Steve O'Hear for TechCrunch: 3D Hubs, an online marketplace for 3D printing services, is tapping into two recent trends enabled by industrial 3D printing: the rapid prototyping of new products, and the move to personalised and bespoke production.
The Amsterdam-headquartered startup connects those requiring 3D printing with local 3D printers, both through its website that lets you order 3D printing jobs online, including getting a real-time quote, and via an API that enables companies to automate short production runs of products on-demand.
The latter, of course, is also powering “zero-inventory” manufacturing: products are only produced on a per-order basis (and in some instances are also fulfilled directly to the end customer), which is another trend that is starting to gain traction. Cont'd...
The top machine builders are switching from proprietary hardware-based PLCs, like Allen-Bradley, TwinCAT, Mitsubishi and KEYENCE, to open standards-based EtherCAT-enabled software PLCs on IPCs. KINGSTAR provides a fully-featured and integrated software PLC based on an open and accessible RTOS. KINGSTAR Soft PLC also includes add-on or third-party components for motion control and machine vision that are managed by a rich user interface for C++ programmers and non-developers alike.