Fanuc Leads The Way For Smart Factory Software For Now, Kuka And ABB To Follow Closely

Kenkyo Investing via Seeking Alpha: For the purpose of getting the conversation flowing, I'll focus on what the big 4 players are doing in the race for smart factory software development.

Boeing turns to 3D-printed parts to save millions on its 787 Dreamliner

Lucas Mearian for ComputerWorld: Boeing will begin using at least four 3D-printed titanium parts to construct its 787 Dreamliner aircraft and may some day rely on as many as 1,000 parts created via additive manufacturing.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Technology alliances lead the charge

Ben Rossi for Information Age: Technology companies are coming together to enable the smart factory - and launching the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Smart manufacturing must embrace big data

Andrew Kusiak for nature: Manufacturing is getting smart. Companies are increasingly using sensors and wireless technologies to capture data at all stages of a product's life.

GM Hooking 30,000 Robots to Internet to Keep Factories Humming

Thomas Black for Bloomberg: General Motors Co. has connected about a quarter of its 30,000 factory robots to the internet, and the largest U.S. automaker already is reaping the benefits of less down time.

A3 to Kick Off Automate 2017 with White Paper on Jobs in the Automation Age

The white paper explores the impact of automation on the ever-evolving job market and the growing shortage of skilled employees with experience and training in advanced technologies. A3 examines the types of jobs that are going unfilled and reviews workforce development initiatives, including education, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training that will fill labor shortages and support ongoing economic growth and productivity.

Staying Rich Without Manufacturing Will Be Hard

Noah Smith for Bloomberg View: Discussions about manufacturing tend to get very contentious. Many economists and commentators believe that there's nothing inherently special about making things and that efforts to restore U.S. manufacturing to its former glory reek of industrial policy, protectionism, mercantilism and antiquated thinking.

Japan looks beyond Industry 4.0 towards Society 5.0

Techworld from IDG: At the Cebit trade show in Germany, Japanese businesses want to go beyond smart factories, deploying industrial technologies to build a smart society

Texprocess to present Digital Textile Micro Factory for the first time

Innovation in Textiles: Â At the upcoming Texprocess trade fair, which will take place in Frankfurt, in May, a Digital Textile Micro Factory will present a live demonstration of an integrated production chain for apparel. In collaboration with the German Institutes for Textile and Fibre Research in Denkendorf and a number of well-known companies in the textile sector, Texprocess will demonstrate the entire networked production of items of clothing - from the design stage to digital printing, automatic cutting out and fabrication. Visitors at Texprocess will follow a signposted path through the various individual stages of manufacture in the micro factory and will be able to get information from experts at each stage. In addition, there will also be guided tours on offer. Â Cont'd...

3D Printing Is Already Starting To Threaten The Traditional Spare Parts Supply Chain

Gilles Roucolle and Marc Boilard for Forbes: Â 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. Â 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...

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.. .

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...

Closing US Manufacturing Trade Deficit Would Create 1.3M Jobs, Says Tech Think Tank

The prevailing narrative says automation was the main culprit behind U.S. manufacturing job losses in the early 2000s, and that automation is now powering an unprecedented manufacturing technology revolution that will continue to displace jobs. But a new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) finds that both of these claims are false.  ITIF, a leading tech-policy think tank, finds that trade pressure and faltering U.S. competitiveness were responsible for more than two-thirds of the 5.7 million manufacturing jobs lost between 2000 and 2010. And rather than entering a "fourth industrial revolution," U.S. manufacturing productivity growth is actually near an all-time low. In light of these facts, ITIF concludes that U.S. policymakers should aim to close the country's trade deficit in manufactured goods by fighting foreign mercantilism and pursuing a national competitiveness agenda that hinges in part on boosting manufacturing productivity rates. The report estimates that successfully closing the manufacturing goods trade deficit this way would create 1.3 million jobs.     Full Press Release:

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