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...

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...

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:

How Industry 4.0 and BIM are Shaping the Future of the Construction Environment

By Mark King, EMEA BIM Solutions Manager, Leica Geosystems via GIM International:  The construction industry is on the cusp of a new industrial age. The fourth industrial revolution, or ‘Industry 4.0’, will see construction coming in line with more digitally developed industries, which will revolutionise not only how physical structures are designed, built and maintained, but also how they are subsequently used. What it means in reality is open to interpretation and the ability to future-gaze. Some anticipate it will mean the use of smart materials and technologies to make our buildings intelligent. Others envisage that it will come to mean autonomous machinery carrying out aspects of production, with minimal human input. But what is commonly agreed is that it represents the use of technology to fundamentally improve the way we design and construct the world around us.   Cont'd...

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:  

3D Printing: Should You Go Open Source?

Michael Molitch-Hou for Engineering.com:  Although it’s possible that patents have existed since the time of the Ancient Greeks, the Venetian Patent Statute is more widely recognized as the first official patent system. Established in 1474, the statute declared that 10-year patents could be granted to "any new and ingenious device, not previously made.” Along with all of society’s rules and mores, patent law and intellectual property (IP) have changed over time. We are now living in the post-Internet era, in which ideas and files are exchanged all around the world on a regular basis. It is now possible to download Phil Collins’ entire discography, whether it’s legal or not. It’s also possible to download 3D printable guns, legal or not.   Full article:

Race For 3D Printing Capacity Could Revive M&A

Harry Brumpton for Forbes:  It’s an industrial breakthrough destined to transform manufacturing, from the production of entire space shuttle rockets right down to dental implants. It’s only a matter of time before the technology will make it to homes too, experts say, giving you access to on-demand, customizable basketball shoes, toys, housewares and more. 3D printing builds solid objects of almost any design by zapping out tiny melded layers of plastic, metal or whatever else, much like a drip in freezing weather incrementally forms an icicle. This simplifies the complex assembly of heavy objects and intricate designs, in essence reinventing the traditional economics of production. One darling stock of the 3D printing world is 3D Systems, which has posted a whopping return since the start of the new year of 27.54%. But its three-year record is even more eye popping: Minus 77%.   Cont'd.. .

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...

Campofrio Food Group Leads the Way in Digitization with Cisco Connected Factory Solution

Marketwired:  Campofrío Food Group, the leading international producer of branded processed meats, headquartered in Madrid, Spain, has cut the ribbon on a brand-new plant that boasts the latest in digital technology. With a gross surface area expanding 99,000 square meters and an estimated production of 101,400 tons a year, the 'New Bureba' plant is located in Burgos, in Northern Spain. It replaces the previous facilities, destroyed by a fire in November 2014, but is far from a standard rebuild, incorporating the industrial sector's very latest innovations. From the beginning of the design process, Campofrío seized the opportunity to create a 'smart' factory that connects machines, devices, sensors and people in real-time. The company selected Cisco Connected Factory solution to create a 'Factory 4.0' that would enable to manage and optimize its business processes and make well-informed decisions.   Cont'd...

MakerBot is laying off a third of its staff, narrowing focus under Stratasys

Shawn Knight for TechSpot:  3D printing ordinary household goods may be able to save users a bit of coin but consumers aren’t buying it – literally – and that’s forcing one company to downsize its workforce. In what is becoming a common occurrence, MakerBot recently announced additional restructuring that’ll see the company shed 30 percent of its staff. CEO Nadav Goshen said greater focus on long-term goals is key to their success and to get there, they must reduce the “pressure and distraction” of chasing short-term market trends and focus on their core products. The executive didn’t say which divisions would be hit hardest, nor do we know exactly how many employees are being let go although TechCrunch estimates the figure is probably between 80 and 100. Specifically, MakerBot will be integrating hardware and software product development under one team that’ll be led by VP of Engineering Dave Veisz. Current Director of Digital Products, Lucas Levin, is also being promoted to VP of Product, we’re told, and will lead product management across hardware and software.   Cont'd...

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