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...

Application of Instant Messengers in Robotics. What Perspectives and Opportunities They Open

Why not to use the open protocols and API of messengers to control robots, whether this be a drone or a wheeled platform, via mobile phones?

Special Tradeshow Coverage for FABTECH

FABTECH will be held from November 16th - 18th in Las Vegas, Nevada. This ManufacturingTomorrow.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

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...

Additive Manufacturing

The most popular and widespread technology is FDM (fused deposition modeling), known also as FFF (fused filament fabrication). The majority of companies apply this technology in numerous printers, both of "amateur" and of "professional" classes.

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...

Fujitsu to sell 'smart' factory systems in China

Nikkei Asian Review:  Japan's Fujitsu will partner with Chinese group Shanghai Yidian to sell factory management systems in China, where the government is promoting such technology as a way to cope with a shrinking labor force and improve manufacturing quality. These systems fall into the realm of "internet of things" -- networks of machines, such as factory robots or appliances, that can collect and share data. The municipal-government-run Shanghai Yidian group comprises nearly 150 companies making electronic components, lighting and other products. Some of the group's factories have already adopted Fujitsu software that allows managers to monitor equipment in real time. These systems track energy usage as well as any problems the machines encounter.   Cont'd...

Case Study: Cabinet Coolers End Costly Shutdowns

A manufacturer of enclosure cooling systems prevented the loss of future production and eliminated downtime. Could this type of cooling be suited to your environment?

Special Tradeshow Coverage for PACK Expo International

PACK Expo will be held from November 6th - 9th in Chicago, Illinois. This ManufacturingTomorrow.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event.

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:  

IMTS 2016 - Takeaways

Many of the OEMs were showing how their smart products and processes were driving new business models like servitization (manufacturing firms developing the capabilities to provide services and solutions that supplement their traditional product offerings) and new "power-by-the-hour" offerings.

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)

Adidas Shows Off First Shoe Made In Its German Smart Factory

Designed to provide the ultimate fit, the adidas Futurecraft M.F.G. shoe represents the first high performance footwear to come out of the adidas SPEEDFACTORY in Germany, heralding a new era in footwear crafting while providing greater precision, unique design opportunities and high performance. Welcome to the future.  Adidas, meanwhile, plans to open its second Speedfactory next year in the Atlanta area.

Is a Robot After Your Job?

Robots may be after your job, but you could be their boss.

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Featured Product

Midwest Motion Products Inc - “GRA52” Right Angled Gearmotor System

Midwest Motion Products Inc - "GRA52" Right Angled Gearmotor System

Midwest Motion Products Inc., based in Howard Lake, Minnesota, is pleased to announce the release of the new "GRA52" Right Angled Gearmotor System. This new 1:1 Right Angled Gearbox allows for significantly increased versatility, and design whose geometry allows for the unit to be mounted in tight spaces. We employ our Standard Brushed or Brushless DC Motors and Planetary Gearheads to complete the new R/A Design. Features/Benefits: Cost effective design - as low as $250*, Very Versatile - Output Ratios ranging from 3.7:1 to 2076:1, Fully Reversible Design, Readily available - Samples can be built from Stock Material, High Volume capacity.