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...

Japan worker shortage has only one winner so far: robots

Leo Lewis for Financial Times:  Earlier this week, Japanese TV audiences glimpsed a potentially revolutionary contraption from the Matsue College of Technology that rapidly separates closed shijimi clamshells into those with a live mollusc inside and those without. Cut to footage of a human sorter, expertly performing the same function at a rate of just 90 kgs of shijimi per day and whose job this machine seems destined to replace. In other parts of the world, the juxtaposition could seem cruel or politically charged; in Japan, it is almost celebratory.  The great conundrum for investors — and increasing preoccupation of sellside analysts attempting to talk clients out of underweight Japan positions — is whether the equity market provides a neat play on Japan’s deepening worker shortage and the promised surge in wages that has to date been all gong and no dinner.   Cont'd...

A 10K tiny house 3D-printed in 24 hours

Lacy Cooke for Inhabitat:  Building a house typically takes months, exacerbating the housing crisis so many people face worldwide. Apis Cor, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in 3D-printing, decided to tackle that crisis with a groundbreaking mobile 3D-printer that can print an entire 400-square-foot tiny home in just 24 hours. What’s more, doing so costs just over $10,000 – a steal compared to most modern homes. On their website, Apis Cor says the construction industry may be sluggish now, but they will persevere in disrupting that industry “until everyone is able to afford a place to live.” Their revolutionary mobile 3D-printer is small enough to be transported, so assembly and transportation costs can be slashed. Although their mobile printer only needs a day to print a home from a concrete mixture, the company says their buildings will last up to 175 years. Not only is their process speedy, but environmentally friendly and affordable too.   Cont'd...

Achieve Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) Using Hygienic Conveyors

So how do you measure the productivity of your manufacturing equipment? How do you gain insight to improve your processes? The answer is Overall Equipment Effectiveness, or OEE.

BeeHex Raises $1 Million For Fresh Food Robots

BeeHex, Inc., the 3D food printing company that "promises to change the way food is made", completed its $1,000,000 seed round led by Grote Company founder, Jim Grote.  BeeHex, with its flagship product Chef 3D, builds 3D food printing systems that assemble and deliver fresh foods. Best known for printing pizza, in 2016 BeeHex teamed up with Michelin bib gourmand-rated Italian chef Pasquale Cozzolino to create gluten-free and savory pizza crust options using an 80-year-old mother yeast. BeeHex's Chef 3D systems began 2016 with a "print time" of six minutes to create a 12" pizza and exited 2016 with a print time at around the one-minute mark. BeeHex systems will allow for personalized food orders from an app and also with the push of a button, fit for commercial kitchen use.   Full Press Release:

Manufacturing in America 2017 Trade Show

Over 2500 manufacturing executives, engineers and enthusiasts will meet at Manufacturing in America 2017, which will be held on March 22 and 23rd at the Detroit Marriott located at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.

Hot Jobs Study Reports Manufacturing a Top Industry

For entry level manufacturing positions, higher education is not normally required. Instead, a personal and commercial driver's license, and special certifications such as an Occupational Safety & Health Administration Certification, Food Safety Program education, and HAZMAT endorsement, can make a candidate more qualified when applying to manufacturing jobs.

Dubai company ready to 3D print your house, says 19-year-old founder

Michael Fahy for The National:  A teenager who has relocated his start-up business in 3D printing technology from Silicon Valley to Dubai has said that it is ready to begin offering 3D printed houses and buildings. Chris Kelsey, 19, the co-founder and chief executive of Cazza Construction Technologies, has said that its mobile printing robots are capable of printing a 200 square metre house in a single day using just two workers – one to monitor the machine and another to add elements such as steel rebar and electricity cables within pre-determined sections. "If someone wants to build a house, we design and engineer according to 3D standards. From there we bring the machine on site and set up the position where it is meant to print. Once it is in position, the machine 3D prints according to the software design," he said. Mr Kelsey, who was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in California, began to seriously look at the market for 3D printing in construction early last year, using the proceeds generated from the sale of an earlier company – an app and website development business known as Appsitude.   Cont'd...

Ericsson and China Mobile jointly demo the 5G-enabled Smart Factory at MWC 2017

Ericsson and China Mobile have jointly developed a 5G-enabled Smart Factory prototype using key 5G Core Network technology - Network Slicing. The prototype will be on display at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Spain. The demo will simulate the assembly line in the Smart Factory environment, enabled by the 5G connected industry standard PLC connections.  Triggered by Made-in-China 2025 and Industry 4.0, the manufacturing sector has changed profoundly in China during recent years. Industries have engaged in a steady re-industrialization relying on ICT enhancements.  At the root of industrial revolution is the implementation of a reliable and flexible communication layer, capable of dealing with increasingly higher capacity allocations of on-demand manufacturing and adjustments.   View Video here:  

This 3D-Printer Uses Holograms for Super-Fast Printing

Patrick Lynch for Arch Daily:  One established 3D-printing technique is using laser to cure light-activated plastic, building up layers one at a time in a time-consuming process. But now tech start-up Daqri has discovered a way of speeding up that process: by using a 3-dimensional hologram.  The printer works by projecting a 3D light field into a dish of the light sensitive monomer “goo.” The plastic quickly hardens, allowing it to be extracted using a screen. The whole process takes just 5 seconds, compared to the several minutes than would be required by an ordinary 3D printer. In addition to its increased speed, the printer also creates monocoque objects that don’t suffer from the weaknesses found in the “grain” between layers of 3-D objects. The process would also eliminate the need for supporting structures currently required to create some 3D objects.   Cont'd...

Electro-Mechanical Assembly Press Technology Moves Li-Ion Battery Manufacturer A Step Closer To Perfection

Promess became involved with the battery manufacturer when the hydraulic presses, originally specified for both the pressing and assembly operations, proved to be unable to deliver the level of consistent process control required.

Vaquform: The World's First Digital Desktop Vacuum Former

The Vaquform is a Kickstarter project that hopes to add some digital technology to vacuum forming and also  bring an industrial level of quality to your desktop.   It goes far beyond the LCD interface. Vaquform brings high-end process control to desktop vacuum forming, turning it into a smart appliance fit for a modern engineering lab, design office, or artist studio.   Kickstarter page:

State-of-the-art Motion Control and Electronics for Sorting Line

The sorting and packaging of small, medium and large ceramic formats represent a crucial phase in the manufacturing process.

Beyond the Hype: What's Next for Industrial 3D Printing

Vicki Holt of Proto Labs via The Huffington Post:  It wasn’t long ago that 3D printing was one of the buzziest technologies around.  We watched as a 3D printer recreated a bust of Stephen Colbert on TV. We heard from industry analysts who were bullish on adoption of the technology. We imagined a future with a 3D printer in every home when major retailers began selling them online and in stores. Fast forward to today. The potential of 3D printing remains enormous. Global spend on the technology is expected to climb from $11 billion in 2015 to nearly $27 billion in 2019. But with all of the early excitement now behind us, where does 3D printing stand today? And where will it go in the future?  It can be summed up in three key developments.   Cont'd... 

Manufacturers raise investment in next-gen tech, survey says

Dustin Walsh for Crain's Detroit Business:  U.S. manufacturers are rapidly boosting investment in advanced digital technologies, according to a survey to be released Monday by Troy-based technology business association Automation Alley.  The survey coincides with the association's 2017 Technology Industry Outlook event on Feb. 13 at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Nearly 400 manufacturing and technology business leaders are expected to attend. According to the survey, 85 percent of U.S. manufacturing executives responded they plan to increase existing budgets for new technologies, with nearly a third planning to increase budgets by up to 15 percent.  More than half of the respondents said they have a dedicated budget to technologies described as Industry 4.0, with the top three being cloud, cybersecurity and data analytics.   Cont'd...

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Materials & Processes - Featured Product

MICROSCAN: READ AND VERIFY BARCODES INVISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE

MICROSCAN: READ AND VERIFY BARCODES INVISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE

Space, or the lack of it, can be a challenge when placing barcodes or Data Matrix symbols on components. However, readable barcodes are critical to component traceability, time/date stamping, work in progress (WIP) tracking, and recall management. MicroHAWK UHD smart cameras can decode very small and difficult-to-read barcodes, including Data Matrix two-dimensional (2D) symbols and direct part marks (DPM). Users can rely on the MicroHAWK UHD to read symbols with an x-dimension almost invisible to the naked eye!