of designs can now be created in mere minutes. Rather than manufacturing a separate piece for each material in the finished product, the entire object can now be printed in one fell swoop.   Cont'd...

Blockchain plus 3D printing equals 'smart manufacturing' and Ethereum you can touch

Ian Allison for International Business Times:  Genesis of Things is a new "smart manufacturing" company which leverages intellectual horsepower from members of the Ethereum community. This young company, established and launched just a few weeks before DevCon2 in Shanghai, has produced a tangible proof of concept in the form of a set of 3D printed titanium cufflinks inscribed with a QR code and bearing the insignia of the Ethereum logo. Genesis of Things combines 3D printing, blockchain and IoT in a virtuous, futuristic flow that re-imagines manufacturing processes. The company is in stealth right now and more details about how it operates and possible use cases will be released going forward. It should be repeated that the cufflinks pictured are a proof of concept; this is not a commercial product but rather a limited edition to show the potential of the technology.   Cont'd...

3-D-printed robots with shock-absorbing skins

Adam Conner-Simons for MIT News:  Anyone who’s watched drone videos or an episode of “BattleBots” knows that robots can break — and often it’s because they don’t have the proper padding to protect themselves. But this week researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory(CSAIL) will present a new method for 3-D printing soft materials that make robots safer and more precise in their movements — and that could be used to improve the durability of drones, phones, shoes, helmets, and more. The team’s “programmable viscoelastic material” (PVM) technique allows users to program every single part of a 3D-printed object to the exact levels of stiffness and elasticity they want, depending on the task they need for it.   Cont'd...

OMRON to Introduce 15,583 Models in 7 Categories to World, Second Wave of FA Devices Built on Common Design Platform

OMRON Corp., based in Kyoto City, will introduce to the world on October 3, 2016, a total of 15,583 models, in 7 categories, as the second wave of factory automation (FA) control devices built on a common design platform for unified product specifications.  Based on a wide range of products, OMRON has been continuing to work for the innovation of making control panels which house and control FA devices on the production front line. OMRON unified the design and size of FA devices, and introduced products in April 2016 which are built with the company's proprietary wiring technology "Push-In Plus Terminal Block" for device and control panel makers in need of "downsizing and space-saving" of FA devices and control panels, "expedited delivery," and "response to globalization."   Full Press Release:  

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Materials & Processes - Featured Product

Sierra Introduces One Complete Industrial Flow Energy Solution

Sierra Introduces One Complete Industrial Flow Energy Solution

Sierra Instruments announces the launch of its new flow energy solution for managing and optimizing flow measurement for industrial facilities of all sizes. It features Sierra's QuadraTherm 640i/780i thermal flow meters, their InnovaMass 240i/241i vortex flow meters, and their new InnovaSonic 207i ultrasonic flow meter. Designed, built, and calibrated in the USA by Sierra, the Big-3TM share the same revolutionary Raptor firmware and many of the same software apps. They are a complete flow energy solution for flows like compressed air, natural gas, steam, and hot and chilled water. Together, they set a new standard in ease-of-purchase, performance, accuracy, reliability, and ease of use.