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...

S. Korea's Hanwha to develop smart factory platform

Pulse News:  South Korea’s leading conglomerate Hanwha Group plans to venture into the smart factory business, joining the burgeoning market dominated by General Electronics Co. (GE) and Siemens AG in the transitional age of industry and society heading towards full automation and practical robotics applications.  According to a senior official at Hanwha Wednesday, the group recently formed a task force team dedicated to the development of hardware and software that can help to make factories smarter, cost-efficient, and more productive through increased computing systems. Hanwha Techwin Co., the group’s defense and aircraft engine making unit, will first come up with a pilot model in automating factories that would be applied to other manufacturing subsidiaries.    Cont'd...

Mitigate Risk with Flexible Automation

Self-driving vehicles (SDVs) break free of magnetic strips and pre-programmed routes, unlike their autonomous guided vehicle (AGV) brethren

Oerlikon expands additive manufacturing R&D and production capacity in the US

Oerlikon announced today that it is expanding its global additive manufacturing (AM) business with a state-of-the-art R&D and production facility for additively manufactured advanced components in the Charlotte metro area in North Carolina, USA. Oerlikon will invest around CHF55million in this facility in 2017 and 2018, and expects to create over 100 new jobs at this site over the longer term. As part of Oerlikon's strategy to become a global powerhouse in surface solutions and advanced materials, the Group has identified additional growth areas such as additive manufacturing, which leverages its strong materials heritage, service reputation, access to markets, applications across industries and core competence in intelligently engineering and processing advanced materials and surface technologies.  Full Press Release:  Â

Stratasys launches new rapid prototyping Engineering-Grade 3D Printing Solution: The F123 Series

"Today there is a vast market opportunity in product prototyping that we feel is not being addressed by current 3D printing systems. The launch of the Stratasys F123 Series targets these product design workgroups, industrial designers, engineers, students and educators who demand a professional quality rapid prototyping solution that's simple to use, produces reliable, engineering-quality results, integrates perfectly within an office or lab setting, and is affordable to own and operate," said Zehavit Reisin, Vice President, Head of Rapid Prototyping Solutions, Stratasys. "As the company that invented FDM, Stratasys brings a rich pedigree to the F123 Series, providing our customers an optimal balance between usability and high performance." Full Press Release.

RTOS 101: Semaphores and Queues

The use of a Real-Time Operating System (RTOS) is increasingly common in embedded software designs.

Google Ventures, BMW, Lowe's Invest in Desktop Metal

Desktop Metal, an emerging startup with the mission to bring metal 3D printing to all design and manufacturing teams, announced today it has raised a total of $97 million in equity funding since its founding in October 2015. The announcement comes as the result of the latest Series C investment of $45 million, led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), as well as BMW i Ventures and Lowe's Ventures. Desktop Metal will use the funding to continue to develop its technology and scale production as the company prepares for its product launch later this year.  Driven by invention, Desktop Metal is committed to accelerating the adoption of metal 3D printing in design and manufacturing through the creation of innovative technology that produces complex parts. Previous investors include NEA, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lux Capital, GE Ventures, Saudi Aramco, and 3D printing leader Stratasys.   Full Press Release.

Number of Smart Factories in South Korea to be Almost Doubled

Cho Jin-young for Business Korea:  The Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy announced on February 2 that the South Korean government invests 90.5 billion won and the private sector invests 20.3 billion won this year so that smart factories can be built for at least 2,200 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the number of such factories in South Korea can be increased to 5,000 before the end of this year. The ministry is planning to diversify the types of smart factories, too. For example, the new smart factories are slated to include 500 clean energy-based ones for a higher level of energy efficiency and 50 cloud-type smart factories that are capable of connecting regions and various sectors of the manufacturing industry.   Cont'd...

The Manufacturer's Secret Weapon to Win the War for Talent

The most sought-after skill sets and well-rounded, experienced employees can be hard to find, but the most successful manufacturers are approaching talent cultivation proactively, in lieu of reacting to an immediate growth- or project-driven need.

Five steps to enabling a data-driven, smart factory

Alun Williams for ElectronicsWeekly:  he top strategic objectives in the manufacturing industry have remained consistent for years, with many centered on serving customers. Industrial companies want to deliver customers high quality products, on time, at a globally competitive cost. They also want to be able to flex production capabilities up and down as needed to quickly introduce new products to the marketplace. Pairing physical assets with intelligent gateways to gather, analyze and communicate data is driving enormous new efficiencies in manufacturing and business operations. New operational efficiencies enabled by IoT are generating significant returns in manufacturing.  Cont'd...

MIT Builds Invisible Fish Grabbing Robot

Matthew Humphries for PCMag:  Catching a fish can be tough, even if you are just trying to net a goldfish in a small tank. That's because the fish spots the danger and makes a swim for it. But what if you didn't need a net because you're controlling an invisible grabbing robot? That's what Xuanhe Zhao, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT succeeded in creating, but its applications go way beyond catching and releasing fish unharmed. The robot is constructed of a transparent hydrogel, which is strong and durable but mostly made of water. As the video below explains, each arm of the robot is constructed from 3D-printed hollow cubes of hydrogel, which are then linked together. By injecting water using a syringe it's possible to make the arms curl and uncurl quickly in a grabbing motion.   Cont'd...

Why 2017 is the year integration enables Industry 4.0 growth

Louis Columbus for CloudTech:  Having attained initial results from Industry 4.0 initiatives, many manufacturers are moving forward with the advanced analytics and Big Data-related projects that are based on real-time integration between CRM, ERP, 3rd party and legacy systems. A recent Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) study of Industry 4.0 adoption, Industry 4.0: Building The Digital Enterprise (PDF, no opt-in, 36 pp.) found that 72% of manufacturing enterprises predict their use of data analytics will substantially improve customer relationships and customer intelligence along the product life cycle. Real-time integration enables manufacturers to more effectively serve their customers, communicate with suppliers, and manage distribution channels. Of the many innovative start-ups taking on the complex challenges of integrating cloud and on-premise systems to streamline revenue-generating business processes, enosiX shows potential to bridge legacy ERP and cloud-based CRM systems quickly and deliver results. There are many more potential benefits to adopting Industry 4.0 for those enterprises who choose to create and continually strengthen real-time integration links across the global operations.  Cont'd...

How To Determine If An AS/RS ( Automated Storage and Retrieval System) Fits Your Facility

If you've found yourself running out of space within your current facility, automated storage could be the solution you're looking for. With an AS/RS, you have the option to increase storage volume by retrofitting or expanding your current facility which may be less expensive than investing in a new facility.

The 9 unit Winbo 3D printer is an all-in-one micro factory

Beau Jackson for 3D Printing Industry:  Winbo smart manufacturing company is determined to provide a 3D printer for everyone’s needs, and with the Vertical 9 units 3D Printer, the Chinese company may have an all-in-one answer for small businesses. FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) with the power of 9 units gets the job done faster, but without compromises to quality. Each unit is loaded separately and managed individually so 3D prints can be timed perfectly without interfering with each other. Such integrated productivity is ideal for businesses who need to perform rapid prototyping or, for example, in a 3D printing bureau with a stack of orders to produce. It could even be installed within a specially made makerspace in schools or colleges to keep on top of student demand for 3D printed projects.    Cont'd...

The Road To IIoT: What Can We Learn From Other Industries?

John Fryer for MBTmag.com: Â Many manufacturers are viewing the emerging Industrial "Internet of Things" (IIoT) as a way to provide their businesses with a new and powerful competitive advantage. They recognize the potential in harnessing and analyzing data from across the plant to drive greater efficiency and create the foundation for new business models. But how can manufacturers navigate from the automation infrastructures of today to the intelligent IIoT enterprises they envision? To help answer that question, manufacturers stand to learn much from looking at other industries and how they have addressed the challenges of moving to the IIoT. Companies in a number of industries - from energy to financial services to telecom and building security - have successfully made the transition from the inflexible, limited proprietary technologies of the past to the agile, intelligent open technologies of today. As manufacturers chart their course, there are insights they can glean from other industries that are successfully achieving the advantages of next-generation IIoT automation. Â Cont'd...

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