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: 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. Cont'd...

One Of Europe's Top Business Schools Is Helping Executives Navigate Industry 4.0

Seb Murray for BusinessBecause:  Industry 4.0 — a slew of technologies from robotics and 3D printing to virtual reality and data analytics — is rapidly reshaping the way we manufacture, distribute and consume products. The Executive Master in Manufacturing Automation & Digital Transformation at ESCP Europe, is equipping executives with the tools they need to navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Below, Giovanni Scarso Borioli, Assistant Professor of Operations Management, outlines how.  Cont'd...

Chiefs hold back on smart factories after backlash

Peggy Hollinger for Financial Times:  General Electric, one of the world’s biggest industrial companies, estimates that digitising industrial machinery, networks and processes will not just bring down the costs of manufacturing. The data it generates will open new business opportunities, such as optimising maintenance schedules for customers or improving the design and quality of products. The resulting “industrial internet”, GE argues, has the potential to deliver global productivity improvements that could add $10tn-15tn to global GDP over 20 years. No manufacturer can ignore the coming revolution. Yet many, in developed economies at least, are wary. A backlash against globalisation, fuelled by decades of decline in America’s rust belt and the erosion of blue-collar jobs, has already upset the status quo in the US, where Donald Trump’s protectionist slogans helped him to win the White House. Almost half the 1,370 chief executives questioned in PwC’s annual Global CEO survey published this week fear that this latest industrial revolution will feed further distrust among their companies’ stakeholders — whether they be investors, employees or the wider public.   Cont'd...

Sharp Executive Says Plan for Foxconn LCD Plant in U.S. is Still 'On The Table'

Mitchel Broussard for MacRumors:  Foxconn and Sharp are looking closer than ever to building a manufacturing plant within the United States, according to one Sharp executive who said that the plan is still "on the table" (via Nikkei). The plant would mainly be focused on the manufacturing of LCD panels for TV sets and home appliances, but Foxconn is said to be considering moving iPhone production stateside as well.  The news continues a rumor from last year born out of President-elect Donald Trump's comments on wanting Apple to make its products stateside. Foxconn laid out plans for such a move in December, along with Japan-based SoftBank Group, with each company hoping to create a combined 100,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next four years.    Cont'd...

The 3D Printers of CES

Brian Benchoff for HACKADAY:  CES is over, and now we can take a step back, distance ourselves from the trade show booths, and figure out where 3D printing will be going over the next year. The Hype Cycle is a great way to explain trends in fads and technological advances. VR and autonomous cars are very early on the Hype Cycle right now. Smartphones are on the plateau of productivity. 3D printing is head-down in the trough of disillusionment. For this year’s CES, 3D printing is not even a product category. In fact, the official documentation I found at Prusa’s booth listed their company in the ‘Assistive Technologies’ category. These are dark days for the public perception of 3D printing.  The perception of 3D printing has been tied inexorably to Makerbot. Makerbot presented the only 3D printer on The Colbert Report. Only Makerbot had their 3D printing storefronts featured on CNN. It’s been like this for half a decade, and hopefully things will get better.   Cont'd...

3D printer builds a cube from a vat of goo … using a phone screen

Ed Oswald for DigitalTrends:  What if we told you that you could be holding in your hand a key piece to your next 3D printer? If Taiwan-based 3D-printing startup T3D has anything to do with it, your smartphone will have you creating 3D objects in no time. While the printing surface contains a mechanically operated plate that is dipped into a special resin, it’s your smartphone that tells it how to operate. From within the printer’s app, you select the shape you’d like to print. From there, the light from the screen moves through a series light patterns necessary to create the object in a special light sensitive resin. While it works a bit slow — as you can see, the cube structure in the video demo above takes over seven hours to print on an early prototype — it’s like nothing we’ve seen before.   Cont'd...

Manufacturers most upbeat in two years, ISM survey shows

Jeffrey Bartash for MarketWatch:  American manufacturers finished 2016 on a wave of optimism, as a survey of executives hit the highest level in two years.  The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index climbed to 54.7% in December from 53.2%, slightly higher than the MarketWatch forecast. Any number above 50% signals expansion. The index is compiled from a survey of executives who order raw materials and other supplies for their companies. The gauge tends to rise or fall in tandem with the health of the economy. New orders and production surged in the final month of the year and plans for employment also edged higher. Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the ISM survey committee, said comments from executives were largely positive.   Cont'd...

What are the business and security impacts of Industry 4.0?

Ben Rossi for Information Age:  Industry 4.0 will make manufacturing more efficient and productive. By optimising factories, it will directly improve yield. On the product side, it will also extract greater value from data for usage-based design and mass customisation, which in turn will open the way to new markets. On many levels, it will completely change the business model to an outcome-based approach. Accenture estimates that automation, connectivity and embedded software can increase production line productivity by up to 30%. The shift from selling products to selling measurable outcomes will redefine whole industry structures. This is the shift to servitisation, whereby companies are using the Internet of Things (IoT) to find new ways to grow revenue and increase profits. Industrial equipment manufacturers sell outcomes, like machine hours or price-per-user, rather than just products. For the customer it means less disruption, increased uptime, incremented factory yield and ultimately higher satisfaction.   Cont'd...

Japan's Rust Belt Counting on Robonomics to Run Assembly Lines

Yoshiaki Nohara, Toru Fujioka, and Daniel Moss for Bloomberg:   A withering factory town in Japan’s Rust Belt is looking for revival through a dose of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s "robot revolution." Kadoma’s population has declined 13 percent as the nation ages, prompting mergers among elementary schools and emergency services departments. Factories can’t find enough people to run assembly lines, further threatening an industrial base that includes titan Panasonic Corp. and smaller businesses like Izumo Co., a maker of industrial rubber. Yet Izumo President Tsutomu Otsubo doesn’t believe the solution involves finding more people. He’d rather find more machines to do the work so his company can capitalize on Abe’s plan to quadruple Japan’s robotics sector into a 2.4 trillion yen ($20 billion) industry by 2020.   Cont'd...

A New Use for High-Speed Fiber Optics: Connecting Smart Factories

Jennifer Baljko for EBN Online:  Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) have risen to the forefront of many strategic technology conversations. Companies are revamping product designs and component capabilities to allow for seamless, real-time communication flows between devices. Executives talk about how constant transmission and automated analysis of machine-generated information will transform the way we live, work, play, drive and shop, and change the landscape of our homes, offices, cars, malls, supermarkets, hospitals, gas stations and every other place we move through on a daily basis. As M2M and IoT shape business and operations strategies, influence product design and compel companies to re-examine how suppler and customer data is collected and used, a question begs: How will companies pool together all their internal factory and supply chain data in a way that matches the speed, consistency and reliability of what IoT promises? The factory, after all, is the heartbeat that keeps many companies operating, and a data bottleneck there comes with a costly implication. Many in the industry in have started to realize that, and it's resulting in a deeper conversation around industrial IoT, or IIoT.   Cont'd...

Seven Career Paths Opening With the Industrial IoT

Joe McKendrick for RTInsights:  From maintenance experts to solution sellers, the industrial IoT offers numerous career opportunities. If you’re looking for an IoT career, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) doesn’t sound quite as glamorous as the broader IoT, which promises smart homes, smart cars, smart cities, wearable sensors, and everything else that can be outsmarted in daily life. But for IoT careers, industry is actually where most of the action will be taking place, and when you drill down and look what’s happening, a lot of this work can be far more rewarding and impactful than building smart toasters. This encompasses a range of activities, from real-time tracking tools and parts at industrial sites to analyzing data coming in from machinery, engines and power plants. The sky’s the limit.   Cont'd...

IIoT's new business models

Smart Industry:  Today, most companies see the value of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as additional information— data—that can help them do the things they already do, just better and more efficiently. And there lies a lot of low hanging fruit in  But for some companies, a much greater value is coming in the form of whole new capabilities—new products, services and businesses that could not exist without IIoT technology. “This higher value of IIoT is hidden in a lot of people’s minds—they’re not able to see the potential,” said Joe Sinfield, senior partner, Innosight and tenured professor of civil engineering, Purdue University. Sinfield spoke at September’s Smart Industry 2016 conference in Chicago about how individuals and companies can learn to see and take advantage of these new opportunities. “IIoT will transform virtually all industrial companies,” Sinfield said. How will the IIoT ecosystem evolve, and where is value shifting? How can industrial companies spot and capture related opportunity? What are the strategic roles available for industrials? What shifts in strategic planning are needed to unlock the value of IIoT?    Cont'd...

Robots won't kill the workforce. They'll save the global economy.

Ruchir Sharma for The Washington Post:   The United Nations forecasts that the global population will rise from 7.3 billion to nearly 10 billion by 2050, a big number that often prompts warnings about overpopulation. Some have come from neo-Malthusians, who fear that population growth will outstrip the food supply, leaving a hungry planet. Others appear in the tirades of anti-immigrant populists, invoking the specter of a rising tide of humanity as cause to slam borders shut. Still others inspire a chorus of neo-Luddites, who fear that the “rise of the robots” is rapidly making human workers obsolete, a threat all the more alarming if the human population is exploding. Before long, though, we’re more likely to treasure robots than to revile them. They may be the one thing that can protect the global economy from the dangers that lie ahead.   Cont'd...

Delta buys Unicom to advance smart factories

Christine Chou, The China Post: Delta Electronics, a provider of power management solutions, will acquire a 100 percent stake in industrial software provider Unicom (羽 ) for NT$351 million (US$10.9 million). In a bid to speed up its smart manufacturing operations, Delta Electronics' board of directors agreed on Friday to acquire Unicom - merging the leading Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) software provider into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta. Unicom, which specializes in Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), has been providing solutions to streamline factory management and equipment monitoring for almost 20 years. Delta Electronics chief executive officer Cheng Ping said with the arrival of the internet of things, manufacturers must move towards smart production to adapt to changing market demands. The development of core technologies and systems for smart manufacturing requires cross-disciplinary cooperation to speed up the transition and seize market opportunities, Cheng said. Cont'd...

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