New Ultrasonic 3D Printing Process Can Create and Print High-Tech Composite Materials

Scott J Grunewald for 3DPrint.com:  A team of engineers from the University of Bristol — comprising Thomas M. Llewellyn-Jones, Bruce W. Drinkwater and Richard S. Trask — have developed a new hybrid type of 3D printing that can both assemble and print with composite materials using a combination of desktop 3D printer technology, light-curable resins and ultrasonic waves. This new process can allow super strong and lightweight composites like the variety used to produce tennis rackets, golf clubs, professional bicycles or even airplane parts to be used with additive manufacturing technology. Needless to say these new material options will offer entire new industries the ability to incorporate 3D printing into their manufacturing workflow. And the best part is that for the most part the process was made using existing 3D printing technology. Composite materials are made by combining micro-structures of glass or carbon fibers with a plastic material. The carefully arranged fibers lock together and give the new material its strength and durability, while the plastic ensures that the resulting material will be lightweight. Currently, composite materials are manufactured as thin sheets that are then layered and cut into the desired shape and thickness. The problem with using this as a 3D printing material is the small fibers in the composite materials. In order to produce the desired strength the fibers need to be aligned in a very precise structure, which is currently not possible to reproduce using a 3D printer.   Cont'd.. .

For Advanced Manufacturing, Success Demands Innovation, Education and Public-Private Partnership

MICHAEL D. WHEELER for Photonics.com:  Global manufacturing has undergone enormous changes in the past decade as many developing countries have joined the club of tier-one manufacturing nations, a recession stalled demand, and employment fell precipitously in leading economies. Yet manufacturing remains critical to the future of both developing and advanced worlds, driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness, and offering a pathway out of poverty. Recent attention has focused on “advanced manufacturing,” which replaces traditional labor-intensive processes with ones based on the newest technologies. It encompasses a family of activities that depends on information, computation, software, sensing and networking, while making use of cutting-edge materials and emerging capabilities such as nanotechnology. Advanced manufacturing is an especially potent propellant of future economic growth, distinguished by continual process improvement and rapid new product introduction. These critical features will lead to the building of lighter, more fuel-efficient automobiles, the creation of “needleless” tests for medical conditions like diabetes, and the fabrication of semiconductors with 10 times the current processing power.   Cont'd...

Special Tradeshow Coverage for Advanced Manufacturing Conference & Expo 2016

Advanced Manufacturing Conference & Expo 2016 will be held from February 9th - 11th in Anaheim, California. This ManufacturingTomorrow.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

3D Printing of Motors and Electronics

My research involves developing techniques to 3D print electric motors and electronics. This goes beyond the usual 3D printed structures - structures don't do anything. To do things, we need motors and electronics to control those motors.

Robotic Additive Manufacturing Platform for 3D Printing Composite Parts

The first-of-its-kind solution consists of a standard commercially available robot, composite deposition end-effector hardware and a comprehensive software suite.

3D Printing and Acoustics: Rapid Prototyping of Sound Diffusers

By being able to design diffusers in 3D and print them, we streamline the prototyping process tremendously. We can do virtual simulations with the 3D models to get a sense of the effectiveness, and we can make aesthetic or functional changes before it's printed.

Rob Scharff's Soft Robotics 3D-printed hand responds to human grip

Dutch Design Week 2015: Delft University of Technology graduate Rob Scharff has created a soft robotic limb that can shake hands with people. The hand was created as part of Scharff's Soft Robotics research project – which focuses on the ways robots can be integrated with more tactile materials, and so improve robot-human interactions.  Cont'd...

Cisco Teams Up with Robotics Firm Fanuc for IoT

by Zacks Equity Research:  Technology giant and Dow component Cisco Systems, Inc. recently entered into a strategic alliance with a robotics company Fanuc America, thereby stepping up its efforts to make itself a key player in the Internet of Things (IoT) space.  Per the alliance, Fanuc and Cisco have built an IoT system that enables Fanuc to monitor every robot on the factory floor. This way it can be determined whether a robot is likely to fail, so that a service technician can fix the equipment before it stops working. This could save companies hundreds of dollars of fixing cost. Per Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, downtime for these robots can cost a business $16,000 per minute. Therefore, the new system that offers predictive maintenance can be a big thing for some operations. The companies are currently testing the system in a channel that comprises around 1,800 robots and includes Fanuc customer, GM. In this testing period, Fanuc says its customer has saved $38 million. Fanus has plans to expand the system to 2,500 robots by the end of the year. Cont'd...

RoboSAM Can Assess Its Situation and Call a Human for Help When It Needs Assistance

If the robot is not sure whether it can complete the task-for example if the part is "buried" within the bin-it takes pictures of its situation and calls a remotely located human (the "human on call") for help.

Technology gap gives foreign firms the edge in China robot wars

BY GERRY SHIH for Reuters:  In a cavernous showroom on the outskirts of this port city in northeastern China, softly whirring lathes and svelte robot arms represent Dalian Machine Tools Group's (DMTG) vision of an automated future for Chinese manufacturing. On closer inspection, however, most of the machines' control panels bear the logos of Japan's FANUC Corp or the German conglomerate Siemens. The imported control systems in DMTG's products – used in the assembly of everything from smartphones to cement trucks – are symbolic of the technology gap between Chinese and foreign industrial automation firms, just one of several challenges facing China's ambition to nurture a national robotics industry. Chinese robotics firms are also grappling with a weakening economy and slumping automotive sector, and industry insiders already predict a market bubble just three years after the central government issued policies to spur robotics development. "Last year everybody thought they could produce a robot," said Alan Lee, director of Asia sales and business development at Boston-based Rethink Robotics. "When you have market saturation you'll have filtering and M&A. These guys will be the first layer to suffer."  It is a storyline familiar from other new industries such as solar panels: Beijing's policies and subsides trigger a wave of low-margin, low-cost contenders to rush into the market, where, with no meaningful technology of their own, they struggle to compete on price alone.   Cont'd...

OMRON to Acquire U.S. Based Adept Technology

OMRON plans to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Adept common stock through an all cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger. OMRON will offer Adept investors $13.00 per share of Adept common stock, which represents a 63% premium over the closing price for Adept's common stock on September 15, 2015. This values Adept at approximately $200 million. OMRON will fund the tender offer through cash on hand.  Commenting on the acquisition, Yutaka Miyanaga, OMRON Industrial Automation Business Company President, said, "We are delighted Adept Technology, a world leader in robotics, has agreed to join OMRON. This acquisition is part of our strategy to enhance our automation technology and position us for long term growth. Robotics will elevate our offering of advanced automation."  Rob Cain, President and Chief Executive Officer of Adept, added, "We are excited about the opportunity to join OMRON, a global leader in automation. Together, our products will offer new innovative solutions to customers all around the globe."  Full Press Release:

3 Key Ways Automation Reduces Safety and Ergonomic Concerns

As companies continue to rely on automation to remain competitive, employees will have the benefit of working in safer environments. In the years to come, the question won't be "Is your company automating?" but instead "How is your company automating?"

New Open Loop Current Transducers With Near Closed Loop Performance

Measured performance is at the level expected and increases the range of applications which may be addressed by open loop transducers instead of more complex solutions.

Robot That Copies Artist's Exact Strokes To Replicate A Painting In 3D

From the Instapainting Blog: Over the past three weeks I’ve been working on a robotic painter to research the area of mechanical artwork reproduction and automated picture to painting creation for  Instapainting.com  and the print store e-commerce platform  A Manufactory . The initial prototype was built in about 3 weeks, and currently does mechnical reproductions. The AI painting mode which will paint a photograph will follow in the next post (putting some finishing touches on it)... ...The current prototype operates on 3 dimensions: X, Y, and a Z axis for pen pressure from the Wacom tablet. The artist can control the motion from a Wacom tablet and, for the most part, it’s lag-free. Every stroke is recorded so that it can be played back. You can see both the intitial painting and the playback in the video below... ( full post )

Stony Brook University Helps Prepare Next Generation of Farmers by Introducing a Hydroponic 'Freight Farm' On Campus

Cited as 4th most environmentally responsible university* in 2015, SBU is first higher ed campus to get a Freight Farm.

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Additive & 3D Printing - Featured Product

Bitflow is the leader in CoaXPress

Bitflow is the leader in CoaXPress

With the introduction of its Cyton and Karbon CXP frame grabbers, BitFlow has established itself as the leader in CoaXPress (CXP), a simple, yet powerful, standard for moving high speed serial data from a camera to a frame grabber. With CXP, video is captured at speeds of up to 6.25 Gigabits/Second (Gb/S). Simultaneously, control commands and triggers can be sent to the camera 20 Mb/S (with a trigger accuracy of +/- 2 nanoseconds). Up to 13 W of power can also supplied to the camera. All this happens over a single piece of industry standard 75 Ohm coaxial cable. Multiple CXP links can be aggregated to support higher data rates (e.g. four links provide 25 Gb/S of data). BitFlow CXP frame grabbers open the door to applications where cable cost, routing requirements and long distances have prevented the move to high resolution, high speed digital cameras. In many cases, existing coaxial infrastructure can be repurposed for CXP with very low installation costs.